'Glee' Season 2, Episode 17 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Apr 20th 2011 12:16AM
['Glee' - 'A Night of Neglect']
It's amazing what happens when Ryan Murphy and company decide to restrain themselves for a week and just go back to some good old-fashioned storytelling, isn't it?
Sure, Gwyneth Paltrow was back again as Holly Holiday, but it wasn't a big deal. There were no big song-and-dance numbers; everyone, including Mike Chang, had a solo. We got to see Terri Schuester for the first time in what seems like forever. And Sue was merely scheming and evil instead of violent and abusive.
I've come to accept that not all episodes of 'Glee' can be like this. In what has become an exhausting season, it's pretty much a given that maybe only a third of the episodes aren't going to be either some sort of big event or center around the music of a particular artist. So I've come to appreciate the less flashy episodes when they come around. And this one was a good one.
The simplicity of this week's episode could have come from the simple plot: The glee club can't get at the Cheerio money they were given, so they put on a benefit to raise money to go to nationals. In a weird little plot sweetener, a subset of the group needs money so their academic decathlon team can go to their regionals in Detroit.
There are multiple storylines to deal with this week, but most of them are only mentioned in a scene or two. We see, for instance, Karofsky get in the face of Kurt and Blaine, only to be backed off by an even more belligerent Santana. Rachel tells Finn and Quinn that she hates that they're throwing their couplehood in her face.
But most of the concentration was on the benefit and how Sue wants to disrupt it, Will and Holly, and Mercedes wanting to be the star for once. Of course, Holly's idea to make the benefit "A Night of Neglect" tied everything together, as not only do the Glee club feel neglected, but so does Mercedes.
Personally, I wanted to see more of Terri this week. Sure, she's trying to get over Will, but her disruptive force was missed, as it was of a more batpoop-crazy kind than Sue's ever was. So Sue employing her in her "Legion of Doom" is an ingenious move by the writers to include Jessalyn Gilsig in a way that doesn't make her look like she's completely coming out of nowhere. We know that creepy Sandy Ryerson and Vocal Adrenaline coach Dustin Goolsby couldn't do the job, so Sue's going to now have to send in the big guns. No one can disrupt Will like Terri can.
Speaking of disrupting Will, it's too bad Gwyneth's appearances are going to stop for now. We knew that once Carl moved out, he and Emma were done, but was there really a need to throw Will and Emma back together, even in this "I'll help you clean your grapes so you can get past this" kind of way? Paltrow and Matthew Morrison had more chemistry in three episodes than Morrison and Jayma Mays have had in two seasons. In fact, Morrison has had more chemistry with every other actress playing a romantic interest of Will's... and I'm including Gilsig on this list. Do we really need to revisit this at this point?
It did give us the chance to see Gwyneth cover Adele's 'Turning Tables,' and she did a fantastic job with it. It was full of passion and -- dare I say it? -- soul. It at least had some cajones to it, something I've never been able to say about, for instance, every single song the Warblers have ever done.
But Amber Riley knocked it out of the park with Mercedes' cover of Aretha Franklin's 'Ain't No Way.' Mercedes did what Rachel implored her to do: "If you want the closing number, you're going to have to come in and take it from me." Rachel told Mercedes this in a very loving way, trying to explain to her why her desire to be a star may not be healthy, but it's getting the results Mercedes isn't getting. For some reason, the "this week she's nice" version of Rachel isn't bothering me; the girl has to grow up at some point, doesn't she?
More fun stuff:
-- Loved the academic quiz team's salute, where they push up imaginary glasses (or real ones in Artie's case). Artie, Tina and Mike make sense as members. And, in the world of 'Glee,' Brittany on the team also makes sense. She really knows about her cat diseases. Once the white rappers topic came up -- that was in Artie's wheelhouse -- they were home free. In the world of 'Glee,' nothing and everything makes sense, often at the same time.
-- Good to see Charice back as Sunshine Corazon. "It's the least you can do. You sent her to a friggin' crack house," Puck said to Rachel when she balked at letting her join their benefit. She did a great job on 'All By Myself,' but Gwyneth and Amber out-belted her.
-- Why would Jacob Ben-Israel have such an on-the-nose license plate? Does he really want to be known as "JEWFRO"? And would the Ohio DMV ever let a plate like that be made?
-- So now Santana knows a little about Karofsky's inclinations. I'm sure this will come up again next week in the big Karofsky / Kurt showdown, especially after I found out some of the spoilers associated with that episode.
-- Lauren seems to have the show business racket down cold. What she should have demanded for Mercedes, though, is cold hard cash. You can't get 10 percent of a bunch of humidifiers or a puppy-turned-towel.
-- Becky got her heckling training on the Entertainment Weekly comment boards. I can see that; some of the comments I've seen make some of the ones I've seen here look happy-go-lucky in comparison.
-- Santana's hair probably really is full of razor blades. Don't you think she'd cut a guy if she got the chance?
'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on FOX.
Read AOL Music's recap of 'A Night of Neglect' here.
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Watch the full episode here: