In this episode Jesse and Will explore New Directions' talents and judge a few members auditions to have a solo for the Nationals setlist. As Jesse and Will draw closer to picking the soloist, someone plans to abolish New Directions' flight to Nationals. Sue struggles to handle the pain of Jean's death, needing Finn, Kurt, Will, and New Directions' assistance.
The episode was directed by Bradley Buecker and written by Ryan Murphy.
The episode opens with Mr. Schuester introducing Jesse St. James to the New Directions as their new Show Choir consultant. Jesse proceeds to trash Finn, telling him most of the other male vocalists can sing better than him and that Mike Chang who can't even sing can at least dance, to which Finn gets visibly upset. Jesse then tells the kids that a solo is up for grabs at Nationals in New York and they will be auditioning for the part.
Coach Sylvester schemes with Terri to disrupt the New Directions flight to New York and has asked Terri to find her a computer hacker. Terri brings Howard Bamboo from Sheets-N-Things to her office where they conspire, using Figgins' e-mail, to have the flight routed through Tripoli, Libya so that the kids will be kidnapped upon landing or "kidnapped and killed."
Becky Jackson and her mother show up to ask Mr. Schuester to join the Glee Club because Sue has kicked her off the Cheerios. Mr. Schuester explains to them both that he would love for her to join next year, but that they are a week away from nationals and the competition season is almost over. After his talk with Mrs. Jackson and Becky, Mr. Schuester goes in search of Sue and finds her in the teacher's lounge where he confronts her about kicking Becky off the squad. In response, Sue tells Will that she can't have Becky around her because she reminds her of her sister Jean Sylvester. After Will's incredulous response that she loves her sister, Sue explains to him that she does, but that Jean unfortunately died from pneumonia and passed away in her sleep the day before. Rachel confronts Finn in a hallway asking why he hasn't signed up for the male lead at Nationals, to which he replies that Jesse's remarks have destroyed his confidence "I'm Lima good not New York City good" and that he will not be auditioning.
Emma and Will are in his apartment packing up his belongings before he heads to New York with the kids. After Nationals he will be staying for a while to appear in Crossrhodes: The April Rhodes Story, but he's shown to have little confidence that the play will succeed and plans to be back a week after it opens. Emma encourages him to follow his dreams, telling him that he's given up so much for others to succeed and that now it's his turn.
Kurt and Finn visit Coach Sylvester in her office to pay their respects after her sister died and are told by Sue that she cannot understand why her sister had to die, when Jean was the sweetest person she ever knew and Sue herself is probably the meanest. Following this encounter, Kurt and Finn enlist the Glee Clubs help to plan Jean's funeral, as Sue has agreed for them to do so.
Auditions are being held in the auditorium, first up is Santana singing Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. Jesse is shown to berate her for not infusing the song with the needed emotion. Next is Kurt singing Some People from Gypsy, which Jesse thinks isn't quite up to par with the Bernadette Peters or Patti LuPone, Kurt's idol, who have both sung the song before. Kurt leaves the stage in a huff after this and is shown to be very negative toward Jesse saying "Jesse St. James totally Jesse St. Sucks" while he enters the choir room.
Next to perform is Mercedes singing Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding. Although Mr Schuester thinks Mercedes really nailed the song, Jesse tells her that she needs to practice a lot more, do more choreography on stage and says that she's lazy. As Mercedes storms off the stage dragging the microphone-stand with the microphone on the stand with her, Rachel comes on and says she will be performing My Man from Funny Girl, to which Jesse immediately asks if she's singing it to someone in particular. Rachel replies that she isn't, but the sequence is intermingled with scenes from Rachel and Finn's relationship, suggesting that the song is about Finn. Kurt gets visibly emotional and gives Rachel a standing ovation remarking "She may be difficult, but boy can she sing" after she finishes then begins clapping before being pulled back into his seat by Santana. Jesse tells Rachel that her performance was simply brilliant.
Finn and Kurt are in the nursing home with Sue, sorting through her sister Jean's belongings. Kurt discovers a copy of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which Sue says Jean would watch at least three times a week. Sue takes only one stuffed animal, saying that she doesn't need any more memories of Jean and that she only asked the Glee Club to plan the funeral to make sure the service would be full, since Jean didn't know a lot of people.
As Sue arrives at the funeral home with Will, she discovers the club has decorated the casket with props from Jean's favorite movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As she tries to eulogize her sister Sue breaks down and is unable to continue. Mr. Schuester takes over and gives the speech, which moves the kids to tears:
The Glee Club then sings Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (as it was Jean's favorite song) as pictures and film-clips of Jean are shown on a television set.
