Glee Recap For Season 5, Episode 18: “The Back-Up Plan” — Rachel Gets Kissed!
Rachel’s career conundrum! Last night’s all-new episode of Glee saw our resident Funny Girl flying cross-country to audition for a TV pilot, only to land herself in hot water by missing a curtain call. Meanwhile, there could be trouble brewing between Blaine and Kurt, with only one of this pair getting noticed by a New York City socialite. It's time for our recap of Season 5, Episode 18: "The Back-Up Plan," so pause your sci-fi space opera and pay attention!
Rachel’s TV adventures
The episode began with Rachel feeling the effects of her overnight success, rave reviews on Broadway, representation by a talent agency, and signing a homeless man’s newspaper. But when she meets with her agent, Rachel is faced with a crossroads: star on Broadway for the rest of her life or have the freedom to explore TV and movies. She starts to freak out.
The day-to-day of performing as Fanny Brice seem to start to take a toll, as Rachel addresses the monotony of the job by singing a slowed-down version of “Wake Me Up.” The world is flying by her and all seems lost until FOX exec Lee Paulblatt (played by Community’s Jim Rash) walks in with an opportunity she can’t pass up: a TV pilot called Song of Solomon.
After Sidney, Funny Girl’s producer, tells her she cannot take a night off and Kurt urges her to be content with her life and the trajectory it’s headed, Rachel calls in sick so she can fly to L.A. for the audition.
Rachel shows up and immediately begins singing a flawless version of Bette Midler’s “The Rose” in front of the TV execs, who are definitely not paying attention. Turns out the part is for a sci-fi space opera, and Rachel’s unpreparedness shows during her reading. One standout moment, however, is when the male lead gives her a super-awkward kiss — her first since Finn’s passing.
After leaving the audition, Rachel finds out that her understudy is unable to perform that night and that she has to perform even though she just miraculously got over “the flu.” She gets caught in L.A. traffic and misses curtain call — but it turns out Santana stepped in and took her spot, thereby saving Rachel from major problems.
When Sidney calls her into his office the following day, it appears that she might get fired from the show. After admitting that he would much prefer to kick her out of the show, Sidney says she is the star and they need her. But he also warns: “If you ever pull something like this again, I will not only fire you, but I will sue you back to the Stone Age for brief of contract.”
All seems lost for Rachel and her chance at being on TV, especially when Lee calls her to let her know she didn’t get the gig for Song of Solomon. But he also has other news: FOX loves her so much that they granted her a development deal. They are flying a TV writer to NYC to work on developing a show about Rachel’s life, which should hopefully save her from missing anymore Funny Girl shows. Congrats, Rachel!
Kurt and Blaine — the most unequal of relationships
While Rachel was facing her career dilemmas, Kurt and Blaine were going through a bit of a crisis as well. Kurt approached his fiancé at the beginning of the episode thrilled that June Dolloway (played by the legendary Shirley MacLaine), a wealthy New York City socialite, is coming to NYADA. Kurt tells Blaine that June love to take young talents under her wing and that he gets to perform for her — and he wants Blaine to help him sing One Direction’s “Story of My Life.”
Apparently these two are the only NYADA students chosen to perform for June, so of course they brought the house down with their abilities. June approaches the two guys and talks about how amazing it was — though it turns out she’s only interested in Blaine. Major awkward alert! She invites Blaine to accompany her to a fancy event, which Kurt later urges him to go to.
The more we learn about June, the more its obvious that she’s a kooky old gal. She takes the stage at a fundraiser and brings Blaine up to help her sing Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” for the 1 percent of the 1 percent in attendance. The song is adorable, and only a little creepy.
June has some terrible advice for Blaine, however. She tells him that he should call off his engagement and focus on his career, that his first love is “a test” to see how bad he really wants to succeed. She tells him she’s planning a huge showcase for him to get introduced to the world — and that Kurt is not a part of the show.
Back at the apartment, finally getting some alone time with Kurt, Blaine lies to his man, telling him they will both get to perform in the big showcase. Trouble is definitely brewing here, folks!
After learning that her record label “didn’t hear a single on her record,” Mercedes complains about her problems to Santana, who said she would kill to be in that predicament. Mercedes then asks Santana to sing backup on her new song because everything they did together in high school was always a success (true story).
In the studio, Mercedes and Santana are not feeling the magic, which is a problem since they need to lock down a track so that the album won’t lose its release date. Santana geniously suggests that they get out of the studio to get more of an NYC vibe, so naturally they sing Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in a construction site and it’s superb.
Later on, Mercedes storms back into the studio and begs to let Santana in on a duet for her album instead of just singing backup. She gets turned down because they want her to be the star and a duet would only work if it was a big name. Santana obviously feels awkward and says not to worry about it because she “isn’t worth it.”
At the end of the episode, however, Mercedes presents Santana with a contract so they can do the duet because she wants the album to be “the best.” Mercedes says that while Santana may be a work in progress, she’s worth it. Santana obviously has a huge change of heart in this episode, because she even has a sweet moment with Rachel in the final moments. Kudos, Santana!