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While the NYADA students prepare assignments for the mid-winter critique, Rachel struggles to cope with the combined pressure of her Funny Girl role and her dramatic studies, while Kurt deals with a gay bashing incident. Rachel makes a drastic decision about her future following a confrontation with Madame Tibideaux over her poor effort in classes, and an argument between her and Kurt has unforeseen consequences. Meanwhile, Mercedes begins to question whether her interracial relationship with Sam will harm her career.
Rachel, Sam, Kurt and Blaine attend a candlelight vigil held for Russ, a gay man who has been the victim of a homophobic assault. Rachel, Kurt and Blaine sing No One Is Alone as they lay roses in front of his picture. Kurt looks particularly emotional.
At the Funny Girl rehearsals, Sidney calls the cast and crew together. He explains that it is vital for the show to be a hit, and as such the next two weeks are very important, as the cast should be focusing totally on the production. Rachel watches him nervously, and chases after him when he concludes his speech. She asks permission to miss one rehearsal in order to perform at her mid-winter critique. Sidney grudgingly agrees to make one exception.
At Mercedes' apartment, Sam is noisily watching a late night run of The Facts of Life. Awakened, Mercedes joins him. Sam explains that at the old apartment, Blaine would read him Star Wars fanfiction to help him go to sleep. He asks why Mercedes broke up with him, and she explains that she doesn't want to mess around, reminding him of all the girls he's slept with. Sam wants to discuss their relationship further, but Mercedes brings up all of his relationships he's had since they've been together; telling him that he's moved on, and so has she. They continue to awkwardly watch the TV, but after about ten seconds, Mercedes leaps on Sam, and they begin making out passionately.
At the Bushwick Apartment, the group come together for their weekly pot-luck dinner. Mercedes finds a leaflet and asks what it's about, and Rachel explains that it's for their neighbor's friend, who was assaulted. The group reflect on the rising levels of hate-crime in New York with sadness, and Kurt suggests that they change the subject. He begins talking about the upcoming mid-winter critiques at NYADA, and reveals that Madame Tibideaux has given them "the ultimate musical theater challenge" - Sondheim. As they discuss whether to perform a duet, Mercedes and Sam unsubtly play footsie under the table. Artie notices, and Mercedes, flustered, tells the group that she has restless leg syndrome, and forgot to take her iron pills.
Mercedes and Sam go for a walk along the East River. Sam is annoyed that the two can't go public with their relationship, and begins throwing coins into the water to make a wish, despite chastisement from a member of the public. They joke together, enjoying each other's company, and Sam suggests they go and get a hot dog, but Mercedes tells him to go back to the apartment. Before he leaves, she tells him that if they are going to be in a relationship, they need to take it slow. Alone, Mercedes performs You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman on a carousel. That evening, Sam meets Mercedes' backup singers at a café. He inadvertently makes a poor impression of himself, embarrassing Mercedes. Followed up by an awkward conversation afterwards.
At NYADA, Blaine and Rachel perform Broadway Baby. At the end, they receive warm applause from the audience, but Madame Tibideaux is unimpressed. She tells them that they have ignored the aim of the assignment by performing a duet, and acted as if they are above the rest of the class. Despite Rachel's protests, she announces that she is flunking them both, leaving the two mortified. At the last minute, she gives them a final opportunity to perform as individuals, and tells them to reschedule. Rachel brings up her commitment to Funny Girl, and sees her later in her office, but Madame Tibideaux remains resolute: she performs the same week, or she fails. Angrily, Rachel announces that she is quitting the school.
Mercedes' backup singers bring up their issues with Sam. They explain that there will be issues if she dates Sam, telling her that she will alienate black women who would buy her album. Mercedes angrily tells them that she doesn't care, but still seems struck by the conversation. When she arrives back at her apartment, she tells Sam that she's not sure she can go on with the relationship, revealing that she is worried what people will think. Angry, Sam remonstrates with her for her closed-minded attitude, but Mercedes is unchanged: she tells Sam to move out.
Kurt and Rachel sit in a cafe, talking about Rachel's resignation from NYADA. Kurt is confused as to her motives, urging her to think about her future. Rachel tells him that she can't let anything get in the way of her Broadway commitments, and accuses Kurt of being afraid of venturing out of his shell. She heatedly tells him that he is avoiding "growing up and being an adult," and Kurt flatly tells her to go screw herself. Angry, Rachel storms out, leaving Kurt emotionally charged.
While walking home, Kurt sees a man being beaten up in a side alley by two men. Running over to help, he pushes them away, but is hit over the head. Lying on the floor, he is punched again in the face, before the two men drive off in a pick-up truck. As they go about their lives, the flatmates are all informed about it over the phone, each shocked.
