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It is written by Aristotle Kousakis and directed by Joaquin Sedillo.
Well aware of the dire implications should the new New Directions/Warblers supergroup fail to defeat Vocal Adrenaline at Sectionals, the infighting among the gleeks begins to take its toll on morale, prompting the team’s two weakest dancers, Spencer and Roderick, to seek the uncompromising help of Kitty in order to improve their moves and bolster their odds at victory, and leaving one gleek to decide how far he is willing to go for a chance at victory. Sam and Kurt’s concern over Rachel’s looming decision to return to Broadway before completing her degree at NYADA continues to grow. While they each try to convince her to complete her studies, former flame Jesse St. James makes an unexpected visit - and a startling admission - in a bid to convince her to take the job. Meanwhile, Sue remains full of surprises as her all-out assault on Will and the Glee Club reaches heretofore unseen heights.
In the choir room, Will and the members of New Directions do a dance rehearsal for Sectionals. Rachel encourages them, saying they’re doing well. When they finish, Rachel applauds them and Will says they should take a break. A member of the Warblers disagrees with Will and says they shouldn't take breaks. Super Gay Warbler joins in, reminding them that glee club will no longer exist if they lose. He also claims Sue would not be allowing Vocal Adrenaline to take breaks, stating that he saw them walking on hot coals. The scene then transitions to a flashback of Vocal Adrenaline walking over hot coals, screaming from the pain. Sue, using her megaphone, yells that if Oprah can do it, then so can they. Back in the present, a Warbler states that they all suck. Myron proceeds to tell the Warbler that he's the one that sucks, to which another member retorts leading to a short fight between the two sides. Kurt quickly stops them, saying they’re doing well, but now is not time to panic. Skylar states that it is the time to be pragmatic and they won’t win the competition with the moves they have, insisting that Will's choreography is not good enough. Will is shocked, and Madison and Mason defend Will's dance moves. Skylar continues, stating that the Warblers have discussed who should be taking center stage and who should stay in the background. The three girls in the group, Jane, Madison, and Kitty, state that they refuse to be in the back as the only girls. Skylar clarifies that he wasn’t talking about them, but instead about Roderick. Spencer sticks up for Roderick, stating that they need to give him time to get the moves and justifies his presence with his powerful voice. However, The Warblers then tell Spencer that he's just as bad as a dancer, possibly even worse. Spencer brushes the comment off and states that he only has to look good, but Super Gay Warbler states that they all look good, even Alistair. Kitty sadly states that she agrees with Super Gay Warbler. She turns to Roderick and Spencer, saying that if they can’t get better that second, they should stick to the back of the group. The two move to the back, while Kitty looks guilty.
In the hallways of McKinley, Roderick opens his locker and the contents of it spill onto the floor. Spencer comes by and helps him pick his stuff up. Roderick confides in Spencer he's worried how the two are suppose to practice the dance routine when neither of them know it. Spencer agrees, saying he’s better on the field. They both think of people who would help them, deciding on Kitty due to her dancing abilities and harsh, but honest criticism. They high-five, and walk away from each other when the bell rings.In the auditorium, Sam walks in to find Rachel sorting out sheet music, asking her for help with a list. Rachel is confused and states that Kurt had already finished with choosing the setlist for Sectionals. Sam hands her the list, stating that it is a list of successful performers who went to college before reaching stardom. Rachel hisses that they’ve already talked about it and insists that she has made the right choice. Sam, ignoring her, reads the names of the list. Rachel, knowing that Sam would do that, reads a list that she prepared of people that dropped out of college or never went and still became successful. Sam then gets out another list, knowing Rachel would do that, where he reads off names of people who were famous once, but are not anymore. Rachel tells Sam that she knows what he’s trying to say and appreciates his friendship, but doesn’t want him to talk about her future anymore unless he supports her. He states, as he leaves, that they all do support her, but she should think about her future and if her future self would be happy with her dropping out of NYADA. Rachel is seen looking troubled as Sam leaves, and it is seen that Brad was witnessing the whole scene at the piano. He begins to play the piano, and Rachel goes to the the center of the stage and starts to sing Listen To Your Heart. Jesse then enters the auditorium and interrupts her with his own singing. He runs to Rachel on stage, and the two finish the song as a duet. As the song ends, Rachel subtly tells Brad to leave the room, before questioning Jesse on why he's in Lima. Jesse tells her that he's back for his mother, but states the more important matter is why Rachel is back in Lima. The two former rivals sit together at the piano, where Rachel tells him that she's now helping the New Directions prep for Sectionals. Jesse stops her, saying that he heard that she was going to star in a new Broadway musical, and the producers are still waiting for her answer. Confused at how Jesse knew that, Rachel asks him and he reveals he would be playing opposite of her. He then goes on to tell Rachel the producers were at lost on who to select as the lead female until he reminded them that Rachel would have been the perfect actress. Rachel is flattered by his recommendation, but confesses that she is unsure on whether to return to Broadway or NYADA. Jesse finds the thought amusing and insists that Rachel needs to go back to Broadway as she belongs there. Rachel retorts that her dropping out of NYADA is the point where her career and life began to fall and that going to NYADA is her chance of redemption. Jesse counters this by insisting it was her desire to star in That's So Rachel that caused her career to crumble, not leaving college. He continues and claims that even with his bias against Carmen Tibideaux for rejecting him, he knows NYADA isn't what it is made out to be and Rachel doesn't need to go there. Rachel thanks him for his input, but decides that she must make this decision by herself. Jesse agrees, before reminding her that they have great vocal chemistry and leaving the auditorium.
