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Review: Glee - Sectionals (winter finale)

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 10th 2009 1:00AM
glee_jane_lynch_michael_morrison(S01E13) I would like to say that Glee saved the best for last, but I can't. You see, this wasn't the end. "Sectionals" wasn't the end of the season at all. What it was, in fact, was a great intermission in the middle of a terrific musical. And since it was just the halfway point, and since Glee has a brilliant way of honoring Broadway and musicals and great entertainment, there were songs in this episode that epitomized that spirit.

Oh, and if you're wondering if the dramatic elements in the show were addressed, they were. But if you think it was all tied up in a pretty bow, think again. There was so much great stuff in this show that my head is spinning. I'll do my best to sort it out. To see if I succeeded, and to share the joy of Glee, read on.

For much of the season, I've felt that the soap opera stylings of the show were bringing it down and getting in the way of the good stuff. I should have trusted the Ryan Murphy creative team more, because all the pieces fell together. The fake pregnancy and fake impregnation in the hot tub ruse was completely revealed. Quinn didn't hide from the truth; she embraced it and established her independence.

Terri needs to accept her independence because Will is not going back to her. I give her credit for trying, but Terri lied too much. Will also has to confront his own truth, that he didn't want Emma to leave McKinley. She had gone to sectionals for Will, not the kids, and because of her decision, Ken dumped her.

Will leaving Terri and Ken leaving Emma opened the door for a perfect romantic moment. But that wouldn't come until Will heard the kids' song for him, Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You." It was a message to him; the kids love Mr. Schu. Message received, but Will also heard another message. For him, life without Emma would suck.

This show might be the best of the season for many reasons, including Rachel's Star Is Born moment. It came from Funny Girl, but it was Streisand all the way. Her entire thread in the episode was a mini-Barbra movie. Rachel reaching out to Finn about the baby. Rachel's reaction to Mercedes' ballad. Both acts showed how far Rachel has come in New Directions. Those menschy moves set up her getting the star spot at sectionals.

Mercedes would not have called Rachel their star without that scene. Rachel had to rise to the moment, and live up to all those gold stars she believed she had already earned. It was the moment the previous twelve episodes had built to. Was Rachel up to it? Could she shine in the spotlight? Is Barbra Streisand really from Brooklyn? Of course, she is!

Rachel said. "Well, I do have something I've been working on since I was four." She wasn't kidding. "Don't Rain on My Parade" was the highpoint of the season for me, surpassing "Defying Gravity" (which they didn't even bring up as a possibility -- why?). The only thing missing were Rachel's two dads. Why weren't they there? Why weren't any of the parents there?

Anyway, Lea Michele's version of Barbra's song was a knockout. It had the audience on their feet and established New Directions immediately as something special. And they were. Less rehearsed than the other teams because they had to be spontaneous. They earned that trophy. Now it's on to regionals.

But that's not all. (You see what I mean about this episode? My head is still spinning!) Finn emerged as the leader Will always knew he could be.

And Principal Figgins found his spine. He confronted Sue for her duplicity and suspended her. He took the Cheerios away from her and he reinstated Will to Glee. Sue's reaction was expected; the battle had just begun. Or as she put it, "You just woke a sleeping giant. Prepare to be crushed."

Wait, that's still not all! There was the kiss. What a kiss! Will and Emma. I can't wait till the show resumes because there's so much story to tell. You see what I mean about this being an intermission? There's still another half (a season) to go.

Other points of interest

-- When the kids are determined to keep Rachel from telling Finn about her suspicions that Quinn's baby is Puck's, the split screen was an homage to Bye Bye Birdie, "The Telephone Song."

-- When Emma confronted the competition choir directors from Jane Adams and Haverhurst for cheating, she was the ultimate guidance counselor and she laid the guilt on. Shame on them!

-- The way Will embedded the idea of a song to Finn when he convinced him to rejoin New Directions was very clever. The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" indeed.

-- Mercedes' interpretation of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Goin'" was killer. It is the ultimate big girl song, and a starmaker. It worked for Jennifer Holliday on Broadway in Dream Girls, as well as American Idol's Jennifer Hudson in the movie version. It worked for Amber Riley, too. Her rendition was superb!

-- There was a real sense of melancholy because Mr. Schuester couldn't be part of sectionals. You felt it when he watched them board the bus. Damn that mattress! However, I think his reactions just listening over the phone were better than if he had been there.

-- The look inside the show choir sectionals judges' room was hilarious. They picked the group they hated the least. They had their own agenda, which one member said was not being there at all.

[Check out clips and episodes of Glee at SlashControl.]

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We don't know how Lea Michele's real voice sounds since Glee songs are not performed live, but rather pre-recorded in studio with heavy electronic editing. The same comment applies also BTW to Cory, Amber, Kevin, Chris and all the other Glee kids.

People should keep that in mind before they start comparing "New Directions" to Bon Jovi, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Jennifer Hudson, or, God forbid, Barbra Streisand !

February 08 2010 at 5:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If I remember correctly, in the "Wheels" episode, Artie said that he would rather ride with his dad and use the bake sale money to pay for new handicap ramps in the school auditorium than to rent a handicap-friendly bus. In the finale "Sectionals," however, we clearly see Artie being loaded up in the short bus. Is this a plot error or did I miss something? How'd they end up funding the bus?

December 30 2009 at 7:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

Since Sue has been suspended from the Cheerios maybe Emma will be hired back and put in charge of them?