They congregate at the hospital, and anxiously wait for any news on his condition. A doctor explains that his injuries are nasty, but not life-threatening, and allow them to see him. They gather around Kurt's bed, very upset. Blaine performs an emotional rendition of Not While I'm Around to a sleeping Kurt, intercut with his performance of the same song at NYADA. At the end, the group files out, leaving Blaine alone with Kurt. He crawls onto the bed, and lies with him.
Mercedes invites Sam to her recording studio. She announces that she has an important song to sing to him, telling him that she has reconsidered since their last conversation. She sings Colorblind to him as he watches from the control room. At the end of the song, Sam enters the recording booth, and they hug.
Back at the hospital, Burt arrives to see Kurt. He is initially angry, telling Kurt off for running in and endangering himself. However, he soon becomes emotional, and expresses his disbelief that an incident of this nature would occur in New York. Kurt tells him that the incident has confirmed to him that he is Burt's son - the man he raised. In the street, Kurt and Blaine lay flowers for the assaulted man. Blaine tells Kurt that he has woken up from his coma.
At the apartment, Rachel and Kurt reconcile. They reconfirm their love for each other and share a hug, before they are joined by the rest of the group for their third pot-luck dinner. Sam and Mercedes announce that they are dating, and the rest of the group are happily surprised. They talk about Kurt's mid-winter critique performance the next day, and all assure him that they will be there to support him.
At the critique, Burt, Rachel, Blaine, Artie, Sam and Mercedes all watch happily as Kurt performs I'm Still Here. As he finishes to rapturous applause, they share a group hug.
|Song Title||Original Artist||Performer(s)|
|No One Is Alone||Cast of Into the Woods||Blaine Anderson, Kurt Hummel,|
and Rachel Berry
|You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman||Aretha Franklin||
Mercedes Jones with Shaynice and Tesla
|Broadway Baby||Cast of Follies||Blaine Anderson and Rachel Berry|
|Not While I'm Around||Cast of Sweeney Todd||Alumni|
|Colorblind||Amber Riley||Mercedes Jones|
|I'm Still Here||Cast of Follies||Kurt Hummel|
- Bash is an EP accompanying the music of this episode.
Special Guest Star
- Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones
- Mike O'Malley as Burt Hummel
- Michael Lerner as Sidney Greene
- Dana Davis as Tesla
- Ashley Blaine Featherson as Shaynice
- Assaf Cohen as Kurt's Doctor
- Lloyd Bateman as Alex
- Edwin Garcia II as Mark
- Jeanette Brox as Assistant Stage Manager
- Laura Jordan as Brooklynite
Absent Cast Members
- Jacob Artist as Jake Puckerman
- Melissa Benoist as Marley Rose
- Blake Jenner as Ryder Lynn
- Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester
- Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester
- Alex Newell as Unique Adams
- Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez
- Becca Tobin as Kitty Wilde
- Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina Cohen-Chang
- The episode had a 1.0 rating and was watched by 2.78 viewers. Source
- This episode marks Rachel's hundredth appearance.
- This is the second time Mercedes sings two solos in a single episode, the first being Grilled Cheesus.
- This is the second time an actor sings their own song in an episode, the first being Matthew Morrison who sang Still Got Tonight in New York.
- However, Colorblind is the only song that was released.
- The episode version of Not While I'm Around is a live solo by Blaine, whereas the studio version also includes Mercedes, Rachel, and Sam.
- This episode marks the final appearance of Carmen Tibideaux
- During the dinner scene with Mercedes and her friends, Sam begins beating his chest as a reference to the film The Wolf of Wall Street.
- During the flashback of Blaine reading Sam Star Wars fan-fiction, Sam should have had long hair as he was still living at the Bushwick Apartment, but his hair is cut short. However, that scene could be taken from the brief period between Sam leaving his first apartment and him and Blaine moving into Mercedes' apartment.
- It could also be a production error.
- While Mercedes and Sam are watching TV, after Mercedes tells Sam she just wants to watch the show, Sam pulls the blanket close to him, but in the next scene its spread out again.
- Seeing as Rachel could not make any other night to redo her showcase, she technically shouldn't have been able to come to Kurt's performance as she should have had rehearsal.
Carmen Tibideaux: Excellent performance. Or it would have been, had the assignment been a duet. Apparently, you both feel that you're above this class, and all that governs it.
Rachel: No, no, not at all Madame Tibideaux!
Carmen Tibideaux: I'm flunking you both. Next!
Just... don't do it again unless I'm right next to you... we'll take 'em together.