Coming at you almost a week after the episode aired. (Sorry for the delay… family time and real life totes got in the way of a timely glee-cap!)
So… this episode dealt mainly with two distinct groups of people:
As my allegiance lies with the helmet-haired former Warbler and his new bestie Sam, I’ll get all the new people stuff out of the way first.
So, Jake, Ryder, Marley and Kitty played prominent roles in this episode… and to that, I say, “Well played, RIB.” We’ve only known Jake, Marley and Kitty for seven episodes (and Ryder only two), yet somehow we know enough about them to warrant half an episode of their stories. And while Marley’s eating disorder, Kitty’s meanness, and Jake being on the receiving end of bullying (he’s half white, half black, half Jewish… and boy do those jocks constantly remind him of it), it’s Ryder’s story that pretty much ripped a hole in my Glee-tolerating heart.
Though it got a little after school specially, it was revealed that Ryder has dyslexia, which is why he doesn’t do great in school no matter how hard he studies. This revelation came after a tense scene in the locker room in which Jake and Ryder are forced into sharing personal secrets with each other (at Finn’s request). Jake hands Ryder a note with his secrets, but Ryder tells him to man up and just say it out loud. Jake confesses his secrets and then Ryder lets slide a bigger one: he made Jake say it out loud because he couldn’t read it.
Jake tells Finn about Ryder’s admission and Finn sets him up with a woman who tests him and his ability to recognize words, numbers and letters. Though Ryder is a bit upset that he was ratted out, he thanks Finn for the help. Ryder is scared his dad will think less of him, but he is determined to get help. Said help is scheduled for Saturday morning at 7 am, so Ryder cancels a Friday night date with Marley so that he can study.
Why does this matter?
Because Marley is pissed he reschedules (Kitty puts in her 2 cents that Ryder’s excuse was not a good one… because she is a horrible, horrible human being), she asks out Jake.
Yeah, Jake and Ryder were still fighting over Marley this whole episode. In fact, they don’t like each other much because of that (though by the end of the episode, they seem friendly… you know, like Puck and Finn were S1. Oy.). When told they have to wear super hero outfits and perform a duet together, they both dress up as “Mega Stud” and sing REM’s “I am Superman” right at Marley. Jake and Ryder end up punching each other a bit and tussling on the floor (Wanky), which is how they end up having to tell each other personal secrets. (Yeah, I wrote this in an entirely round about way… sorry.)
So, by episode’s end, the boys are friendlier toward each other. Marley and Kitty, on the other hand, are complete frenemies. Kitty is still feeding lies to Marley that she needs to make herself vomit to keep her body in check. (Ugh, Kitty, why can’t you leave Marley and her perfectly normal – actually, way too skinny already – body alone?) And Marley, whose normal people clothes fit just fine and who looks rockin’ in her WF superheroine outfit… oh, that girl. The one nice thing Kitty does (as they are forced to perform a duet together as well) is tell Marley that she looks good in her spandex outfit, and changes her name from “Wall Flower” to “Woman Fierce.” And then Kitty gets all cray cray with a whip and black, skintight kitty outfit as “Femme Fatale” (which she translates as “Woman Killer”). Their duet of “I Need a Hero” is my least favorite number of the episode. I like this song, but the whip and the slinking around the choir room was a bit much for me.
So, yeah… new people. They also dominated the show’s final number of “Some Nights.” I will discuss this performance at length in the Blaine portion of the post.
Oh, my Blainers. Poor kid was having all sorts of identity crises this episode.
The show opened on Blaine decked out in a superhero outfit and leading a meeting of some superhero society (Tina, Joe and Sugar are in attendance, and other members of the glee club join soon thereafter). Blaine (aka Nightbird – the Nocturnal Avenger) takes his role very seriously and gets a bit temperamental when Tina (aka Asian Persuasion) texts him on his superhero phone and asks if he’s talked to Kurt. He tells her that she can’t use her powers to get him to get back with his ex. (Too bad :/)
The superhero society is interrupted by Thai Chi who runs in and says that the New Directions’ Nationals Trophy has been stolen. The superheroes run (in slow mo) down the hall (Darren’s cape work in this episode is flawless) to the choir room to find an empty display case and a laptop.
Who leaves a laptop?
According to Blaine, someone rich.
Turns out that rich person is a pixel-faced Dalton boy. The Warblers have taken the trophy and Blaine is determined to get it back. He returns to his former school and walks down the staircase (just stab my heart, why don’t you) to find Sebastian waiting for him. Though Blaine initially blames Sebastian for stealing the trophy, the current Warbler says it wasn’t him because he’s still nice (and has been since Regionals last season after he gave up bullying after the whole Karofsky incident). Sebastian leads Blaine to the library where we meet the new captain of the Warblers… Hunter.
