Musicals, especially ones as over the top as Glee, don’t really need an excuse to bust out some real diva moves. And yet, this episode (aptly titled “Diva”) has several good reasons and uses them all to its advantage.
The show opens with a voiceover from Kurt, who is unhappy with Rachel’s increasingly insufferable behavior since winning the NYADA Winter Showcase. She’s ditched him for a pair of snarky, butt-kissing queens–but is quite happy to speak to him when she’s asking him to make her tea or take her phone calls. After one slight too many, he challenges her to a “midnight madness” diva-off (the NYADA equivalent of fight club). She reminds him that they did this once before as high school sophomores, and she won. Mr. Hummel then drops a bomb on our mini-diva: he threw their original competition so that his dad wouldn’t be harassed for having a son who sings like a girl (they first competed with “Defying Gravity” from Wicked). Rachel is rattled, but considers the challenge brought, and begins prepping for the showdown.
Back at McKinley, Finn confides in guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury that he’s having a hard time figuring out how to motivate the glee club to take Regionals. He knows that they can’t simply want to win, they have to want to crush their rivals. Emma advises him to make the week’s lesson a competition and let the glee kids sort it out for themselves. He installs her as the “celebrity judge” and we’re off to the races with the first number of the night. Even folks who don’t immediately recognize the Beyonce song will appreciate the wardrobes–who knew Blaine was stealing feathered jackets from Adam Lambert’s closet?
Blaine’s also battling a nasty cold this week–or should we call it the Asian flu that is Tina Cohen-Chang? Seriously, it’s getting progressively harder to feel terribly sorry for a girl who should be smarter than to fall for a boy she so obviously can’t have. Yet, high school is as good a place as any for a straight girl to learn how to handle relationships with gold-star gay boys. She starts innocently enough, bringing Blaine her patented cold-buster kit, packed with tea and night-time cold meds and her own chicken soup. He’s touched, and promises to help her find a song worthy of her own diva-tude. He also rocks out his own diva performance of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” (and channels a bit of Rob Halford in the wardrobe department).
As if all this weren’t enough diva-liciousness, Finn’s called in the cavalry from Louisville to show the (new) New Directions how it’s done. Santana swoops in to help him out, and to try to break up Brittany and Sam. She and Sam sing a duet over our unicorn, leaving Britt to ponder who to choose.
Back at NYADA, the diva-off gets underway, with Brody supervising the proceedings. Rachel’s nasty little fan club and Adam (of the Apples) are also in attendance. The pair sing a lovely version of “Bring Him Home” from Les Mis and then the crowd splits to stand with who they thought won. Rachel’s new BFFs decide they like Kurt’s performance better, and she has to learn a bit of humility. (I may have actually squee’d when they kissed and made up.)
Things come to a head in Lima, with Tina confessing to a medicated (sleeping, thank God!) Blaine that she’s falling for him, Finn angsting about his lack of a love life and Emma getting more freaked out by wedding planning. All of this leads to two of the most uncomfortable-but-in-a-good-way moments of the night–Tina rubs Vicks onto Blaine’s chest while crying and realizing that he doesn’t share her attraction, and Finn stops Emma’s panic attack with a well-timed but ill-considered kiss. (Man, that wedding next week is going to have some interesting conversations!)
Tina’s diva performance earns her a victory in the week’s competition as well as an undeserved apology from Blaine, and Brittany tells Santana she knows that she actually dropped out of school–and that Sam is in her life for good. In a patented bit of emotional genius, Britt makes sure that Santana knows they’ll always be best friends, then sends her on her way to New York. The McKinley hallways dissolve into a subway stop as Santana sings “Girl On Fire,” and she ends up on Kurt and Rachel’s doorstep. Suddenly that big loft in Bushwick is looking awfully crowded…