The following day in the dance room, Spencer and Roderick practice their moves with assistance from Will and Kitty. After failing to get the choreography down, Will chooses to commend them for their effort. Spencer apologizes, saying that he’s not a dancer, but Roderick states that he should be the one apologizing. Will tells them to take another try at it, where Kitty joins in to help the two as Will plays some music. When they practice their spins, Spencer sprains his ankle. In the locker room, Spencer is seen sitting with his injured leg, with Sheldon, Sam, Will, Kitty, and Roderick surrounding him. Sheldon tells Spencer that the sprain is one of the worst ones he's ever seen, but Spencer claims he's fine and can perform at Sectionals. Sheldon tells him that to put weight and dance on it will require a cortisone shot, which Spencer immediately agrees to. Sheldon however warns him of the dangers of doing so, as the cortisone shot will take away the pain, but not the injury and further stressing it can cause permanent damage. Even when Sheldon shows Spencer his damaged knees as proof and Will and Roderick claiming it was insane to do it, Spencer insists on taking the shot. He defends his choice by stating he is an athlete who is supposed to look and be tougher than everyone else and that whatever happens after Sectionals, he will deal with it.
Backstage in the auditorium, Kurt walks up to Rachel, who is organizing makeup for the performance. Kurt wants to have a heart to heart with Rachel, who correctly deduces that it is about NYADA and Broadway. Kurt explains that he doesn't want to argue with her, only wanting for her to be truly happy. Kurt reminds Rachel that she was not happy last year after quitting though, to which Rachel tells him that a lot of things happened last year that made it hard. Kurt agrees, but reminds her of all the great things that happened even if she didn't have the chance to enjoy it. He continues saying that he wants her to appreciate the present. Rachel states the she's worried that if she goes to NYADA she will never have the opportunity to be on Broadway again. Kurt laughs at the idea, stating that scenario will never happen and Rachel will find success in whatever she chooses. He confesses that he thought Rachel and Blaine were crazy for going back to Lima to teach their old glee clubs, but is glad that they did as it not only inspired the glee club members, but also himself. Kurt then concludes his argument by saying the two only have a few more years to experience college and reveals that Blaine got into NYU. With him going back to NYADA, Kurt implies that Rachel can also go to New York with them and have a fresh start. He tells Rachel that they are extremely lucky enough to go back to the same crossroads and choose another path, leaving Rachel troubled.On the following day, Will passes by Sam who is drinking from a water fountain. The two exchange greetings as Will enters the choir room, which is littered with boxes. As the New Directions excitedly examine their new gifts, Rachel tells Will they got a special delivery. Kurt notices the return label says GLAAD and suggests that the transsexual show choir sent them as a thanks for hosting them in Transitioning. Madison exclaims that they should all open the boxes up at the same time, to which the glee club agrees. Before the New Direction members could open their boxes, Will hears a ticking sound and realizes in horror that the boxes are a trap. He knocks the box out of Rachel's hands and onto the floor. After a few suspenseful seconds, the box explodes with glitter along with the other boxes, causing much panic to the room. After hearing another ticking sound, Will hushes the room and realizes it is coming from the piano. Screaming for the kids to take cover, the New Direction members are horrified when the piano explodes with glitter flying everywhere. Kurt questions who would do this, where Will realizes after reading a note inside of the boxes saying "It's Not Fun To Be Glitter Bombed, Is It?" that this was Sue's doing. Will storms out to confront her, but is stopped when Sam vomits on Will's shoes. Sam apologizes and Will decides to find the school nurse for him. He runs to the teachers' lounge and witnesses the entire staff vomiting and Sue giggling behind a plant. Will accuses her of glitter bombing the glee club and putting eye drops in the coffee, but Sue corrects him and reveals she poisoned the entire school water system. Will is astonished at her behavior and questions her actions, to which Sue states is revenge and will not stop until Will quits. Before Will can respond, a school nurse cries out that someone's car is on fire. Realizing that it is his, Will runs out into the parking lot to witness his car exploding.
