"Glee" Episode 8 Review

12/01/2010 Posted by Admin

"Glee" Episode 8

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

Last night on "Glee," the New Directions kids faced their toughest competition yet – and the episode, as well as the songs, were a success.

Why I liked this Sue Sylvester-less episode is easy--it let the other students take their much-deserved moments in the spotlight. It is no secret that I find Rachel Barry to be one of the most annoying characters currently on television. I can’t deny that Lea Michele has loads of talent, but I often find myself wishing that she’d just tone it down a few notches. Lea’s Rachel Barry is a little too over-the-top and self-absorbed for my tastes, and it was nice to see someone finally tell her as much.

But just as I’ve always found Rachel to be on the annoying side, I’ve been increasingly getting tired of the over-prominent Kurt storylines. I love Kurt and how he is maturing and his relationship with his father is getting better, but sometimes, I just want something a little less… emotional.

And then along came last night's episode, which was the perfect remedy to my "Glee" woes of late. Mr. Schuester decided that the New Direction team needed a new direction, and so he decided to sideline Rachel as the de facto soloist. With Kurt – the group’s other go-to lead vocal – attending Dalton, this means that new faces got to shine in the group’s big Sectional performances.

The camera-ready blond couple Sam and Quinn sang lead on “I Had the Time of My Life,” which was made famous by the movie "Dirty Dancing."  I think the two have great chemistry, and while they aren’t the best singers in the bunch, they seemed to have a good time. Sure it was cheesy, but this was a moment where I appreciated the cheesiness.

My favorite New Directions singer, Santana, also got to sing lead this episode, in a high-energy version of “Valerie,” recently made popular by Amy Winehouse. Perhaps the perfect song for Santana, but also the perfect song to not only spice up the sectionals competition, but also to add some much-needed energy to the episode. Accompanying the song were slick dance moves by Mike Chang and Brittany.

I felt that while Sam and Quinn’s performance was good, it certainly wasn’t enough to top the Warblers’ performance from earlier in the episode--until Santana started to sing. I’m excited that I can consider Santana a game-changer in a "Glee" episode.

Again, it is no secret that I love everything that the Warblers do, and I am so pleased that Kurt is now attending Dalton for a number of reasons, but most selfishly important is that it means more Blaine and more great a cappella songs. In fact, I find Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” to be one of the most over-played and over-used songs in the past few years, and I was excited that recently, I’ve noticed I haven’t heard it as much. Yet the Warblers’ a cappella arrangement was so fresh and so high energy, that I really appreciated it. Again, the Warblers improve upon a pop hit. I honestly cannot wait to hear what they do next.

Just as Rachel was relegated to the back of New Directions, Kurt also entered a situation where he wasn’t the best lead vocalist. In stark contrast to what goes on in Mr. Schuester’s rehearsal rooms, the Warblers choose their songs by committee, and Kurt’s flashy '80s hits were immediately turned down (though, admittedly, I’d like to see the Warblers tackle the '80s in a future episode). Then, he learned that they had to audition for solos.

In a touching moment of the episode – and a rare moment of selflessness for Rachel – Rachel helped Kurt prepare for his big audition by gifting him the song she’d sing in such a situation--“Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.” The two sang beautifully in split screen scenarios, proving both how excellent their voices are, and how similarly the sound. Of course, this was too over-the-top for the laid back pop Warblers group, and Kurt got the instructions to just be a team player and try not to stand out as much. Finally, more advice I can get behind.

So, with Kurt and Rachel taking supporting roles, hopefully both learn what it means to be a team player in a team setting, and I think this will ultimately be a vast improvement for the season plot-wise.

In the random and doesn’t quite fit in musical selection of the night, Mercedes and Tina sang Florence and the Machine’s hit “Dog Days Are Over.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard Tina solo, but again, mixing it up – and hearing Mercedes sing is always something I love. Unfortunately, this song just didn’t do it for me. I’ve grown to love the end-of-episode performances, where the kids aren’t rehearsing and are just having fun and being high school kids. But the original version of this song is so perfect and powerful, that this just fell flat to me.

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