Glee S5 Ep17 – “Opening Night”

NONONO’s “Pumping Blood is just the ticket, and this is clearly better than any ol’ opening night bash. The gang dances with abandon as Rachel sings, gloriously adored and celebrated by the exuberant crowd. Rachel Berry, you are the toast of New York – who cares what the Times says!

At dawn, the kids trip back into the Bushwick Loft of Wait, Who the Hell is That? But first, Blaine stops Tina from contemplating dating the gay DJ whose number she got, and who wants coffee? Everyone including Mario, who emerges from Kurt’s sleeping area wearing his robe – quickly followed by Sue. There’s some making out, revelations of the sexual shenanigans on every flat surface and everyone looks confused and horrified and slightly nauseated. Sue starts in on her usual insult spiel and Santana steps in to do battle but no wait – Rachel’s got that.

And so begins the epic smack down, five seasons in the making. Rachel calls Sue out on her meddling and mean ways, and that it wasn’t to make them stronger, to make them fight – it was because Sue only finds pleasure in people’s misery. Which means that Sue will never feel the love and support of friends as Rachel did tonight.

She kicks Sue out of the apartment to the slow and respectful applause of the Bushwick Gang.

Side bar: Bless you, Rachel, because someone had to say it. For all the “Sue is doing what she thinks is best for the kids,” it usually felt a lot like bitter sabotage.

Fortified with badassery, Rachel and friends rush to the corner news stand to get the New York Times hot off the sidewalk. Paper in hand, Rachel is afraid to open it, Kurt refuses, and everyone else is just twitching with anticipation. Santana takes the paper and as Rachel paces, she begins to read…

As each line of praise gets the gang excited, someone else grabs the paper to share in the moment. They take turns reading until the review is finished and the truth is out there. Rachel Berry as Fanny Brice is a megahit! As they celebrate joyfully on the corner, Rachel’s phone rings. It’s Will!

She puts him on speaker and he shares HIS big news – little Daniel Finn has been born! He wants to know how Rachel’s night was, but she asks how he feels.

Will: “For the first time in my life, I feel completely happy. How about you?”

Rachel: “Same. I feel the exact same.”

They shout their love into the phone for Mr. Shue as Rachel stands, smiling, the perfect picture of happiness.

Mario and Sue walk hand in hand down the street; he wants her to stay in New York but she needs to get back to Lima – her job, her daughter. And while she loves NY (thanks to him), she’s a Lima gal at heart. She thanks him for making her feel like a girl and tells her she’s lovable. The cab takes off and Sue looks wistful as they pull away.

On the next Sue’s Corner, she says NYC is still a cesspool, but it’s also a place full of possibility. Like love or sex with a relative stranger.

The end?

Despite the unnecessary Sue subplot, this is a very solid episode with Rachel Berry as our centerpiece. Everything revolves out from her, and Lea Michele handles the job with aplomb. She’s always given Rachel a rich interior life, so we’ve lived her struggle to stardom since day one – you may not always like Rachel but you cannot deny she’s done the work and lived the dream with her whole heart. But along the way she’s suffered and stumbled, and coming out the other side, we see that Rachel knows that. We feel Finn’s absence. We see her true understanding of friendship and her gratitude towards Kurt, Mercedes, Blaine, Tina, Sam, and even Santana as they rallied around her. She genuinely appreciates their love and in the end, she celebrates her success surrounded by their excitement.

You’ve come a long way, Rachel Berry – from the girl with no friends and a dream, to the woman who fulfills that dream with those she loves (and who love her) by her side.

And a very special shout out to the episode writer, Michael Hitchcock, for integrating Finn into the story. From the sweet moment between Rachel and Will, to the baby’s name, Finn felt present and we can imagine him in that seat Rachel saved for him, just like she promised.

Bravo.

Rachel and the gang!

Rachel and the gang!

 

Tere’s Episode Round-up:

What made me sniffle: Rachel on stage during “Who Are You Now?”

What made me side-eye: Sue’s subplot. It’s always great to see Jane Lynch and bravo for giving her material but it felt like a clunky addition to the Rachel story.

What I’m listening to on repeat: “Lovefool” cannot be beat!

What I’m looking forward to next week: Is that…Shirley MacLaine?!

 

Watch “Opening Night” on Amazon Instant Video.

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