‘Glee’ Recap: ‘The Role You Were Born To Play’

by Melissa Albert

Last time we saw the “Glee” kids, they were singing songs and breaking hearts. But after the hiatus, it seems like everyone but Blaine and his cheatin’ heart has recovered from last episode’s breakup fever. In fact, Blaine’s so depressed over blowing it with Kurt that he doesn’t even want to perform in McKinley’s much-anticipated production of “Grease.” He auditions anyway, with “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” also known as “the Grease song we always fast-forward through.” He totally rocks it…but turns down the role of Danny Zuko. He’s just not ready to act like a man in love.

Finn’s still back in Lima, working at Mr. Hummel’s auto shop and longing for a swift death, until Artie asks him to co-direct “Grease.” They’re joined by Mercedes and Mike as dance and vocal coach!…because apparently you can take long breaks from a college or musical career without repercussions.

After Blaine turns down Zuko and Baby Puckerman refuses to audition, Finn decides to recruit the musical’s Danny from the football team, an inexhaustible source of raw vocal talent. You’d think it’d be hard to tell who among the mass of dudes in uniforms and full helmets might be a talented musical star, but luckily he immediately spies a broseph literally breakdancing in the end zone. It’s Ryder Lynn: Screw-up. Loner. Possessor of a ridiculous, Disneyfied name. (He’s also played by “Glee Project” winner Blake Jenner).

Finn creepily lures Ryder to the auditorium, where they duet on Foreigner’s “Juke Box Hero.” One crowdsurfing fantasy later, and Ryder’s putty in Finn’s hands. “So should I audition?” he asks goofily. “Dude, you just did,” Finn smirks, before donning a half-mask and disappearing to his lair below the stage (in our fantasy).

A transphobic Sue overhears Unique admitting to Marley that he wants to try out for the part of Rizzo, and she unleashes the vilest diatribe since the last time Britney messed up a basket toss. (Though Marley is so bland that even Sue can’t think of a mean nickname for her, settling for stealing her lip gloss instead.) Energized by Sue’s haterade, Unique and Marley audition with Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss).” After hearing that Marley might play his onstage lady love, Ryder chats her up—earning the jealousy of Mr. Hot-and-Cold, Jake Puckerman. Turns out that he dumped Kitty, who’s taking it out on poor, boring Marley. The cruelest cut: Kitty takes her pretty blonde Sandy hair and tries to steal Marley’s role! Jealous Jake duets with her on Neon Trees’ “Everybody Talks,” figuring he can get into Marley’s poodle skirt if they’re cast as the leads.

Turns out Figgins has a bit of an inappropriate crush, and is dismayed to learn that underage Unique is not the sexy lady brickhouse he thought he was. Sue gets down on Mr. Schuester for fostering McKinley’s “bubble” of tolerance, arguing that her bigotry represents a cruel world that the kids should get used to. She also objects to the musical’s “illegal lubrication of lightning.”

Marley, Kitty, Ryder and Jake are called back for a Sandy/Danny dance-off, where they re-create “Grease”’s competitive hand-jive scene—because there’s no better way to generate sexy chemistry than with the hand jive. Finally, the cast list is posted:

Ryder and Marley got Danny and Sandy!
Tina got the role of Jan (without auditioning)!
Jake got Putzie!
And Kitty got “the bad seed of Rydell High,” Patty Simcox!

Even when she’s come out on top, sweetie-pie Marley STILL lets Kitty bring her down. But you know who doesn’t let anyone walk all over her? Sue Sylvester. And when she sees that co-director Finn cast Unique as Rizzo against her wishes, she gives him her patented “I will wear your skin as a tracksuit” face. Gulp. We don’t think Finn can handle a face-off with Sue.

Mr. Schue and Emma are still arguing over whether she should go with him to Washington, and despite Coach Beiste’s many helpful sports metaphors, it takes Emma two whole scenes to realize that she can’t leave Lima just to make Will happy. They hug it out, and Shue finally breaks it to protégé and future Sue breakfast Finn that he’s leaving for a few months to “fight to keep the arts alive in our schools,” which he says with the conviction of Rambo himself. And then he hands Finn the golden ticket: the role of temporary glee club director. This is Finn’s future! He’s going to be…the next Mr. Shue.

Sighing of the wind.
A baby cries in an empty room.

Better buy stock in Generic Hair Gel now, Finn. It’s gonna be a long road.

Song of the Episode: Blaine’s “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” which made us EXTRA PSYCHED to see next week’s wall-to-wall “Grease” tribute episode!

What did you think of last night’s “Glee”? Which musical number was your fave? Is Finn loveable or lame for returning to McKinley? Does Ryder grease your lightning? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!