This episode is mainly focused on Tina as she is usually un-noticed in Glee Club thinking it's unfair, while they are preparing for Nationals. The storylines from Choke are continued in this episode: Rachel's future at NYADA, and Beiste and Puck's storyline. When Tina is further infuriated, she bumps her head and has a hallucinated dream where the Glee Club members switch identities. The title is a reference to Tina disliking being used as a prop in the club and also Sue wanting to use props for the New Directions' Nationals setlist.
The episode was written and directed by Ian Brennan.
Sue blames Kurt and Mercedes for creating a monster with their encouragement of Unique Adams, a transgender woman who they convinced to present femininely while performing. Unique has made rival show choir Vocal Adrenaline the team to beat at Nationals (with Jesse St. James now taking full credit for the innovation). Sue tells them that if they want to have any hope of beating their rivals, Kurt will have to perform in drag as "Porcelina."
Kurt explains that just because he's gay, it shouldn't insinuate that he likes to dress up as a woman, and he states he doesn't like it - even though his Halloween costume the previous year had been Snooki, with Blaine as the Situation, from Jersey Shore - and he refuses, stating it was a far cry from strutting out at Nationals in a dress. But Sue insists that if he doesn't go drag, New Directions will lose.Rachel looks at her journal, thinking of her failed NYADA audition, as she fantasizes about singing Jason Mraz's I Won't Give Up. She leaves yet another message on the voicemail of NYADA instructor Carmen Tibideaux, reiterating her invitation for the opera diva to attend Nationals, where Rachel hopes that she'll be named MVP and impress Tibideaux enough to make up for her audition flop.
Will announces that the glee club will be working on a routine built around lyricist Jim Steinman's hit song with Meat Loaf, "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," with Rachel and Finn soloing. Sue, meanwhile, plans to create a revived Troubletones number featuring Kurt as 'Porcelina' to Irene Cara's Flashdance song What a Feeling. Kurt still refusing, retaliating "Not gonna happen, dragon lady." Sue, who claims to have been Jennifer Beals' dance double, insists that a healthy dose of props, plus a transsexual performer, will put them over the top.
Will reminds them that, after failing to make even the Top 10 at last year's Nationals, they have one last week to come together and shake things up. "Anyone who's not willing to give their all should walk away now," he says. Tina surprises everyone by storming out after she castigates Will and Sue for always favoring Rachel, Finn, and some of the other students.
Mike chases down Tina, trying to convince her that the seniors deserve their chance to shine and that because she is a junior, she'll have the spotlight next year. Rachel makes things worse by offering Tina $50 to drop her protests to ensure Rachel's future. Tina fires back, sick of being a silent team player and reminding Rachel that she was an original glee club member when Finn and Puck were still throwing slushies at them. Rachel tells Tina that she doesn't understand how difficult it is to be Rachel. She makes a convincing case about her hard work, but Tina says that all she wants is one moment to feel what it's like to be Rachel and get one of her standing ovations.While angrily shopping for costume material in the mall and text-fighting with Mike, Tina complains to Kurt and Blaine before slipping and falling headfirst into a fountain, where she bumps her head. When the boys pull her out of the water, she revives and is taken aback when Blaine appears to have morphed into Puck and Kurt has turned into Finn - but still wearing the same clothes and acting like Blaine and Kurt. She's further confused when they refer to her nationals solo until she looks down and sees the way she's dressed. Somehow, Tina has turned into Rachel Berry!
At McKinley, Tina wanders the halls encountering more body swaps: Artie insults her in the persona of Santana, who's now in Artie's wheelchair; Mercedes and Brittany have traded places; and she runs into Rachel, who's now Tina. Their brief encounter is disrupted by Will and Sue, who have flip-flopped personalities. When they indicate that Tina-as-Rachel will be rehearsing a solo for nationals, she asks for time to think about it. Then she's given a pep talk about tackling it with her usual confidence by Kurt-as-Finn. Tina-as-Rachel performs Celine Dion's Because You Loved Me, wowing her fellow students and earning her a standing ovation - her first.
Tina-as-Rachel goes out of her way to thank Rachel-as-Tina for her continued support, saying all the things she wishes Rachel would say to her. She's surprised and pleased when Rachel-as-Tina graciously accepts the compliments and even gives her advice on how to salvage her NYADA audition flop. Tina suddenly comes back to reality, pulled out of the fountain by the actual Kurt and Blaine, and she seems unusually at peace.
