Glee Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: Mercedes Quits New Directions!
So what was our favorite moment of tonight’s diva-tastic, parent-filled Glee episode? Was it Brittany’s mind-blowing Beyonce performance (she’s got our vote), or Kurt surprising Blaine with roses (swoon alert!), or perhaps Mercedes channeling Effie White from Dreamgirls (gotta love those ‘dos)? We adored all those, but for our money, nothing topped the less dramatic but uber touching moment when Mike Chang ballroom-danced with his mom. Even sourpuss DWTS judge Len Goodman would have given those two a standing O!
This week’s episode, “Asian F,” was mostly about Mercedes stepping out of Rachel's shadow and into her own spotlight (another amazing cover, by the way). This was much like how last week’s showed a new side to Quinn (who was basically M.I.A. this week, along with Sue, which is not okay). Mercedes blows away the judges with her Maria audition, leading to a "Maria-off" between her and Rachel. Mercedes killing it? So not a surprise. Even Rachel admitted her performance was better – although not to the right people.
Meanwhile, Mike’s dad demands that he drop glee after earning a dreaded A-minus (aka an "Asian F") in chemistry. Frankly, Mike has been a bit player for so long on this show that it was great to see him get more of the focus – even if that scene with him dancing out his anger was just a tad too Footloose for our tastes. But then his heart-to-heart and subsequent dance with his mom — who herself had given up on her fancy-footwork dreams — sent us running to the nearest Walgreens to stock up on Kleenex (during a commercial break, of course).
Proving that political campaigns can actually be fun (who knew?), Brittany won over the female population at McKinley (and us!) with her anthemic “Run the World (Girls),” which also seriously must have put Beyonce way in the lead for “Most Glee Covers Ever” – although Katy Perry could easily be up there, too. (Somewhere, we’re guessing Journey frontman Steve Perry is currently inconsolable about that fact.)
For their tie-breaker audition, Rachel and Mercedes trade off on Fame’s “Out Here On My Own” and both were so killer that we kinda hoped there was some way that both gals could play the part (wait for it...).
But Rachel realizes that Mercedes managed to outshine her, so she throws her hat in the class-president ring, which means that now more people are running for senior-class president than ran to replace the governor of California back in ’03. (In fact, we were a little shocked that Arnold Schwarzenegger himself didn’t decide to enroll in McKinley and test the waters.)
As it turns out (thank you for your patience), the judges decide to double-cast the part of Maria, and Mercedes ain’t having it, so she quits the musical and joins Shelby’s glee club (which was pretty much DOA when it counted shreeking Sugar Motta as its first member). As for the other roles, Blaine is cast as Tony (duh!), and Mike’s (magically?) improved vocals earned him the part of Riff. (Seeing as Mike's dad pretty much hates everything, that should be should be interesting dinnertime conversation.)
We have a couple of things to say about Mercedes leaving New Directions. First off, we could see Mercedes’ defection coming a mile away, in part because this storyline is ridiculously similar to the one involving Sue and shamed glee club coach Sandy’s rival glee club back in Season 1, when they enticed Rachel to leave ND. Plus, Rachel deciding to stay in the senior-class president race, even when Finn urges her to pull a Chris Christie, make her seem more unlikable than ever — and that’s no easy feat.
And one more thing: Santana’s sudden return this week to New Directions makes it feel like it’s not that big a deal to leave New Directions whenever you want, becoming something akin to getting your hand stamped before you exit Disneyland (“Oh, you want to ride Space Mountain one last time? Sure, why not! Have a churro while you’re at it!”). She'll be back. Because those churros? They're damn good.
And then finally, we get to the last, most random plotline of the night. That’s right — we meet Emma’s parents, who are “ginger supremacists”... which, as Schue points out, is something very close to being racist. Awkward! On the plus side, we got to see Happy Days’ Ralph Malph as Mr. Pillsbury! (Which reminds us: Who wants to join our petition to have Puck’s dad played by the Fonz?)
So tonight showcased a lot of new sides to some key supporting characters, which we’re all for. But you know what we’re not all for? Having to wait until November 1 for another new episode. (Damn you, sports!) Based off of the recent Brittana developments, however, we're sure it'll be worth the wait.