God damnit Glee. I realize that phrase isn’t the best way to start off a review (and the episode wasn’t so bad that it deserved it, the end was great), but to me, this was one of those episodes of Glee that managed to include the best and worst of the series all at once. Being a Glee fan is without question the most ridiculous experience in the world that doesn’t involve trying to understand how the mind of a woman works (which trust me, I’ve never been able to accomplish). There were nine freaking songs this episode along with a good 3o-40 minutes of plot that was mediocre at best. The episode saved itself with a truly wonderful end, but Glee needs to be tutored by a show that knows something about consistent production because honestly, this show is just a hot mess. Once again, I must reiterate that we’re nowhere near the lows that were the first half of Season 3, and Glee very rarely has episodes that are totally unmitigated disasters (unlike lets say half of season 2 of The Walking Dead), but after watching how Doctor Who was able to transform itself into a consistently excellent program in seasons 5 and 6 (as opposed to the earlier years which was very hit or miss), I know that Glee has the potential to be a great show, and it simply never lives up to its own talent.
The theme for this year’s Nationals is vintage (though they always say stupid shit like this in episodes and then eventually the competition has nothing to do with these ideas so I’m taking all of this with a grain of salt) and Mr. Schue and Sue want to inspire the Glee club by doing another week inspired by an album (like last year’s Rumours). Since Mr. Schue won Nationals back in the 80s with disco, they want the gang to learn through Saturday Night Fever. Mr. Schue is also concerned about the lack of direction and realistic inspiration he senses in Finn, Mercedes, and Santana and gives them each a lesson to determine what they want to do and how they want to achieve it (and obviously incorporate it in song). Mercedes decides she wants to be a singer and move to LA (while still going to school), Santana gets a full-ride in the cheerleading program at another college (thanks to Brittany’s rare smart moment), and Finn decides he wants to move to NYC with Rachel and be an actor. Mr. Schue really isn’t giving these kids much room if their dreams don’t work out. We also meet a kid from Carmelo High in Vocal Adrenaline (with Jesse St. James as their new coach) named Wade who is transgendered and damn can he freaking sing (but more on that later).
Since there were 9 freaking songs this week, I’m just going to talk about the ones I really enjoyed. Lea Michele was amazing as always with the Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Love.” That’s my favorite Bee Gees song, and Lea Michele’s take on it was really interesting. Her voice is beautiful, and I thought she just knocked it out of the park. The real shocker (in terms of a ton of different things this week) is Corey Monteith who may be up for the “most improved in ridiculously drastic ways” award ever since Harry Shum Jr. went from his “Sing!” to “Cool” from West Side Story. His take on More Than a Woman was just superb. I should add a caveat here though. He deserves that praise if it was really him singing, and they also didn’t give him massive amounts of autotune. But if that was actually Corey Monteith, it was without question one of his best vocal performances of the series and it nearly left my jaw on the floor. Alex Newell from The Glee Project (who plays Wade from Vocal Adrenaline) however gave without question the best performance of the episode with “Boogie Shoes.” He’s a boy (that in the series identifies as a woman) but he can sing just as well as Mercedes. I was just stunned. It’s nice to know that even without Jesse (in a singing role) or Sunshine, Vocal Adrenaline is still going to be able to bring it at Nationals this year.
Almost nothing worthwhile happened in the first 40 minutes of the episode, and at times, it was turning into some afterschool special caricature of the things that I actually enjoy about Glee when it tries to be serious (it all reeked of inauthenticity), but then Finn had an emotional breakdown when confronted by Mr. Schue about his aimlessness and suddenly the episode corrected itself. This episode is definitely Corey Monteith’s best of the whole series. He was superb in that scene where he tells Mr. Schue about how lost he is and his complete lack of an ability to believe in his ability to accomplish anything meaningful. Corey Monteith is sort of the whipping boy/scapegoat of most of my problems with the show, but he stole the week and I salute him. Also, the scene with Brittany, Sue, and Santana in her office where they helped get Santana the scholarship was also very touching if only a little unrealistic (that’s like the second time this series where people have done someone else’s college applications for them which I’m pretty sure is fraud). I wasn’t crazy about the scenes with Sam and Mercedes though, but I will never get the Samcedes ship. It irritates me on a deep level.
I’m going to keep this one short because I still have to do my write-up for work of the Portugal. the Man concert I went to last night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn (Rush meets the Flaming Lips on 4/20. You can bet your ass there were a ton of people lighting doobies at that show). Also, I still need to do my song of the day post for today (no idea what song I want to do yet), plus I should probably start doing the real write up of my interview with either Electric Guest or Our Lady Peace which we’ll be running soon at work. I have so much work writing to do that it really eats into my “For Don” writing. Oh well, I’m doing what I love. Next week’s episode of Glee is going to be a Whitney Houston tribute which I haven’t decided whether I think that’s super-tacky or just mildly annoying. We’ll see if it goes well. The song selection looks pretty tight, and I hope that they do it justice.
Final Score: B