For six years we have watched the roller coaster that is Sue Sylvester. Her attempts to sabotage the glee club have for the most far been just that- attempts. Her brief interludes of being a normal human being lasted about as long as it takes you to say Michael Bolton. We’ve watched her marry herself, steal Christmas, blackmail her superiors, and bully the new football coach. But we’ve also watched her stand by that same football coach on his journey to find his true self, deal with the death of her sister, fiercely protect Becky Jackson, and stand behind Kurt when he needed her support and authority most.
Her journey certainly has been filled with ups and downs and that’s why this episode titled “The Rise and Fall of Sue Sylvester” seemed appropriate. For everything that Jane Lynch/ Sue Sylvester brought to the show, I felt she was well deserving of a send off episode and it had just enough pay off for the series to come to a close.I still wish they had the full season order though. There is still so much to tell.
We opened with a musical number as the New Directions prepare for Sectionals. It’s always a fun way to open the show with a number as the auditorium performances are what make Glee feel timeless. Some of the boys could certainly use a little help in the dance department. Myron totally kills it though.
Blaine and Kurt are back from their honeymoon and we find out that Dalton Academy burned to the ground. Everyone’s main concern is what the Warbler’s are going to do about singing and not so much about how where they will be going to school. Luckily, The New New Directions are a very welcoming group and very short in numbers. So, they combined the teams. Jane is not thrilled though since this is the group that wouldn’t let her in.This won’t really be touched on much more but it definitely should have been because they totally screwed her over.
Mr. Schuester is temporarily running the club since Rachel is in New York trying to get back into NYADA. I think it’s great that she’s thinking of going back to school. Aside from Kurt (supposedly) no one is really in school and I think it sends a good message that you can always go back and get an education.
Sue barges into the choir room and The Warbler’s get a small taste of her wrath. When she finds out that Will went over her head to the superintendent to get the merge approved she vows once more to take down the Glee club and make sure that by the end of the day every single warbler feather has been plucked.
Interestingly enough, Becky is furious with Sue for her decision to remove The Warblers. And when Sue does not budge on her position, Becky takes matter into her own hands. She takes the superintendent to Sue’s hateful Hurt Locker. Here he sees just how delusional Sue is and witnesses first hand the kind of behavior she is capable of. What really seals the deal is the Myron voo doo doll and the revelation that Sue once had a centerfold in Penthouse. Having seen her potential to cause some real havoc, he fires her.
After losing her job Sue takes her story to the Geraldo Rivera show, and since she has been seen as a celebrity of the community over the years it isn’t too far-fetched. What Sue thinks is an opportunity to shed light on her side of things quickly turns into a further take-down of her character. Geraldo calls her out on all of the lies and ridiculous lines that she has said throughout the past six years.
It certainly did not come as surprise that Sue was never a backup tambourine player for Wilson Phillips. This was confirmed by a quick cameo from Carnie Wilson claiming she had no idea who Sue even was. Rivera also calls her out for lying about relationships with the likes of Dan Quayle, Johnny Cochran, and the drummer from Jimmy Eat World and says that they were all vehemently denied.
Sue corrects him by stating “I dated all the members of Jimmy Eat World.” They are actually a good band. Check them out.
We get another cameo by Michael Bolton via a TV interview in which he states that he has never heard of Sue Sylvester and is certainly not the father of her child. But even after all of the gotcha journalism, Sue still has her saving grace. She has devoted her entire career to McKinley High, making sure it has all the necessities for the students to succeed. This raises another red flag for Rivera who turns to the TV once more. Here we see a small portion of old glee club members sharing some of the horrible things Sue has done. She has put mayonnaise in Mercedes’ weave glue, slashed Artie’s tired 17 times, came all the way to Rachel’s first Broadway show so that she could walk out in the middle and have sex all over her apartment, and even cut all of the dreads off of Joe! That was a nice surprise seeing him. They just pop in and out like crazy.
Sue claims that these are all preposterous lies made by one William Schuester. Rivera is quick to tell her that the snitch is once again Becky Jackson. However, one person did stand up for Sue and that was Sheldon Beiste. He talks about how Sue helped him get out of an abusive relationship and supported him during his transition. The interview was done in the dark and with a voice changer in order to seem a little sketchy and not as personal as the other interviews.
His interview doesn’t help matters as much as it probably he probably hoped. Sue says that while she may have stretched the truth sometimes, she was honest about one thing: the fact that her parents were Nazi hunters and because of this she has always had a tough exterior.
Not so fast. Let’s turn to the TV once more.
