Glee Recap of Season 3, Episode 18: “Choke” — Rachel Botches Her NYADA Audition!
Grab the Kleenex! Tonight’s powerful Glee episode was definitely a tear-jerker at times, as it dealt with rejection, failure, and domestic violence. And after watching it, the biggest question on our minds is now: What the heck will Rachel do after graduation? (The second-biggest question on our minds is, of course: What’s the difference between a shrub and a bush? The world may never know!)
The episode, “Choke,” began with Rachel preparing herself for her NYADA audition by telling herself she was born to be a star. Then again, being surprised that a Glee episode involves Rachel thinking highly of herself is like being surprised that a Jason Statham movie involves people getting punched in the face. (If you ask us, the bigger surprise is that Jason Statham gets any movies at all. Seriously — who is seeing these things? You only have yourself to blame.)
Of course, the big surprise involving Rachel came soon enough, as she started to perform “Don’t Rain on My Parade” during her audition in front of notoriously hard-to-please NYADA judge Carmen Tibideaux (played with stoic unflappability by guest-star Whoopi Goldberg). Despite seeming confident, Rachel proceeded to flub the lyrics not once but twice (!), after which Carmen gave her the hook. The message here? If at first you don’t, succeed — try, try again. If you don’t succeed the second time, you get the royal screw job.
Luckily, at least one of the auditions went swimmingly, as Kurt took a spur-of-the-moment risk but impressed Carmen (and us!) with his sensational, Hugh Jackman-worthy version of “Not the Boy Next Door,” complete with on-the-piano dance moves. It was also great to earlier see Kurt dressed as the Phantom, since the Phantom is probably the only person who has a more eclectic fashion sense than Kurt does.
And then there were other upbeat moments, like... nope, sorry — that was the only one. Sure, it was fun to see the boys come together to help Puck pass “European geography” (uh, that’s a real class?) with a rocking version of “The Rain in Spain,” which is the only time the word “rocking” has been used in a sentence about My Fair Lady. (That is, unless the sentence was, “The people in the audience of that matinee performance of My Fair Lady typically spend most of their time sitting in rocking chairs and knitting.”)
But it was hard to enjoy that rocking scene too much, since it followed a tough scene in which Puck finally sees his beer-loving dad after five years, only to have him ask for money. And then, there was the scene at the end, in which Puck devastatingly receives that “F” on the test. Looks like it's the first time in this show’s history when singing a song didn’t solve the problem at hand.
Especially tough to watch were the scenes with Beiste and her abusive husband Cooter. To begin with, we were a bit shocked to see that Santana and her friends would be so callous as to crack jokes about domestic abuse, even if they didn’t yet know that Beiste was indeed being abused. But it was even more stunning to see Sue support her frenemy Beiste, even offering her a place to stay. We just hope that Beiste realizes that she’s capable of finding a great guy and finally has the courage to leave Cooter.
So how did we feel about the episode? Well, it certainly wasn’t an easy one to watch. Initially, we were a little afraid that Glee devoting an episode to addressing domestic violence meant that it would be unleashing its inner "Lifetime movie," but Glee surprised us with how effective the episode actually was. The show managed to approach the problem in a very real and powerful way, and this is clearly an issue worth addressing.
And another issue worth addressing, of course, is alien abduction, which Britney hopes to shine a light on with her possible prom theme. The truth is out there, Brittany!
It’s hard to choose a “Favorite Scene” this week, since it was one downer after the next, but we’ll still give that title to Kurt calling a last-minute audible on his audition selection and then knocking our socks off. (It’s always good to have your swans on standby.) And we also loved that Rachel-Kurt hug, not to mention Puck’s post-exam hug with his boys. So many people to hug, so little time!
And sure, Roz cracking us up is no surprise (love those nicknames, including "Hat Rack" for Brittany!), but it was nice to see Roz show some heart for once, too. Let's face it — NeNe Leakes can apparently do no wrong! Come to think of it, "Original Recipe Sue" had a pretty awesome blend of sass and heart this week, too.
So what happens next for Beiste, Puck, and Rachel? This episode really created more questions than it answered, which is so not cool. Kurt and Rachel briefly discussed the possibility of Rachel moving to New York, but it remains to be seen whether Rachel takes a year in Lima to regroup. (This is why God invented safety schools, people!)
One minor quibble: How on earth do you land a guest like Whoopi — a.k.a. the star of Sister Act — and not let her belt out a song or two? It’s an egregious error in judgment, if you ask us! (You know what’s also an egregious error in judgment? Deciding to watch Sister Act 2: Back in Habit. Don’t make the same mistake we did — just say no to watching cash-grab sequels!)
So Season 3 just continues to surprise us, and we seriously cannot wait for next week's prom episode! And if you tell us that you're not excited for it, then we just might slap you with a sturdy wet fish. (Or not.) In the meantime, we could use some relaxation time, so bring on the candles! (Wouldn't you agree, Kurt?)