The New Directions come down with a case of the Mac — Fleetwood Mac, that is — when Sue Sylvester’s latest plan to destroy the glee club involves reviving the school newspaper, the Muckraker, and printing slightly-less-than-true items about its members. Frustrated by another bout of internal drama, Mr. Schuester continues his habit of consulting women he may or may not be romantically involved with for help. This time it’s the return of Kristin Chenoweth’s April Rhodes (back to borrow the auditorium she donated) to the rescue, whose apt comparison of the New Directions’ romantic drama to that of Fleetwood Mac’s while recording Rumours prompts Schue to assign the glee club to put their own twist on songs from the 1977 album. Here’s how they did:
Schue enlists April to help him with the Rumours kick-off performance, and who knew Kristin Chenoweth could channel Stevie Nicks so accurately? Their “Dreams” duet hits home for the New Directions, who see their drama in its lyrics: One Muckraker blind item hints at a Sam/Quinn reunion, pissing Finn off; another puts Santana in the closet after Brittany referenced Santana “playing for another team” — even though she merely meant her switch from the Cheerios to the New Directions (oh, Brit) — causing drama in the Santittany/Artie love triangle. The harmonies and bare-bones arrangement make for one of Glee‘s most faithful covers yet.
“Never Going Back Again”:
In a hallway fight during which Artie presses Brittany for the state of her Santana relationship, emphasizing his low romantic self-esteem, he accidentally calls her stupid and she runs away in tears. Cue Puck and his finger-plucking skills to accompany Artie’s answer to this week’s assignment, with Artie abandoning his pop superstar persona for the other half of his vocal range: the sweet, almost melancholy fragility to soundtrack his break-up with Brittany. The Glee version sticks to the guitar-only arrangement of the original, and Artie sings while the rest of the glee guys join in on guitar and Santana consoles Brittany. It’s better than Artie’s post-Tina “Stronger.”
Santana attempts yet again to express her feelings for Brittany in song (see also: “Landslide”), this time doing it privately with Christine McVie’s introspective Rumours track. Santana’s vocals are raw and restrained, and the natural tone of her voice makes for a heartbreaking performance. Like McVie, Santana uses this as a break-up: Brittany invites Santana on her web show, “Fondue for Two” to respond to rumours and accept an invite to prom, but Santana opts not to show, later confirming rumors that Santofsky is going strong.
“I Don’t Want to Know”:
Finn and Rachel go on multiple stakeouts at a motel to catch Quinn and Sam in the act, first catching Kurt leaving Sam, and then, finally, Quinn. After Finn confronts Quinn, the pair acknowledge a mutual distrust in their inseperable relationship and duet on “I Don’t Want to Know.” The sweet sounds of their harmonies mask the otherwise bitter sentiment of their performance, and everyone’s a bit uncomfortable. We disagree with Rachel — this was better than Quinn and Sam’s “Lucky.” Quinn gives an ultimatum: she actually trusts Finn but not Rachel, and bans further duets despite upcoming nationals.
“Go Your Own Way”:
Inspired by Quinn’s ultimatum, Rachel puts her own feminine twist on Lindsey Buckingham song — except Finn plays drums so isn’t this a duet (even though Puck is also in the band, getting his second guitar moment of the night)? Regardless, Rachel turns up the diva and the ladies are inspired to sing along back-up. We feel the fury and the pessimism, and wish Rachel had this conviction in her relationships when she was off the stage.
We find out the motel hijinx were actually because Sam’s dad lost his job, then his family lost the house and Glee‘s young viewers get a (belated) crash course in the effects of the recession. Rachel and Finn go over to apologize and say they’ll do anything to keep him in glee club. Cut to the episode’s finale, an inspired “Don’t Stop” that could become this season’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” (title similarities aside), complete with horns and Sam’s younger siblings. It also seems like last week’s booty camp paid off, as there’s slightly more intricate dancing. Lyrically, the song becomes both an apology to Sam — and a wake-up call to Schue, who briefly entertained thoughts of leaving McKinley to go on the road with April Rhodes in her autobiographical show.
Bottom Line: Despite a forced theme premise, the songs of Rumours fit the New Directions’ drama in an organic way, and led to more stripped-down production numbers. They’re not as visually stunning, but they’re vocally some of the more impressive renditions Glee has done all season.
Next Week: Glee covers “Friday,” Jonathan Groff returns and the big night is finally here in “Prom Queen.” Quinn slaps Rachel, which might be the “most unexpected shocking event of the year” — or is that the rumored prom king and queen?
Previously: Everyone’s Proud to be ‘Born This Way’