The episode opens with Will Schuester getting called to Principal Figgins’ office to meet the newest member of the school board. Turns out it’s Will’s old show choir nemesis, Bryan Ryan, played by Neil Patrick Harris. Bryan is there to inspect the school programs and recommend which ones need to be cut to save school budget. Bryan tells Will that he thinks Glee club should be cut, because it’s useless.
Bryan: I was a featured soloist at King’s Island in Doodledy Doo Musical Review. … Nine years later, I woke up on a urine-stained mattress in the West Lima crack district. Then something amazing happened. I was introduced to Jesus. He was my Honduran social worker.
Bryan: Show choir kills.
Bryan: You can’t feed a child sheet music, Will. I suppose you could, but they’d be dead in a month.
Bryan: Don’t make that face. Global warming is a theory.
Apparently, Bryan has also formed a self-help group for Glee club survivors.
Russell: My name is Russell, and I’m a Glee club survivor. Whenever anything bad would happen, I would just say ‘Let’s put on a show.’ Well, guess what? Puttin’ on a show about your father’s prostate cancer will actually just make him more depressed about the situation.
Bryan asks Will to let him meet and speak with New Directions. He tells the Glee kids that show choir is a waste of time and that their dreams are never gonna come true.
Bryan: Take out a piece of paper and on that paper I want you to write down your biggest dream….Your dream is never gonna happen.
Bryan: Show biz dreams are the most unrealistic of them all.
Bryan: Guess what? His (Will’s) dream didn’t work out. And neither will yours.
Jesse is back after spring break and he and Rachel seem to make up. Jesse asks Rachel what her dream is. Rachel confesses that she wants to know who her mom is.
Jesse: That’s not a dream. A dream is something that fills up the emptiness inside. The one thing that you know that if it comes true all the hurt would go away.
Jesse: You singing Don’t Cry for Me Argentina in front of a sold out crowd isn’t a fantasy. It’s an inevitability.
Tina discovers that Artie wrote “Dancer” as his dream. Since Will didn’t give them any song assignments for the week, Tina asks Artie to join her in doing some dance routines. Artie tries to walk using braces, but he falls on his face and he yells at Tina for pushing him too far.
Artie: I sound like someone put tap shoes on a horse and shot it.
Will invites Bryan out for a drink to convince him to give Glee’s budget back. At the bar, Bryan admits that he misses performing.
Will: You know what gave me the strength to get out of a terrible marriage? Music.
Will: Glee club is not about expressing yourself to everybody else. It’s about expressing yourself to yourself.
Bryan: I have a box of playbills hidden away in my basement, Will – like porn.
Will invites Bryan to try out for a locally produced “Les Miserables” play. They are both trying out for the Jean Valjean part.
Meanwhile, Rachel is convinced that Broadway legend Patti LuPone is her mother. Jesse convinces her that it’s highly unlikely. He tells her that they should go through Rachel’s fathers’ stuffs to get some answers.
Jesse: We need to do a real investigation. Like CSI real.
As they go through the stuff, Jesse secretly plants a tape entitled “From Mother to Daughter”. He pretends to find it and shows it to Rachel. Rachel doesn’t want the tape played because she’s not yet ready.
Rachel: I came in first place.
Jesse: You were eight months old.
Rachel: I was very musically verbal.
Rachel: What if she’s singing on the tape? Or worse, what if she’s better than me?
Artie and Tina go to the mall. While Tina leaves Artie to buy pretzels, Artie fantasizes that he gets out of his chair and dances to “The Safety Dance”. Artie is full of hope that someday, he will dance.
Come audition time for Will and Bryan, Will finds out that Bryan stole his idea and they end up doing a duet for “Dream On”.
We find out that Shelby Corcoran, Vocal Adrenaline’s coach, is Rachel’s mom. It was her idea for Jesse to seduce (or “befriend”) Rachel so that Jesse can slip the tape to Rachel. Shelby wants to meet Rachel but she cannot legally do that until Rachel is 18 years old. Her one regret is never having had the chance to hold Rachel.
Rachel finally listens to the tape. Shelby is singing “I Dreamed a Dream” and Rachel joins her.
Artie meets with Emma for counseling. He wants to be emotionally ready for when the time comes when he can walk again. Emma tells Artie that the truth of the matter is, it might be well into the future before Artie gets cured. Artie dejectedly leaves Emma’s office.
Bryan funnels part of the Cheerios’ budget to the New Directions. Sue is furious and she and Bryan have a confrontation, which ends up in anger sex.
Bryan: Sue, you’re an impressive woman. I can’t tell you how much you turn me on right now. You ever heard of the term ‘anger sex’?
Sue: The only kind I know, Bryan.
Bryan: Should I lock the door?
Sue: No. I’ve got a secret room upstairs … like Letterman.
Bryan excitedly showers the Glee club with materials. But when Sue announces that Will got the part of Jean Valjean and Bryan only the part of townsperson with only one line, he does a 180 and takes back the budget from Glee club.
Bryan: I’ve grown weary of your insults, Will. They sting, and they make me want to punch you in the face.
Will gives up his starring role in “Les Miserables” to Bryan in order to get their budget back. He tells this so to the Glee club.
Artie tells Tina to go find another dance partner.
Artie: I’m never gonna dunk a basketball or kill a lion. I need to focus on dreams I can make come true.
Tina: If you can imagine it, it can come true.
The show ends with Artie singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, while Tina does her dance with her new dance partner, Mike Chang.
The Safety Dance
I Dreamed a Dream
Dream a Little Dream of Me