It has been almost two months since we’ve had a Glee fix. Truthfully I was thankful for the break. After the initial detox period it was nice to catch up on my Netflix queue even if it meant no HD Puckzilla on my TV for a while. The dry spell ended last night with Glee’s much-hyped return with “The Sue Sylvester Bowl”.
Weeks ago we were told that this was going to be the “biggest Glee episode ever” and the previews certainly looked promising. We saw fire and flaming cone bras and cannons and zombies! But would the story be able to carry the over-the-top production or would this be another music video episode with very little substance?
The show opened with the Cheerios performing Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” which we saw teased last week. It was cute but a little restrained. I had to agree with Sue when she lifted her megaphone and said “I’m bored”. The “dancing” was mostly just the girls walking in circles while boys on bikes did stunts behind them. The Cheerios have set the bar much higher in the past (hello “Ray of Light”) so this was a bit of a letdown, but still fun. Puck (Mark Salling) and Rachel (Lea Michele) treated us to another pace back and forth while fondling the piano number with their syrupy cover of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” which wins my award for Most Overplayed Song of 2010. It is a good song, but still…enough is enough. The radio killed this track for me, but Puck and Rachel did a fine job with it. I always enjoy Puck and his guitar.
A super bowl sized Glee club with members of the football team providing backup (I’ll get to that in a second) performed The Zombies track “She’s Not Here” which is a song I’m not familiar with. They used the funky as a warm up for their bigger zombie-themed “Thriller” half-time show and it was enjoyable enough and really suited Finn’s vocal ability. Midway through the episode we jumped over to Dalton Academy to watch Blaine (Darren Criss), Kurt (Chris Colfer) and the Warblers rehearse the Destiny’s Child classic “Bills Bills Bills” for regionals. Blaine had his swagger in full effect on this one but it had little to do with the rest of the episode. still, any excuse to see Blaine is a good one.
The big number this week was a mash-up of “Thriller” and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs track “Heads Will Roll” which I loved completely. Santana really wailed on “Heads Will Roll”, and I always enjoy Artie’s (Kevin McHale) solos. Finn’s awkward version of the Vincent Price rap bit was regrettable but easily overlooked.
The plot this week was driven by Coach Bieste (Dot-Marie Jones) and Mr. Schue’s (Matthew Morrison) attempts to end the fighting between the Glee Club and the football team by forcing them join forces for the week and perform in the big halftime show at the upcoming championship game. Initially this idea was not well-received by either side but it wasn’t long before everyone got on board. Things were going well until the McKinley Hockey Team slushied the football guys which freaked them out and sent them packing. McKinley has a hockey team? Coach Bieste kicked them off the football team as well. The Glee girls saved the day by filling in to avoid a forfeit but after a disastrous first half Puck convinces the guys to rejoin the team and the performance. Even Karovsky couldn’t resist the infectious tunes.
So did the plot support all of that fire and spectacle? They certainly wasted no time launching headlong into more bully drama with Karovsky and the other football players being extra mean to our Glee folks. Max Adler continues to do some impressive work with his character. You could really sense his internal struggle in this episode and dare I say that I am starting to like the guy. I certainly don’t approve of his behavior but I think Dave Karovsky is a character we need to see more of. His redemption would be very gratifying. We saw glimpses of it this week when he reached out to Finn about putting together The Zombies number and he even seemed to enjoy it a bit. Although I was shocked that the writers didn’t give Kurt a reaction to seeing his tormentor dancing alongside his former gleemates.
Only a few things hit the wrong note with me this week. While Sue’s rampages are not exactly out of character they pushed it just a bit far this week in my opinion. She really seemed to go off the rails and it just didn’t feel right to me. Thrown into a depression by the fact that she has lost her passion for cheerleading, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) decided to shoot Brittany (Heather Morris) out of a cannon at regionals which judging by how rehearsals went meant certain death for Brittany. Principal Figgins forbade Sue from using the cannon and in retaliation Sue went on a rampage through the school, destroying everything in sight. Her final jab comes when she informs Mr. Schue and Coach Bieste that she had the cheerleading competition moved to the same night as the football game and planned to force the Cheerios to declare their loyalties once and for all. It was no surprise (thanks to the leaked “Thriller” number) that the Cheerios chose Glee club which killed Sue’s chances at her 7th regional title and landed her on Katie Couric’s “Biggest Loser List” along with The Housing Market and Dina Lohan. Look for angry tweets from Camp Lohan in the coming days. I’m sure this is a means to an end that will fuel plot developments in the coming weeks but at the moment it just felt wrong. Could have been my indigestion though.
I was also surprised to see them taking Finn (Cory Monteith) and Quinn (Dianna Agron) down the romantic road again. I thought we were done with that. I certainly am and I have no interest in a rekindled romance there. I barely have any interest in seeing him and Rachel together again either. I like Quinn…but this is high school. Certainly there are other girls he can be interested in…maybe a non-Glee girl who can lend an outsiders view on things. And speaking of love interests, where has Emma Pilsbury been lately?
Overall I liked the episode just fine, and I think had the network not spent a week screaming about it being the OMG BIGGEST BEST BADDEST THING EVER I might have enjoyed it more. Tone it down a little on the PR guys. The show has an audience now. It promotes itself at this point.
Love is in the air next week for the Valentine episode, titled “Silly Love Songs”. Check out the preview below.