I went into this episode of Glee knowing that there was going to be a funeral, it would be sad, and it would most likely anger me because of my own issues about the wildly changing tones of the show. I like my Glee to be funny. However, even I have to admit that Jane Lynch was outstanding in this episode that centered on the very sad death of Sue’s big sister, Jean.

Her performance was emotional and nuanced and I’m sure she’s a shoo-in to win another Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Oh wait, this is a drama.

The episode begins with Sue firing sweet, innocent Becky, who then goes to Will and asks to join the glee club. Will has to say “No” to for now, but he allows for the possibility that she could join next year. I get that Glee is all about inclusion, but seriously? There has to a point where it stops becoming inspirational and starts becoming idiotic, but I guess at a school where a boy in a wheelchair was allowed to join the football team, there are no limits.

Will is initially furious with Sue for being cruel to Becky, but then he learns that Sue’s Down Syndrome sister Jean died. I hate to gloat, but I totally called it. The result is a completely different side of Sue, but one that is, for the most part, consistent with her character. She’s dismissive of Kurt and Finn’s desire to help her out, but lets them plan the funeral anyway. When they start pushing her to keep the stuff in Jean’s room instead of throwing it away, Sue reveals that she has plenty of memories of her sister and only asked the glee club to help so there would be someone else at Jean’s funeral because her sister deserved it.

My warm and fuzzy feeling started to disappear, however, at the actual funeral which had a Willy Wonka theme since it was Jean’s favorite movie. A chocolate fountain and candy mushrooms adorn the casket and New Directions sings “Pure Imagination.” It’s kind of weird and creepy, like the trippy boat scene from that movie.

Sue tries to give a eulogy, but chokes up and needs Will to finish it. The whole thing is very sweet and emotional, but very sincere and serious. It’s well done, but it doesn’t fit with my personal conception of what Glee is, which is a fun musical comedy. There’s nothing fun about this funeral.

In the end, Sue vows to be nicer to Will because his optimism reminds her of Jean. She also claims she’s going to run for the House of Representatives. I can’t tell if this is a joke or an actual storyline for season 3. Because while I admire the show for daring to make Sue a better person, I’m equally afraid that next year the writers are going to completely ignore this life-changing moment and go back to Sue being an evil dictator who tries to destroy the glee club. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see any other way to keep Jane Lynch around.

The Death of the Diva-Off

In the episode’s B-story, Jesse shows up to offer his guidance and make Finn feel bad about himself because Jesse has the decency to point out that Finn isn’t really that great. Instead, he wants to hold a competition to find the real lead vocalist and build an entire Nationals routine around that person. The result is a four-way Diva-Off between Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes and Santana.

Santana:  “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse

It’s pretty good, but nothing groundbreaking or special, especially for an audition to be the lead vocalist of New Directions.

Kurt: “Some People” from Gypsy

Ugh. Kurt has a unique voice that sounds positively beautiful with the right melodic song, but this is a terrible song for his style and he is no Rose. While New Directions might have already addressed the “boys singing girls’ songs” debate, I have to agree with Jesse that this song left some pretty big heels that Kurt couldn’t fill.

Mercedes: “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding

Holy crap, Mercedes just diva’ed all over the place. She sang the ever-loving bejesus out of this song and gave 100% of what she has to offer, which is pure greatness. Jesse can go to hell for criticizing her.

Rachel: “My Man” from Funny Girl

She definitely belts like a diva and has great emotion, but one of Jesse’s criticisms of Mercedes was her lack of choreography, yet Rachel stood in one place for the whole song. So more than anything, this song was proof of Jesse’s evil manipulations.

In the end, Jesse’s shameless attempt to audition to be a mean reality show judge doesn’t work (but it does earn him a guest spot on Fondue for Two critiquing Lord Tubbington, which I desperately want to see). Instead, Will deems Jesse’s idea a failure and decides to go back to his idea of doing group original songs at Nationals. So this entire diva-off was a waste of time.

The Death of Finn and Quinn

Sue’s eulogy not only changes her, but it also convinces Finn that he needs to break up with Quinn, which he does. But she’s still in the glee club because she has a mysterious plan in New York. This opens the door for Finn to admit his true feelings to Rachel, but just as he’s about to, he sees Jesse swoop in for the kiss. If ever there was a perfect moment for a version of “Jesse’s Girl,” this would’ve been it.

The Death of Will’s Future and Past

Despite saying he was staying, Will and Emma pack up his ridiculously large number of vests, because when he goes to Nationals he’s staying in New York to work on April’s musical, though he doesn’t want to tell anyone else. That’s the death of Will’s future with the glee club, and the death of his part comes when Terri announces that she’s moving to Miami. I’m pretty sure if she just vanished and never came back again, no one would’ve cared, but thanks to the writers for finally getting rid of that totally useless character.

Next week: At a special time (9pm) it’s the season 2 finale when the glee club goes to New York!

More “Funeral”

Discuss: What now for Sue Sylvester?

Discuss: What are Quinn’s “big plans” in New York?

Discuss: What’s in store for New Directions in New York?

Quiz: Ten questions with chocolate fondue… not for two

(Image courtesy of FOX)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.