December 15 2009 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We created a site where we feature Glee clothes and accessories arranged by Character and actor and where to buy them. http://www.shopglee.com/ We also have items from the last episode

December 12 2009 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sir Yuck-Yuck

WAIT !!! Brittany kept a pet bird in her school locker ??? LOL

December 12 2009 at 5:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One more thing! My wishes for next season: Let's see a little more human Sue (it seems like they just threw in the sister bit and then forgot about it!), I want to hear more of the 'background' singers like Tina and Kurt and Quinn, give Mercedes a soft song and stop with those big belting screaming ones, more elaboration on that weird moment with Britney and Santana (at least don't throw it away like they did with Sue's sister), and...I think that's it. Also, Will's faces are killin me.

December 11 2009 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Glee. What can I say about Glee. Everything's already been said...the comedy, the drama, the actors and actresses, the singing, the wonderful song choices...it's all soooo so so perfect :)

I never thought I'd fall in love with this show, mostly cuz I could not stand other musicals (come on, I'm sure High School Musical came to your minds as well). But it totally surprised me! It's not shallow! It's not dull! It's the savior of television this season!

Plus NCIS, House and One Tree Hill of course. And Criminal Minds. Oh, and also 90210. And I can't forget...sorry this is a Glee post.

December 11 2009 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm a little disappointed that no one has mentioned Tina's vocals. 'True Colors' is definitely in my top five of the season, and the little solos she gets in other people's numbers are great (like in 'Hate on Me').
And I read an interview with Amber Riley (Mercedes) where she said that naturally her voice is soft and that she doesn't normally sing such big, belty numbers. I think the fact that she sings those big numbers is a result of the folks in charge who like having a big, black girl around who can sing those big, black girl songs.
And I also would like Finn to stop getting all of the lead vocals! I understand he is the "leader", but it's really painful to hear him sing when I know one of the other guys could do it better. Not saying he can't sing, it would just be nice for them to spread the love. Same goes for Rachel. I'm pretty sure she had the lead in every song they did on the last episode (excluding 'And I am...').

I can't wait for next season!!

December 11 2009 at 8:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm with you Vijay, there is no way that I could "get over" such a huge lie and betrayal of trust. When you add the big lie to the rest of Terris' faults, such as being a controlling, manipulative bitch, a person too lazy to really work, but who squanders too much money on her frivolous hobbies and projects and a person who is so uncaring about her husbands feelings that she likes it when he is unhappy, when you add a huge lie that is also a humiliation for Will, I dont see how he could just "get over it". There really wasnt much of a basis for a relationship there to begin with, so what is Will really losing by leaving Terri? Only his illusion that he was ever really happy with her in the first place.
Regarding singing voices, I prefer Rachel to Mercedes. Mercedes has a tendency to start yelling and screaming her songs, whereas Rachel is more controled and conveighs the emotions of the song better, in my opinion. Quinn has a good voice, but it seems kind of thin and I dont know if she has much range.
To me, Finn has the weakest vocals among the guys. He sounds better when he is in the background. His voice sounds weak and reedy to me and is not lead vocal quality. Artie and Kurt are much better and I would like to hear more from Puck since he has done well with the few oportunities he has had.
And, lastly, am I the only one who thinks Emma is extremely sexy?

December 11 2009 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that the episode was pretty good. The Quinn/Finn storyline was good. The Will/Terri one, however, was not. I feel like it's been totally overblown. Sure, she lied, but if I was married to her I would be a little pissed off and then get over it. As it is, Will just looks like an ass who took this excuse to bang Emma. I mean, if he wanted to leave his wife, it should've been because she was a b*tch--not just because she lied about a baby. Sorry, it's not working for me. But at least it's over now.

As for the singing, Mercedes' "I Am Telling You" wasn't a highlight. The lip-syncing and auto-tuning, of course, hurt it, but she just doesn't have a strong enough voice to carry that song. Especially after everyone now remembers Hudson's version. I do like her voice, just not for this song. And, yes, I like Quinn's, too (her "Papa Don't Preach" was better than Madonna...though that's not saying much, I guess).

Anyway, I was a little disappointed by "MLWSWY." I love Clarkson and was hoping they would do something incredible with it, but it only turned out so-so. Though I guess they don't really have as much personality as Kelly.

And I agree with whoever said Artie's the best male singer on the show, followed by Finn, then Puck, then Kurt.

December 11 2009 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michael's comment

Wait... You'd "get over" your wife intentionally manipulating your emotions in one big way (lying about pregnancy), and then successively any many small ways ("why don't you just take the food from the baby and give it to your glee kids?"). A lie that big is not something someone "gets over", especially after her rationale that she likes controlling him ("we're best when you're unhappy").

I'm not saying Will's a good person; I also think he's an ass with very little integrity, who refuses to own up to his own beliefs. I just think he was right in that situation with Terri. Oddly, he's teaching Finn, Quinn, and Rachel to act more like adults than he does.

Regarding singing, I'm pretty certain Mercedes has the best female voice, followed closely by Rachel, then Quinn. The auto-tune is reliably annoying, but I agree with Eric H above that it probably has more to do with schedule and budget than talent. They did it to Rachel in a couple songs more noticeably (earlier in the season).

As for the males, I think Artie, then Puck and Kurt, then Finn. Finn can handle the Stones with aplomb, but he doesn't have the vocal range to handle tenor leading-man pieces. The show-runners were smart enough to showcase his strengths in this ep. I hope they abandon the idea that he should sing all lead male pieces.

December 11 2009 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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