You've probably said it to yourself once or twice.
It's that self deprecating phrase that brings us all right back to reality immediately.
"You're a dreamer..."
When Mr. Shue's ex-Glee club nemisis, Bryan Ryan (Neil Patrick Harris), shows up at McKinnley to complete an audit for the school board, he goes right after the Glee club's jugular.
Bitter that his high school Glee club success at McKinnley, which led to a professional singing career on a cruise ship has ended in complete failure, Ryan sets out to destroy the dreams of these McKinnley Gleeks. He asks them to write down their biggest, wildest, showbiz dream on a piece of paper, then walks over to Artie and crumples his paper up and throws it in the trash. A powerful representation of what Ryan believes will happen if they follow their dreams. He decides to cut the Glee club completely from the budget.
Will Artie ever dance?
Will Rachel ever know who her mom is?
Tina decides that she and Artie will perform a dance for the club and Jesse decides it's time to help Rachel find her birth mother. Artie wants to dance, but after he falls to the ground by attempting to walk with hand canes, he blames Tina for pushing him too hard. Jesse and Rachel make up and while looking for clues about her mom while going through her old stuff, Jesse pulls out (of his pocket...I knew he was evil) a cassette that reads, "from mother to daughter". Rachel tells Jesse it's too much for her, that she's not ready to hear it. "What if she sings and she's bad or worse, what if she's better than me?"
Tina gives Artie some research that shows new drug therapies that could help Artie to possibly walk again, and some renewed hope. And our hero, Mr. Shue, decides to save Glee by showing Bryan what he has been missing. Shue sets out to convince Ryan over a few beers that he needs music in his life, and Ryan folds under the pressure and admits to the misery of his life without music. He tells Shue he sneaks around going to shows on the sly and he delivers the line of the night, "I hide Playbills in my basement. They're like porn." The two sing "Piano Man" a tune Ryan sang in Glee club and Shue tells Ryan they are both going to audition for a local production of "Les Miserables" to which Bryan agrees.
And after all that drama, we are FINALLY treated to our first musical number of the night. (don't ever do that again please) At the auditions, the director, a local dry cleaner, tells the guys he's short on time. As their re-kindled rivalry heats up in the theatre setting, the director says to make their audition a duet. They perform the Aerosmith classic "Dream On" and Shue, (Matthew Morrison) sends shivers down my spine. Holy iPod, I loved it!! Especially the screamy, dreamy ending and I find myself distracted by Shue's (Morrison's) pecks. (sorry)
The real emotional pull here, is the dream Artie has to dance. While out with Tina at the mall, Artie reveals to Tina that his doctor has started him on the drug therapies she recommended and they are working!!! Atrie unbelievably gets up from his chair and begins to WALK! Yes, Artie is walking!! (you had to know it was a dream) and better yet, he is dancing! We get a killer dance number and Artie vocal solo in "Saftey Dance". This is the best production number of the night. Not only has Artie (Kevin McHale) got moves, but he's the vocal chops to pull it off effortlessly and the addition of the kid (Gleeks Brittany, Mike, Tina and lots of others) dancers, I predict, make this number a Youtube sensation. More Artie, please. Then it stops-and it is revealed that was indeed, just a dream. A crushing blow for Artie.
In a literal "quickie" we get a Sue Sylvester appearance. A newly rejuvenated Bryan decides to cut the budget for the Cheerios, and has a heated one on one with Sue about education vs sports. LITERALLY, because they are both so sexually turned on by the exchange that they go at it in Sue's secret upstairs room, "just like Letterman"(is this believable? it's possible). Ryan uses the money he shaved off the Cheerios budget and puts it into the Glee club, buying them matching jean jackets and Broadway sheet music. Sue menacingly announces to everyone that Mr. Sue landed the lead in "Les Mis" and Ryan scored a measly ensemble role with one line. This sends Ryan to yank the funds from Glee and tells them he's cutting the program. Shue resigns from "Les Mis" there bye giving the lead to Bryan, which saves the day for the Glee Club.A shameless Ryan accepts and we get the feeling that Bryan Ryan is back where he should be.
Jesse is finally revealed as the spy-that-he-is, because he secretly meets his Vocal Adrenaline coach Shelby Corchran (Idina Menzel). I'm thinking he's been sent there to mess with the New Directions a la Rachel, but we learn that Corchran sent him to lead her to her DAUGHTER, Rachel.(this was also the worst kept secret in Hollywood) Jesse admits that although he was sent to seduce, she says, befriend Rachel, he has real feelings for her. And now I'm pissed, because I now have to see the legitimacy of the Rachel/Jesse union. (and no Finn? At all last night? Yeah, that sucked) It would have been so much easier if he was evil. We learn that Corchran's only regret was giving up Rachel. Jesse follows his orders and sneaks into Rachel's bedroom (where are her two dads?) and plays the cassette of her singing then leaves Rachel alone to listen.
"I Dreamed a Dream" is performed by Corchran and Rachel. This was truly a Broadway purists dream. I couldn't help but think; here is Lea Michelle (Rachel) singing a duet with arguably one of Broadway's most legendary voices, ever, Idina Menzel (Corchran) and she, Michelle, is Blowing. Her. Away. I could hardly believe it myself. I never would have believed that Idina's vocal could be reduced to "ordinary" by another voice if I had not heard it for myself. As powerful as that song and it's implications for the story line was, I was left in awe of Lea Michelle's "once in a generation" voice.
After Artie's heartfelt talk with Ms. Pilsbury about experimental therapies, he realizes that he may never dance and bows out of the performance with Tina, but agrees to sing lead vocal. In a bittersweet rendition of "Dream a Little Dream", we get another Artie solo that leaves us wanting more for him.
Dreamers...we all have our dreams. I say, if you give up your dreams you die.
Never give up and Dream ON.