Last night’s “Special Education” episode of Glee was full of songs, heartbreak, and selfishness. The selfishness usually resulting in heartbreak. New Directions headed out to Sectionals fighting, upset, angry, feeling overlooked, scared, nervous, and worst of all, not as a team. McKinley’s glee club faced a lot of uphill battles this episode between Finn, Rachel, and Santana, the Warblers and New Directions, and the loss of Kurt. At least we got to hear some good songs along the way.

The episode starts off with Emma and Will enjoying a break together. Will presents her with tickets to sectionals (scalpers are getting like $5 a ticket!), and Emma then teases Will about his set list. So predictable– Finn and Rachel will sing a ballad, the group will sing classic rock, and Mercedes will sing the last note. Will deadpans, “Have you been going through my desk?” Hilarious. No Will, anyone who has seen your club perform knows what the performance will look like. However, taking Emma’s critique to heart, Will decides to let the other members of glee shine.

This, of course, does not go over well with Rachel or Finn. First Will announces that they will feature Brittany and Mike’s moves because the other two choirs are stool choirs. Good move, Mr. Schue! Will then announces that Rachel is not getting a solo, that Quinn and Sam will sing the ballad this competition. Rachel freaks out and so does Finn, prompting him to utter one of the most horrible things I have ever heard him say. “I’m all for pumping everybody up and making them feel special, but that’s for practice. You don’t take the star quarterback out before the big game.” UGH. Big head much, Finn? All of this tension peaks when Santana tells Rachel that her and Finn slept together last year. Oh no she didn’t! Of course she did; she’s Santana. She’s the head bitch. Anyway, Mr. Schue finally butts in and tells them all to shut up. Way to let it get out of hand, teach!

Blaine from the Warblers. Photo from Fox.

We then go to Dalton, where Kurt isn’t really fitting in with the Warblers. He’s happy in the school, where he gets high-fives in the hallway. But just like in New Directions, no one is really listening to Kurt when it comes to show biz! Also, he gets a bird to take care of because of tradition or something like that. Snoooze. So, we’re back to McKinley with Rachel and Finn in Emma’s office for couple’s counseling. Emma tells them to sing about it… that doesn’t go over well. Finn said he didn’t want to hurt Rachel and then says Santana is super hot. Rachel, understandably, storms out. Oh Finn.

Artie then runs into Brittany who is paralyzed with fear. She can’t handle the pressure, even though she’s more talented than everyone in the glee club (Britney Spears taught her that). Artie tells her about his magic comb — you brush your hair with it and you can’t lose. Oh Brittany… so gullible. He gives her the comb and she proclaims that he’s the best boyfriend ever. Sure Brittany, your boyfriend making up magic combs, that’s love.

Next, Mr. Schue is asking Puck to be glee’s ambassador or am”badass”ador. Puck agrees to use his method and madness to help glee gain a new member. Yay Puck! But it doesn’t go as well as Puck plans. He does try with the football team, which we could have told him would go terribly. He could have scared a random kid in the hallway into New Directions with just one look. But the football team goes all crazy and beats up Puck to make an example of him. We go back to Dalton, where Blaine (I still cannot believe this kid’s name is Blaine!), offers Kurt the chance to audition for a solo.

Everyone in glee is wondering where Puck is, well Santana is wondering because she needs him to get her a churro. Then Rachel walks in with tape over her mouth because Mr. Schue silenced her talent and she’s upset! Mr. Schue finally yells at her and tells her she’s a bad sport. In fact, he tells the whole club they need to shape up. He says there’s too much “me” talk and being bad sports. Puck and Lauren Zises walk in and Puck explains that the football team locked him in the port-a-potty for an entire day and she saved him. She joined the club under two conditions 1) a carton of Cadbury eggs (yum) and 2) 7 minutes in heaven with Puck (yummier!).  He delivers on both accounts because she’s now Kurt’s replacement.

Finn (who has to be the dumbest boyfriend ever) smiles at Santana in the hallway and Rachel sees. Puck sees how upset Rachel is and asks if she needs help. Because he was stuck in the port-a-potty, he turned to God and promised to be nicer to Jews. Rachel explains about Finn and Puck agrees to help because he’s an expert at boyfriend problems (you know, because he’s a terrible boyfriend). Tina is convinced that Mike and Brittany are having an affair because they are spending so much time together. Artie doesn’t really believe her (or the outfit she’s wearing; she looks like a cheerleader zombie corpse). Brittany has been ignoring Arite, but it’s ok because it’s Shark Week. Tina reminds Artie that Brittany is a cheerleader and Mike’s a football player; Tina and Artie would never stand a chance. After that comment, Artie seems worried, especially when Brittany practically runs from him in the hallway.

Kurt then enlists Rachel’s help for his solo audition. Rachel and Kurt then sing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” Both versions are beautiful, but I was a little underwhelmed by both of them. Both were just… meh. I think Kurt could have picked a better song to sing to a group of guys, but Kurt never likes to be usual. Also, I think Rachel steered him in the wrong direction with this song. The best part, though? When Blaine tells Kurt to put his arms down. Cute! Anyway, Kurt doesn’t get the solo. Blaine tells him not to try so hard and that being in the Warblers is about being part of a team… or blending in, really. I can already tell that Kurt is going to have problems with his new school.

