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'Glee' Season 2, Episode 9 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 1st 2010 12:00AM
New Directions perform at Sectionals on 'Glee' - 'Special Education'['Glee' - 'Special Education']

For all of you 'Glee' fans who have been longing for "classic 'Glee'," tonight's episode was likely one you enjoyed quite a bit.

Was it without flaws? No. But this was the closest the show has gotten to the feeling of the show everyone loved at this time a year ago, before Ryan Murphy read the show's press clippings and made 'Glee' into something different than a show about a group of high school misfits trying to be winners.

Most of the kids had stories, and the ones that didn't played big supporting roles (except Mercedes, for some reason). Yes, Kurt was still featured, but his story didn't overwhelm the rest. The musical numbers were well-placed and made sense in the context of the story. And for the first time this season, it felt that the group was actually pushing towards some sort of goal, even if they pushed together at the very last minute.

In his review of last week's episode, Todd VanDerWuff of the AV Club suggested that "'Glee' doesn't need to be consistent to be good." And, to an extent, he's right. The show's goal has been to be entertaining, and if the fans don't seem to care that characters are being stretched to their limits in order to accommodate certain stories, then why should the writers?

But, dammit, there needs to be some consistency. Otherwise, the characters cease being people we root for, and they just become cartoons. And one of the things that grounded Will Scheuster and the kids in New Directions at this time last year was the build towards sectionals. That's all you ever heard about.

Now, of course, sectionals has that "been there, done that" quality to it, and it shows not only in the writing of the show but in how the kids in the show choir treat it. Last year, it was all they could think about. This year, it's an afterthought, for the most part. No wonder why Will was flying off the handle, yelling at Rachel and lecturing the team for its divisiveness.

So it was heartening that, despite all the infighting and the suspicions, despite everyone's seething dislike for each other and the fact that Kurt had to leave because of Karofsky, it was good to see the Gleesters get it together at the very last minute and realize why they're so good together in the first place. The feeling didn't last long, of course, but it lasted long enough to get them to the next level...

... along with the Warblers. Sigh. You could almost see that tie coming, couldn't you? New Directions needed to move on so they could go up against their dreaded nemesis Vocal Adrenaline. And the Warblers needed to stick around because Kurt isn't done feeling like just one of the crowd there yet. The only way the writers were going to keep both conditions in place was to have two teams in a three-team competition tie. Why even have a competition, then? To be honest, the Hipsters, who seemed to have the voices of teenagers, did a better job than the Warblers.

'Glee' Skype Second Opinion
with TVGuide.com's Denise Martin:



Back to that rare story development amongst the kids. They were all stories involving rough patches between most of the club's couples. The only pairing in harmony was Sam and Quinn, who did a nice job with '(I've Had) The Time of My Life.' Because of all the "special episodes," I had lost the thread of why Finn and Rachel worked together as a couple, so when the Santana sex story came spilling out all over the place (gotta love how Santana called Rachel "Yentl" before dropping the bomb), it didn't seem to have the devastating effect that it was supposed to have. Rachel seemed to be more concerned that she didn't have a solo during sectionals.

But then when Rachel revealed her hook-up with Puck, I still couldn't muster up enough sympathy to care that Finn got hurt. In fact, it might be better to see the power couple broken up for a little while. They were getting too co-dependent on each other.

No, it was another couple that intrigued me more. One of the problems with giving Heather Morris a lot of lines in an episode is that Brittany has shown herself to be so damn stupid that if she even strings a couple of normal sentences together, she doesn't sound like herself anymore. So even though there were weird and fun Brittany lines -- she's as sure that she's the most talented in the group as she is that "the cricket who reads to me every night steals all my jewelry," and she thought that "committing adultery" meant being stupid and not like an adult -- the rest of the stuff she said to Artie didn't sound very Brittany-like.

However, it does seem like she really cares for the guy, and not because he's on the football team. So that's leaving Santana as the only bitch in the group. She can't handle that load alone, can she?

More fun stuff:

-- No Sue this week. Oddly enough, I didn't miss her much.

-- How many episodes until Kurt decides to risk the wrath of Karofsky just so he can be himself, dress like Lady Gaga on stage and pick his own songs? For heaven's sake, the Warblers even wear their uniforms when they perform.

-- Emma seems to be oddly troubled that she went off and married Carl, the "finest dentist ever made," according to Santana. Anything that puts a permanent wedge in the creepy Emma-Will relationship is fine by me.

-- Mike Chang! His swing dancing with Brittany really stole the show. It's too bad Harry Shum can't really sing, but I'm really happy he's been more front and center this year.

-- Both versions of 'Don't Cry For Me, Argentina' worked just fine. Chris Colfer has the voice and command to pull it off, which is more of a feat than hearing Lea Michele sing it. Not that she didn't kill, but you expect her -- and Rachel Berry -- to embrace that song like a warm blanket. It's more of a stretch for a guy to pull it off.

-- The final number, sung to 'Dog Days are Over' by Florence And The Machine, was well done, even showing the tension between Finn and Rachel. I was tracking Ashley Fink a little during both the final number and during the regionals numbers, to see if her character, Lauren, was out of sync with the rest of the gang. She was in the regionals, but not in the final number. Considering she had just joined after rocking Puck's world, and the fact that she thought show choir was stupid, you'd expect her to be a little off.

-- Can we put a moratorium on the use of Train's 'Hey, Soul Sister?' Just until New Year's. We can all use the break. Thanks.

