If you'll recall, I've liked exactly ONE episode from this entire season thus far, but now that single show is in good company because tonight's episode was full of angst, divas and show-stopping performances (namely from Santana) that make "Glee" as fun as it used to be.
Rivalry was a huge theme of the night as we saw it coming from three duos: Artie and Tina, Elliott (Starchild) and Kurt, and Rachel and Santana.
Let's start in Lima, shall we? Artie and Tina fill us in about how happy they are that they've continued the tradition of Tuesday lunches together and share with each other that they're looking so forward to next year when Tina is at Brown and Artie is at the film school in Brooklyn he got into.
Tina shares that she was actually waitlisted and the fact that she she was a cheerleader for a hot second AND prom queen are actually working against her for Brown admittance. Artie and Tina do a great duet with a little background help from McKinley High's New Directions on Kenny Loggins' "Whenever I Call You Friend."
We soon find out from Sue that they are actually both tied for valedictorian and must plead their cases to a small group of teachers in order to decide who gets the grand honor. Ladies and gents, the claws have come out.
During a heated sing off duet of "Never Gonna Get It (My Love)," by En Vogue, Tina and Artie sass their way around the choir room until Tina gets so into it that she actually pushes Artie off his chair! At the end, they realize that they both have changed for the better throughout the years because of each other and, in their speeches, they ask that the panel choose the other for valedictorian.
When this results in a tie, Blaine (who was in third place) gets chosen for the honor and asks Artie and Tina to sing my personal favorite Kelly Clarkson song, "Breakaway," during a dramatic NYC montage that I'll get into later.
In New York, Santana is having problems adjusting back to life in the diner as all of her customers now see her as the chick with the yeast infection thanks to that national commercial spot she snagged back in December.
She tells Rachel that she's so happy for and proud of her for living her dream and doing every thing she had ever wanted. Rachel repays her by getting her a spot on the New York magazine cover she landed as Fanny Brice. All the while, Rachel is back to her old divatude that she had come down from for a while.
During the shoot the girls do a great duet of the hugely popular song "Brave," by Sarah Bareilles. It is a beautiful scene and I can't wait to get back home to watch on DVR! (Oh, did I mention I'm in Las Vegas right now?)
Once Rachel tells Santana to go after what she wants ... she does. She has an explosive, scene-stealing moment as she surprises Rachel by trying out for her understudy with "Don't Rain on My Parade," and dare I say it blew Rachel's version out of the water? Because I just did.
This sends Rachel into a fit of rage when she tells Santana to get out of the apartment. Santana retorts with the fact that Rachel is being ridiculous.
This is where Rachel loses it and tells Santana that she is just jealous and has to be involved in everything that Rachel makes for herself and can't handle the fact that she's not the nerd from high school but a true star.
Santana comes back with the ultimate insult by basically telling Rachel that she's only working this hard to become famous because Santana gave her all the drive she ever needed by picking on her in high school but will never in fact be as good as Santana because she was cool in high school AND equally talented in the professional world.
Then it happens. The slap heard 'round New York. Rachel lets Santana's (left?) cheek have it. (Again, I don't have my DVR but I think it was the left one.)
Back at rehearsal they're told that they need to get over whatever it is they're fighting about because the huge story angle for PR purposes is how two friends from the same high school in Lima, Ohio, have both made it big in the Broadway world.
They sing Sting's "Every Breath You Take." Unable to deal with it anymore, Rachel decides she needs to leave the apartment — causing the aforementioned dramatic exit of Rachel Berry during "Breakaway," complete with a Rachel/Santana picture rip as she exits the door.
Finally, in a friendlier version of this rivalry game, Kurt thinks Elliott is out to take over his band, Pamela Lansbury. Blaine encourages Kurt to "keep his enemies closer" and that's just what Kurt does, complete with song interlude of The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love."
The two have unmistakable chemistry together and Elliott assures Kurt that he's not out to steal the band. They take some cute selfies — including one where Elliott is kissing Kurt on the cheek — to make up. Becky finds it on social media and tells Blaine he's losing his fiancé.