Welcome back, Gleeks! After taking a break following the Regionals win, Glee returns and is on its way to Nationals. But first they need to raise money by honoring neglected musical artists. Also, it’s an episode to honor the neglected characters.

This episode seems specifically designed to make me love it. Mercedes gets a storyline, Cheyenne Jackson and Stephen Tobolowsky return with big roles, there’s a Mike Chang dance solo, a Santana verbal smackdown on Karofsky and, best of all, absolutely no singing from Kurt, Blaine, Finn, Rachel or Will. They’re all good, but sometimes it’s nice for them to take a backseat.

Sue’s Neglected League of Doom
Sue (who is always neglected, since the show sometimes goes a whole episode without her) is back and, without the Cheerios or Aural Intensity, she organizes a new group, the League of Doom, which is full of neglected characters. There’s Will’s bat-poop crazy ex-wife Terri, aka the Honey Badger. There’s former glee club coach and current predatory homosexual Sandy Ryerson (BING!). And finally, there’s Sergeant Handsome, Vocal Adrenaline coach Dustin Goolsby. It’s about damn time that Cheyenne Jackson with his pretty, pretty face, is back on television.

Their mission: DESTROY THE GLEE CLUB! Oh good, they’re doing this storyline for the 47th time. I guess the magical power of singing with cute cancer kids has worn off.

Will and Holly’s Neglected Relationship

To raise money for Nationals (because Sue hid hers in the Cayman Islands), Will suggests selling salt water taffy for a quarter per piece. On the white board he writes: “5,000 x .25 = 20,000,” which is so wrong it hurts. It should be a division sign, not a multiplication sign. Incorrect math offends me.

I really hope this is meant to show how dumb Will is, but no one calls him on it, not even Mike, Tina, Artie and Brittany, who are on another neglected club, the academic decathlon. They need to show more of this, if only to highlight Brittany’s impressive knowledge of cat diseases.

Holly (who’s still dating Will, obviously not for his math skills) suggest instead of selling taffy, the glee club puts on a benefit concert honoring neglected artists. The two seem to be doing fine, but Emma is vulnerable after Carl asked for an annulment and Dustin Goolsby is seducing the crap out of Holly. New relationships are fragile, and even the slightest amount of neglect can cause them to die. By the end of the episode, Holly gets a job offer in Cleveland and breaks up with Will, but it’s amicable.

The Neglected Talent of Mercedes

Mercedes decides to do Aretha Franklin, which makes no sense no matter how hard she protests because Miss Franklin is only neglected on Glee, not anywhere else. She’s also willing to lie down when rival Sunshine Corazon offers to help out by stealing the top spot at the concert.

Didn’t Mercedes just sing an original song saying “Hell to the No”? At least Lauren got the message, because she tries to get Mercedes to start acting like the diva she is. That backfires when Mercedes cares more about crazy demands (like puppy towels) instead of singing. Rachel finally has a sweet moment with Mercedes where she reveals that she’s the star because she doesn’t care about being liked, all she cares about is being a bright shining star, a sacrifice Mercedes isn’t willing to make.

The Night of Neglect

The actual concert comes and, despite promising to show up with her 600 Twitter followers, Sunshine Corazon leaves the glee club in the lurch. I guess the show didn’t totally learn the lesson of neglect, because she showed up for one song, then vanished once again, proving that Sunshine is still a neglected character.

There are only six audience members (four hecklers, Blaine and Kurt). In the hall, Blaine and Kurt run into Karofsky, who is still being a huge bully. Luckily, Santana shows up and goes super-ghetto on his ass. God bless you, Santana.

Tina goes on first, and the most neglected member of the club finally gets to sing. Or rather, she does for a bit until Sandy Ryerson’s new Heckling Club cuts her off. Boo, Glee! You’ve given Tina two solos all season (this and “My Funny Valentine”), and both ended early due to crying. Would it be so wrong to let her sing a whole damn song?

That mess is saved when Mike Chang goes out and does a two-minute dance solo that is easily the single best part of the entire episode. This summer he’d better show up on So You Think You Can Dance as a special guest performer during a results show.

After Holly talks the hecklers into leaving at intermission (so they can go back to posting hateful comments about NCIS online), Holly sings a quick number before Mercedes gets to bring the house down with a big closing number. Here I’d like to point out that the concert featured drums for Tina, a massive orchestra for Holly and a huge gospel choir for Mercedes. How much did this cost?

In the end, won over by his love for Aretha, Sandy agrees to pay for the academic team to go to Detroit. I’m a bit unclear on whether he’s also footing the bill for the Nationals trip (and to cover the exorbitant cost of the actual concert), but I’ll assume he is.

So everyone wins, except Sue, who is furious at her League of Doom for failing so spectacularly. But she still has a secret weapon: the Honey Badger! She promises to unleash Terri, so let’s hope Will’s psycho ex-wife can pull off some seriously deranged stuff next week.

The Music

“All By Myself” (Celine Dion) by Sunshine Corazon: Good, but then she disappeared for the rest of the episode, so I’m not sure what the purpose of her coming back was.

“I Follow Rivers” (Lykke Li) by Tina: It was good, until it stopped halfway through because of the heckling. It’s a shame Tina isn’t allowed to actually sing a song like everyone else.

“Bubble Toes” (Jack Johnson) by Mike Chang: Best song of the night, though it wasn’t a vocal performance. Mike Chang’s dance moves, however, were legendary.

“Turning Tables” (Adele) by Holly: Is Adele really that neglected? Anyone who shows up on that many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy can’t be that unappreciated. Also, while Gwyneth Paltrow might make entertaining upbeat songs, watching her do a ballad can kill an episode.

“Ain’t No Way” (Aretha Franklin) by Mercedes: I prefer her up-tempo work, but there’s no denying that Mercedes can sing.

Next week on Glee: It’s a 90-minute Gaga episode where Kurt comes back to McKinley.

More “A Night of Neglect”:
Discuss: Could Will and Emma be together by the end of the season?

Discuss: What’ll Sunshine be up to?

Discuss: Who is Glee‘s most neglected character?

Quiz: Ten questions you won’t see on Smarty Pants

(Image courtesy of FOX)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.