Glee recap: Dynamic Duets (a.k.a. The Return of the WARBLERS!)

Previously on Glee: The future of arts education rests in Will Schuester’s hands, so obviously, we’re all screwed. Finn Hudson is considered competent enough to lead the Glee Club. Kurt and Blaine broke up, shattering my heart into a million pieces. Finn 2.0 & Puck 2.0 are fighting over Rachel 2.0, while Quinn 2.0 is a horrible human being.

Y’all, this is the most cracktastic episode of Glee I have ever seen. And unlike the Rocky Horror episode (which was more craptastic than cracktastic), this was actually a really enjoyable episode. It’s episodes like this one that make me remember why the show can be considered a comedy.

We open with a meeting of the Secret Society of Superheroes. I guess this has morphed out of the Superhero Sidekick Club we saw back in the third episode. Blaine is naturally the president, since we know that he joined basically every club in order to fill his time without Kurt. Blaine says the club is to fight injustice and preserve peace in the halls of McKinley, making this the coolest anti-bullying approach I’ve ever seen. They also get to make their own secret identity and costume. Though, if they’re wearing their costumes through the halls of McKinley, they’re really bad at this whole secret identity thing, especially since they have no masks.

Blaine begins the meeting by calling roll. Members present include:
Tina – Asian Persuasion, whose super power is being the “mistress of manipulation”
Sam – Blonde Chameleon, who can impersonate anyone, but pretty much seems to stick to George W. Bush and Star Wars characters
Joe – Tarantula Head, who can lash people with his dreads. They do look quite dangerous.
Sugar – Sweet & Spicy, who embraces the power of money.

He goes on to induct the three new members. Artie already has one strike against him when he refers to Blaine by his “civilian identity.” Dude, if you don’t want him to call you Blaine, either put on a mask or loosen up on the gel. Right now, you’re just Blaine in a funny outfit. The new members include Artie (the wheelie-poppin’ Dr. Y because Professor X would be a copyright violation, making it his second strike), Becky (Queen Bee who “can sting like a bitch”), and Brittany (The Human Brain).

The Nightphone goes off, but it’s just Asian Persuasion wanting to know if Blaine has talked to Kurt. I consider this a reference to the Blaine/Tina friendship I long for, but never actually get to see. Nightbird tells Asian Persuasion he’s immune to her powers of manipulation. Someone named Chai Tea (who is a completely unknown character) declares an emergency in the choir room and the Secret Society of Superheroes goes running in full costume down the halls of McKinley, effectively killing the “secret” part of their name. I greatly enjoy the fact that Artie has light-up wheels on his wheelchair.

A laptop has taken the place of the beloved Nationals trophy. Nightbird deduces that someone rich wanted to send them a message because no one else could afford to leave behind a random computer. Indeed, it is an unknown Warbler cradling the Nationals trophy warning them of the Great Reckoning, a.k.a. Sectionals.

Jake goes up to Marley, asking if she’s joining in on the superhero rage sweeping McKinley. Of course, Marley has Body Issues, so no Spandex jumpsuit for her, despite the fact that girl can rock that shit. Jake goes on to nervously ask Marley out on Friday. She starts sputtering a response before Ryder douche-ily comes up and answers for her. Apparently, Marley has agreed to go cheer on the McKinley Titans at an away game and is unavailable to hang out with Jake. Even though I really like Ryder, I hate the way he acts all alpha male around Marley. He somewhat patronizingly gives Jake a lecture about how girls don’t like it when you send mixed signals. Well, this woman also really hates when men answer questions aimed at women. Just saying. Jake makes the point that he never asked Ryder a question and they proceed to get into a pissing contest. So not sexy. Ryder does get in a really good burn about how Jake rides a Razor scooter, which I didn’t even know were still a thing.

Even less sexy than trading insults is getting into a fistfight, so that’s naturally the next step. Fortunately, Mr. Schue is back from Washington to break up the fight. Oh wait, it’s not Mr. Schue. It’s Finn freaking Hudson wearing a sweater vest and looking exactly like Mr. Schue. You have to be kidding me. The best part of this scene is Tina coming up in her Asian Persuasion costume and telling them she persuades them to stop fighting. Oh Tina Cohen-Chang, how I adore you.

Glee Club is starting and Finn is staring at Mr. Schue’s old Glee Club advisor and he looks scared shitless. I half expected Finn to have a framed picture of Schue up there, but he apparently spent too much time raiding Will’s closet instead of snapping creepy photos for his shrine. Finn gets everyone’s attention and welcomes Ryder and Kitty to the New Directions. Tina asks if they get to vote on Kitty and seriously, they’ve made every other person audition. NewSchue says they need two more members to compete and Tina’s opinion is invalid. Tina brings up the perfectly acceptable burn that he could just call Santana and have her come back, since Finn decided she would be better than any current student at McKinley to play Rizzo in Grease. I so want Tina to have an epic bitch fit before the end of the season. Jenna Ushkowitz is a fantastic actress and her character is treated liked like shit.

NewSchue ignores Tina, as per usual, and goes to write on the White Board, but somehow breaks the marker. He scrambles around to find a new dry erase marker and kind of just looks like a sad puppy. Everyone looks at him with pity. NewSchue declares Sectionals game plan to be “Foreigner.” They’ll sing Foreigner songs in foreign languages wearing the costumes of all the world’s foreign countries. Oh, where do I even begin with this one. First of all, this would require Finn to know any foreign language and we all know he’s not the brightest bulb in the package. Secondly, they’re going to need way more than 12 members for ALL the countries of the world. Third, Finn is an idiot.

Everyone stares at him with blank looks until they realize he’s serious. Blaine brings up that they’re National champions and need to exceed expectations. It certainly exceeds my expectations for idiocy, if that’s any consolation. Blaine gets up and decides now is the perfect time to go get their Nationals trophy back from the Warblers, since Finn didn’t even notice it was missing. He whooshes out of the room, cape and all.

NewSchue walks along with Coach Beiste, who is apparently the Superhero Society’s faculty advisor. She also has to wear a costume. She is the Beiste Master from the planet “Testostergen.” She can “digest any known substance and cry at the drop of the hat.” Dot-Marie Jones is so fantastic that I pretty much adore anything she does, even when it’s this ridiculous. She adorably gives someone a thumbs up for their costume. She tries to explain to Finn that being a superhero is awesome and kind of like being on stage. You get to put on a mask and be anyone you want to be.