On screen is Mama Sylvester, played by the wonderful Carol Burnette who looks amazing! Sue’s parents lied to her about being Nazi hunters so they would have an excuse to not be around her when she was growing up. She was such a rotten child and an incessant biter. The worst part is that Doris Sylvester concludes the interview by saying that Sue was a daughter she was never able to love 😦
That about seals the deal for Sue who gets up and punches Geraldo Rivera right in the face. She leaves the room a second too early as the next interview is Will Schuester who of course gives her a touching and positive reflection. Once back at the school she no longer works for, Sue is visited by her mother.
Doris tells her that while Sue was a horrible child there was no excuse for her to say that she never loved her on national television. Sue agrees that she was a bad kid, one of her earliest memories is setting her mother on fire. They decide to solve their conflict the Glee way- through song. It’s the easiest way to solve your problems without talking about them!
Meanwhile, Rachel is back from NYADA and is talking about her future with Mercedes, Blaine and Sam. Blaine and Mercedes want her not to have too high of hopes about NYADA but are happy that she is trying to get back to New York and get her life on track. Sam is ecstatic that she is trying to go back to school. During the conversation however, Rachel gets a call saying that she got the part in the Russell Simmons play Mercerdes set her up for not too long ago. And just like that NYADA is out and Broadway is back in.
The New Directions are facing their own dilemma too. Turns out that The Warblers are much better at dancing and are all around making them feel outcasted. They blame it on the fact that they feel like two different groups because The Warblers refuse to take off their blazers. They’ve lost everything and the blazers stand for so much to them as a group and Dalton Academy as well.
As an argument breaks out between Will and his group against Blaine and the Warbler’s, Beiste comes in to deliver the not so shocking news that Sue will once again be taking over Vocal Adrenaline. Hasn’t this happened before?
Let’s check in on Vocal Adrenaline. They are stoked to have Sue as a coach instead of lesson loving pansy Will Schuester. She forces them to partake in her five hour exercise regimen to the beat of “Far From Over” of Saturday Night Fever. They love it. They are freaky robot workaholics and Sue has the perfect coaching style for them to succeed. They approve. So will this be a two team Sectionals? Who else is competing?
It seems that Sectionals is on everyone’s mind except for Rachel. While with Sam in the choir room she gets a call from NYADA saying that Madam Tibideaux is giving her one more shot and she can have her spot back at school. Sam thinks it’s great news but when Rachel tells him that she’s not going back to school and is doing the musical instead he is clearly disappointed. I personally also think that she needs to go back to school as well but I guess when opportunities come you have to take them. And even more slim are the opportunities to get a second chance on Broadway. The Rachel Berry we have gotten to know the last 6 seasons would never turn down Broadway…right?
What would an episode about Sue be without one final confrontation with Mr. Schue. He walks in on her playing a pipe organ in the auditorium. Words are exchanged and Sue makes one final vow to take down the Glee club.
Sue: “You’ve crossed me for the last time, William Schuester.”
Will: “Do you have any idea how many times you’ve said that?”
Sue gets up from the organ and Brad (yes, Brad!) comes and takes her place. This is such a fun musical number. The two are decked out in ‘80s rocker garb and banging out “The Final Countdown” on guitars with insanely wild hair. Just when a tiny part of you thinks the song battle may be a real thing we see all of the glee kids on the stairs watching the two prancing around, engaging in an epic air guitar battle. They looked completely ridiculous running around the stage and I loved every second of their dream sequence.
The next day while Will apologizes to the group for his embarrassing battle with Sue, Myron is meeting with his Uncle, the superintendent, who tells him that if the New Directions don’t win Sectionals then all of the art programs will be eliminated from McKinley. This is also a new storyline that Glee has never touched on. Ha! Anyway, I have high hopes for them and think that the arts will be A-OK at McKinley.
Now, for the best part of the episode and possibly my favorite part of this entire season thus far. I’ve never made it a secret that group auditorium performances are my favorite but this one took the cake. Not only were we able to see the New Directions and The Warblers perform together and all receive matching red blazers, they sang to a Darren Criss original song titled “Rise”. It was one of the few times that I got chills during a number.The performance was to a fantastic song that fit perfectly with the episode and watching the two clubs unite was definitely a moment I will always remember from the final season.
Like I said at the beginning, I understood the necessity for us to see what will become of Sue after the show ends. As each episode passes I realize how few there are left and how much more I want to see. I will come out and say that this is the best season of Glee in a long time. With such a fresh group of characters and stoires it’s a shame that it will all come to an abrupt end in the coming weeks.
Am I the only one that would totally watch a spin-off of these new characters? I love them and can’t help but wonder where Glee would be now if they had used the new New Directions now in season 4 instead of the character carbon copies we got instead.
Check out the musical numbers below! If you only want to watch one…pick “Rise”.
“Rather Be” by Clean Bandit, Featuring Jess Glynne
“The Trolley Song” by Judy Garland / Meet Me In St. Louis
“Far From Over” by Frank Stallone
“The Final Countdown” by Europe
“Rise” by Darren Criss