‘Glee’ Recap: The New Directions Get ‘Naked’ for Their Art
On this episode of ‘Glee‘, the New Directions strip off all their clothes to create a Men of McKinley calendar, which they plan to sell in order to raise money to pay for a bus to get them to Regionals. Meanwhile, female members of the group struggle with their own feelings about how nudity and art function together.
Dalton is officially stripped of their Sectionals title after the doping allegations that took place during the ‘Sadie Hawkin’s Dance‘ episode, and McKinley is officially allowed to go to Regionals in Dalton’s place.
In the choir room, Finn (Cory Monteith) says they need to come up with money for a bus to the event and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) enthusiastically recommends a Men of McKinley Calendar to raise the cash. Artie (Kevin McHale) is visibly worried, wondering why women can’t also be objectified for the good of the club, with Kitty (Becca Tobin) saying they need the spending habits of women, who will purchase the calendar.
Marley (Melissa Benoist) joins Brittany (Heather Morris) on her web-series Fondue for Two and Brittany recommends she tell Jake (Jacob Artist) that she’s in love with him.
The next day, the SAT scores have come in and through sheer luck and idiocy, Brittany has managed to get a 2340. Sam (Chord Overstreet) is on the opposite end of the spectrum with a seemingly impossible 340 despite actually trying.
In New York, Rachel (Lea Michele) has been offered the part in a NYADA student’s senior thesis film, which would require her to be topless. She has an internal monologue with herself, her more cautious side manifesting itself in a high school age Rachel. After literally arguing with herself, both Rachels work out their problems through song by performing ‘Torn’ by Natalie Imbruglia.
Tina invites Blaine (Darren Criss) to the mall, but before he can respond they are interrupted by Sam walking around in only swim trunks and announcing that he’ll be holding a seminar in preparation of the Glee clubs’ calendars. After he teaches the boys about broga (yoga for bros), the New Directions perform a medley of ‘Centerfold’/’Hot In Here’ by J. Geils Band and Nelly.
Sue (Jane Lynch) questions Finn’s calendar choice in the teachers’ lounge, at which point he calls her a hypocrite and threatens to blackmail her by finding an issue of Penthouse she once posed for. The gauntlet has been thrown!
Brody (Dean Geyer) interrupts Kurt’s (Chris Colfer) breakfast with his nudity, claiming he’s doing it in solidarity for Rachel’s decision. This results in an argument between the three NYADA students about how important nudity is in art. Kurt basically slut shames Rachel for agreeing to go topless, Brody thinks nudity makes you a stronger actor and Rachel is “team loving your body” and is willing to open her horizons.
Back at McKinley, Jake gets and emergency text from Marley and meets her in the auditorium. They sing Christina Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years’ from the ‘Twilight‘ soundtrack and when they finish, they kiss. Marley is about to tell Jake she loves him, but she hesitates at the last minute and ends up blurting out, “I love … this song.” Awkward.
Finn asks Artie to track down Sue’s appearance in Penthouse for him, a task which he gleefully (pun intended) agrees to. In return, Artie tells Finn he’s not comfortable posing for the calendar, and Finn thinks it’s pretty cool he wants to keep parts of himself private.
Jake and Ryder (Blake Jenner) are having a muscle-off when Jake confesses his feelings to Ryder about Marley. He tells his friend about the incident in the auditorium and says he wants to tell her he loves her but doesn’t want to do it first. Ryder suggests he tell her, and the next day, Jake sings ‘Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)’ by Ne-Yo while Marley looks on red-faced.
Back in New York, Rachel is surprised by some special guests: Santana (Naya Rivera) and Quinn (Dianna Agron), who have been summoned by Kurt for an emergency intervention on behalf of Rachel and her breasts.
Later that same night, Santana and Quinn tell Rachel not to film the topless scene. Rachel argues that it will be empowering and Santana (who herself had a sex tape leak) expresses worry that it will follow Rachel around forever.
At school, it’s calendar photo-taking montage time with Artie looking on from the sidelines and Sam obsessing about his body. Blaine takes him aside and tells him to stop overcompensating for his low test scores by focusing on his body. As he tells his love interest, the club will love him no matter what.
In the teacher’s lounge, Finn hands Sue an envelope containing her Penthouse issue, which Sue says she is not ashamed of and would therefore love to look at again. When she opens up the package to find an issue of Highlights, Finn reveals that he videotaped her confession in which she admitted that she was once a centerfold. Game, set, match.
Blaine takes Sam to see Ms. Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), who gives Sam options for schools that don’t look at SATs and tells him how to get scholarships. A downtrodden Sam seems unsure of his own talents but takes the information anyway.
Rachel is filming her movie in New York, but despite the crew removing their clothes, she can’t go through with the scene. She admits to the director that it’s okay for actresses to be nude, but she’s not ready yet. After getting fired, she, Quinn and Santana sing Sara Bareilles’ ‘Love Song.’
Sam is still despondent when Blaine goes to check on him, asking if he wants to work on his college essays. Blaine proceeds to show Sam a tape he made of everyone talking about how Sam has helped, inspired or changed their lives over the years. As a tearful Sam hugs his friend, Blaine says he can use the video as his essay.
Paying it forward, Sam convinces Artie to be in the calendar, fully clothed. When the finished editions come in, they sell so fast that there’s more than enough money to take the New Directions to Regionals. From the sidelines, Sue makes it clear to Finn that their fight is far from over.
Meanwhile, Jake hands Marley a calendar, which he signed, “I love you.” She tells him she loves him back and they kiss again.
Excited for a brand new year ahead of them, the Glee club performs ‘The New Year’ by Ian Axel with hope for 2013.