They go into the Teachers Lounge. Pretty sure NewSchue isn’t supposed to be in there, since he’s not a teacher because he has absolutely no certifications. He can’t even be a substitute teacher and the qualifications for that are basically nothing. I would know. I’m a certified substitute teacher. He laments the fact that his first Glee Club lesson was a disaster because none of them take him seriously as an adult. I wouldn’t take him seriously because his ideas are terrible and he’s wearing a Mr. Schue costume, but he can believe what he wants to. Finn takes a huge sip of coffee and spits it out wondering why people drink such a disgusting substance. I call bullshit on any 18/19-year-old not having even tasted coffee, especially one having lived in the same household as Kurt Hummel. Beiste tells Finn to get a pair of tights and be their hero. I don’t know that I want to see Finn in tights.

Blaine goes down the Dalton staircase, reminding me of better days when Blaine was happy at Dalton. Those dreams are killed when freaking Sebastian is waiting for him. Seb maintains he’s turned over a new leaf and given up his evil ways, but I believe nothing yet, especially when he says that being nice sucks. He tells Blaine that the new captain of the Warblers is waiting to talk to him.

Blaine goes into the Warblers meeting room, giving me so many warm fuzzies at memories of happier times. Then the Warbler captain turns around. Y’all, he is legit stroking a white cat, like a Bond villain. It is so ridiculous and it’s the little touches like that which make me love this episode. It’s just so damn over the top. EvilWarbler (or Hunter as he likes to be called) is the new captain and is “not even remotely bicurious.” He apparently got pulled into Dalton from Colorado Springs on a show choir scholarship, because those exist. Also, apparently military school choirs can get presidential honors. EvilWarbler declares his true intentions: to get the legendary Blaine back. Hunter makes the points many fans have been making since Blaine left Dalton. The only thing tying Blaine to McKinley was Kurt. New Directions even calls him Blaine Warbler, for crying out loud. Not to mention, New Directions has never exactly been welcoming to Blaine and I think he owes them no allegiance.

Seb and three beloved Warblers (Curt Mega, Riker Lynch, Jon Hall) walk in. See, here’s why I’m okay with this. I operate under the fanon that Curt Mega & Riker Lynch (or Nick & Jeff, which are their character names) are besties with Blaine and just want him back. Hell, I want Blaine back at Dalton. Except when he was with Kurt, he never seemed truly happy at McKinley. He only transferred because Kurt wanted a magical senior year and didn’t give a crap that Blaine’s senior year would be atrocious at a school where no one cares about him. Blaine deserves to be happy at Dalton. The Warblers start harmonizing and Blaine just can’t resist the melodic sounds. Even though he claims not to be there to sing, he lasts about half a second before breaking in and leading them in perfect harmony, especially after they present him with the blazer. They perform Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side” and AdorablePuppyBlaine is back where he belongs with THE MOTHAFUCKIN’ WARBLERS! He even jumps on the table, just like OldPreciousBlaine did. I want to reach through my television and hug him before helping him pack his bags back to Dalton.

I absolutely love this song for this moment. He’s essentially begging the Warblers to love him and his dark side. The New Directions have never made the attempt to show that they love Blaine. In the past few episodes, we’ve seen that Blaine is searching and doesn’t feel like he belongs anywhere. He is deeply troubled and I am extremely concerned for him. I personally think he’s suffering from depression and needs professional help, but no one at McKinley seems to notice (with the exception of Sam). However, the Warblers loved Blaine. He was their leader. He felt like he had a purpose. I don’t think he’s had that since leaving Dalton.

Finn walks into the choir room in full superhero gear. I don’t understand the dress code at this school. I’m pretty sure full-body spandex is not okay. But anyway, he’s in this ridiculous blue jumpsuit. Artie speaks for us all when he looks at Finn and says “Oh dear God.” Finn declares that he’s trying something new. Dude, it’s a duets competition. Schue has done them the past three years. Just because you put the word “Dynamic” in front of it, that doesn’t mean anything. The catch is that they’re focusing on songs about superheroes this time. Everyone is confused because Finn looks ridiculous. Granted, this idea is much better than that ridiculous Foreigner shit. They finally ask who he is. Finn is now “The Almighty Treble Clef, uniter of glee clubs.” Kitty and Joe remind us they’re super Christian. Ryder sticks up for Finn, who goes on to compare New Directions to the Avengers. He even says that some of them have “mortal enemies” in the choir room and they’re turning to the “dark side.” He reminds them about the nefarious Warblers. Apparently, Blaine as Nightbird speaks in the third person and says he’s handling it. He pairs Jake & Ryder and Marley & Kitty together to perform duets. Apparently, no one else has to perform? The majority of the glee club starts cheering, like Finn has been some inspirational leader or something. Meanwhile, Blaine is just kind of hunched in the corner of the group and looks so sad and miserable.

Kitty comes up to Marley in the hallway and hands her the sheet music for Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” Anytime these two interact is just awful. Mainly, Kitty is just a terrible human being. Marley wants to have a little more conversation, but Kitty has made her final decree. She will be singing the song as “Femme Fatale,” which she says means “Kill Women.” Ugh. I’m sure Becca Tobin is a great actress, but there is nothing enjoyable about Kitty. In fact, she is the single most morally reprehensible character in the history of this show.

Jake and Ryder go into the assignment with the view that they don’t like each other and nothing will change that. Most likely true, but way to be optimistic. Both of them claim “Mega Stud” as their alter ego. Sigh. I just can’t, y’all. I want to like both these characters and I mostly do, but the whole “alpha male” shit just drives me nuts. They stare each other down. Ryder can cock his eyebrow pretty impressively, while Jake just creeps me out when he literally bares his teeth at Ryder. Anyway, we cut to them in full Clark Kent costume performing REM’s “Superman.” The song itself isn’t bad. I kind of like their voices together. Then they go back to fighting over Marley and get all up in her space. The whole possessiveness thing is so irritating. I really want Marley to not pick either of them. Jake & Ryder both located tear-away suits and rip them off to reveal almost identical Mega Stud costumes. The costume just has the initials for Mega Stud. Artie reminds me why I love him when he turns to Finn and says, “Isn’t MS a degenerative nerve disease?” I just need Artie to follow me around and point out ridiculousness. They’re literally shoving each other out of Marley’s path until they start punching each other again. Finn stands there like a lost puppy while his students are beating the shit out of each other. Way to go, NewSchue.

