Amazing episode! Finally, Glee has truly found itself again, taking me back to the glory of the “Single Ladies” episode! We had real emotion and even some complexity of character development (Shu realizing what a dick he was last week, sinking even lower into dick-dom and then crawling his way back out, Jesse’s seeming true love for Rachel, Emma working through real issues and Sue – oh my goodness, Sue – continuing the layers of broken little girl trapped in giant crazy lady body!) and, most importantly, phenomenal musical numbers! But what I really loved last night was the further admission of the show that it is supposed to be ludicrous, not realistic – Sue’s admission that Madonna makes her feel powerful “even in voiceover” draws attention to the show’s form; Finn’s pregnancy appears and disappears depending on the musical number; and where, oh where, did they get that full choir to help them with Like a Prayer at the end (which, argh, my dvr cut off because Idol had gone over but, thank God, I managed to get on Hulu this morning!). In the first half of the season, they would try to explain inconsistencies, make the fact that kids were singing in the hallway make sense, but now they’ve embraced not only the form of the musical, but also an almost absurdist style that actually makes the show much better!
And I don’t think it’s just because I love Madonna…although when Sue said she was 6 when True Blue came out and my husband responded, oh now we can figure out how old she is, I did burst out laughing and say, “I was 8 when True Blue came out; that makes Sue 2 years younger than me – it’s a joke” long before Kurt and Mercedes did the math. I grew up with Madonna. At 11 years old I wore black lace gloves to my family’s “moving to Canada” immigration party. We have family photos of me in an adorable little-girl dress and this amazingly trashy Madonna hand-wear. In high school, I did my 11th grade drama class mime to “Live to Tell,” packing my imaginary suitcase slowly as I mime-walked my runaway. Don’t even get me started on the Blond Ambition tour’s impact on my teenage hormonal states! I’m just saying, for Glee’s comeback to definitively happen on a Madonna episode will keep me loyal to this show long after it’s tanked out again.
But to the story – two key plot developments happen around “Like a Virgin” and “Vogue”. In the first storyline, Rachel, Emma and Finn face losing their virginity. The ladies can’t go through with it (although Rachel pretends she did), and the gentleman does (and pretends he doesn’t). It was heartbreaking to watch each, especially Finn. But in the end, it’s Shu’s redemption of himself by making a statement not only for mental health, but also for work insurance coverage of mental health (sometimes I just love the politics of this show). It’s an interesting path to go down, taking Emma’s quirks seriously in terms of health issues, and I like it. It’s another example of how the show plays with a blend of comedy and seriousness – and I’m curious to see what Emma will be like once she does find some healing?
Speaking of Emma, the pamphlets in her office were amazing: “Loose,” “Radon is the silent killer,” “Help I’m in love with my stepdad” and my favourite, “Yuck, my privates”.
In the Vogue storyline, we learn why Kurt and Mercedes made the video we all saw last week, adding even more humour to Kurt’s reaction to Sue’s, “Will Shuster, I hate you” and a more touching element to Sue’s flicking away of the hand fixing her hair. I also liked seeing my favourite of the kids see Shu for who he is last night. And I loved their pro-active way of getting the solos we’ve all wanted them to have! Kurt’s line, “Mercedes is black, I’m gay – we make culture” was perfect, but even more so, it was wonderful to hear Mercedes launch the complaint we’ve all voiced over the whole season: it’s maddening that the best voice in the choir only gets pulled in at the end of each number to wail on the high notes. Pair their talent with what turned out to be amazing cheerleading routines (I for one would love to see more of that crazy stilt action!), and we’re entering new Glee territory here that I think is going to be a lot of fun!
Other highlights – I loved all the Madonna costumes in the hallway during the mash up number…she really has been an amazing trend setter throughout her career. Brittney, as always, had me in stitches, especially with her deadpan comment, “When I pulled my hamstring I went to a misogynist”. Sue’s parents were famous Nazi hunters? Whuck?! Where do they come up with that stuff!? Jesse’s promise to be “fastidiously groomed” made me realize times, they have a changed for boys since I was in high school. Oh, and his request to Rachel to come out of the bathroom so “we can talk, or at least sing about it” was another moment of the show’s self awareness that I thought was fantastic.
And finally – did anyone else notice as Jesse took off Rachel’s little negligee cape (that was amazing!) that there was a visually bleeped out section on her shoulder? I think our sweet little Rachel has a tattoo in real life…perhaps our good girl is actually a bad girl at heart!
Let me know what you thought, friends! Did this episode rock for you as much as it did for me? What were your favourite moments?