It's a testament to the power of this show that it manages to be great even with an hour that is inundated with slow, sappy songs. We weren't into the inspirational music, but Glee is still our endless love.
While it wasn't as great as last week's cry fest—guess that's what happens when deprived of Sue Motherfucking Sylvester for an entire episode—it was still a good time with a few chuckles, some surprising turns, and a whole lot of ballads. Yuck. But as always, it's the music we come for so let us see what we can decipher from this Lite Jazz station of an episode.
"Endless Love": Poor Lionel Richie. Babygay Kurt gave Diana Ross a shout out but the man who wrote this duet doesn't even get a mention. Burn! That wasn't the only diss last night, but the night really centered on everyone being totally crushed out.
The most obvious was Rachel on Mr. Schuester. This was a very unfortunate plot development. While it was really funny for an episode, the complicated codependency of these two would be much more interesting for the long run. Before last night, they both needed each other—Rachel to get famous and Will to win regionals—but neither liked each other. They had a tentative alliance that constantly put each other at odds. What a dynamic! It made Rachel's switch from disdain to adoration totally unbelievable.
More believable was Kurt's love for Finn. As a young babygay dealing with high school torment, BG Kurt crushes out on the first hot guy to pay him even the slightest bit of kindness and attention. The best part is that Babygay Kurt is doing just what Fred Phelps always accuses the gays of: recruiting. If only he could get Finn to ditch the bitch and make the switch, but it's going to take a few heartbreaks before BGK learns the first lesson of queendom: crushing on straight guys only leads to pain.
Speaking of which, we love that Puck doesn't wear underwear. Hey, we're not crushing out on him, but we sure are going to fantasize. He keeps fantasizing about his endless love for Quinn, and he finds it unfair that even though he is the babydaddy, she's bringing Finn home to meet the parents.
Also a nice touch was the slight dollop for a reminder that Emma is in love with Will. The writers didn't obsess over it, but used it for a few pivotal scenes. Same goes for Terri and her fake baby, which was a great punchline when she was dealing with Rachel, but we didn't have to listen to her blather for more than a few minutes at a time. Instead of a whole, heavy meal of these characters, we just got a perfect amuse bouche (I learned that from Top Chef!).
"I'll Stand By You": I don't know about you, but I only love Chrissie Hynde when she rocks out, not when she gets all sappy like in this very popular but underwhelming hit that Finn sings to the sonogram of his unborn child.
It's sweet that he wants to do what is best for himself and his child, and when he snapped at Kurt about everyone trying to make him be something he's not, he tellingly snapped. Quinn wants him to be a provider, Coach Tanaka wants him to be a baller, Mr. Schue wants him to be a star, Rachel wants him to be the Tony to her Maria, and Kurt wants him to be a gay. Well, he's not really any of those, and no one ever really thinks about what Finn wants. What he wants more than anything is to be a dad to his baby, and Quinn isn't even letting him do that. Speaking of which, is she still giving the baby to Terri? Is she going to put it up for adoption? Raise it herself? We're not sure, but babies make everything boring, so we hope it goes to a convent or a farm upstate or something.
When Finn was singing this song alone, we thought that the opportunity for greatness that would be a duet between him and Babygay Kurt would be lost (oh, if only he got to sing "I Honestly Love You"!). But no, they did something even better with it. Even though it was for his own dubious ends, it was nice that BGK could be an ally for Finn the whole episode. Sure, his advice backfired, but it's swell to see him making something close to a real friend. Our hopes for Kurt is that he meets a nice boy in another choir and they fall in love and go to to karaoke night with Mercedes every Thursday, but he still gets to be friends with Finn. We don't see straight boys and gay boys have platonic friendships on TV very often, so it would be a nice change of pace.
"Don't Stand So Close to Me"/"Young Girl": Are we still doing mashups? I would complain, but this one was actually good—maybe even better than The Police original, which does get a little monotonous after a bit. Still, it was an effective way for someone to tell another party to get away and start behaving correctly.