After the service, Finn is shown to be sitting in his car crying. When Quinn Fabray asks why, he tells her that he is breaking up with her, saying he thought he could fix everything from the previous year with Rachel, but that it isn't working. After a short fight, Quinn leaves and Finn is shown to watch Rachel as she leaves the funeral home.
Becky enters Coach Sylvester's office to hand in her pom-poms and megaphone, but Sue stops her explaining that her firing Becky was because of hormones due to menopause (what she liked to call "womb rage") and that Becky is back on the Cheerios. In fact, Becky will be promoted to captain starting next year. Sue then asks Becky for a hug, which Becky gladly gives her.
Sue then shows up at Will's table in the teachers' lounge and explains to him that she had the clubs itinerary changed to have them flown to Libya, but has had a change of heart. She compliments Will saying he has something Jean had and she doesn't: a pure heart. She then says that after what Will and the Glee Club did for Jean, there is no way for Sue to hate them anymore and is giving up trying to destroy them. Terri then shows up and gives Will first class tickets to New York, telling him she lied about having the monkey pox and was contacted by a vice president of the airline who provided her with the tickets. Terri also tells Will that she's been appointed manager of a new branch of Sheets-N-Things that will be opening in Miami, Florida and will soon be moving.Jesse meets with Rachel in the auditorium and he tells her that he cares a lot about her and that she is the reason he came back. As they share a kiss, Finn is shown to have entered the auditorium holding a single Tulip and is shown to be visibly shaken as they leave the stage.
In the end, Mr. Schuester decides that no one will have a solo at Nationals and asks the club to provide two original songs for the competition and that they will be performed by the club as a whole. Finn turns to Quinn thanking her for not quitting Glee Club over their breakup. As the episode ends, she tells him she couldn't because it would have ruined her plans for New York; she does not elaborate exactly what those plans are.
|Song Title||Original Artist||Performer(s)|
|Back to Black||Amy Winehouse||Santana Lopez|
|Some People||Cast of Gypsy||Kurt Hummel|
|Try a Little Tenderness||Otis Redding||Mercedes Jones|
|My Man||Cast of Funny Girl||Rachel Berry|
|Pure Imagination||Cast of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory||New Directions|
Special Guest Star
- Harry Shum Jr. as Mike Chang
- Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans
- Ashley Fink as Lauren Zizes
- Kent Avenido as Howard Bamboo
- Kari Coleman as Donna Jackson
- Bill Metzler as Minister
Absent Cast Member
- Principal Figgins email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Before the email account got taken down, if emailed it sent a reply back a few seconds later stating:
- This is the second time Sue is seen in something other than a track suit or something track suit related.
- This is the last appearance of Terri Schuester as a main character. Terri, however, is shown in a cameo in Artie's dream in Glee, Actually, and she returned for the two-part series finale: 2009 and Dreams Come True.
- This is the first and also the last time Howard Bamboo appears in Season Two. He didn't appear again until 2009, the first part of the series finale.
- This is the last time we see Jean Sylvester, but only in pictures or videos. Her last physical appearance is in Furt.
- This is the episode that Jane Lynch submitted for her bid to win the 'Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series' award at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
- In the promo, there is a conversation between Quinn and Finn about quitting the Glee Club, but it was never shown in the episode.
- Kurt is the only person who sings more than once in this episode with his solo of Some People and his part in the quartet of Pure Imagination.
- When Emma and Will are packing up Will's large vest collection, he holds up a vest and tells her that he was wearing it the first time that he met her. However, in the flashback to their first meeting in Yes/No, he is wearing a completely different vest.
- When Kurt is walking into the auditorium, we can see some people walking with him, but it the next shot it's gone.
Jesse St. James totally Jesse St. Sucks.
We've been working hard for this for two years.
Terri: Are you trying to have the Glee club killed?
I would like to introduce you to our new Show Choir Consultant, Jesse St. James.
That's sweet, you remembered the masculine click of my designer boots.
I miss my sister. Every night at 10 or so, she used to call me on the phone, and when I asked her why, she'd tell me that her body told her… she wanted to hear my voice. I miss my sister. The smell of her shampoo. The way she could always convince me to read her another book. When you love someone like I loved her, they're a part of you; it’s like you’re attached by this invisible tether and no matter how far away you are, you can always feel them. And now every time I reach for that tether I know there’s no one on the other end and I feel like I’m falling into nothingness. Then I remember Jean. I remember a life led with no enemies, no resentments, no regrets and I’m inspired to get up out of bed and go on. I miss my sister so much it feels like piece of me has been ripped off. Just one more time I want to hold her. Ten more seconds— is that too much to ask? For ten more seconds to hold her? But I can’t and I won’t and the only thing keeping me from being swallowed whole by sadness is that Jean would kill me if I did. So for now I’m just going to miss her. I love you Jean. Rest in peace.
—Sue Sylvester's speech about her late sister