Finn manages to get the two of them into the auditorium where he lectures them on the goal of the assignment. He figured this one duet would help them bond and be bros for life. The rest of us live in the real world and realize that two teenage boys who both want the same girl and hate each other are not going to instantly be brought together with 90s alternative music. Jake tells Finn the assignment is lame, which is true. But apparently, the really lame thing is losing at Sectionals. Finn freaks out a little bit. Ryder says Jake is just a playa and Marley doesn’t want or deserve him. Jake says Ryder has no idea what Marley wants. You know who we should ask? Marley. Finn decides he needs to give them a new assignment. He’s going to leave these two boys, who have a history of beating the crap out of each other, alone to talk about their biggest fears. He tells them to reveal their “kryptonite” to each other. Oy vey.

Finn goes back to the choir room, where he has thankfully ditched the spandex. He’s playing with weird little figurines. Some of them appear to have faces of the glee club members on them. Some are just weird and faceless. I refuse to believe that the man who broke a dry erase marker is coordinated enough to have made a dozen moldable figurines. Unless you can buy them at some creepy store. Anyway, he’s trying to choreograph for Sectionals when Blaine comes in and reveals he’s going back to Dalton. Blaine says it was like some storyline in X-Men 2 with Pyro and IceMan. Bottom line is they actually acted like they gave a shit about him and he wants to go back there. Finn freaks out and says Blaine belongs with New Directions. Finn stupidly acts if this is because of Kurt. Blaine tries to make Finn understand that everything about McKinley reminds him of Kurt and he’s absolutely miserable there. He says he feels like he’s floating without his anchor. Blaine tells Finn ND needs a team that will gel. Finn points out the amount of gel in Blaine’s hair and says Blaine is their gel. That’s all New Directions sees in Blaine. He’s just the overly-gelled guy with a great voice. None of them actually give a crap about him as a person. Rather than trying to support him, they just want him to do whatever they want. Blaine shuts Finn down and leaves.

Back to the horribly handled Body Image storyline. Marley tells Kitty she can’t do the duet with her because she can’t wear a costume. She still thinks she’s too fat. Kitty continues to be a horrible person by encouraging Marley to continue purging, which she has apparently done every day for the past week. This storyline is so detrimental, particularly considering the large number of teenage girls who watch the show. I’m terrified to see how they’ll resolve it because I know it will be awful. Multiple people on various message boards I read have commented on how triggering these discussions are for people who have dealt with eating disorders. Glee has mishandled a lot of really serious issues, but I think this might be the most egregious. Kitty promises to tell Marley if she looks fat and gives her a hug. At this point, I see no way the writers could possibly redeem Kitty as a character. She isn’t even someone I love to hate. I just hate her.

Cut to the boys’ locker room where Sam has a jock strap over his face and is pretending to be Bane from the Batman movies. I really hope that’s a clean jock strap. If any other character was doing this, I would be cringing. But it’s Sam and he’s shirtless, so it’s just really adorable. Ryder reminds me that I do sometimes like him when he just treats Sam like what he’s doing is a regular occurrence. Let’s be honest. It probably is. Sam is adorkable. Jake hands Ryder a handwritten note about his biggest fears. I would not have expected Jake to be the first one to embrace the assignment, but so be it. Ryder tells Jake to “be a man” and say it out loud. Ugh with the “be a man” shit. If there was a drinking game for every time someone told a male character on this show to “be a man” or “man up” or any other such offensive shit, I’d be drunk through every episode. Anyway, Jake says he never feels like he fits in because he’s “half black, half white, and half Jewish.” Horrible math aside, this is a storyline that could be interesting. Instead, we just get a cutscene to a bunch of kids in the hallway making fun of him for being biracial and Jewish. If I thought the writers would remember this storyline past this week, I would get more invested. However, continuity isn’t a strong point for the Glee writers. Jake nervously asks what Ryder’s kryptonite is. Ryder gets nervous and walks to his locker. We get two “be a man”s from Jake and Ryder admits that he made Jake tell him what the note said because he can’t read it.

Back to the awful Body Image storyline. Kitty walks out of a toilet stall in her full body catsuit and heels. Marley gets nervous and walks out with her arms crossed over her body. Here’s the thing. Marley looks hot. She has “WF” on her costume. Kitty asks what it stands for and Marley says “Wall Flower.” Whenever Marley isn’t dealing with her awful love triangle shit, I kind of just want to hug her. Kitty tells her she looks hot and needs to show off her “bitchin’ bod” more often. She also tells Marley that WF now stands for “Woman Fierce.” I can see them trying to redeem Kitty’s character a little more with this scene, but I still can’t support a character who pressures a classmate into an eating disorder. There’s just no excuse. They go back to the choir room and perform their duet. Kitty starts the song in full splits, which is admittedly hot. She goes on to pull a whip out of Joe’s dreads. Everyone seems to be rightfully terrified of Kitty with her whip. She’s flinging that thing everywhere, even turning it into a fan at one point so Marley’s cape and hair will flutter. Everyone goes nuts as Finn applauds their teamwork.

Brittany soon realizes that she doesn’t smell raspberry hair gel asks where “Blaine Warbler” went. Not only did no one notice he was gone until now, but also they still haven’t learned his fucking name. Finn brings up the fact that Blaine has been going through a rough time, to which Tina bitchily responds that he just needs to get over it. Tina. Don’t make me hate you. Instead of harassing him about talking to Kurt, maybe you should ask why he’s so upset. Finn goes on to say that Blaine has gone back to Dalton. Everyone looks shocked, except Sam. He just looks sad, since he’s the only one there who actually gives a crap about Blaine.

Jake tells Finn that Ryder can’t read. Apparently, Jake ended up being a decent human being and realized that was a secret which needed to be told. Finn takes Ryder to a learning specialist to get tested. I actually really like this storyline. The idea that a child can get all the way to high school without learning to read or being diagnosed with a learning disability is not far-fetched. It happens all the time. Teachers are so afraid to fail students for fear of losing state funding that countless kids are slipping through the cracks unnoticed. Ryder is resistant to the testing at first, but Finn convinces him to stay. We see Ryder actually go through the testing, which is really interesting. We see that he has issues putting things in order and spelling. It’s obvious he’s memorized words over time because he can’t decode words that are backwards or sound out ones that don’t exist. Finn is waiting outside the classroom and worries it’s a brain tumor, like the dumbass he is. Ryder says he’s dyslexic. He should therefore be talking to Sam, who we also know is dyslexic, but the writers appear to have forgotten that, too. Ryder compares his dyslexia to a secret identity. As someone with an invisible illness (chronic migraines, bipolar disorder), I can really relate to him right now. I desperately want the writers to continue this storyline, but I’m really scared they’ll drop it, like they do most other things. We do get another “man up” reference, bringing the count to four so far. Blake Jenner is really fantastic in this scene. It’s nice that The Glee Project actually focused on finding a decent actor this season. I loved Damian McGinty and tolerated Samuel Larsen, but neither of them were known for their acting abilities.