Hunter is in a spinny chair and is stroking a white cat, so you know he’s evil. He’s been recruited by Dalton to lead the Warblers this season and he wants Blaine back in the group (the trophy was just bait). Hunter says McKinley can have the trophy back when Blaine rejoins the Warblers. Blaine balks, but Hunter points out that he’s heard about Blaine and knows that he’s only at McKinley because of Kurt… and he heard that people refer to Blaine as “Blaine Warbler.” (Kurt and Rachel did in Season 2 when he was still a Warbler, but Brittany still call him this, as recent as a couple episodes ago.) Hunter tells Blaine that no one thinks he belongs at McKinley, so why shouldn’t he come back? Sebastian, Nick, Jeff and the beatboxing Warbler walk in to reinforce what Hunter is saying and present Blaine with a blazer. Blaine shakes them off and says “That’s not going to work on me.” But, after Hunter questions him why he’s afraid to try it on, Blaine clenches his jaw and allows the boys to slide on the jacket. A fire flares in the fireplace and there is a comedic closeup on the face of the white cat (this episode did well with the cheesy superhero show/movie-esque camera shots/angles/edits). A closeup of Blaine’s face reveals that he’s arguing with himself now that the blazer is on.
Blaine is courted with compliments… Hunter says how he doesn’t want a Dalton legend like Blaine to be sidelined his senior year. Sebastian suggests they sing a song to go along with Blaine being back in the blazer. As the shortest boy in the room tries to shake them off, the other Warblers start harmonizing and Blaine is practically forced into leading them in “My Dark Side.”
Though he starts the song off apprehensively, less than a minute in, Blaine buttons his blazer and reverts to his former Warbler ways… the two stepping, the arm movements, the jumping on furniture. All the singing about reminding me who I really am and how everybody has a dark side and will you love me, will you love mine hits me in my Blaine-loving heart a little too hard.
Is he singing to Kurt (who isn’t there)? Or is he singing to himself?
Though you can argue both sides, I’m mostly leaning toward that he’s singing to himself. See, for the past few episodes (and most of this episode), Blaine is upset with himself for cheating on Kurt. Blaine considers himself a bad person and that he made a mistake that will never be forgiven. Kurt certainly hasn’t forgiven him yet, but he hasn’t forgiven himself either. Blaine punishes himself for his indiscretion to the point where he is closed off from his friends in a self-exile. (When we see him in the choir room a little later in his superhero outfit, he’s got his cape wrapped around himself like a cocoon; shielding himself from the others and keeping his distance. Almost like he doesn’t deserve friends or to be around people because he should be miserable for all eternity.)
Later in the episode, Blaine walks into the choir room to find Schue 2.0 (Finn) preparing some blocking for sectionals. Blaine lets it slip that he sang with the Warblers, much to Finn’s chagrin. (“It just sort of happened,” Blaine sheepishly admitted.) He goes onto say how the Warblers embraced him like he was a long lost brother (and then likened that to X:Men 2… I love that canon Blaine loves X:Men). Singing with the Warblers felt so right to Blaine that he feels he belongs there. Finn says No and that Blaine belongs with the New Directions. He then asks if Blaine’s decision has to do with Kurt, which causes Blaine to kind of snap. “Everything in this room reminds me of him,” he exclaimed. “We were a dynamic duo in here. Kurt was my anchor, Finn, and now that he’s gone, I just… I feel like I’m floating.” Blaine tells Finn that he needs a team that’s going to gel, and then Finn makes a horrible pun about how Blaine has a lot of gel.
And while that is true (the gel), at this point in the show, Blaine is looking for the easiest route away from all the Kurt memories. In 3.17 and 4.03 he said he transferred to McKinley for Kurt… now that they aren’t together, Blaine doesn’t feel like he has a purpose there (even though he’s totally the senior class president…). So, Blaine tells Finn that the Warblers are his birthright and destiny (which leads me to believe that canon Blaine comes from a wealthy family, though that really has nothing to do with anything at the moment) and he leaves the room.
The next day in Glee club, Brittney announces that she doesn’t smell raspberry hair gel and wonders where Blaine Warbler is. Finn says that Blaine’s been going through a rough time (to which Tina sarcastically says “Boo hoo, it’s like a bad Lifetime movie”… how rude :/) and reveals that Blaine will be spending the rest of his senior year at Dalton. That news promptly shuts everyone up. The camera lingers long enough on Sam that we know he’s going to say something to his new gay BFF.
Thankfully, he does.