In a salon, Sue walks in, talking to her hairdresser about how her plans are almost complete. She asks her to give her the signature haircut, so she can lead Vocal Adrenaline to a win at Sectionals. The hairdresser is revealed to be Will in a costume, where he straps her in the chair and shaves her head.
In the McKinley High boys locker room, a now bald Sue is seen showing the members of Vocal Adrenaline a video of marching Nazis, wanting them to reach their levels of perfection. Sheldon walks in and is startled by her missing hair and presence. He questions how she even got into the room, mentioning that Sue is not allowed on the school's premises anymore. Sue reminds Sheldon that the school is incredibly easy to sneak into. Sheldon becomes upset that Sue would bring Vocal Adrenaline into his locker room, as they had slammed his transition in the past and vandalized his car, and that she was showing them a video of Nazis, a group that would have shipped him off for being who he is. Even when Sheldon mentions Will and him were the only ones to stick up for her, Sue mocks Sheldon and implies that the Nazis could have made him a centerpiece at a zoo. Sheldon becomes furious and screams for Vocal Adrenaline to get out. Sue tells him that he'll see her at Sectionals, and will be surprised at what she's managed to accomplish before walking out.
The scene then switches over to the day of Sectionals, with the auditorium packed with people. The host introduces the judges: Donna Landries, Rod Remington, who have both previously judged competitions, and trainer Butch Melman with her poodle Trixie. The host then goes on to introduce the first glee club to perform, The Falconers, who sing Broken Wings, with falcons on their arms and wings attached to their arms. Sue sneaks up on Will and Rachel, stating it's not too late to quit. Will comments on the wig she is wearing, and Rachel tells her she doesn't scare them. Sue suggests that the New Directions say their prayers as their end is here, and walks away as The Falconers finish. The audience applauds for their performance as Rachel looks on worried.
The host then introduces Vocal Adrenaline as the next glee club to perform. The group begins with We Built This City with Clint providing the lead vocals, while making use of elaborate props and dancing in synch. Will and Rachel look stunned and shocked by the performance, while Sue looks on. After finishing the number, Vocal Adrenaline began to sing Mickey, tearing off their old silver costumes to reveal blue new ones. The number also makes use of synchronized choreography and elaborate props, such as flags and shoe springs. The Cheerio-inspired performance leaves the New Directions feeling unsettled as the audience enthusiastically claps along. Roderick glances at Spencer, who at first looks startled, but then nods. The performance ends with Vocal Adrenaline bringing out two cannons which fires two members out of them, who land near the audience, much to their shock and later admiration.
In the choir room, Spencer, who is on crutches, comes in. Roderick asks how he’s doing, to which Spencer states he’ll be better when he’s been injected leaving Roderick looking worried. Will then walks in, gathering everyone and introducing the show circle traditions to the newer members of the group. Kurt states that there will be a pep talk, but Will simply laughs and says that now is not the time for him to speak and turns to Rachel. Will insists that Rachel give a speech to the New Directions as she was the one who reformed the group. She admits that her initial reason was selfish and she only wanted to get her groove back, but only their enjoyment and performance was all that matters now. She tells them to enjoy themselves, as they’ve earned the applause and the cheers they will get. Continuing, she acknowledges that this might be the last time the glee club performs, but she and the old New Directions couldn't be more proud of them. The New Directions all put their hands in the show circle, lifting them up as they shout "Amazing!".
In the locker room, Spencer is about to get his cortisone shot with the assistance of a stranger, Sheldon, and Sam. Sam wants to make sure Spencer knows what he is doing, to which Spencer states he is. Before anything can happen, Roderick rushes in with an alternative solution, leaving Spencer curious.As the New Directions are introduced, Roderick walks out on stage and gets into position. When the curtains opens, Roderick begins to sing Take Me To Church, with the other members dancing and singing in the background. The performance goes smoothly and Roderick follows the choreography well, as Will, Kurt, Rachel and Blaine look on proud. As Kitty walks out from backstage to sing with Roderick, Myron is seen changing with a wig in front of him. After singing with Roderick, Kitty joins the rest of the New Directions and the transparent curtains open behind them. The New Directions join together as Roderick and Jane lead. The number ends with Roderick looking content with himself. The New Directions then transition into Chandelier, led by Madison. As the performance goes on, Myron runs into the auditorium in a nude unitard and platinum wig, imitating the dancer in the official Chandelier video. The performance reaches a conclusion with Spencer coming in swinging from an actual chandelier, Roderick watching him with a small smile. The New Directions then all gather together as Mason and Madison start off Come Sail Away. They are joined by the rest of the New Directions providing back up vocals and Spencer and Kitty later take center stage to sing themselves. The song concludes with the New Directions all standing in a line, receiving a booming applause from everyone in the auditorium, barring Sue, Donna, and Vocal Adrenaline. As the curtains closed, the glee club celebrate and cheer with one another.
