Last night’s episode of Glee taught Gleeks the power of the ballad. After the emotionally heavy "Wheels" of last week, "Ballad" opened with laughs when Mr. Schuester introduced the Glee Club to a new project.
The kids are paired off randomly and assigned to sing a ballad to one another. Due to Matt’s freak medical emergency, Rachel is paired with Mr. Schu, much to his chagrin. He agrees to sing "Endless Love" with Rachel to teach the group what a ballad is. The terrified look on Mr. Schu’s face, Rachel’s lovelorn expression, and the off-the-wall voiceovers from the kids make for a hilarious combination.
Along with the ballads, two new crushes are revealed (A crush? On Glee? Never!). First we see Rachel’s school-girl crush on Mr. Schu, which he desperately tries to nip in the bud by singing her a mash-up of "Young Girl" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and "Don’t Stand So Close to Me" by the Police. The message sails right over Rachel’s head.
Then there’s Kurt’s unrequited love of Finn. It all started when Finn yelled at Puck for pushing Kurt into a locker ("Dude, impulse control!"), and grew while they spent time together in Glee Club and football practice. As Kurt says, "I’m madly in love with Finn." Lucky for him, Kurt and the often clueless football captain are partnered for their ballad.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Glee Club are worrying about Quinn and Finn and their unwanted bun in the oven. When Mercedes tells Puck that the Glee Club is planning to sing a ballad to show their support for the couple, Puck snaps, "Finn’s not the father! I am." Quickly recovering, Mercedes puts him in his place, telling him that he might be the baby daddy, but it takes a lot more to be a father. She reminds him that Quinn chose Finn, and Puck owes it to her to back off.
Mr. Schu remembers another schoolgirl crush, that of Suzie Pepper, who was so distraught over his rejection she ate the hottest hot pepper in the world and was in a medically induced coma for three days. Fearing the worst from Rachel, Mr. Schu tries to get through to her. But it doesn’t help when Mrs. Schuster invites Rachel over to cook dinner and clean their house. Rachel doesn’t get the message until she’s confronted by Suzie Pepper herself, fresh from two years of therapy and an esophagus transplant.
Ashamed, Rachel apologizes to Mr. Schu with tears in her eyes. He assures her that some day some boy will love her for all that she is, even the parts she doesn’t like. After their heart-to-heart, all is well between diva and teacher.
Back to crush No. 2, where Kurt is helping Finn stop worrying about the baby by getting him to sing "I’ll Stand By You" by the Pretenders. But the cat’s out of the bag when Finn’s mom catches him singing the ballad to a sonogram.
Quinn’s parents (we shall dub them Shallow and Clueless) invite Finn over for dinner. When Finn asks Kurt to help him pick out an outfit for the occasion, they go through a trunk containing his father’s Marine Corps uniform. In a very touching scene, the two boys bond over their departed parents, Finn’s dad and Kurt’s mom.
In the most painfully awkward scene ever, Quinn, Finn, and Quinn’s parents sit down to dinner. Finn chooses this moment (after a pep talk on the phone with Kurt) to sing "You’re Having My Baby" by Paul Anka to Quinn. The disastrous result is that her parents literally denounce the couple and kick Quinn out of their house. Things are looking worse than ever when Finn’s mom tells Quinn she can stay at their house for as long as she needs.
In the final scene, Kurt tells Finn his ballad is "I honestly love you," before the two are interrupted by Mercedes. Finn is ushered to the choir room, where the entire Glee Club is waiting for him. The group sings "Lean on Me" to Finn and Quinn to show the couple that they’re not alone in dealing with the pregnancy. Credits roll on a group of smiling, dancing, teenagers who will live to sing another day.
Notably absent in "Ballad" was conniving cheer-leading coach Sue Sylvester. In last week’s episode, "Wheels," we learned that Sue actually has a soul, which only comes out in the presence of her mentally handicapped sister.
With Sectionals only a few weeks away, there’s a lot of sordid drama to get through on Glee. Will Finn find out Puck is Quinn’s baby daddy? Will Mr. Schu find out Mrs. Schu is pregnant with a foam pad? Will Tina make things right with Artie? Will Finn finally choose between Rachel and Quinn? You know what they say: It’s not over till the high school outcasts sing.