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Opening Night

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Opening Night
Season Five, Episode Seventeen
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First Aired April 22, 2014
Episode Guide
"The Back-Up Plan"

Opening Night is the seventeenth episode of Glee's fifth season and the one hundred and fifth episode overall. The episode aired on April 22, 2014.

Rachel suffers a crisis of confidence as the date of her opening night on Broadway rapidly approaches. Despite the housemates best attempts to return her to her usual self, the situation is not helped by the arrival of Sue, who has grudgingly accompanied Will to New York to watch the performance. Unexpectedly, Sue finds love, and Will's life changes forever. Meanwhile, Rachel is forced to face the music, and live her lifelong dream for the very first time.

The episode was written by Michael Hitchcock and directed by Eric Stoltz.


Rachel is awakened by Kurt, who tells her that it's time for her opening number. She jerks out of bed, only to find herself on the McKinley auditorium stage. Tina, who's reverted back to her gothic look and stutter, approaches Rachel giving her an empty hanger as her costume. As Rachel starts to protest, she looks down to find herself unclothed. The scene rapidly shifts. Rachel sits surrounded by Karofsky, Jacob, Becky, Sue Sylvester and Sidney, all heckling her, forcing her to perform. Forced into complying, Rachel performs Lovefool, accompanied by a band dressed in Shakespearian clothing. Her New York friendship group dance along, seemingly happy. However, as the song ends, Rachel falls over, and lies on the floor, surrounded by her friends and the audience booing her. Shaken, Rachel awakes from her nightmare, covered in sweat. 


In the early morning, Rachel and Kurt have breakfast. Kurt tries to work out why Rachel is so nervous about opening night. Realising that the criticism is getting to her, he orders her to stay off the internet and unofficial reviews, taking her phone and banning her from using the internet. He resolves to keep Rachel in a "hermetically sealed lovebubble", providing her with all the positive energy she needs to have confidence on opening night. Rachel reluctantly agrees to the plan.

At McKinley, Sue catches Will in the corridor. Questioning him about an extra ticket to New York she has heard about, she offers to come with him herself. Surprised, Will watches her walk off - but Sue's motivations become clear in the weekly episode of Sue's Corner, in which she incessantly insults the city, and, in particular, Broadway. However, the network discover that she has never actually visited New York, and force her to go there to experience it for herself and save her credibility. On the condition that she comes to Rachel's opening night, Will agrees. As Sue stares at a snowglobe on her desk, she imagines herself and will performing NYC in the auditorium. At the end of the performance, Sue and Will find themselves in New York, where they hurriedly and excitedly run off.

At the Bushwick apartment, Tina arrives with gifts. Everyone is pleased to see her, but she soon starts inadvertently undermining Rachel's confidence, reminding her of her tonsillitis issues and the notable absence of many of her friends. Mercedes changes the subject, asking her how she is enjoying university life, and Tina reveals that she has met someone, who is almost immediately (and correctly) dismissed as gay by the group. Undeterred, Tina begins to once again talk about the hate Rachel has been receiving online, oblivious to the attempts of the flatmates to get her to shut up. Rachel, pushed to breaking point, reassures everyone that the only opinions she cares about are those of her friends. She retreats to her bedroom, leaving Mercedes to shepherd Tina out of the apartment.

Later that night, Kurt to the sound of crying from Rachel's bedroom. Scrambling out of bed to further investigation, he discovers Rachel, who has covertly reconnected to the internet and is binge-watching abusive blogs. As he watches her, concerned, she apologises pathetically. In the morning, Kurt explains the situation to Mercedes, Sam, Tina and Blaine. Rachel is refusing to get out of bed, and he explains that they must fill her with love and validation in order to succeed in raising her. The housemates embark on a quest to cheer Rachel up; Kurt bringing her presents, Blaine giving her a massage and Sam singing her a song, but all are flatly rejected by Rachel. In desperation, Kurt gets Tina to forge a note from Barbra Streisand encouraging Rachel to get out of bed, but she quickly sees through his ruse due to a spelling error in her name.

