I’m trying something a little different this week, Gleeks. As much as I’ve loved writing the lengthy, in-depth recaps for the last three weeks, now that we’re getting into a stride, it’s probably more fun for all of us if I exchange those big, fat plot-focused recaps for something a little shorter, sweeter (in terms of observations) and meatier (in terms of analysis).
I’m all ears if you wanna tell me that you love, hate or anything-in-between the new format–I’m as open to tweaking it as Kurt is open to wearing fabulous hats.
(And never fear, each and every day after a Glee episode, you can still expect the regular “Best Quotes” slideshow. UPDATE: Here it is!)
So let’s get into it, because, as a recapper, I too am like a lizard: I need words beneath the jump or I can’t digest my food:
After three weeks and three big event episodes (the premiere, the Britney tribute and last week’s heart-wrenching religious episode), tonight’s Glee felt more “back to normal” than I expected–and I liked that. There’s a reason we all fell in love with Glee season 1, and it’s good to know that the show still feels the freedom to slow down the spectacle and do a normal hour of TV (as normal as an hour of Glee can really be, anyway). It’s reassuring. And not so self-congratulating.
That’s not to say that nothing exciting happened in tonight’s episode, or that it was without flaws. But for the most part, “Duets” was more of a familiar, feel-good jog around the block than a frenetic sprint like “Britney/Brittany,” or the curl-up-on-the-couch-and-cry session that was “Grilled Cheesus.” And imagine: If we feel like we need to catch our breaths a bit, imagine how the cast feels.
Tonight’s episode revolved around a duet competition within the club, in a rare teacherly attempt by Will to get the kids fully invested. Granted, he had to bribe them with Breadsticks, but whatever works. The duets made it the perfect opportunity to focus on the Gleeks’ relationship statuses. (And that’s another way Glee hasn’t changed much since last season: The kids are still playing “musical chairs” with their hearts at breakneck speed.)
So which ‘ships set sail, and which crashed, as a result of “Duets”? Here’s the status, Gladys:
Kurt and Sam: Just Friends. Despite Kurt’s blaring gaydar at the sight of Sam’s bleach-blond Evangelista ‘do, it turns out Sam’s straight. But that didn’t stop Kurt from courting him for the competition, and Sam said yes, hoping they’d win (“He emailed me like 60 mp3s of him singing, and I thought it was Faith Hill.”). I wasn’t a fan of the way Finn went about telling Kurt that he should back off (because A) mind your own business and B) that’s not what “no means no” means, Finn) but his ultimate point was sound: Kurt realized he was only fooling himself and “putting a target on Sam’s back” by forcing the pairing, so he released Sam and decided to go solo. We never got a chance to hear these two sing together, which is a shame we can only hope gets rectified sometime this season.
Cruella de Vaudeville
Kurt and … Kurt: Single and Lovin’ It. Instead of simply performing a duet, Kurt put on a Broadway-worthy (OK, maybe off-off-Broadway) performance of the Victor Victoria number “Le Jazz Hot!” to signify his out, proud and alone-ness for all. It was pretty spectacular (fringe! glitter! can-can!) … but sorry, I’m still not buying it as a duet, however symbolic. But it was one damn amazing solo, and the significance is clear: Kurt’s really coming into his own as an openly gay man and a performer. How long must we wait until he meets his fabulous match?!
It’s a diva-off!
Santana and Mercedes: Marriage of Convenience. Santana ditched her make-out buddy Brittany for Mercedes’ power voice, performed “River Deep, Mountain High,” and, through a combination of their amazing voices and booty shaking, almost brought the house down. Well, not literally, but their performance was SIIIICK. It’s unfortunate that whereas a girl-on-girl duet doesn’t raise eyebrows (as it shouldn’t), Finn worried Sam would have to go into Witness Protection if he sang with Kurt. Maybe someday the world will be more accepting of two dudes singing together. Or they could just start a boy band.
Putting the “pro” in inappropriate.
Rachel and Finn: Partners in Crime. In a rare, if not never-before-seen, effort to think of someone else before herself, Rachel convinced Finn to throw the competition–but not before rocking “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” in practice–so that Sam could win, which Rachel reasoned would cement his place in the group. Which, she then further reasoned, would send them straight to Nationals. (Explain that part to me again, please?) So that actually meant there WAS something in it for her … but no matter! It was still a good plan, and they stuck to it by performing an offensive rendition of “Born Again,” turning it into an inappropriate priest-and-slutty-nun number. Perhaps still reeling from last week’s religious roller coaster, or just turned off by the gross, embarrassing embraces, the club rejected their performance like a bag of old garbage, and … mission accomplished. Rachel succeeded in being selfless (short-term) to be selfish (long-term). Hey, it’s a start. But Rachel’s really going to need to work on her acting skills if she wants to make it on Broadway, and everyone else was not at all suspicious enough when she didn’t set the room on fire when she lost.
They can make gorgeous Aryan babies together!
Sam and Quinn: Dating. Still reeling and hurt from the trauma of her pregnancy drama last year, Quinn initially rejected Sam’s moves, but it was all but signed, sealed and delivered when they sang Jason Mraz’s “Lucky” together, and she discovered that, underneath the peroxide hair, pouty lips, sexy voice, beautiful eyes (oops, I’m getting off track here … ) and dorky pick-up lines, he’s aaaactually a sweet, nerdy guy just looking for some acceptance. Just like her. (Minus the sweetness.) Little did Rachel know that her plan would turn Sam and Quinn’s winning dinner into a first date. A first of many, I hope–maybe it was the dorky Avatar nonsense, but Sam officially won me over tonight.
The Lady and the Tramp. (Brittany, sadly, is the tramp in this scenario.)
Artie and Brittany: “It’s Complicated.” To get back at their respective beloveds (Tina and Santana) Artie and Brittany agreed to be duet partners, fake boyfriend-girlfriend partners, and then … actual sex partners. After Santana cruelly informed him that Brittany thought nothing of taking his V-card, Artie realized he still had feelings for Tina and regretted losing it to Brittany. Now they’re both remorseful, upset and alone. Which makes me feel like this :((((( because I LOVE these two–although, maybe not together. Even worse? They broke up before they could sing together, making for a double-sad duet forfeit.
Yeah, shut up, Tina! Your boyfriend is awesome.
Tina and Mike: Going Strong. SO MUCH MIKE CHANG tonight, you guys! Maybe to make up for the fact that we got absolutely no, as in ZERO, not even a glimpse of her in the background plotting evil, Sue Sylvester? I don’t know how I feel about that, but let’s focus on the positive: That Tina and Mike were amazing! After fighting over his singing fears (and overeager Asian-ness) they found a happy solution: “Sing!” from A Chorus Line, which Mike performed with such brilliant comedic timing and vaudeville dance moves, with Tina’s sweet voice backing him up, that I was rooting for them to win the contest. It was a totally different take on duet, and performance, for the show, and they killed it. Now that Mike’s had his breakout moment, can we expect more lines (and more songs?) from Harry Shum Jr.? Let’s hope so.
Kurt and Rachel: Soul Mates. And by souls, I of course mean their show tune-worshipping souls. In a ground-breaking second act of kindness, Rachel asked Kurt to sing a duet as a way of showing him that she, and the Glee club, love him for who he is. “You may be lonely, but you’re not alone.” To prove it, they performed a “Get Happy/Happy Days are Here Again” mash-up for the group, channeling the spirits of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand to prove just how similar their theatrical, spotlight-loving souls really are.
What did you think of “Duets”? Favorite quotes, songs, moments, new relationships? Shout ’em out!
(Images courtesy of Fox)