Sue puts the show choir through their "Flashdance" routine, complete with welding masks and sparking torches, but she's displeased by their failure to gracefully incorporate the props into the routine. Will recognizes that it's a misstep, and Kurt, while still insisting he won't do drag, says he has an idea to liven up the routine.
Santana, Brittany, and Mercedes invade the teachers' lounge to confront Coach Beiste as she eats lunch. They've noticed that she still wears her wedding ring and have seen her around town with her husband, Cooter, after he struck her and she claimed to have left him. Coach Beiste insists that they're too young to understand the complexities of adult relationships. She says sometimes people deserve second chance. Cooter, she claims, now knows that if he behaves that way again she will leave.
But even as she tells the girls this, Coach Beiste sees herself holding a knife in her hand at the kitchen sink as Cooter rages at her in the background, clutching the knife tightly until she meekly drops it into the dishwater.
The girls question Coach Beiste's choice, wondering if a man could really change that quickly. They invite her to join them on the nationals trip as a chaperone to get some time away to think. She declines, assuring them that she can take care of herself.
After sneaking into a Vocal Adrenaline rehearsal and covertly recording it, Kurt shows his footage to New Directions. They see a tightly choreographed team not missing a step in their routine, which includes the latest and most difficult piece of choreography to hit the show choir world, the Human Centipede.
The footage illustrates Sue's belief that centering the routine around Unique has given Vocal Adrenaline the edge - even Rachel's not enough of a secret weapon to counteract Unique. Sue believes that the judges are idiots who can be distracted and dazzled by props. "Unique is the ultimate prop," she insists, saying that having a drag star is the only way New Directions can win.
Tina approaches Rachel as she tries to hone her notes, realizing that Rachel never stops in her pursuit of perfection. Rachel reveals that she's yet to hear back from Carmen Tibideaux. Tina gives her the advice from her body-switching fantasy: Rachel should go see the instructor in person. Tina's researched where they can find Tibideaux and offers to drive Rachel to try to catch her. Rachel apologizes for making Tina feel less important to the group, but Tina has embraced the notion that everyone has a part to play.Given Kurt's continued refusal to do drag, Sue plots a new gimmick, having ordered "little people" for each of the students to dance with, but Will puts an end to that plan. Then Puck surprises everyone by walking into class in full - if poorly assembled - drag, asking to be called by his stage name, "Lola." Will won't have it, and he insists that instead of flashy gimmicks the students instead focus on building their choreography for "Dashboard."
In the hallway Rick the Stick gathers his hockey toadies around Puck at his locker to get a last look at him - Rick considers him a faded version of his former gloriously rebellious self after he came to school in a dress. Puck squares off against them, telling them if they want a fight they'll need more people. Rick continues to needle him, pointing out that Puck won't be graduating and that he's going to turn into what they used to mock: the older guy who tries to pick up high school girls at the convenience store, a true "Lima Loser." Puck makes a move on him but is held back by Rick's thugs. Rick offers to take Puck on at the dumpster where Puck used to hold court. It cuts to the auditorium with Carmen observing a boy singing Always True to You in My Fashion.
As they drive to track down Carmen, Rachel wonders what will happen if she's rejected again. Tina thinks that Rachel was born under "a blessed gold star" and will get what she wants. Rachel's not so sure, imagining that most adults had things go their way for a while until something changed and they ended up living lives they barely recognize and ceasing to dream. Nevertheless, Rachel decides to be confident no matter what. Tina asks if they can sing together before she graduates, and Rachel agrees.
At the dumpster Puck and Rick square off, with Rick talking trash until an insult about Puck's father prompts Puck to deck him. They continue to fight until Rick gets the advantage and finally lays Puck out with his last punch. Rick's toadies lift Puck from the ground and toss him into the dumpster. Rick declares that "the reign of Noah Puckerman is over" and leads students in a chant of "Loser!"
