by Melissa Albert
It proves hard for "Glee" to justify a second Britney Spears tribute episode, especially one that relies so much on mash-ups. But we'll never argue with a Brittany S. Pierce episode, even though our repeated prayers to see Mr. Figgins performing "I’m a Slave 4 U" have once again gone unanswered.
The weak setup for this Spears ep isn’t dental drugs, but Brittany’s sad mood: Santana’s too busy at college to scissor-Skype, Sue’s unimpressed with the Cheerios' performance of Spears' "Hold it Against Me," and Brittany’s attempts at doing a voiceover continually fail.
Worst of all, she gets kicked out of the Cheerios, because you can only complete your homework in crayon for so long before someone notices you’re not fulfilling the academic requirements. Depressed, she trades in her cheer uniform for a "Grandma at the Mall of America" ensemble, inspiring “qualified” “counselor” Emma Pillsbury to step in. She and Schue decide that what Brittany needs is another Spears week.
And the timing couldn’t be better: Glee is set to perform at the upcoming pep rally, because Principal Figgins literally never learns. How much projectile vomit and simulated sex will it take to teach him that the Glee club doesn’t give good pep rally?
After a choir-room mash-up of Britney’s “Boys” and Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” and a lackluster performance of “3” by Tina, Sam and Dreadlocks Joe, it’s rally time. Even though Brittany is displaying classic warning signs—trying to shave her head, attacking Jacob Ben Israel, screaming at bushes—the glee kids still let her go on as soloist.
She wanders around in a sequined bikini, flagrantly slugging orange soda while lip synching Britney’s “Gimme More.” Scandal! Everyone figures out that the glee clubbers aren’t really singing, and Brittany collapses on a bed of Cheetos.
Schue’s perfect hair remains intact, thank God, as he chews out the club for this debacle—which could cause them to be disbanded (we hope Sue Sylvester is taking notes). Shamed, Brittany resigns from glee club.
But at least nobody barfed!
Over at NYADA, Rachel’s rivalry with Cassie continues when she’s told she’s not sexy enough to dance the tango. But everything is easier to handle when you’ve got Kurt and a new Bushwick loft to come home to! The New York dream team gossips by the light of a candle stuck in a wine bottle, and Kurt shares his hopes of working for Vogue while waiting to reapply at NYADA. Only on primetime is a job at Vogue considered a backup plan.
Rachel learns that embittered teacher Cassie might have another motive for hating her students: Her own career is dead. She killed it the night she attacked a man with a prop bat after his phone went off during a performance of "Damn Yankees." So when Rachel’s “I can do sexy!” revenge performance of “Oops!...I Did it Again” fails to wow Cassie, Rachel calls her out for being jealous and a YouTube joke.
There’s that queen bee Berry we all know and love! Always winning friends and influencing people. But this isn’t McKinley High. Cassie tells her she’s done and kicks her out of class.
...but not for long, as it turns out NYADA isn’t run entirely by alcoholic divas. Rachel gets to stay, but on probation—and Cassie reminds her that having a thin skin in theater is a one-way ticket to YouTube infamy. We sense relations thawing between Queen Cassie and Little Miss David Schwimmer.
And things are definitely heating up between Rachel and Brody, who shows up at her place with orchids, oddly unworried by the giant “FINN” heart the lovelorn Rachel’s painted on the wall. He’s also not too worried when his attempt to kiss her is rebuffed—he’s just waiting for her to come around.
Sweetheart Marley’s got it bad for dangerous Jake, even as Unique and the rest of the female student body warns her off with Britney’s “Womanizer.” Yep, Jake’s a true mini-Puck.
Despite all the warnings, Marley meets up with him to perform an acoustic Spears/Aerosmith “Crazy” mash-up. He gives her his leather jacket after she pulls the old “I’m cold” move—which he fails to counter with the equally classic “Babe, my pants are chafing me” move. Rookie mistake, mini-Puck.
Perhaps ruing his pants failure, Jake steps up when the football jerks make fun of Marley’s mom, pushing a dude’s face in a vat of cafeteria food and yelling, “It’s part of a balanced breakfast, bitch!” (We might have made up that last part.)
Schue hustles Jake off to the choir room...where Puck is waiting! The two brothers have a strangely non-awkward first meeting, in which Puck convinces Jake to join New Directions—because it’ll make him a man in a way that even beating up a police horse will not.
Then Puck swaggers out the door and back to L.A., only mildly interested in meeting the brother he never knew he had. Classic Puckerman.
Is it just us, or is Sam crushing on Brittany? Between the two of them, they have almost half a brain, and they could combine their blond locks into one helluva mullet wig. Sam is also the ally Brittany needs with Santana out of the picture. He convinces her to begin her big comeback, which starts with demanding reinstatement as head cheerleader.
But Marley’s getting nowhere with Jake—who’s suddenly dating mean girl cheerleader Kitty. We don’t buy those two together, but somebody’s got to be the third side of the love triangle.
Marley sadly sings Britney’s “Everytime,” as Brittany gazes longingly at Santana’s video-chat away message, Marley gazes longingly at Jake and Rachel gazes longingly at...her painted “FINN” heart. Which she finally paints over in the end.
Song of the Episode: “Womanizer” by a landslide, 'cause us and the girls of McKinley can never get too much Puckerman.
What did you think of last night's "Glee"? Are you shipping Rachel and Brody? Will Jake see the error of his ways and date Marley? Wasn't it totally weird that Puck flew all the way from L.A. for a two-minute conversation? Tell us all of your thoughts in the comments and on Twitter!