Kurt Tina ON

As the housemates sit together, reflecting on their desperate situation, Sue arrives. Seeing their surprise, she explains that Will inadvertently booked a double bed in their hotel instead of two singles. Disgusted, she has retreated to the apartment to stay the night in Kurt's room, much to his horror. Santana arrives back from her holiday just as Sue is doing her best to undermine Rachel's confidence further. Heading straight for her bedroom, Santana begins to convince Rachel that she really is worthy of the role of Fanny. Reading her negative reviews that she has found on the internet, Santana reveals that they were written about Barbra Streisand, when she first played Fanny in 1964. Reminding her that this is one of the very few things that she doesn't suck at, Santana convinces Rachel that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, because she knows Rachel will murder the crowd that evening. Later, Rachel emerges from her room, pacified. Joyous to see that she is cured, the housemates run to her, and they share a group hug.

Chums ON

Outside the Funny Girl theatre, Sue is attempting to scalp her ticket. As Will walks away in disgust, Sue spots a man trying to do the same as her, and is awestruck. Their eyes meet, and the man winks at her, before walking away. She keenly follows him, throwing an interested customer to the side. Will enters Rachel's dressing room. Rachel is ecstatic to see him, and they reflect on all they have been through. Rachel reveals that she's brought Finn a seat, and is worried about singing Who Are You Now, as it always reminds her of him. Will reassures her, and tells her he is proud of her; that his dreams are coming true as well as hers. Just as a stage-hand tells Rachel that it's ten minutes until she goes on, Emma rings Will to tell him that her waters have broken. He rushes out, leaving Rachel excited but worried.

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Rachel walks through the backstage area and onto the stage, where the curtain slowly lifts, to reveal a packed audience. Smiling, she walks forward. Later in the play, she performs I'm the Greatest Star. All her friends watch her happily, apart from Sue, who is thoroughly sickened by the whole affair, and complains loudly to the reviewer from The New York Times. Halfway through the performance, she is forced to leave, in order to kill herself. The man sees outside follows her. Rachel watches from the stage, at first concerned, but then continues the performance with new-found resolve. In the theatre lobby, Sue and the man meet. He reveals that his name is Mario, and they discover that they have a lot in common; namely, a deep hatred of Broadway. Mario invited Sue for a bite to eat in his restaurant, and she accepts.

During the interval, Kurt and Mercedes congratulate Rachel on her performance in her dressing room. Rachel is concerned that Sue leaving will have a negative affect on the critics, but the two do their best to reassure her. Sidney enters, and tells her that the first act was wonderful. He, like Rachel, was a little concerned about what he describes as "that guy in the tracksuit" leaving in the middle, but tells her that it is now doubly important how she performs in the second act. Kurt and Mercedes watch, worried, as Sidney delvers his ultimatum, leaving Rachel under significant pressure.

At Mario's, Mario offers Sue a meal. They tell each other about themselves, and both learn that each of them are unmarried. As he serves her pasta, Sue reveals that she did not predict that she would meet someone like Mario. As Rachel sings Who Are You Now, Sue imagines herself on stage, doing the same. In the restaurant, Mario and Sue dance together, slowly. On the stage, Rachel reduces herself to tears, but delivers a stunning performance.

After the performance, the friends celebrate with champagne. Sidney enters, and declares the performance
a resounding success. He suggests that Rachel savours the moment, and enjoys the small amount of time she has before the New York Times review comes out. He invites them to a full on Broadway cast party, but Rachel chooses instead to go to a New York gay bar on Blaine's suggestion. After being widely recognised, Rachel performs Pumpin Blood with the other housemates.

