"Glee": Episode 12, "Mattress" Review

12/05/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Kristen Lopez

"Glee" is gearing up for the fall finale, and it stands to reason that a few major stories need to be wrapped up until the show's return in April. The road to Sectionals is fast approaching, a phrase that seems to be repeated with every episode, but this week we see the group's morale take a nosedive. Our weekly entry into the "Glee" universe, entitled "Mattress," wasn't the strongest or the best, but it provided some much-needed catharsis for a few characters and set the group on a road filled with emotional baggage.

Will (Matthew Morrison) desperately wants to get the Glee kids into the yearbook, but since their lack of funds prohibits them from getting a full page, they're forced to elect two students to represent them. Unknown to Will, the kids don't actually want to be in the yearbook upon viewing past defiled Glee club photos, so they choose Rachel (Lea Michele) as captain. In an attempt to convince Finn (Cory Monteith) to be her “co-captain,” she gets the club a spot in a mattress commercial to reduce the ridicule they normally receive. Emma (Jayma Mays) has to tell Will she won't make it to Sectionals since it's the day of her wedding while Quinn (Dianna Agron) tries to convince Sue (Jane Lynch) to let her back onto the Cheerios for the yearbook picture. Will finally finds out about Terri's (Jessalyn Gilsig) false pregnancy and things do not end well.

"Mattress" addresses a huge story point that's continued since the first episode--Terri's fake pregnancy. Not only did Will learn she wasn't with child, but she was forced to confess about her plan to adopt Quinn's baby and have them raise it. Will finally stood up to his wife, but he was forced to accept that the only way the two would ever have a functioning marriage would be if he remained a doormat. Props go out to Morrison and Gilsig for giving powerful performances, the former had to assert dominance (and feel hurt) while the latter was forced to confront her flaws and fight to save her marriage. Nothing was resolved outright, but it brought up the question of where do the two go from here? Will might have told Emma that he wasn't considering divorce just yet, but will he be able to get past the fact that he won't be having a child, and his wife just isn't the woman he wants? It looks as if it will lead down some strange paths but we won't be getting much resolution until after the return from show's hiatus.

The songs this week were diverse--out of the three, two hit the mark. The big mattress commercial, with the group performing Van Halen's “Jump,” was nothing short of hilarious. All the kids jumping on mattresses and playing up to the studio cameras was a moment of levity--the kids were allowed to let loose and have fun after a lot of stress leading up to Sectionals, and who didn't laugh out loud every time the camera cut to Kurt mugging incessantly? At the very end of the show, the other song, “Smile,” originally performed by Charlie Chaplin, was beautiful. The song is performed during a scene where Glee Club is despondent at unintentionally getting disqualified for their participation in the mattress campaign, and Will takes the fall by giving up his right to go with the club to Sectionals as adviser. “Smile” worked as the perfect ending performance as the tune is all about perseverance and being able to smile no matter the circumstances. The final scene had a feeling of apprehension but being able to “smile” and pretend everything is fine is the only way to do Will proud.

What's odd is that this episode seemed to ring a bit hollow. The serious nature of Terri's revelation was shocking and really brought down the tone of an episode that seemed to revolve around that one argument. Glee always has taken an optimistic stance on things, wanting to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, and this was the first time audiences saw that things can't be wrapped up in a bow. Terri started the series as the typical unsupportive wife, but in last week's episode, the audience saw her breaking down her facade with Quinn and realizing she loves her husband while being terrified she'll lose him at the same time. To have the two go their separate ways had them face some ugly truths and the audience was left wondering if Terri is worthy of redemption. Don't get me wrong, it was a well-executed scene and raised questions that need answers but it seemed that everything else felt a bit strained and weighed down under the weight of that rift.

Emma and Sue seemed pointless this week, although we did get to see Quinn finally stand up to her former coach, which mirrored Will's emancipation from his wife's grasp. As previously noted, there were only three song this week and the second song seemed completely out-of-place in the context of the scene, which is a first for the series. As for Rachel and Finn, the weakest aspect seemed to be the Glee Club this week. The mattress ad was cute, but the focus didn't seem to be on them and their troubles. It seems that the otherwise somber nature of everything leading up to the confrontation took a lot out of the writers--and this episode needed to be downbeat to have the kids make a glorious comeback at Sectionals.

Overall, "Mattress" was a cookie-cutter episode that focused on a major squabble but the Club itself got lost in the shuffle. Next week is the big fall finale, code for “American Idol is more important,” so let's hope the show goes out swinging because the music stops until April.

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