So, tonight’s episode of Glee (3×11) was “Michael” – all Michael Jackson songs. BTW – I will link out to songs and videos when I get them.
Before I gush about the episode, I just need to put in my two cents about the King of Pop.
I was born in 1983 – right in the thick of the Thriller album. I grew up on Michael’s music and his songs (both his solo work and the stuff he did with the Jackson 5) have a permanent spot in my heart. I may not have understood what was going on in his personal life over the past few decades, but I do know that his music made an impact on people and will likely continue to do so. His songs (and dance moves) are ICONIC. I’m glad that Glee did a tribute episode to his music… hopefully it’ll shine a light on how amazing his music still is, and perhaps it will reach a whole new generation of people.
(SPOILERS for “MICHAEL” if you haven’t seen the episode)
So… there were 10 music performances jammed into this episode. There should have been more (The Warblers version of “I Want You Back” got axed in editing… BAH!), but let’s just be thankful we got 10 songs crammed into 42 minutes of programming.
Long story short – Sebastian’s back. Blaine’s down for the count for a little while (the character needed to be written out of the show for an episode or two while Darren was on Broadway, hence Blaine’s injury). Finchel is engaged.
Since there was sooooo much going on in this episode, perhaps it’ll be easier to break it down song by song.
Before any singing went down, Blaine, Kurt, Santana, Brittany and Mercedes walked through the hall and the girls complained they missed out on MJ at sectionals. So, Mr. Schue walks by and says that they could do MJ for regionals. So, let the singing begin…
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – They released the full music number for this song at the end of last week, so I saw it a bajillion times before the episode actually aired. That being said, it’s still stunning to see on a big screen TV. Darren is a great dancer (if you got a chance to see him on Broadway, you will likely concur with me… boy can MOVE) and this song highlights his ability to be not just a great performer, but a showman. And those costumes! I LOVED THEM ALL! It was great to see so many iconic Michael Jackson outfits in one scene. My favorite part of this sequence was when the number segued from the library to the stage… when Blaine was standing by himself in front of the wall of lights with his back to the auditorium. Oh, so lovely. The director of his episode deserves the most epic of slow claps for his shot choices. Damn.
After the song, some of the Glee kids are in the Lima Bean discussing MJ when Sebastian strolls up mid-conversation and says that the Warblers are doing MJ for regionals. And how did he know the New Directions were planning to do MJ… Blaine spilled the beans during a phone conversations. (Just to let you know, I will have an epic rant a little later about how Sebastian views/treats Blaine. This just makes me fume.)
The next day at school, some members of the New Directions (i.e. Puck) blame Blaine for the Warblers doing MJ too (Puck calls Blaine “a modern day Eggs Benedict”… CLASSIC PUCK). Finn and some of the others say that they won’t back down, so they decide to show the Warblers they are up for a challenge.
Bad (audio only) – Santana and Blaine meet up w/the Warblers in a parking garage (btw – Blaine looks ridiculously hot and yet totally out of place in a leather jacket and jeans…). They propose a MJ-off and the rest of the New Directions show up and they and the Warblers have a sing/dance off to “Bad.” So, there is choreo, choreo, choreo… some faux punches. Lots of stare-downs between the groups. And then, right at the end of the song, the Warblers pass around a paper bag from which Sebastian pulls out a Big Gulp. He cocks his arm back, ready to toss it at Kurt, but Blaine pushes Kurt out of the way and ends up getting a slushie to the face. He goes down, hard, and puts his hands to his eyes as he moans on the ground. Something was up with that slushie…
Turns out Blaine needs eye surgery. His cornea is scratched. Kurt is sad and wants to get even w/Sebastian, but he’s a better man and keeps saying he wants to take the higher road. Artie, on the other hand, is super pissed that he and everyone else in the group keeps getting kicked around and bullied. Mr. Schue tells Artie he needs to go cool off, so Artie gets up out of his wheelchair, and Mike follows him and it segues into…
Scream (audio only) – Artie (sans wheelchair) and Mike recreating this video. And It. Was. Glorious. Kevin McHale and Harry Shum Jr are two of the best dancers on that show, so it’s nice to see them get to dance together. (Plus, holy hell those two boys have never looked better on that show. Guy liner works on Harry Shum Jr. LIKE WHOA.) This video is all sorts of out of place in reality, but I appreciated its purpose in this episode that was paying respect to Michael Jackson as a pioneer in music videos and costumes.
