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GLEE: “The Rise and Fall of Sue Sylvester” Review

I can’t tell whether I’m glad that Glee is acknowledging its issues, or irritated that it’s creating convenient plot devices to get around them. In this week’s episode, Glee solves the ever-present problem of not enough New Directions to go to Sectionals by burning down Dalton Academy, and just like that, you’ve got eight former Warblers to make the group sixteen people strong and eligible at last.

My main question is: If they were going to do that, why add two new characters last week that we’re supposed to care about, when they are already behind the mark in giving a damn about the other new people? Someone didn’t think this through.


As I mentioned, it’s incredibly convenient, and Sue (Jane Lynch) even makes a statement to that effect. But Sue is on a hell of a rampage. She vows to shut down the Glee Club (again), and threatens to go to the superintendent. But Becky Jackson (Lauren Potter) has inexplicably turned on Sue, and betrays her “hurt locker” to the superintendent, which includes a Penthouse layout that Sue did.


Sue is fired as principal, and ends up being investigated by Geraldo Rivera, with all of her lies exposed on national TV. He even gets a word from her mother (Carol Burnett), about how much of an awful person Sue is. But it’s ok: they reconcile with a song later. However, Sue is as mad as ever at Will (Matthew Morrison) and gets a job as the new coach of Vocal Adrenaline. Naturally, she and Will sing a fantasy rock duet of “Final Countdown” together to cement their enmity.

final countdown

And speaking of enmity, the former Warblers and the New Directions are not getting along. The Warblers want to keep their uniforms, and look down on the New Directions for not being polished enough. The New Directions, especially Jane (Samantha Marie Ware), resent the Warblers resistance to joining the team. But Rachel (Lea Michele), Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) solve the problem by creating a new signature look that has elements of the Warblers old uniforms but the bright red color of the New Directions classic t-shirts. And now they’re all friends! Even though it’s almost impossible to tell the Warblers apart from one another.


Rachel is going through her own schizophrenic crisis, as she goes to NYC to try to get her old place at NYADA back. And then she gets offered the Broadway role she auditioned for weeks ago and apparently forgot about it. So forget school! She’s going back to Broadway! And then NYADA calls and agrees to let her back in. But she’s made up her mind and she’s going back to Broadway, despite Sam’s (Chord Overstreet) objections that she’s making the same mistakes all over again.

What is Rachel going to do? Honestly, who cares at this point? Glee doesn’t know what it wants from this final season. Is it bringing back the New Directions and retaining arts education at McKinley? Or is it about Rachel achieving her goals after all? They’ve reinstated the plot point that if the New Directions don’t win at Sectionals, all arts programs are getting cut from the budget, despite the fact that Rachel is paying for the Glee Club out of pocket. I’m more than a little annoyed at that. Sue was the proponent of that idea the last time around, last season, and she got her way. Now it’s coming from the superintendent, who’s always been a supporter of the Glee Club and whose nephew is in the group, so….I’m going to stop trying to understand Glee logic, because it’s giving me a headache.

This week’s old member guest star? Joe (Samuel Larsen), who shows up in Giraldo’s interview with the Glee Club about Sue simply to state that she cut off his dreads. Ummmm, thanks?

Only two more weeks of Glee left…the Final Countdown, indeed. Are you excited?

The Author

Mike Bowers

Mike Bowers

Mike is a TV-obsessed actor and writer living in Los Angeles, California.

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