Jake goes through the lunch line and chats with Marley’s mom. I know that he’s just trying to be nice to her to win favor with Marley, but I really love Marley’s mom. She’s precious. Jake asks if something’s different and Marley’s mom says she’s lost six pounds. She’s so excited about it that I just want to hug her. Jake tells her she looks great and it’s really adorable. Marley’s mom says she knows she shouldn’t say anything, but Marley talks about Jake all the time. It’s a really adorable moment between the two of them. Then the asshole football players start making fun of Marley’s mom and calling her a “dump truck.” I want to punch them all. However, Jake starts to take care of them. Ryder comes up and declares Jake off limits to their bullying. He has Artie, Joe, and Becky (armed with a spork) for back-up.

They do an awkward cut to a busy street where we see none other than Puck. I am so glad to see Puck and his ridiculous self back on my television. So, he’s on Hollywood Boulevard dressed as a ridiculous superhero he calls the Pucker Man. I’m so glad that all current and former New Directions members got the memo that it’s Superhero Week. I really want to know who everyone else would be. Anyway, Puck is scamming foreign tourists for money by convincing them his character is a real superhero and charging money for them to take a picture with him. He gets a call from his little bro, who needs some advice on how to woo Marley. Jake vaguely gives the background on the Ryder/Marley/Jake triangle of contrived love. Puck stops him and asks if she’s hot. When Jake says yes, Puck just tells him to play it cool and she’ll eventually be unable to resist the Puckerman pheromones. Apparently, that’s how Puck got Teri Hatcher to sleep with him. Oy vey. Jake, honey, do not go to Puck for advice on how to get a girlfriend. If you just want to get laid, he’s your guy, but Puck is not beneficial in your current quest.

Just down the hallway, Blaine is cleaning out his locker when Sam comes up to him. Sam hopes Blaine is just doing some undercover work to get the trophy back and beat the Warblers up at Sectionals. He tells Blaine that Blaine has to stop beating himself up about everything that happened with Kurt. Sam says going back to Dalton would just be another way to punish himself and presses Blaine to tell him what he did that was so bad.

Cut to the flashback that broke a thousand hearts. Blaine is putting his shirt back on while sitting on some guy’s bed. We know that person is the mysterious Eli, but we just find out now what exactly happened. It’s pretty much confirmed that Blaine had sex with him, which I still maintain is out of character. Blaine is the person that thought Kurt was cheating on him by sending flirty texts with Chandler, but considering how horrible Blaine has felt these past few weeks, it makes more sense he’s been punishing himself so much. We see a blurry outline of another man in the background. Blurry Eli asks if Blaine is okay and makes a crack about not looking like his profile picture. We just barely saw Eli’s profile picture in The Break-Up episode and it was a freaking lighthouse. We never see this guy’s face, but his body is definitely not shaped like a lighthouse. Blaine looks like his entire world has been destroyed and pretty much runs away. Let me also note that the piano music in the background is the same that they use for all really poignant Kurt/Blaine scenes. Just the first two notes of that make me start tearing up. It’s like a Pavlovian response at this point.

Blaine slowly tells the story to Sam. He says that Eli was just a random guy who he went to for comfort because it felt like Kurt was moving on without Blaine. I’m starting to bring out the ugly cry now. Blaine goes on to say that he went over there doubting that he and Kurt were supposed to be together forever, but realized right after everything happened that Kurt is the only person he ever wants. Sam tells Blaine he has to talk to Kurt, but Blaine says he’s tried and Kurt is having none of it. He says there’s no reason Kurt should trust or forgive him, but Sam tries to make him realize he needs to at least forgive himself. Blaine further breaks my heart when he says he just wants to stop feeling like a bad person. It takes all my willpower not to try to jump through the television and hug the crap out of him. Sam asks for one day to convince Blaine that he is a good person and belongs at McKinley. Darren Criss is absolutely killing this episode. Between the chance to actually show off his comedic talents and the ability to turn right around to do these super serious scenes, this episode reinforces my belief that Darren is the best actor on the show.

We move on to the auditorium for the amazing Sam/Blaine duet to David Bowie’s “Heroes.” It starts with Sam sitting on a stool, playing an acoustic guitar in front of several lights. It’s absolutely beautiful. Chord Overstreet looks better with every episode. We get a montage of the glee club doing a whole bunch of community service stuff. They paint over some graffiti and throw together an impromptu food and clothes drive. For the food drive, though, they’re in their superhero gear. Apparently, the Secret Society of Superheroes is now a community service club, which is pretty much the coolest thing ever. Of course, painting the graffiti turns into an adorable paint fight. The song ends with Sam and Blaine being adorable together. I can’t get over how much I love this bromance. Sam asks for Blaine’s decision. Blaine tosses him a mask and says they first have to go on one last mission.

We get more awesome superhero music and cut to Dalton where the Warblers discover the trophy has been stolen. In its place is a Dalton blazer with a note saying “No thanks.” The Warblers notice an open window and step outside onto the patio/deck thingy. I’m not even kidding. There is a grappling hook hanging from the balcony. Where does one even find a grappling hook? And why didn’t they take it with them. Nightbird and Blonde Chameleon run across the Dalton grounds with the nationals trophy. In comic book style, the made up interjections “Blam!” and “Slaine!” come up across the screen. It is so freaking adorable.

Ryder comes up to Marley in the hall and apologizes, but he needs to cancel their date on Friday. Apparently, his new dyslexia specialist can only meet him on Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. and he wants to study to get ready for the appointment. He tells Marley that he so badly wants to show his mom a report card with his first ever “A” this semester. Marley tells him how disappointed she is and he asks her out for the next Friday. On a side note, Marley has a white board in her locker that says “I ❤ my mom” and has a picture of Mrs. Rose. Despite the fact that Marley is kind of a bitch to Ryder just now, I still kind of love her. Then stupid Kitty comes up and tries to convince Marley that Ryder actually turned her down because she’s bloated and needs to work out more. Marley decides that she’s going to go out with Jake instead, which is a pretty bitchy move instead.

