November 15, 2011 9:47pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee' Recap: Santana and Finn Go Head to Head
With Sectionals just around the corner, the Trouble Tones and New Directions are informed that they’ll be competing with one another, which prompts Mr. Schuester and Shelby to engage the dueling clubs in a head-to-head mash-up battle in the school’s inaugural Mash Off.
Much of the episode focused on the ongoing conflicts at McKinley, with Rachel and Kurt still on the outs over the student body election, Quinn still going after Shelby in a bid to reclaim baby Beth and Finn and Santana facing off as the voices of their respective glee clubs. Here are The Hollywood Reporter’s top moments from “Mash Off.”
[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode.]
SANTANA VS. FINN
While Will and Shelby had hoped to avoid “World War Glee” with a friendly competition between the two clubs, that’s exactly what transpired between Finn and Santana. Sick of being the subject of Santana’s verbal bashing and after realizing he’d never win, Finn challenges Santana to a game of dodgeball that ends up with Rory being pelted and Kurt, Mercedes, Rachel and Shelby all advising Santana that her obsession with taking Finn down has gone too far. Finn ultimately tries to get the last word after Santana’s “apology” is anything but and, in the middle of the McKinley hallway asks Santana why she doesn’t “just come out of the closet.”
“I think I know why you’re so good at tearing everybody else down: it’s because you’re constantly tearing yourself down because you can’t admit to everybody that you’re in love with Brittany and she might not love you back,” Finn tells her. “That must hurt to not be able to admit everyone how you really feel. You know what I think you are? A coward.” Finn’s tirade leaves Santana speechless.
Later, when Santana is called into Sue’s office, she learns that she’s being outed in a TV commercial challenging Sue’s family values and questioning why the Cheerios’ coach has a lesbian student as head cheerleader. Santana leaves the office in tears, noting that she has yet to come out to her parents as the episode then cuts into the Trouble Tones’ Adele mash-up of “Rumor Has It”/“Someone Like You” with Naya Rivera giving an emotionally charged and bordering angry performance that ranks as one of her best yet.
As the song concludes, a pissed off Santana jumps off-stage and confronts Finn, screaming at him that everyone will now know that she’s gay before slapping her new enemy across the face.
While Kurt’s coming out to his father was a tender moment and reflected the best possible outcome, Santana’s forced outing was just as real and Rivera played the scenes with the perfect blend of anger, hurt and fear one would expect when such a personal decision is no longer yours to control.
PUCK AND SHELBY
Tuesday’s episode opened with Puck, Finn and most of the New Directions guys re-enacting Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” in a cover that was one of the season’s most energetic performances. The song fit perfectly with Puck’s crush on substitute teacher Shelby and provided a good set up for the episode in which he professed his love to the Trouble Tones coach.
The performance – and choreography with Blaine and Mike on backup – with Finn really cutting loose was lively and fun and, lived up to the expected hype that started the moment the Puck-Shelby romance arc began.
It also continued Puck’s good guy streak and took the story to the next level when the reformed bad boy with a penchant for older women says she makes him feel “like the man that I’ve always wanted to be – a family man.” Further proof that Puck can be a true gentleman: he confesses Quinn’s plan to have Beth taken from Shelby in another step to earn her trust – and love.
RACHEL AND KURT
After going to her biological mother, Shelby, for a recommendation letter and being told that her extracurricular activities are incredible, Rachel finally sees the writing on the wall when she attempts to bond with Kurt over their NYATA applications and he won’t have any of it. During the school’s campaign speeches for student body president, a moved Rachel realizes that her friendship with Kurt – and attending NYATA with him -- means more to her than another line on her résumé and ultimately withdraws from the election and all is right in the world. Let’s hope Glee never keeps these two apart for long.
What did you think of Finn and Santana’s confrontation? What were your top moments?