In a private room, the judges discuss on which glee club should have won Sectionals. Donna is outraged that she was called back to vote, and believes the performances are even more worse. As she insults the glee clubs, Rod interrupts her and states that even though they can't sing or dance, their females stand out. He specifically mentions Jane, hoping to compliment Donna, to which she replies with anger. Butch speaks out that she technically isn't suppose to be there, as Trixie was the one invited. Butch then asks which group the most performitivity, who selects Vocal Adrenaline. Donna mocks the idea, and Rod states that he now knows who he wants to choose to advance. Exasperated, Donna hurries the process along so she can leave.
In the auditorium, the teams are gathered, with the trophies and judges on the side as the host announces the winners. The host brings out the sponsor, Wayne’s Waffles, to which Kitty reveals her love for waffles. The third place trophy goes to The Falconers, where Donna hands them the trophy. Everyone else looks restless, waiting to know who wins: Will glaring at Sue, Sam and Beiste watching from the audience, Skylar putting his hand on Jane, and Rachel with her eyes closed. After the suspense, it is revealed that New Directions win the competition, with Rod handing them the trophy as they all jump up and down as confetti falls onto them. Vocal Adrenaline look on in disgust, as Sue walks away, smiling slightly.After the competition that night, Will walks through the halls of McKinley, only to be stopped for Sue. Will states that she has lost, but Sue tells Will that she threw the competition, guaranteeing Will a win. Will, in disbelief, reminds Sue that she has been trying to destroy the glee club since forever. Sue explains that she was trying to destroy them, but after her scalding Geraldo Rivera interview, she was reminded that only Will and Sheldon stood up for her. She then decided to help Will by sabotaging Vocal Adrenaline from the inside by creating a setlist that brought up horrible memories for the judges: Donna being reminded of a bad circus show, Rod remembering how he was in a group marriage, and that Butch was just an idiot. Will questions the poisoned water system and glitter bombs, to which Sue replies was her enhancing the glee club's hormones and senses. However, Sue admits that she blew up his car for her enjoyment. As the two agree to end their feud, the two stand in awkward silence. Sue is shocked at the lack of thanks, to which Will simply stares at her. She claims she will take a break before finding new ways to destroy Will, reigniting their feud as she storms off.
In the auditorium, Rachel and Jesse reminisce about their time in glee club. Jesse confesses that he misses it all, but stands up and tells her they have bigger things to do. He offers her a place in his apartment until she can find her one, with no strings attached. Rachel surprises Jesse by telling him that she has turned down the part and is going to NYADA. She explains that she feels she is making a step in the right direction and asks for Jesse not to be mad. Jesse expresses disappointment that he won't be singing with her, but that he's proud of her by taking the harder path. The two share a hug, with Rachel stating that she'll be at Jesse's opening night with an egg, referencing the time Jesse egged Rachel in Funk. The two share a kiss before Jesse leaves, as Rachel is left smiling.In the choir room on the next day, the New Directions, along with Sam and Beiste, place their new trophy in the cabinet as they all cheer. Will goes on to tell the members that some day, they may come back and see the trophies, hoping they’ll remember the time when they came together and put their differences aside. Sam then offers a toast to Will, Rachel, Kurt and Blaine, setting off another round of cheering. Will states that Rachel, Kurt, and Blaine might be leaving, but their journey is just starting. The members of New Directions then applaud and come together to celebrate. Rachel is seen troubled while everyone celebrates as she looks at the old trophies that are now placed in the corner. Noticing her gaze, Kitty suggests they put the old trophies in with the new trophies. The New Directions bring each trophy back, a flashback to that specific victory with each one put back in the case. The glee club then claps at the now filled up cabinet as Sue watches from the doorway, smiling. She nods to herself and walks away with no one noticing. Rachel leans her head against Will, both beaming with pride, as they all continue to clap.
|Song Title||Original Artist||Performer(s)|
|Listen to Your Heart||Roxette||Jesse St. James and Rachel Berry|
|We Built This City||Starship||Vocal Adrenaline|
|Take Me to Church||Hozier||New Directions|
|Come Sail Away||Styx|
- The songs from this episode are accompanied by Glee: The Music, We Built This Glee Club.