Sam and Blaine present the trophy to the glee club once again. Sam makes me love him even more with his explanation of Dalton. “It was like Death Star meets Mordor meets Temple of Doom. I might be exaggerating, but probably not.” Blaine gives the glee club a completely unnecessary apology for ever doubting that they were his home. The club all looks super pleased with themselves. Now, maybe someone other than Sam should act like they give a shit about Blaine. Blaine goes on to say that they’ve got a tough road ahead of them, but he’s not worried because they’re such an awesome group and Finn is such a fantastic leader. Really? Everyone applauds Finn. Oy freaking vey. They go on to present him with a “superhero utility belt.” It’s filled with magic markers, Pepto Bismol (in case he gets the “show choir squirts,” which, eww), a doll head from Brittany, and a treble clef pin to remind him he is “the uniter of glee clubs and the uniter of friends.” I’m rolling my eyes so hard. I’ve never been a huge Finn fan and I hate the way the writers treat him like some Messianic figure. He’s kind of a jackass. Finn goes on to promise he won’t let everyone down. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, dude. They get into a show choir huddle and Finn gives some mildly crappy inspirational speech.

The group moves to the auditorium to perform fun.’s “Some Nights.” There’s nothing about this song that fits with the rest of the songs performed tonight, but I’ll let it go because I kind of love it. Best of all, though, everyone is performing in red shirts and jeans. The die hard fans of the show will remember that New Directions performed “Don’t Stop Believin'” in similar clothes at the end of the pilot episode. It marked the first time that they really came together as a team. I know I give the writers a lot of crap about continuity because they’re normally pretty awful with it, but they come through every now and then. It’s a great way to end a surprisingly good episode.

Next week: Thanksgiving comes a week late to Glee. All the old alum are back at McKinley (minus Kurt and Rachel) to help prepare for Sectionals. Finn’s brilliant idea for Sectionals is apparently to do “Gangnam Style.” Kurt and Rachel have a party with Sarah Jessica Parker and Hot Brody. Will and Emma make out. The old alum get paired up with their new counterparts. Brody asks Rachel why she cares if he sleeps with someone else. The announcer promises us surprises “to the very last note.”


Bechdel Week: Friday

Once again, sorry for the delay. I haven’t had a chance to watch my regular Friday line-up until just now, thanks to social obligations/marathoning Pretty Little Liars. So, my Friday line-up consists of just one show, Fringe.

Written by Graham Roland
Summary: A Fringe event is created by a member of the team as the rebellion reaches a new level of intensity.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes

Olivia (Anna Torv) and the always brilliant Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) reunite after years apart and briefly talk about how the recent loss of Olivia’s daughter Etta (Georgina Haig) has affected her. Olivia goes on (along with Walter and Astrid) to ask Nina for help in their plan to take down the Observers.

Unfortunately, one of the few times we actually see Olivia and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) interact is when they’re talking about Peter (Joshua Jackson) and how he is holding up following Etta’s death. Considering we rarely see these two characters interact, I wish they had talked about something else. I would have rather seen Olivia have that conversation with Walter (John Noble), but alas. We’ve also already established that Olivia is worried about Peter, so it wasn’t really vital to the plot.

Bechdel Week: Thursday

Sorry this is up late. Thursday is my most crowded night for television, so I couldn’t get everything watched in one night. Tonight’s line-up includes analysis of The Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock, Up All Night, The Office, Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, Parks and Recreation, and Scandal.

Reminder of the Bechdel test requirements: Two women must talk to each other about something other than a man at any point in the episode.

“The 43 Peculiarity”
Written by Steven Molaro, Jim Reynolds, Steve Holland, Chuck Lorre, Dave Goetsch, & Anthony Del Broccolo
Summary: Howard and Raj try to discover where Sheldon disappears to every afternoon at 2:45. Meanwhile, jealousy appears to have insinuated itself into Leonard and Penny’s relationship.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Epic failure.

There are a grand total of two women in this episode and they aren’t ever even in a scene together. Considering this episode was written by six men, and Big Bang isn’t known for its portrayal of gender roles, it was pretty much a lost cause. I would have been more shocked if it had passed.

“Aunt Phatso vs. Jack Donaghy”
Written by Luke Del Tredici
Summary: Tracy portrays Jack as a villain in a new movie, causing friction between the two. Meanwhile, Liz undergoes foot surgery, and Jenna tries to protect Kenneth from Hazel’s sly machinations.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

Hazel (Kristen Schaal) manages to convince Liz (Tina Fey) to let her be her assistant. It’s pretty much wonderful. Everything between them passes the Bechdel test and is also completely hilarious.

Written by Joel Church-Cooper, Austen Earl, & Rene Gube
Summary: Reagan tries to give Chris a perfect Thanksgiving after he misses his chance to go home for the holiday. Elsewhere, Ava and Walter devote their time to charity; and Scott arranges a dinner for divorced dads.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Narrowly

At one point, we see Ava (Maya Rudolph) talk to her manicurist about what her plans are for Thanksgiving. It’s a fairly minimal scene, but it’s the one that helps set up the rest of Ava’s storyline. Technically, Walter (Sean Hayes) is also present for the scene, but Ava and the manicurist do talk directly to each other without Walter’s interference.

“The Whale”
Written by Carrie Kemper
Summary: Dwight faces his greatest profession shortcoming – selling to women. As a result, the lady staffers step up to give him advice so he can successfully sell to an important female client. Meanwhile, Angela suspects her paramour is cheating.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes

We see Jan (Melora Hardin) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) talking about their children.

The central plot to the episode focuses on how Dwight (Rainn Wilson) talks to women and how that hinders his ability to be an effective salesman. As Dwight is easily the most misogynistic on the show and possibly on television as a whole, it’s nice to see him called on his behavior. While these scenes don’t technically pass the Bechdel test, they involve five women teaching Dwight how to be a better listener and act like an actual person. Dwight and Pam also have a conversation about Dwight’s feelings toward women and Pam explains why he’s wrong.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Summary: Rachel, Kurt, Santana and Cassandra July return as the glee club kicks off its production of “Grease.”
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s all positive

All the interaction between Marley (Melissa Benoist) and her mother passes the test. We also see Marley, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Kitty (Becca Tobin), Sugar (Vanessa Lengies), Brittany (Heather Morris), and Unique (Alex Newell) talking about body image and having a sleepover. At the sleepover, we see Kitty teaching Marley how to make herself throw up. We also see Brittany and Santana (Naya Rivera) have a conversation about the status of their relationship.