Rachel still hasn’t given Finn an answer to whether she’ll marry him or not, so she goes to Quinn for advice. Quinn tells her that she (Quinn) got into Yale. Quinn also tells Rachel that Rachel should dump Finn and think about her own future. You can tell Rachel is shocked and that she wouldn’t even think of doing that to Finn b/c she wants to be with him forever (I’m obviously paraphrasing here…).
Never Can Say Goodbye (audio only) – Quinn sings this to the Glee club and has her former beaus (Puck, Finn & Sam) as her dance partners as she sings them off. This was a good song for Quinn, but one of the more “meh” songs of the episode.
Human Nature (audio only) – And this is one of my favorite Michael songs of all time. And I really liked this version of it. Even though I am not a Samcedes shipper, I thought their duet was lovely. Their voices complemented each others really nicely. Although, Mercedes needs to dump Shane if she’s going to be singing with/kissing Sam like that. I was never a huge Sam fan (until “Rumors” last season), but I think he’s got a good heart. I can overlook his “sex sells” attitude when it comes to dancing, but he was all for working at the homeless shelter and looking out for Rory at Christmas. So, yay Sam. And make up your mind, Mercedes.
Okay, so earlier in this episode, Burt came to school and pulled Kurt out of Spanish class and into the hallway (side note – I thought Kurt took French…). Kurt got his NYADA letter. He and his dad end up in the choir room and Kurt is hesitant to open the letter b/c it’s something that will change his/their life one way or another. Kurt opens it and he is a finalist!! Burt is so proud of his son and asks if he (Burt) can tell Blaine. (AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW) Burt then tells Kurt that no one can take this moment away from him and that he loves him. And Burt Hummel is just the greatest character on television, hands down.
Kurt runs through the halls to find Rachel to let her know that he is a finalist. She hasn’t gotten her letter, but just assumes that she didn’t make it. She breaks down and confesses to Kurt that she has nothing – no plans for her future if she didn’t get in, no other colleges, nothing but her boyfriend. Kurt doesn’t say anything, but you can kind of tell in his eyes that in that moment, he has everything (his finalist letter *and* the boyfriend) while she is grasping at the straws that were her performing career. Yikes…
Ben (audio only) – Kurt is with Blaine in Blaine’s bedroom, reading aloud to his eye patch wearing boyfriend about Angelina Jolie. Poor Blaine – he looks like a little pirate. Rachel and Finn knock/barge in, bearing Chicken Noodle soup and some DVDs featuring people who wear eye patches. Blaine decides that it’s the proper moment to toast Kurt’s NYADA finalist standing with some Coke Zero. Kurt goes to stop him, seeing that it’s making Rachel uncomfortable, but he lets Blaine go. Blaine then confesses he’s scared about his surgery next week (i.e. Blaine won’t be on next week’s episode b/c he’s having surgery … and in real life Darren was on Broadway in H2$. Side note, during this scene, my dad asked if Darren got hurt in real life. He missed the first half of the show, so he didn’t know Blaine got slushied in the face. I tried to explain how Blaine had to get written out b/c of Darren being in NYC during the shoot for the next episode, but there’s only so much you can explain in a few seconds before the next song.). To ease Blaine’s fears, Rachel, Finn and Kurt sing “Ben.” I was bummed about this scene for a couple reasons. While it was adorable that Kurt and Blaine held hands and Blaine gave Kurt an epic heart eye during the whole song, I was sad that Finn and Rachel were cutting in on my Klaine time, and I was bummed that they left out the verse that talked about how it used to be “i and me” but now it’s “we.” Sad face.
