By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes
When Glee goes on a hiatus, their first episode back is usually an incredible one. I guess the producers feel the need to throw the fans a bone, and have a huge episode to make the absence of Glee for so many weeks seem worth it.
This episode reminded me of why I didn’t really miss Glee much over the hiatus.
In theory, this could’ve been a stellar episode. Brittany turned out to be the veritable MVP of an academic decathlon team and Sue had assembled a League of Doom – a team of henchmen – to find a way to bring down Mr. Schuester and the New Directions. The brief scenes introducing Brittany’s shocking success as an academic decathlete and Sue leading a meeting with the coach of Vocal Adrenaline, the former glee club teacher, Sandy, and Mr. Schue’s ex-wife Terri, were the funniest of the episode. Unfortunately for me, they were also some of the briefest scenes.
Mr. Schue found himself in a pickle--he needed to raise money to send his glee club to Nationals in New York, and also send the academic decathlon team to compete in Detroit, and his plans to raise money were weak, at best. Holly suggested he throw a benefit concert, and it seemed like the right move. When he suggested that they perform songs from neglected artists, I started to feel unsure. Sure, thematically, it was appropriate, but I wasn’t sure how good it’d be.
Shockingly, Sunshine Corazon, played by the young phenom Charice, came back to Glee for this episode, as she volunteered to sing in the show, and bring her army of Twitter followers. This would sell out the show, and give New Directions all the money they’d need to travel. Of course, Charice is on the rival team, and it didn’t quite work out well for New Directions, but at least we got to see Charice sing. Thankfully, she sang a powerful version of Celine Dion’s “All By Myself,” which was especially lovely because she has a ridiculously incredible voice. Thank you, Oprah, for finding her.
The other highlight of the episode wasn’t even a song! It was a dance! That’s how… off this episode was. Mike Chang choreographed a super fun and interesting dance to Jack Johnson’s “Bubble Toes,” which not only reminded me of how much I like Jack Johnson, but also how talented a dancer he is.
Tina sang a tearful version of “Follow Rivers” before getting booed off the stage by the team of hecklers in Sue’s League of Doom. It was good, but the vocals took a backseat to all the heckling, which wasn’t even as funny as it could have been.
Holly sang her swan song, which also made me sad, because somehow Gwyneth Paltrow became one of my favorite parts of Glee. As all substitutes must, Gwyneth is leaving McKinley High to teach French at another high school in Ohio, in part because she realized that her boyfriend, Mr. Schuester, is in love with another woman. She sang Adele’s “Turning Tables,” and it was fine, and looked beautiful with her on a stage with a backing band and a long gown, but it wasn’t as good as songs in Glee tend to be. Yet this was one of the best musical points of the night.
Closing out the show – both the benefit show and the episode – was the newly minted diva, Mercedes. Her storyline this episode was funny, but very forced. She wanted to close the show and be a diva, and with tough as nails Lauren Zices as her manager, Mercedes started flinging some diva demands worthy of Mariah Carey. After a pep talk from Rachel, Mercedes realized she loves to sing, and loves the glee club, and closed out the night with “Ain’t No Way,” which was performed lovely, but still came across as just average to me.
The worst part of the episode? Blaine did not sing. Forget about a disjointed, weird plot about a failed benefit concert, the only Blaine I got in this episode were simple cutaway reaction shots during the concert. Not cool, Glee. Not cool.
Next week will be a “huge” hour-and-a-half long episode of Lady Gaga songs, which frankly, I’m not excited for. But hopefully the fact that it’s a themed episode will mean the writing is tight and funny.