Glee’s fifth season has all been leading up to this: Rachel Berry’s (Lea Michele) opening night on Broadway. In fact, she’s been dreaming of this night since we first met her on the show so five years ago. With the pressure mounting for her to perform, the big question of the episode will be whether or not she’ll be able to pull it off, or if she’s going to choke on the stage for all the world to see.
We start with Rachel in the midst of a panicked nightmare in which Kurt (Chris Colfer) is the stage manager, ushering Rachel to the empty Funny Girl stage. The bad dream is full of cameos from McKinley High characters — including Dave Karofsky and Jacob Ben Israel — complete with Rachel’s teeth falling out, and a critical Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). It ends with Rachel performing “Lovefool” by The Cardigans.
The dream devolves into Becky (Lauren Potter) screaming at Rachel, “Get on with it!” She starts to sing out of tune and collapses into a pile of boos and red heart-shaped balloons. After that, she promptly wakes up in a cold sweat. In the kitchen, Rachel joins Kurt for tea and then tries to fall back asleep. Her anxiety over potentially negative reviews prompts Kurt to hide Rachel’s phone from her until opening night.
Back at McKinley High, Sue approaches Will (Matthew Morrison) in an attempt to snag his extra ticket to New York, which is odd because she claims to hate the city. Her story is that she wants to see NYC firsthand to confirm how much she despises the city. But in return, she has to agree to go to Rachel’s show with Will. This conversation prompts them to launch into a snow globe fantasy of the two of them singing a duet of “NYC” from Annie. The climax has them arriving in the Big Apple.
All the glee buddies, Sam (Chord Overstreet), Blaine (Darren Criss), Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), arrive at the loft. Tina starts to gush about Brown. Rachel is silent in her Joan Crawford-style head wrap. Tina gets verbal diarrhea about bloggers talking about how short she is until Mercedes drags Tina away and Rachel politely excuses herself for a nap. Kurt awakens in the middle of the night to see Rachel overdosing on media talking shit about her.
As Rachel lies motionless in her bed, her friends try to cheer her up, to no avail. It’s at this point that Sue arrives and announces she’ll be crashing at the loft. We see Santana (Naya Rivera) arrive in town and then to the loft, saying that she only needs four minutes to get Rachel ready to go. To perk her up, Santana reads Rachel some bad reviews. Rachel is surprised to hear that they were of Barbra Streisand‘s performance back in the day. She follows that with a pep talk. Conveniently, it works almost immediately.
Will catches Sue scalping her ticket to Funny Girl. Out of nowhere, Sue locks eyes with another scalper, played by Chris Parnell. Will meets Rachel in her dressing room to congratulate her. He’s interrupted with the news that his wife has gone into labor.
Rachel takes to the stage and the curtains lift. The first number we see her sing is “I’m the Greatest Star.” In the lobby, Sue and the scalper, Mario, meet and have a romantic moment. He asks her out. In Rachel’s dressing room during intermission, Kurt and Mercedes continue the pep-talking. The big time producer shows up to tell her she’s done a great job so far but tells her that she really needs to nail the ending.
Sue is charmed by Mario at a romantic dinner. As they dine, Rachel gives an emotional rendition of “Who Are You now?” while Sue slow-dances with Mario. Back in her dressing room, Rachel gets big congratulations from all her buddies, as well as the producer. Rachel ditches the cast party and opts to hang with her pals at a gay bar in Greenwich Village instead. They give an impromptu group performance Mindy Gledhill‘s “Whole Wide World.
In the morning, the gang returns to the loft to find that Sue’s slept with Mario and they both emerge into the kitchen dressed in silky kimonos. After that, Rachel reads the McKinley High principle the riot act and throws her out of the apartment for making her life hell in high school. After brewing a morning cup of coffee, they all rush to the newsstand to read the New York Times review. Of course, it’s glowing and we have a happy ending. Just then, Will calls to congratulate Rachel as well as to announce the birth of his son, Daniel Finn Schuester.
At the end of the episode, we find Sue walking hand in hand with Mario while on her way to fly back home to Ohio. He tries to get her to stay, but she cites her responsibilities at McKinley. Back on Sue’s Corner, she admits to having fun on her trip to NYC and loving the city after all. I predict we’ll see more of this romance develop next season, as the show shifts permanently to Manhattan.
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