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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday’s “Sweet Dreams” episode of Glee.]
Following last week’s McKinley-focused school shooting and last chance-themed episode, Glee shifted its lens to focus on dreams — the theme for this year’s Regionals — as Rachel Berry prepared for the role of her own dreams during Thursday’s “Sweet Dreams” episode.
Here are 11 highlights from the episode:
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1. Finn (Cory Monteith) is a college man at the University of Lima, where he’s studying to become a teacher. It’s a serious campus, with the “Harlem Shake” breaking out around every corner — prompting the freshman to enjoy life a bit. His new roommate: Puck (Mark Salling), who isn’t there to study as the guys have beer pong parties in their dorm, slip-n-slides in the hall and more. The results: They’re instantly admitted to a fraternity.
2. After Finn misses another test, Puck has a heart-to-heart with his best friend. Puck realizes that he wants to show everyone who took him for granted that he’s worth something and cracks the whip — he’s not going to enroll but instead stay on campus to write his screenplay and ensure Finn continues to work hard to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher.
3. Rachel (Lea Michele) is prepping to play Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, the culmination of every dream she’s ever had. Shelby (returning guest star Idina Menzel) tracks her biological daughter down before her audition — not bitter, she’s got a Broadway daycare business she runs that allows her to spend time with Beth and her new bigger, better dream is to see Rachel land the part she always wanted. Shelby suggests Rachel not singa Barbra Streisand song during her audition. She encourages Rachel to put her own unique stamp on the role and offers to help her prepare. Together, they cover Emeli Sandé‘s “Next to Me.”
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4. Rachel calls Finn to thank him for ridding her of Brody (Dean Geyer) and says she wishes that he’d have stayed in New York to spend more time with her. Nervous about her audition, she asks him for the perfect song to perform. He suggests she sing something personal that takes her back to the roots of her passion. “Make those producers fall in love with you in that moment on the stage. I know you have it in you,” he tells her. “You’ll be great. I can’t wait to come to a show sometime.” Even if it’s only a phone call, it’s good to see the two share (finally) share scenes together again.
5. At the audition, Rachel goes with a Glee classic: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the song that helped launch the Fox musical as a global phenomenon. She imagines the original New Directions backing her as we see Tina, Artie, Mercedes, Kurt and Finn all support her as Rachel’s trademark confidence — and ease center stage — is on full display. Even after four seasons and countless replays, we still love this song and it feels just as energized as it did during the Glee pilot. (Also: Welcome back Amber Riley! More please!) Producers call the performance “different” and Rachel credits her friends with believing in her abilities after she’s questioned what shifted for her mid-song.
6. Just as she defends her decision to cover Journey, Rachel gets the call she’s been waiting for and grows one step closer to her dreams: “I got a call back for Fannie!” she tells Kurt. While Glee hasn’t been renewed for season five yet, we’re hoping that the story line includes actually seeing Rachel on Broadway, her goal since the very beginning.
7. Coach Roz (Nene Leakes) is back — she’s been training the North Korea swim team with Dennis Rodman — and she’s taken over Sue’s (Jane Lynch) Cheerios following the latter’s dismissal during the school shooting incident. Roz is suspicious of Cheerios co-captains Blaine (Darren Criss) and Becky. She (sort of) figures out what happens with Sue’s termination — though she thinks Blaine is the one who hexed the ex-coach to bring a gun to school. Blaine realizes Becky (Lauren Potter) knows more than she’s letting on about Sue’s dismissal.
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8. Will and Coach Beiste (Dot Marie Jones) are still rattled from the school shooting. She encourages him to make amends Finn: “It’s worth it,” she says. Inspired, he heads to apologize to Finn in the dorms. He asks Finn to come back and co-coach New Directions with him.
9. The theme for Regionals this year: Dreams. Marley (Melissa Benoist) wants to perform one of her original songs, inspired to make the most of her life after the scare of the school shooting. She performs “You Have More Friends Than You Know,” an original song from Mervyn Warren and Jeff Marx, with Blaine, Sam and Unique. The song is an emotional ballad inspired by the bond of the club and what everyone means to her and is reminiscent of when Glee‘s focus was on the emerging New Directions. They’re all impressed and Will overhears the discussion and realizes he’s made a mistake.
10. Finn returns to McKinley to tell Will (Matthew Morrison) that he was right that he needed to get his focus back and Finn tells him that he’s worked out a deal for college credit to help coach New Directions. “It’s got to be a partnership, I want to be treated as an equal — like a teacher,” he tells him as they make amends.
11. Will makes things right with New Directions. “I’m sorry if I made any of you feel like you don’t have a voice in this room, you do,” he says as he welcomes Finn back as his equal partner. Their first mission: Marley will teach the club one of her original songs. She then leads New Directions with “Outcast,” an original song that has us going straight to iTunes. Suddenly the struggling club admitted to Regionals on a technicality is back to being a contender. It’s a performance that finally unites the (mostly new) group and again reminds us of Glee circa season one.
What did you think of the episode? Are you still curious who is Catfishing Ryder? Did you enjoy Journey and Marley’s new song? Hit the comments below with your thoughts. Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit
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