Puck emerges from the dumpster and shocks Rick when he pulls a switchblade on him, declaring, "I'm not a loser." Before he can swing the blade at Rick, however, Coach Beiste breaks up the fight and drags Puck into the locker room and chews him out over the knife (which turns out to be a rubber prop left over from "West Side Story"). She tells him that with his record, pulling the knife could've gotten him kicked out of school and arrested for assault.
Puck blows up, raging about how he feels like a joke, a useless failure, every day of his life. As he breaks down into tears and apologizes, the coach takes him into her arms and tells him, "You and me are badasses - no one thinks anything hurts us, but it does."
As Carmen Tibideaux concludes advising another student, Rachel approaches her and tries to appeal for a second chance. Tibideaux is irritated with her for repeatedly taking her time away from other students - she wants to know why Rachel would think she's so much more special than anyone else. Tina steps in, telling Tibideaux she knows exactly how she feels: she found Rachel to be an irritant as well, but she's accepted that Rachel is exceptional - not just for her voice but also for her drive and her focus. Rachel urges Tibideaux to come see her nationals performance in Chicago, where Tibideaux is also performing, because there's nothing Rachel is better at or loves more than singing. She pledges that whether Tibideaux comes or not, Rachel will see her again each year for a NYADA audition until she makes it in, reminding Tibideaux that the diva auditioned for Juilliard many times herself before she was admitted.
Coach Beiste returns home to find Cooter contrite and apologetic, attempting to play off his explosive temper on circumstances at work. He tells her that he feels like he's constantly disappointing her but promises not to lose his cool anymore. She quietly places Puck's switchblade on the table, noting that it's fake - but the one she's been sleeping with under her pillow is not. She tells Cooter that she's done with their marriage, leaving the shame of what happened behind with her ring. At first Cooter begs her to stay, but then he explodes, asking her who will love her now. "Me," she tells him, walking out of their home.
Puck sings Taylor Swift's Mean on the school's stage, joined in song by Coach Beiste. Then the Coach tells Puck that she's talked his geography teacher into giving him another chance to pass his final exam, based on Puck's willingness to don drag to help his teammates. Puck showed that he cared for something bigger than himself, and that's all the teachers want from any student. The coach vows to help him pass because he has helped her more than he'll know, saying, "You are loved, pumpkin, and you're not alone."
Sugar, Rory, and Joe grow disgruntled as they work on the show choir's costumes: their dues-paying as the newest members of New Directions. Sugar begins suggesting a rebellion - someone like Rachel should sew their own costumes. Tina tries to put Rachel's importance to the group in perspective and cautions them to put in the work to one day get their own solos.
Coach Beiste approaches Will and Sue with a packed bag, asking to be a chaperone on the nationals trip. At first Sue bristles at sharing her "executive maternity suite," prompting Will to offer her shared space with him and Emma in their room. Then the coach admits that she prepacked her bag because she left Cooter, and Sue embraces her.
Meanwhile, Rachel tells Finn that she's come to believe that it's the glee club as a whole - a group of students who've come together to be something better than they are individually - that may be New Directions' true unique factor. As Rachel kicks off a rendition of Flashdance... What a Feeling on the school stage, she's joined by Tina as they finally share a duet. They join their fellow glee clubbers along with Will, Sue, and Beiste on the bus and prepare to hit the road to Nationals. The episode closes to an end.
|Song Title||Original Artist||Performer(s)|
|I Won't Give Up||Jason Mraz||Rachel Berry|
|Because You Loved Me||Celine Dion||Tina Cohen-Chang|
|Mean||Taylor Swift||Noah Puckerman and Shannon Beiste|
|Flashdance... What a Feeling||Irene Cara||Rachel Berry and Tina Cohen-Chang|
- Always True to You in My Fashion from Kiss Me, Kate. Sung by an unnamed student.
- Maniac by Michael Sembello. Used during the Tina and Rachel car scene.
- Flashdance!... What a Feeling by Irene Cara. Used when New Directions are rehearsing with their props.
Special Guest Star
- Dot-Marie Jones as Shannon Beiste
- Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans and Rory Flanagan
- Eric Bruskotter as Cooter Menkins
- Samuel Larsen as Joe Hart and Mike Chang
- Damian McGinty as Rory Flanagan and Sam Evans
- Vanessa Lengies as Sugar Motta and Quinn Fabray
- Alex Newell as Unique Adams
- Rock Anthony as Rick Nelson
- Derek L. Butler as Male Student
- Ric Sarabia as Crusty Teacher
Absent Cast Member
- This is the first episode where Tina is prominently featured.
