Glee S5 E11 – “City of Angels”

Hey, the New Kids get some D plot! Ryder chats up a sad-faced Marley; seems her songs were rejected by several contests and she’s feeling like maybe that isn’t a viable path for her. Even though they’re not going to happen romantically, Ryder still cares about Marley. So when she tells him she’s going to quit Glee Club when they get home, he makes a face. And when she swears him to secrecy, he makes another one. (I’m guessing it’s the opposite of “yes I will keep your secret.”)

The night before Nationals, New Directions sneak onto the stage – a tradition Blaine is bring from his time with the Warblers. There are other night before a competition traditions but he can’t really speak about them. Ahem.

Sam rallies the group around for a pep talk. At the beginning of the year, Finn promised them they’d make it to Nationals, together. Even after the debacle of Sectionals, he held them together as group. And he’s here with them, right now. In spirit and via plaque – because Sam has brought it along from the choir room back in Lima. Before they can hug it out, their moment is interrupted by the arrival of Jean Baptiste and his snotty Throat Exploders.

After “Dolph” makes a sarcastic comment about Finn’s picture, Jean tells him to show some respect. Everyone knows they are “that” show choir and how difficult a year it’s been. So tonight – they have their condolences. But tomorrow? No mercy.

In their hotel room, Burt helps Sam practice his bow tie while Carol mends a costume. Tina narrates her angst over this being her last competition and how many special memories she has of Glee.

Tina: I can’t believe how empty my life is going to be from now on.

Carol: At least you get to have one.

And oh – ouch. Carol is immediately apologetic for her comment – as is Tina – and Burt quickly hustles the kids out of the room.

She thought being here amongst Finn’s friends would be comforting but their laughter, their life rips her insides out to see. Tina’s words are a terrible reminder that when this crop of kids graduates, it’ll be like Finn’s entirely gone as well. It will be over. She can pretend things are okay but around these kids? It’s just not possible.

Burt offers to take her to Laguna Beach or something – Will can handle things here. They’re not going to the competition.

In excellent room sharing, a shirtless Jake chats with Ryder about their friendship (fractured) and Marley (sad). Despite the various breakups that has inflicted this trio, they do agree that helping Marley get her songwriting mojo back is a priority. And while they don’t know anyone famous, they do know someone almost famous!

Mercedes!

On the bus to Nationals, Sam discovers that Finn’s picture is missing from their luggage! Throat Explosion walks by and Sam rushes out to confront them about the theft. Condolences are clearly over as Jean tells them they’re untalented and destined to lose, and no picture on a hunk of wood is going to help them. Sam shoves Jean, the clubs pull their leaders back and our baddies in black saunter away.

Not the way you want to start competition day!

Sam gets a pep talk from Blaine, and then addresses the rest of the team. He fully believes Finn is with them right now, holding their hands, and telling them “the show must go on all over the place.”  He gets them all hepped up and woo! They’re on their way.

At the theatre, we meet our judges (Marlee Matlin, Jackee and the Prancercize lady!) and the first performance!

The Amazonians give us a fun version of “Vacation” by the Go-Gos, dressed as Las Vegas showgirls and throwing beach balls. Makes perfect sense!

While they perform, we see Carol and Burt packing up to leave the hotel. Sadness!

Blaine isn’t too worried – but then Throat Explosion takes the stage and the faces of the New Directioners drop to the floor.

A mash-up of “Mr. Roboto” by Styx and “Counting Stars” by One Republic shouldn’t work but Skylar Astin and company kill it with precise dance moves, a quick costume change (futuristic jumpsuits tear away to snappy tuxes and party dresses) and great vocals. It’s like Vocal Adrenaline and the Blaine-led Warblers had a baby and raised it in a lab to be the perfect show choir. Clearly, the number is one of the strongest competition performances in five years – and it suddenly makes this Nationals in jeopardy!

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