Will’s high school nemesis, Bryan Ryan, causes trouble for the glee club, announcing his intent to cut them from the district budget. He and Will compete for a role in a local production of Les Miserables, and when Will is awarded the lead role, he gives it to Bryan to save the club. Vocal Adrenaline coach Shelby, first seen in “Hell-O”, is revealed to be Rachel’s biological mother. Tina gives Artie false hope that he may one day walk again, temporarily straining their relationship. With guidance from Emma, Artie begins to accept his physical condition.
Rachel panics when a sore throat affects her singing. Finn helps her to get perspective on her condition by introducing her to his friend Sean, who was paralyzed from the upper chest down during a football game. Jealous of the time his father is spending with Finn, Kurt tries to emulate his masculine persona, and begins dating Brittany. His father reassures Kurt that he loves him for who he is. Puck dates Mercedes in a strategic move to elevate his social status, but ends up testing Mercedes’ emotions in the process, causing her to break up with him and resign from the cheer squad.