'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on Fox.





(Follow @joelkeller on Twitter.)

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roadrunner

Not that this excuses Rachel, but didn't Finn make out with Rachel while he was still with Quinn early in season 1? Granted, the reasons were different and Rachel's reasons were cruel, but that still kinda makes him a hypocrite.

I'm a Finchel fan and a complete sucker for will they/won't they. By law, it's about time for them to split. Besides, it's rumored they're bringing Jesse back (curious as to how though, since he was a senior) and he'll need something to do to wreak havoc on the students at McKinley.

I missed Sue.

I miss Kurt. The happy version. I do love what they're doing with him at Dalton. I feel stifled for him just watching it. Can't wait until be busts!

Dump the Sam and Quinn thing. Vanilla, boring, I'll take the cartoonistic version of Rachel they're churning out and wimpy Finn over them any episode. They don't DO anything.

I miss Mercedes. She was there, right? Hmmm. Maybe they should give her a line or two.

I can't stand Shu/Emma. He started off ok, but when rewatch an episode (I know, I know, major Gleek) I find myself tempted to fast forward through his scenes.

All in all, love what the creators have done in this groundbreaking TV show and though it may be in a bit of a sophomore slump, I have faith in them. They're too brilliant not to. I heard they keep a pulse on what fans think and it may be influencing their writing. I wish they'd stop and simply go with their guts since that's how the first half of season one was churned out and it's by far their best material. They hooked millions of people with their own unadulterated ideas, myself included. Go back to a closet, lock the door, and bang out an awesome season 3!

December 01 2010 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dutchy

I barely care anymore for the stories. I only watch for the songs, and the entertainment factor.

And finally a big solo for Santana. She got a great voice, I want to hear her more.

December 01 2010 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John From Raleigh

Wow.... Did I watch a different episode from everyone else. I really enjoyed it! I had goosebumps when Quinn and Sam began their song. Just like I did when Finn and Rachael began theirs last season. I watch Glee for the fresh takes on songs and this episode did not disappoint. ** While I enjoyed the Warblers take on "Hey Soul Sister", I really enjoyed the Hipsters version of "The Living Years".

Concerning the Drama/Comedy which fills in between songs I am surprised no one has mentioned the growth of Puck or Rachael in this episode. His time in the porta john seems to have had some effect. I thought it was interesting when he stood up for Rachael and was willing to spend 7 minutes in Heaven to ensure another person joins the club. He had a cute quote about, "I told God I would be nice to everyone and then changed it to Jews only". Concerning Rachael, after spending most of the season making her as harsh as possible, it was nice to see her sincerely try to help Kurt. Finally, like others it was nice to see Mr. Shue finally get a little mad and show leadership of the group.

I didn't miss Sue at all this episode and enjoy her more and more in small bites.

December 01 2010 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
codemanz4

This episode was total bullsh**. I was switching back and forth between Glee and Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeer, and guess what? Rudloph had a plot that was more believable and cohesive. I really don't like the fact that Quinn and whats-his-name are the new happy sexy couple (did she really have a baby or was that just in our imagination?) and Rachel is really starting to look bad. The tie was complete BS.

It's rediculous that this site has an article about the show's future in 2012. I'd be more worried about this show making it through 2011 first.

December 01 2010 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leroy

I keep wondering about something mentioned back at the beginning of the season. Wasn't it established that a much bigger choir is required to go to nationals? So far they can barely keep twelve people in the group. Are they going to just magically gain double the members one episode before nationals? Shouldn't this be an ongoing process of gradually adding people throughout the season?

December 01 2010 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

I'm also glad this was light on Kurt's story. I didn't miss Sue one bit. I enjoyed hearing from more of the underused characters.
I assume that Emma consumated her marriage to Dr Carl? So she no longer wears the scarlet "V"?

December 01 2010 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hartbroknagn

I may be out of sync with everyone here but I liked the episode for one reason, it wasn't the "Kurt Show". I loved his character last year but this year it is just too much, it is kind of like hearing that song you love way too many times and now can't stand.

December 01 2010 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Xina

henninggirl hit the nail on the head in a lot of ways. Rachel and Finn are supposed to be "THE" couple, but you can't have a power couple when you are constantly making them something to dislike. Rachel has been a complete brat and Mr. Schu was right to call her out, but Finn has been relatively spineless, and sorry that doesn't scream power couple to me. I hope they (meaning the writers and Murphy) pushed Rachel and Finn aside to show a more human side to both of them.

I didn't think the kids were out of sync at all, and in fact I enjoyed the numbers featuring other kids very much. This isn't the Rachel and Finn show.

December 01 2010 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
amanda4801

I've come to the conclusion when you like an episode that means I loathe it. And this episode sucked. Finn & Rachel are the leads for a reason. When they're out of sync so is Glee. There was no glee in this episode at all. I didn't enjoy one number. Ryan Murphy decided to listen to the criticism and give the others a chance to shine & basically threw Finn & Rachel under a bus to do it. Rachel was the one wrong here to hurt Finn with Puck. That was mean and spiteful. Puck at least knew he couldn't hurt Finn again. The episode was unbalanced and was the worst one of the season so far.

December 01 2010 at 6:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to amanda4801's comment
Lyndseybug

Ashley Fink was there and they gave her a few close ups and she was even dancing a little.

December 01 2010 at 5:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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