The body image stuff isn’t handled perfectly, but it’s much better than I expected. It helps that the most competent writer on the Glee staff wrote this episode.

“Second Opinion”
Written by William Harper
Summary: The crash victims proceed with their lawsuit, which requires them to face their injuries. Meanwhile, Bailey sneakily gets Arizona to assist with a pediatric case; and Cristina works on adjusting to her new surroundings.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? From the first second.

The opening scene features Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Callie (Sara Ramirez) talking about fellow co-worker/Callie’s wife Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) and how she’s handling her recent leg amputation. Later, we see Bailey talking to a patient’s mother about her daughter, followed by a conversation between Bailey and Arizona about a patient. I could recap every scene they have together, but suffice it to say, that entire storyline passes the Bechdel test. It focuses on Arizona’s struggle to accept her status as an amputee and accept that she is not yet perfect at using her prosthetic leg. It also shows how Bailey is trying to be a good friend by encouraging Arizona to move past her injuries and integrate them into her normal life.

“Leslie vs. April”
Written by Harris Wittels
Summary: Leslie disapproves of April’s plan to transform a lot into a dog park, while Ben gets roped into helping Tom launch his new business venture, and Andy finds himself playing crime-scene investigator.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

The entire storyline between Leslie (Amy Poehler) and April (Aubrey Plaza) passes the Bechdel test. The focus is on which of them can get the city to approve plans for a park. It also touches on how April has evolved since the beginning of the series and showcases a great relationship between a mentor and mentee. Basically, each ensuing scene between Leslie, April and Ann (Rashida Jones) more than passes the test.

“Spies Like Us”
Written by Chris Van Dusen
Summary: A mysterious letter alludes to Huck’s sinister past and warns it may be revealed. Meanwhile, Olivia wants Harrison to contain the damage from a coworker’s disclosed secret; and Cyrus and Fitz handle the fallout from James’ front-page story.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? It’s a little bit of gray area.

We primarily see people interacting in a professional setting. There is no scene involving only two women until one of the very last scenes and they do talk about a man. However, there are plenty of scenes where women outnumber men and all interact with each other. The primary group of employees consists of three women and two men and the leader of the firm is an incredibly powerful woman. Most of the scenes are mixed gender and involve more than two people. Relationships aren’t the main focus of the show, so nearly all the talk is about fixing political conflicts.

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is one of the most powerful people in Washington and spends a lot of the episode giving orders to her employees (which consist of both men and women). She does spend a portion of the episode trying to break up the relationship between her employee Abby (Darby Stanchfield) and AUSA David Rosen (Joshua Molina) because it causes potentially life-threatening political problems. Unfortunately, her strategy to break them up involved convincing Abby, who was previously in a very abusive relationship, that David is also an abuser, even though he’s not at all.

Overall, this was a fantastic night for the Bechdel test. 30 Rock, Up All Night, Parks and Recreation, Grey’s Anatomy, and Scandal all are shows that portray strong female characters. Only one show (The Big Bang Theory) completely and utterly failed it, but I don’t think anyone ever expected Big Bang to pass. Up All Night and The Office didn’t pass with flying colors, but more stumbled through with a passing grade. Glee wasn’t fantastic, but did portray issues with body image mostly okay, which is incredibly relevant to the teenagers who are watching the show. 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Grey’s Anatomy, and Scandal also have the added benefit of portraying women in fields typically dominated by men (television writing, politics, medicine, and law, respectively).

Bechdel Week: Wednesday

Wednesday is pretty light for me. Tonight’s line-up includes Modern Family, Suburgatory, Nashville, and American Horror Story: Asylum. I also watch Top Chef on Wednesdays, but I decided to exempt reality shows from this study.

Reminder of the Bechdel test qualifications: At some point in the episode, two women must talk to each other about something other than a man. Simple enough, right?

“Mistery Date”
Written by Jeffrey Richman
Summary: Alex’s academic decathlon means a weekend getaway for Manny and Luke when Claire brings them along, but they’re preoccupied with meeting girls at the hotel. Meanwhile, Phil plans a guys’ night at home with a fellow alumnus he just met.
Does the show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

Every scene between Claire (Julie Bowen) and Alex (Ariel Winters) passes the Bechdel test, as they are at an academic decathlon and the conversation revolves around if Claire embarrasses Alex by bragging about her accomplishments.

The Wishbone”
Written by Brian Chamberlayne
Summary: Tessa wants to spend Thanksgiving in New York City with her mother, who’s en route from Berlin, and her grandmother, though the holiday doesn’t turn out like she planned. Meanwhile, Dallas recruits George to prepare a feast.
Does the show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

The central plot of the episode focuses on Tessa (Jane Levy) meeting her mother for the first time. So, nearly every conversation between Tessa, her mother Alex (Malin Ackerman), and her grandmother passes the test. They occasionally end up talking about how George (Jeremy Sisto) will react to the meeting, but it’s not the central focus of the conversation. We also see Dallas (Cheryl Hines) and Dalia (Carly Chaikin) telling Alex about what Tessa is like. Finally, we see a really heartfelt conversation between Tessa and Alex about music and what it’s like for Tessa in the suburbs.

“You’re Gonna Change (or I’m Gonna Leave)”
Written by Meredith Lavender & Marcie Ulin
Summary: Rayna wants her music to have a fresh sound, so she contacts a producer with a solid track record. Meanwhile, Juliette tries to get good publicity by dating an NFL player with a pristine reputation; Lamar carries out a scheme to hinder Coleman.
Does the show pass the Bechdel test? Just barely

At the beginning of the episode, Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) and her manager have a really brief conversation about how to rehabilitate Juliette’s image. There’s an additional scene between Juliette and her manager towards the end of the episode. Outside of that, we barely even see two women talk to each other.

“I Am Anne Frank, Pt. 2”
Written by Brad Falchuk
Summary: Sister Jude digs up dirt on Arden. Later, Kit makes a surprising confession; and Bloody Face is unmasked.
Does the show pass the Bechdel test? Just barely

Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) and Grace (Lizzie Brochere) have a very brief conversation about the medical procedure being forced on Grace. We also very briefly see Alma (Britne Oldford) talking to another woman.

We end the night with two shows passing with flying colors and the other two just narrowly meeting the requirements.

Bechdel Week: Tuesday

Tuesday is one of my more crowded television line-ups, so tonight includes analysis of Hart of Dixie, Ben and Kate, New Girl, Happy Endings, The New Normal, The Mindy Project, Parenthood, and Underemployed.

