Last night's Glee episode packed an emotional punch. But God it was a musical disappointment. Next week is the appearance by Gwyneth Paltrow. I sure hope it amps things up.
As this episode opens, Finn and Sam discuss buzz-kills: How can they survive making out with girlfriends who won’t put out?
Sam finds his lust-buster in Coach Beiste’s (Dot Jones) visible panty lines. But when he murmurs her name into Quinn’s ear by accident, she jumps to the conclusion -- with Sue's help -- that they’re having an affair.
The truth eventually comes out, despite Shue’s attempts to quash the hurtful truth. When the boys admit what they’ve been doing, the girls react. Rachel: squicked. Quinn: apologetic. Santana and Brittany: smug, because “this is what happens when you don’t put out.” Meanwhile, Beiste quits -- for which Sue thanks Shue. He reads his kids the riot act -- Beiste is one of them, an outsider, and they have to make her feel welcome. And he gives Beiste what she’s been waiting 40 years for: her first kiss.
Meanwhile, Puck’s back -- and he’s not going back to juvie. “There’s no chicks and no kosher meals up in that joint,” he complains. So he says his community service is taking care of Artie. Task #1: They’ll make some cash! To do so, they try busking on campus for money with Musical Number #1: Bob Marley’s "One Love." The dollars pile up and Marley spins in his grave. It’s soulless and corny. Sorry, hot Puck. They double-date with Santana and Brittany, for whom Artie still pines, but when Artie can’t fulfill true bad-boy behavior, Puck ditches him as a project and almost gets thrown back into the pokey. Artie reaches out: He’ll help Puck pass his classes and encourage him while doing humiliating highway cleanup -- because even if it didn’t work, it was a thrill being a bad-boy as long as it lasted. Aw.
An upcoming competition will pit New Directions against The Warblers, a team from an all-boys’ school, and some adorable old people from a continuing-ed school. Kurt is dispatched to spy on The Warblers. On the preppy campus, he finds that (a) everyone is adorable and (b) the a cappella group are local heroes. The blue-blazered prepsters turn in a pitch-perfect boys’ band version of Katy Perry’s "Teenage Dreams" in Musical Number #2. And lo and behold, the head cute prepster, Blaine (newcomer Darren Criss), is singing right to Kurt, who beams with a happiness we haven’t seen in him. His wide-open, unguarded joy reminds me of the moment I stepped on my college campus and realized I’d left the hell of suburbia behind forever. Uch, how I love Kurt!
Outed -- er, as a spy -- Kurt’s quizzed by the prepsters, who ask him why he’s really there. He asks if they’re all gay; only Blaine is, but it’s OK to be out there because of the zero-tolerance harassment policy. He’s overcome by emotion at the idea that someone actually cares about this. “Prejudice is just ignorance; you have a chance to teach him” by confronting the bullies, Blaine tells Kurt, and follows up with encouraging texts of “courage.”
“You can’t punch the gay out of me any more than I can punch the ignoramus out of you!” Kurt screams at the bully who’s been stalking him all episode. The future Republican senator responds by planting an anguished kiss on Kurt’s lips -- not the response the brave boy expected! Blaine accompanies Kurt to confront the Neanderthal, who’s back to being his Neanderthal self. Kurt admits he’s more upset than he might be because that squicky smooch was his first.
The girls perform Musical Number #3, a mash-up of Bon Jovi and The Rolling Stones ("Livin’ On a Prayer" and "Start Me Up"). It makes me want to kill Jon Bon Jovi and Mick Jagger so they can also spin in their graves. It’s not the singing, it’s the weird arrangement. God. What’s happening? Musically, the show has so lost its way this week.
The boys’ number, Musical Number #4, is a mash-up of The Supremes and En Vogue ("Stop in the Name of Love" and "Free Your Mind"). It kind of makes me barf, but it makes Beiste smile -- and stay -- so it’s all okay in the end.
Like I said, next week: Paltrow. I’d like it to be just as emotional but with decent musical numbers. Is that too much to ask?
How did you like this episode? What did you think of the musical numbers?
Image via Fox