- Broken Wings by Mr. Mister sung by The Falconers.
- Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel
- Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson
- Dot-Marie Jones as Sheldon Beiste
- Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester
- Kevin McHale as Artie Abrams (Absent) (Only flashbacks)
- Lea Michele as Rachel Berry
- Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester
- Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans
- Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones (Absent) (Only flashbacks)
Special Guest Star
- Max George as Clint
- Becca Tobin as Kitty Wilde
- Bill A. Jones as Rod Remington
- Fortune Feimster as Butch Melman
- Marshall Williams as Spencer Porter
- Patricia Forte as Donna Landries
- Billy Lewis Jr. as Mason McCarthy
- Laura Dreyfuss as Madison McCarthy
- Samantha Marie Ware as Jane Hayward
- Noah Guthrie as Roderick Meeks
- J.J. Totah as Myron Muskovitz
- Finneas O'Connell as Alistair
- Myko Olivier as Skylar
- Mason Trueblood as Really Gay Warbler
- Austin Brue as Other Really Gay Warbler
- Alex Mentzel as Warbler #1
- JP Dubée as Warbler #2
- Max Wilcox as Warbler #5
- Nick Fink as Warbler #6
- Rilan Roppolo as Warbler #7
- Caitlynn Lawson as Shayna
- Brad Ellis as Brad
- Dianna Agron as Quinn Fabray (archive footage)
- Ashley Fink as Lauren Zizes (archive footage)
- Samuel Larsen as Joe Hart (archive footage)
- Vanessa Lengies as Sugar Motta (archive footage)
- Damian McGinty as Rory Flanagan (archive footage)
- Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson (archive footage)
- Heather Morris as Brittany Pierce (archive footage)
- Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez (archive footage)
- Mark Salling as Noah Puckerman (archive footage)
- Harry Shum Jr. as Mike Chang (archive footage)
- Dijon Talton as Matt Rutherford (archive footage)
- Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina Cohen-Chang (archive footage)
- This episode marks the return of the following characters:
- Jesse St. James' first appearance since the Season Three episode, Nationals, a 53-episode gap.
- Donna Landries' first appearance since the Season One episode, Sectionals, a 105-episode gap, appearing in the show's first and last competition episode. This is the longest gap between a character's debut and re-appearance.
- Coincidentally, both characters' last appearances before this episode feature a competition.
- Sue telling Will about her intentions to come back to destroy glee after a break in Boca is another throwback to the episode Sectionals, where, after New Directions win that competition, she tells him the exact same thing.
- The title is a reference to the Starship song We Built This City, featured in this episode.
- This is the last time an episode focuses primarily on a Show Choir competition.
- This is the second time an 11th episode features New Directions in a competition, the first being City of Angels, in the previous season.
- This marked the second time New Directions has beaten Vocal Adrenaline in direct competition, the first time being 2012 Nationals.
- With this episode, New Directions has faced Vocal Adrenaline in every round of the Show Choir Competition:
- Clips from Sectionals, Hold on to Sixteen, Special Education, On My Way and Nationals are shown as each trophy is placed back in the case.
- Curiously, none of the Season Four competitions were shown, but the trophies from the competitions were still in the display case.
- This is the only competition episode in which Artie, Mercedes, and Tina are not present.
- This is the second time Sue's show choir lost to New Directions. The first being Aural Intensity in Original Song.
- This episode contains the last "And that's what you missed on Glee" section ever.
- This episode contains the second reference this season to the human canon in The Sue Sylvester Shuffle, after Homecoming.
- This episode marks the final appearances of Clint and Rod Remington.
- At the 30:30 mark, Roderick is seen hugging Spencer, but at 30:31 onwards, Roderick is missing from the scene. Despite having 16 members, only 14 were seen at 30:31 onwards. However, Myron could have been out of sight because of his height.
I mean, how lucky are we? [...] How many people really get the opportunity to to go back to the crossroads they faced a year ago and choose the other path?
I needed you guys to help me get my groove back. And, well, it came true. Now the world is opening up to me, and the best part is that in this moment, I don't care. All that matters to me is you guys and the strength of this circle that we've created.
Jesse: You know, I forgot the way it smells in here. All that life-or-death teen adrenaline, all that drama. Feels like a million years ago.
Rachel: Miss it that much, huh?