Reminder of the requirements for the Bechdel test. At some point in the episode, do two women have a conversation with each other about something other than a man?

“I Walk the Line”
Written by Donald Todd
Summary: Lemon gets creative as she tries to swing votes in the mayoral election, which polls paint as a very tight race between Lavon and Ruby.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? This pretty much fits the definition of a failing grade on the Bechdel test.

We do see women talk to each other in many scenes in the episode. At one point, Magnolia (Claudia Lee) tells Zoe (Rachel Bilson) that Zoe needs to figure out what is wrong with Brick (Tim Matheson). We see Lemon (Jaime King) and Annabeth (Kaitlyn Black) talk about whether Lavon (Cress Williams) likes Ruby (Golden Brooks). Later, Lemon and Annabeth talk about how Ruby needs to leave town because both of them like Lavon.

There is almost a scene that passes when Lemon and Annabeth are talking about how to get more votes for Lavon’s mayoral campaign. However, they are technically talking about a man’s political campaign and there is also a guy included in their conversation. Then, Zoe comes in and they just about get through a conversation without mentioning a guy, until Lemon notices Zoe is wearing Wade’s (Wilson Bethel) shirt and comments on that.

I had really high hopes for the scene in which Zoe teaches Magnolia to drive, but they made it about 30 seconds before Zoe connected Magnolia’s need to text and drive with a boy.

“Career Day”
Written by Lorene Scafaria
Summary: Ben scrambles to find a job so he can participate in Maddie’s Career Day at school. Elsewhere, Kate is drawn to an attractive neighbor; and BJ deals with jealousy at work after she gets a raise.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Nope.

We see a couple brief conversations between Kate (Dakota Johnson) and BJ (Lucy Punch). However, they only talk about how long it has been since Kate has had sex and how BJ got a raise at work because she is having sex with her male boss.

There is almost a scene that passes between BJ and Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones). They have a conversation about how BJ feels bad because a guy at work doesn’t like her. So, Maddie says she got a boy at school to stop being mean to her by threatening him. It had real potential, but ultimately failed.

Written by Kim Rosenstock
Summary: Jess’ search for a new job gets intense. Meanwhile, her time of the month affects the guys; Schmidt starts a relationship with his boss; and Nick acquires insight from a silent source.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s positive.

We do see Jess (Zooey Deschanel) being interviewed for a job by another woman. However, a central point of Jess’ story in this episode is that she is on her period and it turns her into the stereotypical PMS-ridden emotional train wreck. So, when the woman interviewing Jess shows her a picture of her dog, Jess immediately bursts into tears and loses any semblance of normalcy.

“Boys II Menorah”
Written by Lon Zimmet & Dan Rubin
Summary: Max has become a hit on the Bar Mitzvah circuit as an energetic emcee and allows Brad to partner up with him, but not everything turns out kosher.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Nope.

We only see two women interact without any men present on a couple brief occasions. At one point, Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Jane (Eliza Coupe) talk about how to keep the romance alive in their relationships. Then we see Penny (Casey Wilson) and Jane discuss why Penny is so attractive to teenage Jewish boys.

Written by Aaron Lee
Summary: Technology gets the best of the gang, so they decide to unplug all electronic devices for one day. Elsewhere, Rocky teaches Jane how to use Twitter, but Jane then posts a very private video featuring Bryan.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Overwhelmingly so

Basically every interaction between Shania (Bebe Wood) and Goldie (Georgia King) passes the Bechdel test. In the opening scene, we see Goldie asking Shania about her day at school and then they have a dance party to try to wake themselves up. We also see Rocky (NeNe Leakes) and Jane (Ellen Barkin) having lunch together where they talk about racism, their life goals, and how to navigate the Internet.

It’s really refreshing to see that basically all of the scenes involving women in this episode do pass the Bechdel test.

“Danny Castellano Is My Gynecologist”
Written by Mindy Kaling
Summary: Mindy asks Danny to be her new gynecologist, though neither one of them can admit their unwillingness to go through with an exam. Meanwhile, Jeremy has to retrieve something from Mindy’s apartment, but needs Morgan and Betsy’s help to break in to get it.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Technically yes.

Since Mindy (Mindy Kaling) plays a gynecologist, we see her having a conversation with her patient about the sex of the patient’s baby. We also see Mindy having a conversation with Betsy (Zoe Jarman) about scheduling a gynecological appointment. These two instances constitute about thirty seconds of screen time, but they technically fulfill the requirements for the Bechdel test.

I was super hopeful during a conversation between Gwen (Anna Camp) and Mindy. They started by talking about when it’s too late to have children, how awesome Tina Fey is, and why we should stop referring to crushes on other women as “girl crushes.” Then they started talking about guys, so there went that.

Written by Eric Guggenheim
Summary: Camille and Crosby help Kristina and Adam find balance while Kristina undergoes treatment; Sarah and Zeek worry about Amber’s relationship with Ryan; Julia continues making efforts to connect with Victor; and Drew reaches out to Amy.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) and Kristina (Monica Potter) have a conversation about Kristina’s cancer and her upcoming chemotherapy. There are multiple scenes like this with Camille helping to take care of Kristina. There is also a really heartfelt scene between Camille and Kristina about Kristina’s relationship with her mother. At the end of the episode, there’s an even more heartfelt scene between them about their relationship and how much Camille loves Kristina.

“The Trivial Pursuit”
Written by Taii Austin
Summary: Lou and Raviva are given the go-ahead for post-baby intercourse; the gang competes in a trivia night; Miles and Daphne fend off drunken advances; Sophia tries for a promotion.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

Sophia (Michelle Ang) and Daphne (Sarah Habel) have a conversation about Sophia’s request for a promotion at work and if it will allow her more time to write her novel. Shortly thereafter, Sophia has a conversation with her boss about why she deserves the promotion and how the brand of the donut store comes across, as well as the value of a vintage Destiny’s Child t-shirt. Basically, every scene with Sophia and her manager passed the Bechdel test.

So, we end the night with three of the eight shows passing with flying colors. Two of the shows barely pass and three of them fail horribly. Overall, not a great night for my shows.

Bechdel Week: Monday

Monday night’s line-up includes How I Met Your Mother, Partners, Mike & Molly, and Revolution. It also typically includes Gossip Girl, but I am several weeks behind in that.

Written by Stephen Lloyd
Summary: Barney takes matters into his own hands when Robin is hesitant to end things with Nick; Marshall and Lily desperately want some private time.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Nope.