- This episode's recap is almost 50 seconds long, the longest in the series. It mainly focuses on the neglect of Tina in the past three seasons.
- This is the first episode since A Night of Neglect to feature a solo by Tina, a gap of 25 episodes.
- Every storyline from Choke is continued in this episode.
- Nationals aired immediately after this episode, making it the first time two episodes aired on the same day and also the shortest time gap between two episodes.
- Sky1 in United Kingdom and Ireland, and Channel Ten in Australia didn't air Nationals on the same day as Props.
- This is the first episode to be directed by series creator Ian Brennan.
- Props was adjusted up a tenth among adults 18-49 with 2.5 while only receiving 6.09 million viewers. Source
- It is revealed, that Tina and the newest members are in charge for making the competition costumes.
- With the exception of the headband, the outfit that Tina wears as Rachel is similar to the one Rachel wore in the bathroom scene in The Rhodes Not Taken.
- Mike Chang's full name is revealed to be Michael Robert Chang.
- This is the second time this season (out of 3) where there is a car driving scene, the first was Quinn in On My Way and the third was Rachel and Finn in Goodbye.
- In Preggers, Puck said that he could wear a dress to school and people would think that it was cool. In this episode, he does actually wear a dress to school (ironically not getting the reception he intended, though).
- In this episode, Tina (as Rachel) tells Rachel (as Tina) that it'll be her turn to shine next school year. Tina does get her time to shine, when she is prominently featured in every competition setlist.
- Mercedes and Brittany mention the 2012 film 21 Jump Street, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.
- 21 Jump Street actually makes a reference to Glee in which Tatum's character says "F*ck you, Glee."
- It should also be noted that Harry Shum Jr. had previously starred in the 2008 film Step 2 the Streets in which Tatum was featured in.
- Mike Chang had also told Santa in "A Very Glee Christmas" that he wished Channing Tatum would "stop being in stuff."
- Freaky Friday is mentioned in this episode by Tina when she is explaining why she wants to help Rachel, and the movie is again mentioned in Nationals by Lindsay Lohan herself.
- Catch Me If You Can is referenced when Sam is doing his Christopher Walken impression, as it was a quote from the movie.
- In the "Props" preview, as Tina stands up in the fountain you can see that she's wearing tan pants, but when the camera angle switches to the front she's wearing a black skirt again. In the actual episode, this error was fixed.
- During the car scene with Tina and Rachel, Lea Michele's wrist tattoo is visible.
- Puck states to Beiste that his father had been AWOL since he was 10 although in Choke, he states to Finn and the boys that he hadn't seen him in 5 years. Since Puck is roughly 17-18, his 5 years prior would have only placed him at 12–13 years of age. This can be considered a small continuity error.
- Also, after Tina fell in the fountain, when Blaine and Kurt (Puck and Finn) were talking you can see Tina's headband and when the camera angle switched there was no more headband. This happened several times.
- When Will and Sue are discussing the Nationals set list, Tina's and Quinn's name are both in the Troubletones performance of Edge of Glory, yet they weren't placed into that performance until Nationals. Sugar and Brittany are listed as soloists even though they though don't sing one.
- The word 'performed' is misspelled as 'perfromed' at the bottom of the set list.
- When Cooter pushes everything off the table, the knife flies off the table and there is a napkin is the center of the table. In the next shot the knife is back to its original place and the napkin is on the edge of the table.
- During the "Jersey Shore"-spoof, Blaine has his arms crossed during the close-up view of him and Kurt. Then, after the angle changes, Blaine has his arms widened out only a millisecond later.
- During the body switching scenes, most of the characters' have continuity in their respective clothing choices. However, Rachel (as Tina) is not depicted sporting Tina's "sixties swinging London" style, but rather her goth-punk style from Season One and Two.
Finn: You really are our unique factor.
Rachel: I don't know, I think we all are. I mean, in a sea full of kids who are just desperately clinging to their own kind, we're different. We took the time to get to know each other and reach out and accept one another. That's our unique factor. And that's what I love about us.
William, I can taste your Axe body spray.
You are loved, punkin. You are not alone.