In the morning, the group return to the apartment. They are shocked and disgusted to find Sue and Mario, having retreated there the previous night to copulate wildly. As the group recoil, further sickened, Sue begins to once again insult Rachel's performance of Funny Girl. Santana begins to step in, but Rachel stops her. She tells Sue that she is a rotten and miserable person, who only finds joy in people's misery. Tonight, she tells Sue, a group of friends rallied together and made a dream come true, and she will never be able to achieve anything like that in the entirety of her empty, sad life. As Rachel instructs Sue to get the hell out of her apartment, Kurt fights back a smile. Santana leads the applause as Sue and Mario leave, humiliated.


In the street, Rachel buys a paper, but is too nervous to open it. She offers it to Kurt, but he also refuses. Santana grabs it, stating that she doesn't care if she is the bearer of bad news, and they all take turns to read out the highly positive review, much to their delight. As they are celebrating the review, Will rings them, and announces that his baby son has been born. He reveals that they have named the baby Daniel Finn Schuester. He tells the group that for the first time in his life he feels completely happy. Rachel agrees, and the group congratulate him, ecstatic.

Elsewhere in New York, Sue gets ready to leave the city. Despite Mario's attempts to get her to stay, she tells him of her other commitments back in Ohio. She, in turn, tries to get him to return to Lima with her, but they realise that they could not live together. They share one final, passionate kiss, before Sue aggressively enters a taxi. They share a short, tender moment, before Sue abruptly pulls away, leaving him alone in the street.

Back in Lima, Sue films another episode of Sue's Corner. She states that she stands by her comments of the previous week, apart from one thing - she loves New York. She has found love there, and thinks that it is quite possible for others to do the same, or at least, in her words, "spend a night of sturdy, spirited love-making with a relative stranger in every corner of the apartment of several of your former students."


Song Title Original Artist Performer(s)
Lovefool The Cardigans Rachel Berry with Alumni
NYC Cast of Annie Sue Sylvester and Will Schuester
I'm the Greatest Star Cast of Funny Girl Rachel Berry
Who Are You Now Rachel Berry and Sue Sylvester
Pumpin Blood NONONO Rachel Berry with Alumni

Guest Cast

Special Guest Star

Guest Stars

Special Appearance


  • John Ainsworth as Barclay
  • Jeff Doucette as NY Times Critic
  • Shaun Brown as Theatre Patron

Absent Cast Members


  • The episode was watched by 2.45 million people and received a 0.9 rating. Source
  • This episode features the first appearances of:
  • This is the first episode where Sue sings in more than one song.
    • Jane Lynch was in the 2013 Broadway revival of Annie as Miss Hannigan, and Sue is singing NYC, a song from that show in this episode.
    • This is the second song that Sue sings from Annie, the first being Little Girls.
  • This is the first episode to have one character (Rachel) sing three solos.
  • This is the first episode in the series to not feature Artie physically.
    • As of this episode, there isn't any cast member who has appeared in every Glee episode.
  • It is revealed that Will has still been teaching at McKinley High since the time jump, meaning he didn't take or get the job at Carmel High.
  • Rachel telling Will about Finn making her promise to get him a ticket for her opening night on Broadway was probably a reference to their last onscreen talk in Sweet Dreams.
  • Kurt's boyfriend pillow (Bruce), which first appeared in Guilty Pleasures makes a return.
  • Darren Criss' parents can be seen sitting behind Kurt and Blaine in the audience during Funny Girl.
  • Rachel's calendar shows opening night as April 24, meaning the timeline is in line with present day.
    • Coincidentally, April 24 is also Barbra Streisand's birthday.
  • Rachel's dressing room has some similarities with Fanny Brice's in the Funny Girl movie:
    • The number of Rachel's is '8', the same number Fanny's had.
    • The walls have a similar color and have exposed bricks, just like in the movie.
    • There's a rack with some costumes in the background.
  • This episode marks the last apperance from Sue, Tina and Will in Season Five.
    • This also marks Tina's last appearance as a main character.
  • Daniel Finn Schuester is born.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Jacob Ben Israel in the series.


  • In Makeover, Rachel says "Kurt must have forgotten his keys" when there is a knock on the door, implying that there is a lock on their door. When Sue enters their apartment in this episode, she says that there is no lock on their door.



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