As Glee Season 6 Episode 12 begins, Will walks into his apartment to tell his wife he's decided to take over the Glee club at school. Terri sits in her craft room with a glue gun. We have flashed back to 2009.
Kurt Hummel, sophomore, walks the halls of McKinley. He's bullied by Dave and Puck as he walks to class. He is sad and perhaps suicidal and he has an encounter with Miss Pillsbury. She has a meeting with Burt where she tells him she believes Kurt may be depressed. Burt tells him to join a team or lose his sewing machine.
At lunch the following day, Kurt meets Rachel in the cafeteria. She immediately asks him to join the glee club now that it's starting over again with Mr. Schuester. Their first duet together is "Popular" from Wicked, which hearkens back to the days when they challenged each other on "Defying Gravity." After singing with Kurt, Rachel reveals he'll be auditioning by himself and against her instead of with her.
In the hallway, Kurt finds Mercedes and recruits her to help him audition because he doesn't know how to perform. She agrees to take him on and advises him to sing "Mr. Cellophane" for his audition. Kurt makes the team and tells his dad who accepts that he's joined glee club instead of a sports team.
Rachel introduces herself to Mercedes in the hall and suggests they be best friends since they are both talented. Mercedes sees that Rachel is trying to get inside her head and tells her she's not having it so Rachel asks to hear Mercedes sing at church. Rachel goes and realizes she's up against stiff competition.
Tina stands outside her locker and discusses with herself how she's actively trying to be unpopular. Puck mocks her and then Artie rolls up. He's in love with Tina and considers her his best friend. They go to lunch where they sit with the goths, Tina's crowd, and two of them dump plates of spaghetti on Rachel and Kurt. Another dares Tina and Artie to join glee club and they accept, pretending they aren't afraid.
At their very first meeting, the New Directions begin fighting over who will get the first solo when Will hands it to Artie. It's clear he has an uphill battle on his hands when it comes to bringing them together as a team.
While Rachel talks to Will about why she should get the first solo, Puck slushies her. She tells Will that everyone hates her and he gives her the first song after thinking back to his conversation with Terri where she suggested giving the first solo to the person who is the most pathetic. Mercedes suggests a sing-off to determine which of them is better but Will stands firm. Rachel gets the solo.
Mercedes, upset, goes to church where she meets with someone there who tells her she is a star when she says she wants to quit.
After a pickup basketball game, Sue tells Will that he's giving the students false hope by suggesting they can become stars. He insults the Cheerios and she gives him an ultimatum: drop the glee club or suffer the consequences. He doesn't take her deal.
Rachel gets news that Terri is pregnant and sees that Will is studying to become an accountant. She knows there's a chance he will leave McKinley so she visits Terri at Sheets-n-Things begging her to reconsider forcing Will to leave teaching.
Mercedes and Kurt discuss Finn joining the glee club. Mercedes thinks they need him there but Kurt worries he'll bring along more jocks and Cheerios and push them out. Mercedes vows she won't allow that. They later discuss Rachel's crush on Finn. Mercedes calls an emergency meeting and they discuss whether Finn should join be asked to leave.
Emma storms into Figgins' office demanding he give Will a raise or risk losing him and the arts at McKinley. Figgins produces a copy of the 1993 Nationals performance which Will and the New Directions won. Sue sees him in the hallway and hands him receipts and an abacus congratulating him on his decision to leave teaching.
He hears a capella music coming from the auditorium and steps inside to see the New Directions performing "Don't Stop Believin'."