Of course Will was directing this at Rachel who totally lost her mind when she fell in love with him. Gold stars are obviously her thing, but did she really think he would wear that tacky tie? After she showed up to school in her Burberry print top, we guess she would. Don't her gay fathers see what she's wearing before she leaves the house? Anyway, Mr. Schuester was right to put an end to her advances, which were only going to cause them both pain. If only Terri got the memo, who thought to exploit Rachel for her cooking, cleaning, and craziness skills. Never having been one, I can't say with certainty, but it seems like all teenage girls are a little bit insane. No wonder Rachel won't listen to reason. And Emma was channeling her inner Twilight fan when she and Rachel watched Will sing. It was as if he was Robert Pattinson walking the red carpet and they were the only two ladies trying to claw their way past the barrier just to touch the jacket of Edward Cullen (If you are an old, insert The Monkees for Twilight and Davy Jones for Robert Pattinson).
Strangely enough, it was Suzie Pepper (Wendy's schizophrenic daughter) who had to talk some sense into Rachel. The only thing that could get through to her was a girl who burned a hole in her esophagus eating the world's hottest pepper in a fit of pique after being rejected by Will. Suzie really did Rachel a favor and pointed out that her lack of self esteem makes her choose men who are unattainable. Wow, she's right. Funny how that works. Since Rachel has internalized all the hatred of her peers and thinks of herself as an ugly dork, the only person who would love her is undeserving. And Will's pep talk after she "breaks up" with him was very nice and heart felt. Are these two on the way to becoming true allies? God, I hope not.
However, the best "step the fuck off" of the night came from Mercedes. When her duet partner Puck (now that is a wasted opportunity!) confessed that he is the father, she didn't do the predictable TV thing and go and tell everyone and ruin Quinn and Finn and Puck's lives. No, she kept her big trap shut and told Puck that he better step off as well. Quinn had chosen another man, and if he really loved her, he would respect her wishes and keep away. And you do not mess with Mercedes, so Puck did the smart thing and took his mohawk home and planned the next day's outfit—commando, of course.
So, yeah, Finn sings this song to Quinn's drunkard parents as a way to let them know what is going on. The song sucks, but watching their faces go from bopping along and enjoying the song to figuring out that he means the lyrics quite literally was brilliant. They freak out and kick Quinn out of the house. If only her father were a little bit less cartoonish, the scene in the living room where he kicks her out and she protests might have hit a little closer to home, but still it was quite effective. The real tears came when she confronted her mother for knowing that she was pregnant and not being there for her. How could a woman let someone kick her child out of the house? Let's hope she puts some poison in her husband's scotch and invites Quinn and the baby to live with her (Team Quinn!) after he's dead.
It's a stark contrast to Finn's mother, who handles the news remarkably well. She's not happy, but she knows there is no changing the past, and the best thing she can do is help to manage a bad situation. When she is kind enough to invite Quinn to move in, well, that's how this show goes about breaking your heart with rainbows just about every week. This woman knows a thing or two about raising a baby alone, and she extends the invitation as much to help Quinn as she does to support her son. That is the way parenting should be done.
"Lean on Me": There is something about this Bill Withers classic that just makes me whither inside. Maybe it's because it makes me think of the Morgan Freeman movie of the same name, or maybe it's just the schmaltzy sentimentality that makes me mental, but I can't stand it. As far as this cover version goes, the arrangement was quite good (way to kill it at the end Mercedes!) but the sound was totally fucked up. There is no way those 10 kids in a school rehearsal room could make a sound that huge and grand. The sound has been way better in recent weeks, lets hope that they can sort all the mixing issues out before the end of the season.
While that may be messed up, the song selection has managed to be off-kilter and not obvious, even if we don't enjoy every number. This week also showed some great musical grace notes, like Rachel trying to sing "Crush" in the car with Will and Suzie Pepper crying to "More than Words" before choking on her chili.
The message of the song was spot on. It was great to see another episode of storylines revolving around the kids and the plot moving a bit more slowly. Now that we've established how they all help each other out, it was a little bit more believable when everyone offered to help Finn and Quinn carry the burden of teenage pregnancy and shacking up together in Finn's mom's house. While rounding out the show, it also did a little bit to advance the overall narrative of the season, by showing that Kurt and Puck may have backed off for now, but they're crushes are far from over.
The most shocking thing about this whole night though was that the show doesn't need to lean on Sue Motherfucking Sylvester to be good and hysterical. Sure, we would have loved for her to come down on high and let us know how Sue Cs it and deliver the best line of the night, but at the end of the episode, we felt like we got our money's worth without her. That doesn't mean we can't wait for her to be front and center next week though!