Of the two main female characters, both of their storylines revolve around men. Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) storyline focuses on her attempt to break up with Nick (Michael Trucco) and her ongoing romantic entanglement with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). Lily’s plot focuses on her lack of a sex life with her husband Marshall (Jason Segel) since the birth of their son.

The only conversation that could possibly be considered in passing the Bechdel test is a phone call between Robin and Patrice, but we don’t actually understand what Patrice is saying because it’s all excited squealing.

“Temporary Insanity”
Written by David Kohan, Max Mutchnick & Jeff Astrof
Summary: When Ro-Ro goes on vacation, Louis asks Wyatt to fill in as their assistant at the office.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Not even close.

For starters, there’s only one regular female character on the show. She’s not really in the episode and the plot she has revolves a party she is planning for her jewelry store. We do see two unnamed secretaries having a conversation that is essentially a textbook example of sexual harassment, though.

“Yard Sale”
Written by Carla Filisha, Don Foster, Mark Gross, Alan Higgins & Mark Roberts
Summary: When the house starts feeling too cramped, Molly plans a yard sale; Mike and the guys try to distract Carl from his breakup.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes.

There are at least three scenes that pass the Bechdel test, but the conversations only consist of talk about the yard sale. There is a nice moment between Molly (Melissa McCarthy) and Peggy (Rondi Reed) when they realize they make a good team for dealing with customers.

“Ties That Bind”
Written by David Rambo & Melissa Glenn
Summary: Nora meets up with a relative and must choose between her family and keeping a promise; a ruthless militia member tracks Miles and the gang; Monroe issues a warning to Neville.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes!

We see multiple scenes throughout the episode (both in flashback and the present) of Nora (Daniella Alonso) and Mia’s (Alyssa Diaz) relationship and how they survived after the blackout. While they do occasionally talk about their father and Miles (Billy Burke), most of their conversations are about whether Nora should continue traveling with this group or join Mia. The sisters talk about whether Nora owes her allegiance to Miles and Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) or to her family. There is also limited conversation between Nora and Charlie about the subject, especially on whether Nora should trust her sister or not.

So, we end the night with a 50% success rate for the Bechdel test, though I feel it’s really more like 33%. The conversations featured on Mike & Molly were primarily superficial. Only Revolution featured really strong relationships between women, in which they talked about familial loyalty and trust.

Bechdel Week: Sunday

I decided to make this week my first ever “Bechdel Week.” For this, I’m going to look at each new episode of my weekly television shows and apply the Bechdel test to them. Mostly, this is just out of sheer curiosity. While I often think about the Bechdel Test, I don’t always apply it to everything I watch. I picked this week for a couple of reasons. First of all, November is a sweeps month, when networks are trying to put out their best and buzziest episodes in order to draw ratings. If shows aren’t willing to accurately portray female relationships in what they’re hoping will be their highest rated shows, that’s not a positive sign. Also, this is probably the best week in November for this. Most of the shows will be new. All Tuesday night shows got pre-empted last week for the election and most Thursday  night ones will be pre-empted because of Thanksgiving next week.

So, the Bechdel test. It is extremely simple. At some point in an episode of a television show or movie, do two female characters talk to each other about something other than a man? The number of shows and movies that pass this bare bones challenge is not nearly as high as I would like it to be. Let’s get to it. Sundays are a relatively light night in terms of my television line-up. I only have two shows airing that I watch: Once Upon a Time and Revenge.

“Child of the Moon”
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg
Summary: Ruby is the main suspect in a savage killing during a full moon. Meanwhile, Decker considers revealing David’s true background; Leroy uncovers a prized item in the mines; and in the fairy-tale world, Red Riding Hood discovers people similar to her.
Does the show pass the Bechdel test? YES!

Early in the episode, Red Riding Hood (Meghan Ory) and Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) have a conversation while running away from a group of men who are trying to kill that. The topic of conversation is how Red Riding Hood will deal with her transformation into a wolf and whether Snow White trusts her. Later, Snow finds Red again and they discuss whether Red will leave with Snow or stay with her family.

Also in the fairy-tale world, Red Riding Hood and her mother have a conversation about her life as a wolf and why Red’s mother was not present for most of Red’s life. There was another scene later in the show where Red and her mother discuss Red’s acceptance of her life as a wolf. Later, Red, Red’s mom and Snow talk about whether or not Snow is responsible for another wolf’s death and who will kill Snow because of it.

In the real world, Ruby and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) talk about whether it is safe for Belle to stay with Ruby during her transformation and how the townspeople see Ruby as a monster.

There are several instances where Ruby has dialogue with other women, such as her grandmother or Belle. However, David (Josh Dallas) is also present during these scenes and really leads those conversations, so I did not really count those.

There is also a very brief scene at the end of the show between Snow, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), and Aurora (Sarah Bolger) about Aurora’s nightmares.

This episode is a great example of a show featuring strong female representation. A good portion of the episode features dialogue between women about topics such as acceptance and self-identity. The central character in this episode is really Ruby/Red whose main struggle is dealing with her life as a half-wolf and how it affects her every day. There are at least five scenes in this episode that pass the Bechdel test. It shows strong friendships between Ruby and Belle, as well as Red and Snow. We see the effects of a strained relationship between a daughter and her mother.

Written by Ellie Triedman
Summary: Mason looks deeper into Emily’s background, which makes things difficult for her. Meanwhile, Kara starts to become unhinged and targets the Graysons.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes, but barely

At the very beginning of the episode, Victoria (Madeline Stowe) and Kara (Jennifer Jason Leigh) very briefly discuss whether Kara should leave and who will pay for her plane ticket. There is also a very brief good-bye scene between Emily (Emily VanCamp), Kara, and Victoria as Kara leaves for the airport.

There is a lengthy conversation between Amanda (Margarita Levieva) and Emily toward the beginning of the episode, but the main focus of their conversation is Mason Treadwell (Roger Bart) and Amanda’s engagement to Jack (Nick Weschler).

Towards the end of the episode, Kara takes Victoria and Conrad (Henry Czerny) hostage. However, most of the dialogue in that scene is between Kara and Conrad. Kara only briefly acknowledges Victoria. Also, since the reason for Kara taking them hostage involves the conspiracy surrounding David Clark (James Tupper), most of the conversation centers around him. Following that, Emily and Kara have a brief goodbye scene, but Aidan is also present and the majority of the conversation centers around Kara’s ex-husband Gordon.

Literally every other scene featuring a female character involves her talking to a male character. There are approximately 90 seconds of the episode that truly fulfill the requirements for the Bechdel test.