The club is getting on the bus, and they have never looked sadder. Well, not sad, just sulky. Emma comes up and delivers a blow to Will. She can’t come to sectionals because Karl doesn’t want her around Will. Also, they said “I love you” to one another. That’s nice, Emma, but can’t you see you’re hurting Will by telling him every detail of your love life? How about a little respect for Will? Geez. Will, obviously heartbroken, tells Emma that they will all miss her.

New Directions at Sectionals. Photo from Fox.

Now, onto the performances! First, we have the Hipsters singing “The Living Years.” I don’t really understand this performance. It’s a great song and all, and they sing it well. Are we supposed to believe that clearly 50 year old woman needs that walker? She’s not even trying to pretend to use it? I wish they would have gotten “Young at Heart,” the real choir of eldery people. I guess they just wanted to show the competition?

Anyway… onto the Warblers! They sing “Hey, Soul Sister,” which is a song I absolutely HATE. I mean it’s just a bad, bad song. It’s catchy, yes, but still baaaaaaaaaad. However, this version is quite lovely. But I think I just love anything acapella, especially all-male acapella. The harmonies were lovely, but I feel like the Warblers are a one-trick pony. The best part of this performance? Rachel telling Kurt to smile! So cute! Also, the New Directions start the standing ovation for the Warblers. Way to be good sports!

So, back to the green room and New Directions audience calm is no longer apparent. Quinn is freaking out, Mercedes is mad about not having a solo, Artie is accusing Brittany of adultery, Tina gets mad at Mike, and Rachel is upset at Finn and then the whole glee club for not telling her about Finn and Santana. Finn gets up and yells at Rachel telling her it shouldn’t matter because she was dating Jesse. (That’s not the point, Finn. It’s because you 1) you lied about it, 2) Santana is awful, and 3) She is really pretty and Rachel is VERY VERY insecure.) Rachel, Artie, and Tina try and quit and then Mr. Schue busts in and yells at them. He tries to inspire them… for six minutes. Their problems will be waiting, but the show must go on!

Artie confronts poor, confused Brittany about cheating on him. She thought he meant being a dolt when he said adultery! She lost his magic comb at motorcross practice (what?!), and she thought he would be mad. Artie explains that he found the comb on the floor (EW), and explains that Brittany doesn’t need a magic comb. She’s magic! Careful, Artie. Brittany might believe she’s actually magic. Adorably, she dedicates her performance to Artie.

AND THEIR PERFORMANCES! Yay! Quinn and Sam duet on “I’ve Had the Time of my Life.” It’s impossible not to love this song and dance along. The two do a great job leading New Directions into a rocking performance. But can Mr. Schue figure out a different way for the singers to enter? Coming in from the back of the auditorium is becoming stale. Anyway, they kill the song and the dancing. And here comes the best part! They sing “Valerie,” or more accurately, Santana belts out this number. She just owns this song. I think I might like this version better than the Amy Winehouse version. AND THE DANCING! OH THE DANCING! Brittany and Mike just seriously… I don’t think I have words to describe how awesome their dancing was. A pluses all around!

Santana at Sectionals. Photo from Fox.

So, the Hipsters get third and the Warblers and New Directions tie for first. Boo! Boo! New Directions had that locked up and the writers/producers/directors whimp out with a tie. Booo! Anyway, back at school, Will shows Emma the new trophy and Emma shows Will her trophy. She and Karl got married over the weekend in Vegas. Emma cannot say no, apparently. I understand being in love with a hunky dentist is great, but an elopement? Oh jeez. Poor Karl and Emma; here comes divorce court. And why does Emma continue to just do things to hurt Will? Is like some sort of sick payback for the way he hurt her? Ughhh! You can already see the regret all over her face.

Rachel is apologizing to Finn about being so dramatic about sectionals and his sleeping with Santana. She decides to be completely honest with him and tells him that she made out with Puck while they were fighting. Finn says he never thought Rachel was mean. Really Finn, realllllly? Rachel is mean, insecure, and annoying. They break up and it’s sad. Don’t worry, I am sure they will get back together. Or maybe Finn will actually start dating Santana? Drama, drama, drama!

Tina and Mike make up, just in time to celebrate their family reunion. Rachel turns down the solo (which should cue off Mr. Schue that something is wrong) to Mercedes and Tina. And the club sings “Dog Days are Over” originally by Florence and the Machines. I love, love, love this song and was glad to see Glee cover a lesser-known song. Also, it was nice to see New Directions just celebrate and have fun after such a drama-filled week, even newcomer Zises. Also, I will give props to Tina, she sounds awesome on this song!

The episode was good, not overly great. The songs were awesome, as was the dancing. However, New Directions was robbed of a true first place trophy. Gotta keep Kurt in regionals, though! Next week is a holiday episode and I think we’re all in for a treat. Apparently, Brittany still believes in Santa!

Culture Special Education Recap: Don’t Cry for Glee