Santana is dead set on getting Sebastian to admit what he put in the slushie so she can turn him in to the police, so she goes to Dalton to confront him. Apparently, the other Warblers didn’t know Blaine was hurt to the extent that he had to get surgery. Sebastian and Santana exchange words and they end up having a singing duel…
Smooth Criminal – I may not like Sebastian at all, but I LOVED Grant Gustin (and Naya, of course) in this number. Good god, if you didn’t know both of their characters were gay, you’d have thought they were going to ravage each other right there in that circle of chairs around the cellists. (Btw – those cellos guys are 2Cellos… look them up on youtube. They are AMAZING. They already did a cover of Smooth Criminal well before they were on Glee… which is why they were on Glee tonight. This arrangement is UH-MAY-ZING.) This number was so good. Right when the song was done, Santana said she was better. She asks him again what was in the slushie that hurt Blaine. He admits that the slushie was intended for Kurt and then says that he put Rock Salt in it. And then he slushies Santana…
… but it turned out she audio taped the whole thing (btw – who uses tape players w/mini cassettes anymore? Digital, yo). The recorder was taped to her under-boob (I think this phrase was used 2 or 3 times within a minute), but Kurt told her that he didn’t want to turn him in to the cops and that he had a better idea. He asked everyone to follow him to the auditorium. Finn asked Rachel to stay behind…
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You (audio only) – He told her she didn’t need to answer him about the engagement. He asked her to listen to him sing b/c sometimes she hears him better when he’s not talking. Now, this is also one of my favorite MJ songs of all time, but it was hella uncomfortable watching Cory Monteith singing this in medium shots and close ups. I don’t blame the director or the editor… maybe grimaces were all they had to work with. I like Cory Monteith. Finn *used* to be one of my favorite characters. I just can’t really go back to loving him/this character now that Darren is on the show. Sorry, Cory, but Blaine/Darren have completely taken over as my favorite male on that show. *kanyeshrug* The duet was nice, albeit still a little off for me just because while I can stomach that Finchel is endgame, I think it’s waaaaaaaaay to unrealistic for those two characters to get married anytime in the near future. Anyway, she says yes, he puts on the ring. BOOM – engaged.
Black or White (audio only) – In the auditorium, the Warblers come in and take a seat while the New Directions sing this song and take the high road (which Puck points out, has nothing to do with marijuana, much to his chagrin). By the end of the song, all the Warblers except for Sebastian have joined the New Directions on stage. The New Directions say that they won’t do Michael for regionals and that they won’t turn in the tape of Sebastian to the cops. Sebastian is left looking like a jerk and all alone while his Warbler-mates look at him in disgust.
Ah, Sebastian. What a choad.
BUT, this episode cemented for me, at least, that he will likely NEVER come between Kurt and Blaine. Sebastian doesn’t like the Blaine the way that Kurt likes Blaine. Sebastian hits on Blaine, but also insults Blaine and is condescending toward him and his boyfriend. Sebastian also doesn’t show any sort of remorse for hurting Blaine. True, the slushie was meant for Kurt, but when Santana reveals that Blaine needs eye surgery, Sebastian just comments that he is cute, but brushes the whole thing off. He’s not concerned that Blaine is injured. He’s not concerned he’s the one who caused the injury. And he’s only taken aback when he loses power among the rest of the Warblers. He doesn’t seem to mind being the only one left in the audience at the end, but when the rest of the Warblers find out that Sebastian put Rock Salt in that slushie, he’s a bit nervous that he’s no longer going to be the head Warbler. I’m very interested to see what kind of story line he’ll get in upcoming episodes. He has a lot of redemption ahead of him if he’s going to make any friends among any of the other kids.
Oh yeah, and at the end of the episode, Rachel gets her NYADA letter. She’s a finalist too. Kurt asks if she’s told Finn, and her face just blanks/panics. And SCENE. (Really, Glee. No one cares about anything but Klaine… trust me.)
Well… that was the show. The plot was kinda all over the place and it was more of a showcase for MJ music than anything else. Sure, some plot lines progressed (NYADA, get Blaine off the show for a bit w/the surgery, Finchel engagement, Samcedes kiss, etc…), but on a whole this was more about the music. And rightly so.
Here is the promo for next week… Ricky Martin will be the night school Spanish Teacher. Nene is back as the synchronized swim coach and Sue Sylvester wants to have a baby. Also, Mr. Schue is wearing a matador outfit. Some of my Hispanic friends have been saying how they are offended by this… I’m interested to see how this is addressed. I have a feeling next week’s episode is going to be lacking. It’ll already be lacking Blaine… but I think plot and songs will suffer too.
Have a good one