‘Glee’ Recap: ‘Funeral’

If there was one way to describe last night’s new episode of “Glee,” besides completely and utterly heartbreaking (I mean seriously, how much did you cry, Gleeks? Buckets is an actual measurement!), it would be: authentic. Everything about the ep—from the way it dealt with the death of a loved one to breakups to fights to goodbyes felt genuine—made this one of the very best this season, if not, the entire series.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. After weeks of speculation as to who would be passing away on the show, we learned it was Sue Sylvester’s sweet sister Jean. Sue had a very special bond with her sister, who had Down’s Syndrome, and the death affected her greatly. Early on, Sue (a particularly spectacular Jane Lynch) shut those around her out in the wake of Jean’s death. She kicked Becky off the Cheerios because she reminded her too much of her, and when Finn and Kurt reached out to help her clean out Jean’s room and plan the funeral, she still slung her trademark insults at them.

Of course, that all changed on the day of Jean’s funeral. The glee club organized a touching service in Jean’s honor, complete with a lovely rendition of her favorite song, “Pure Imagination” from her favorite movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” If that wasn’t enough to get the tears flowing in full force, Sue’s heart wrenching speech that she wrote about her beloved sister no doubt did.

Sue didn’t make it very far into the speech (in which she stated all the reasons why she missed her sister and how she desperately wished she’d have just 10 more seconds with her to hug her once again) and as she broke down. Will, being the good friend he is despite everything Coach Sylvester has done to him, walked up and helped her finish it.

The funeral scene and every moment of Sue dealing with the toughest thing she’ll ever endure was written and acted perfectly. Not only did Jane embody everything a mourning person goes through, she did it with dignity and respect. When she made Becky captain of the Cheerios (and gave her a hug….sob!) and told Will that he had a “pure heart” like his sister did, we not only said goodbye to Jean, we may have said goodbye, once and for all, to the villainous side of Sue Sylvester.

But that didn’t mean there wasn’t a bad guy in last night’s ep. The return of Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) may be nice for Rachel, but it made life hell for everyone else. Brought in as a show choir mentor to help New Directions cinch the Nationals title, Jesse (fresh out of his Reality Competition Judging class at UCLA) offered up “blistering and unhelpful” advice for those trying out for the solo spot in their Nationals number.

Jesse, who didn’t even want the group to help out with Jean’s funeral (he argued that if someone in Vocal Adrenaline died onstage, “they would use them as a prop like in ’Weekend at Bernies’,”) and tore poor Finn to shreds regarding his singing and dancing skills and the attacks were only just getting started.

Santana kicked things off with her decent rendition of Amy Winehouse’s powerhouse breakup song “Back to Black.” While her voice sounded pretty good (don’t smoke cigars, kids!) she made the song too light. And so help me Gleeks, I couldn’t help but agree with Jesse when he told her she didn’t get into “the emotion of the song.”

That said, there was definitely no one agreeing—including Mr. Schue—with him on his critiques of Kurt for singing a lady’s song (“Some People” from “Gypsy”) and Mercedes, who he told wasn’t a star, “just a girl who can really sing.” He must have been listening to a different girl singing the classic “Try a Little Tenderness,” because, as always Mercedes brought it.

Not surprisingly, however, was how Jesse had nothing bad to say about Rachel’s tearful and stirring performance of her idol Barbra Streisand’s “My Man.” Granted, it would be tough to find anything wrong with that rendition (even Kurt gave her a standing ovation) there was something fishy going on. He even prematurely told Rachel she got the lead solo (that is, before Mr. Schue announced they’d be going with their first plan of an original number) and confessed his feelings for her.

As if there weren’t enough reasons to root against the reunion of Rachel and Jesse, there was Finn, looking on with flower in hand, there too late as he hoped to win her back. After the funeral, Finn realized he was still tethered to Rachel (and, as her audition number proved, she still felt the same for him) and decided to break up with Quinn in his truck.

Boy, talk about another doozy, Gleeks! Once again this moment felt so very real, from the dialogue to the location, it felt like the final nail in the coffin of Finn and Quinn. That is, of course, until she warned him that he’d have to wait and see what her “big plans” for them were at Nationals. Oh, finale, why must you be a week away?!

One couple who we’re still not certain of his Will and Emma. While she encouraged him throughout the ep to follow his dreams—and even helped him pack up his many sweater vests to move on to the bright lights of Broadway—there was still a very obvious connection between these two. Factor in that his ex-wife Terri stopped by to tell him she’d be moving to Miami for good, and we’re starting to think (and, okay, hope) Will may trade his dream gig for his dream girl.

Watch Jim Cantiello’s musical “Glee”-cap below!

What did you think of this ep, my fellow Gleeks? Did you weep uncontrollably during the funeral scene too? Would you agree this was one of the best eps to date? What do you think Quinn’s big plan is? Will Finn confess his love for Rachel again, despite being in the way? What do you think Jesse’s actual motives are? Let me know in the comments section below and on Twitter!