Glee S5 Ep18 – “The Back-up Plan”

Rachel auditions for a television show on Fox! That's So Meta!

Rachel auditions for a television show on FOX! That’s So Meta!

As we steam towards the end of Glee’s season 5, the New York kids are faced with even more decisions about their future – and how it might affect the present. “The Back-Up Plan” is about choices between good things; this isn’t the Lady and the Tiger. All the possibilities seem…pretty great. But what’s the price to be paid for opportunity?

Three weeks after opening night, Rachel is a Broadway hit! Rave reviews, fans at the stage door, whispers of a Tony – hey, that homeless guy is sleeping on a bench next to her poster! Rachel graciously signs the napping man’s newspaper/blanket. It’s all coming up roses for Ms. Berry! She’s even signed with a huge talent agency, ICA.

At the ICA office, Rachel drops by to chat with her new agent, Mr. Rifkin (Richard Kind). He’s very excited to work with her and they have a team (although he tells her not to trust them, only him) and what are her goals? She talks about television and movies – but Mr. Rifkin’s response throws cold water on the entire conversation.

Has she ever heard the phrase, “A face for radio?” Ouch!

Side bar: This entire moment seems to harken back to things Lea Michele has said about her own post-Broadway career, including not getting callbacks for television and movies. Hey Mr. Rifkin, people actually do want to see that nose on their screens!

Mr. Rifkin tells her she could be playing Fanny Brice for fifteen years, which suddenly sounds like a prison sentence.

Kurt happily leaves NYADA (hey, they have a front door!) and finds his intended waiting to walk with him. He’s buzzing with excitement – and it’s not even about the vending machine gummi worms – because June Dalloway, socialite patron to the arts and big time gossip magnet, is coming to their school for the unveiling of the dance studio named in her honor. Blaine doesn’t seem to give a hoot until he finds his fiance has been selected to perform. Yay Kurt! Even more yay? Kurt is taking that “running the race together” thing seriously – he’s arranged for Blaine to sing with him. Awww! Happy hugging!

Kurt: “If something exciting happens for one of us, it happens for both of us!”

Why do I get flashes of these two enthusiastically running a community theatre somewhere down the road?

Back at the Brownstone of Wait, Santana Lives There? – Santana is surprised with Mercedes comes home early. Apparently her producer listened to the final album and decided there weren’t any singles on it, which would be exactly the opposite of what anyone wanted to hear. Mercedes worries that without a single she’ll get no backing from the record company and her album will tank. Santana thinks she’d like to have Mercedes’ problems at this point… This gives Mercedes an idea – maybe Santana could come down and help her with this “lack of a single thing!”

Side bar: I can’t keep track of Santana’s love life (where’s Britt?) or her career aspirations. Remember when she wanted to be a dancer?

Rachel gets ready for her performance. In a truly wonderful combination of song and visuals, we see her surroundings changing slightly as she sings – time passes but it’s the same day over and over, culminating in a line of Rachel’s walking to the stage. Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” is slowed down and fills the scene beautifully. Great use of the song, wonderful adaptation for Lea Michele’s voice.

In her dressing room, Rachel is surprised by a visitor who cannot stop complimenting her. It’s Lee Paulblatt (Jim Rash) and he’s a huge fan – who also happens to be from FOX (“the television network?”). He has a pilot he thinks she’d be perfect for, called “Song of Solomon,” and would she be interested? Oh yes she would! One small problem: the audition is next Tuesday in LA.

Um, Rachel kind of has to work that day?

Paulblatt won’t take no for an answer – she has an understudy right? He leaves before she can say no.

So Rachel sits down with Sidney, her producer, at the diner. They’re a hit! Sidney is very happy with her work but when Rachel tries to hint that she’s not feeling well and maybe could take a day off? Sidney won’t hear of it. She is the show and the show must go on.

Warwick from CSI has gotten a new job as Mercedes' producer!

Warwick from CSI has gotten a new job as Mercedes’ producer!

In the recording studio, Mercedes and Santana try to get some harmonies going as the producer, D’Shawn (Gary Dourdon), tells her they’re wasting time. Maybe, Santana suggests, she needs to get out of the booth and get inspired. They walk out in the hall and through the studio singing Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in a fabulous duet. Naya Rivera and Amber Riley sound terrific, and hey, D’Shawn the engineer thinks so too. They’re going to record her last song in the basement and get that funky sound her album needs!

Rachel goes to Kurt, possibly asking for his support/blessing about her plan. He disagrees though – why is she gung-ho on television when she’s living her dream on Broadway? Rachel points out the many stars who were plucked from the stage and transitioned to screen – why can’t she be one of them? Wouldn’t he do the same in her shoes?

He gives his begrudging blessing but tells her not to lie to Sidney – she’s just courting trouble.

Blaine and Kurt and One Direction. Can you hear the screaming fans?

Blaine and Kurt and One Direction. Can you hear the screaming fans?

At NYADA, June Dalloway (Shirley MacLaine!) is introduced to the crowd. After a spot-lit entrance, she sits front and center for the performance. It’s Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson! They perform “Story of My Life” by One Direction – which is an interesting choice considering that Mrs. Dalloway probably doesn’t know who they are, but never mind, they sound terrific. Blaine Warbler makes an appearance – he plays the room and specifically June with ease and aplomb as Kurt tries to do some charming of his own.

Does anyone remember “Animal” from season 2? Yeah. Like that.

Side bar: They sound perfect, as always. It’s like clockwork, right?

After the song, June approaches the boys and informs them she has an eye for talent – talent she likes to hone and polish like a diamond. She has a good feeling and she asks if he would like to accompany her to a $25,000-a-plate fundraiser. Kurt says yes with great enthusiasm, but after way too long of a beat, June says she meant Blaine.

Anyone hear that pin drop?

Side bar: Come on June! You’re rich! Spring for two plates!

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