Warbler Ramblings: ‘Glee’ Singer Rilan Recaps ‘The Rise and Fall of Sue Sylvester’
"Chemical" singer Rilan – who’s also part of the Warblers on Glee this season — is watching Glee every week and writing recaps of each episode exclusively for PopCrush! Below is his take on the latest episode of 2015. Stay tuned to PopCrush for more Glee guest columns from the rising pop artist.
"The Rise and Fall of Sue Sylvester" begins in the McKinley auditorium. The New Directions perform the dance hit "Rather Be" by Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne. Jane, played by Samantha Ware, shines (as usual) as she takes the lead vocal to the stratosphere.
A pleased Will is immediately stunned when Kurt and Blaine, back early from their honeymoon, tell him that Dalton Academy burned to the ground. In the choir room, Will and Blaine reveal that the Warblers will join the New Directions to form a show choir supergroup. Jane looks very uncomfortable. They all celebrate their perspective journeys to Sectionals and hopefully Nationals. Sue kills the happiness, and threatens to "pluck every feather" from each Warbler herself. Will stands up to the beast and ensures them all that their show choir guests are welcome to stay at McKinley, thanks to the approval of the superintendent himself. A livid Becky refuses to let Sue get away with her plans to destroy the show choir supergroup and breaks ties with her mentor once and for all.
We find Rachel in New York City, back in the halls of NYADA, planning to ask Dean Carmen Tibideaux for permission to return to the university. Back at McKinley, Will and the superintendent inform Sue that they have discovered her sadistic Hurt Locker, complete with her spread in Penthouse. In disbelief, Sue finds herself fired.
Soon enough, Sue appears in a Geraldo Rivera (played by himself) special report in which he exposes all of her lies about her past, complete with cameos of denial from Carnie Wilson and Michael Bolton. Sue lays back into Geraldo with a passionate monologue, but is finally ruined when the original New Directions reveal to the news cameras every detail of Sue’s diabolical plan to destroy the Glee club since its founding. The cherry on top of Sue’s bitter nightmare is that all of this information was tipped to FOX News by her former accomplice and sidekick, Becky Jackson.
The only person who defends Sue is Coach Sheldon, thanking her for helping him end his abusive marriage and for helping him transition. That’s right: Sue’s very own mother, played by the legendary Carol Burnett, refers to Sue as ‘the daughter she just couldn’t love." In her anger, Sue storms out of the interview, but not before punching Geraldo Rivera square in the face. Before the segment cuts to commercial, Will’s interview is played. He reveals that despite all of their differences and troubles, he himself asked the superintendent to keep Sue at McKinley.
Back in the auditorium, Sue’s mother meets her to discuss her lack of love for her daughter. Sue apologizes to her mom for her terrible childhood antics. We learn that Sue’s deep-rooted hatred for show choir stems from her mother’s love, and therefore Sue’s despise, of musicals. To put the past behind them, Sue and her mother sing "The Trolley Song" from the musical Meet Me in St. Louis, starring Judy Garland.
Rachel, back in Lima, tells Blaine, Sam and Mercedes that although Carmen rejected her re-admission, Rachel believes that if she writes a letter to her personally regarding her humility, things might change. Just then, Rachel receives a call from the producers of the Russell Simmons musical, the audition that Mercedes got her. She gets the part.
In the auditorium, Will begins coaching his new show choir supergroup using basic dance routines. The Warblers pick up the steps quickly, but the New Directions continue to stumble. The group once again divides into two and goes at each other, criticizing talent and uniforms. As Will begins to tell the Warblers that their beloved blazers will be no more, Coach Sheldon runs into the auditorium with startling news: Sue Sylvester is the new coach of Vocal Adrenaline. At Carmel High, Coach Sue starts to put her new glee club through the ringer with the workout routine she calls "The Barftron 200." Yikes! While performing Sue’s brutal tasks, Vocal Adrenaline sing "Far From Over" by Frank Stallone from the awkward 1983 film Staying Alive. Nearly broken, the evil glee club welcomes Sue as their new coach.
In the choir room, while discussing the pros and cons of NYADA versus Broadway, Rachel receives a call from Carmen, welcoming her back to the university should she choose to return. With both options on her doorstop, Sam advises Rachel to go back to school and study her craft from her mentor before diving headfirst back into professional theatre. That is not the answer Rachel wants to hear, and she storms out. In the auditorium, Will finds Sue playing a giant church organ. The two begin to go at it after Sue refuses to acknowledge Will’s kind words. In an air-guitar, '80s hairband-themed fantasy, Will and Sue sing "The Final Countdown" by Europe complete with a full backing band, hella hair-sprayed wigs, leather and screaming groupies. As they come back to reality, Will opens his eyes to see the New Directions staring at him in disbelief.
Rachel and Kurt inform Blaine and Will that the superintendent has said that if the New Directions do not win Sectionals, funding for all of McKinley’s arts programs will cease. They shift the paradigm of their dilemma and decide to view the added pressure as another fight they must win. Back in the auditorium, the newly united New Directions reveal their new uniforms (blazers and ties in McKinley colors: a solid compromise) while performing Darren Criss’ original song ‘Rise.’ They look as unified as ever. They are ready to face the stiff competition at Sectionals.
On a personal note, I am delighted to reveal to you guys my joining the New Directions for the last three episodes of Glee … ever! It is an insane honor, and I hope that I, and my fellow Warblers, make you Gleeks proud next week at Sectionals. Til then, this is your inside member of New Directions, signing off.
Watch Rilan Perform His Song "Chemical" Acoustic