'Glee' Recap: Episode 9, 'Wheels'

Hold the phone, Gleeks, is a show that’s called “Glee” supposed to make me cry this much? That was the question I had on my mind as I unsuccessfully tried to choke back tears in last night’s super emotional episode, titled “Wheels.” While the series hasn’t shied away from tackling controversial topics before (teen pregnancy, homosexuality) they took it to the next level last night.

They may not have been armed with slushies last night, but there was still some tense situations unfolding with some members of New Directions.

The already complicated love triangle between Finn, Quinn, and Puck (who just keeps getting cuter by the week, no?) got worse as Quinn pressured/threatened Finn to get a job to help her with pregnancy finances. As Finn flounders (the poor guy is just too tall for Olive Garden) Puck steps up to help his baby mama and he proves he can be all she needs out of a partner. Quinn, despite laying into Finn for nearly the entire hour doesn’t (yet) choose Puck. While I’d hate to see Finn get hurt, the flirty food fight between Quinn and Puck made me think they’d make an awfully cute, albeit somewhat dysfunctional, family.

But, that storyline was hardly the thing that made this episode so memorable. Short on funds to head to sectionals, New Directions is faced with a dilemma: do they throw a lame bake sale to get extra money for a handicapped bus that can bring Artie, or make him hitch a ride with his dad? I, like Mr. Schue, was pretty disappointed to see how many of Artie’s cohorts were ready to let him get their destination without him by their side. Luckily, after some heartfelt moments with Artie and, well, some “special” cupcakes (thanks, Puck) they pulled together for their friend.

That wasn’t the only decision the gang would have to make last night. It was a battle of the divas when Kurt fought hard to audition against Rachel for the coveted solo spot to belt out a classic Broadway tune (more on that later.) While Rachel had a little bit more talent for the song on her side, Kurt certainly had the ambition. He also had the support of his dad who, despite his differences from his son, didn’t want to see him get hurt. But, when a bigot makes a nasty phone call to Kurt’s dad, he ultimately makes a decision to put his father’s happiness in front of his own and throws the audition. Ready for those waterworks to start?

Good, because they’re only going to get worse from here on out. Under pressure from the principal, Sue must hold open auditions for Quinn’s old spot on the Cheerios. Much to Sue’s chagrin, she holds an audition and much this viewers’ surprise, she picks a sweet handicapped girl by the name of Becky Johnson. For an episode that reinforced not judging someone on outside appearances, I now feel guilty for thinking that Sue was up to no good. I, like Will, automatically assumed the typically sneaky Sue put the girl on her squad due to an ulterior motive. When Sue told Will, “You don’t know the first thing about me,” she wasn’t kidding. We soon learn that Sue has an older mentally handicapped sister whom she visits frequently. In the midst of my sob fest the only other thing I could think was, “I sure hope Jane Lynch has her Emmy speech ready.”

So, now that I’ve run through my Kleenex, let’s run through last night’s best musical moments. First, there was Artie’s solo (how happy were you to see him finally take center stage?) was Billy Idol’s 80’s classic “Dancin’ with Myself.” The song is usually so lighthearted, even a little silly, but when Artie sings, “If I had the chance, I’d ask the world to dance” it takes on a whole new life and it suddenly became heartbreaking. While it didn’t pack as hefty an emotional punch, the Kurt-Rachel face-off of “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” would have made Idina Menzel proud. The final act was a spirited and fitting group performance (with the whole gang in wheelchairs) of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.” All in all, a truly standout hour of TV.

What did you think, Gleeks? Did this episode tug at your heartstrings, too? Were you shocked to find out Tina fakes her stutter? Do you think there’s still hope for her and Artie?