I’ve been waiting several episodes for a good, deep Blam conversation to happen. This could not have come at a better time. Sam approaches Blaine, who is cleaning out his locker and hopes that Blaine’s school change is a master plan to gather intel for competition. Blaine stops him, but Sam stops him in return, telling Blaine that he’s been beating himself up since he and Kurt broke up, but how going back to Dalton wasn’t going to solve anything – in fact, it’s another way for Blaine to punish himself. Sam asks what Blaine did exactly and we’re treated to a super vague flashback of a very upset Blaine tugging back on a shirt after some sort of sexual encounter with the faceless Eli (he’s there, but out of focus in the background… probably to spare whatever poor actor played him from Internet hate). Blaine looks destroyed and full of remorse; he runs his hands through his (not gelled/sex) hair and looks broken as he bolts from the room as fast as he can. We don’t know exactly what they did, but it can probably be assumed that is was way more than kissing (but maybe less than penetrative sex?). Regardless – it was cheating because it wasn’t with Kurt.
After the flashback, Blaine reveals to Sam that it was a guy who friended him on Facebook. He did it because he thought Kurt was moving on with his life and he wasn’t a part of it. That maybe they weren’t supposed to spend the rest of their lives together. But, right after he did it. He realized he was wrong. He and Kurt are soulmates… but what Blaine did made Kurt not trust him anymore, so of course Blaine thinks that Kurt isn’t going to forgive him. Sam says even if Kurt doesn’t forgive him, then Blaine has to at least forgive himself and try to make things right. “But exiling yourself to Dalton won’t fix anything,” Sam said. (Thank you, Sam.) Then poor Blaine brokenly utters, “I just want to stop feeling like I’m a bad person.” Sam says he’s not, and that he’s one of the good guys, and begs his friend for one day to change his mind.
(Small tangent: Blaine is not a bad person. In fact, up until he cheated, he was a mostly selfless person. The few times he messed things up with Kurt before was when he was drunk… making out with/dating Rachel, and then when he tried to drunkenly hook up with Kurt in the back of his car after Scandals. Blaine usually puts other people first; especially Kurt. Blaine encouraged Kurt to leave Dalton and go back to McKinley in S2. Blaine agreed to go to prom with Kurt even though he had a horrific time after his own Sadie Hawkins dance in S2. Blaine changed schools for Kurt in S3. Blaine tried to avoid auditioning for Tony in S3 b/c of Kurt. Blaine told Kurt to leave Ohio and go to NYC in S4. Blaine mostly puts Kurt first. But, when Blaine thought Kurt was pulling away, Blaine tried to fill the Kurt-hole and did something for himself. He hooked up with someone because he missed Kurt, because he needed intimacy, because he needed to feel wanted. But, in doing this thing for himself, he found that he was only hurting himself and Kurt in the process. Blaine’s not a bad person; he just made some poor choices. But he feels like he’s a bad person and that’s a problem. We still don’t really know how he is perceived by his family – his brother was mostly condescending toward him. We assume his dad is not entirely pleased he has a gay son. And has Blaine even mentioned anything about his mom? The Warblers never told him he was a good person… they just needed him for his leading man talent. The New Directions never addressed his character either. Kurt told Blaine he was proud of him and proud to be with him in S3. And now Sam is on his side and telling him he’s not a bad person. Sometimes you just need to hear someone else say it to actually believe it. Poor Blaine has been mostly praised for his talent, but not himself over the past three seasons.)
SO, Sam and Blaine duet on “Heroes” and we see them accomplish good things like a food/clothing drive and (with the help of the other glee kids) get rid of graffiti. It’s good to see Blaine and Sam smiling and interacting together. It’s something between them; not Kurt’s ex-boyfriend and Sam. But two superhero-loving BFFs. There’s a sweet moment at the end of their song where they each shove each other in the head. It’s a very manly/friendly action and it’s great to see Blaine and Sam become better and better friends.
As they pack up to leave the auditorium, Sam asks Blaine what his decision is. Blaine pulls a mask out of his satchel (really, Blaine?) and hands it to Sam to initiate a final mission.
And then came my favorite bit of the episode… (you do not understand my epic love of the old Batman series.)
The Dalton logo flashes as Hunter and Sebastian walk into the library to find the New Directions Nationals trophy is gone, and in its place is Blaine’s blazer (folded) with a note saying “No Thanks.” The drapes on the window wave in the (summery November) breeze. The Warblers race to the open window and out onto the balcony as they see masked Nightbird and a masked Chameleon (Sam’s superhero identity) running across the grassy lawn, trophy in hand. (The canted camera angle made my heart swell with joy.) As they run, we are treated to “BLAM!” and “SLAINE!” graphics a la the old “Ka-Pows” we used to see during Batman fight sequences. The music was note perfect… NOTE PERFECT.
Back in the choir room, Sam regales their story “Dalton was like the Death Star meets Mordor meets Temple of Doom. I mean, I might be exaggerating…but probably not.” (Oh Sam, I love you so much this season. I’m glad you have the Blam friendship story line since Ryder seems to have dyslexia even though you had dyslexia in Season 2…) Blaine then apologizes to the group for doubting that McKinley and the New Directions were his home. He also says a lot of kind words about Finn and his leadership and how he’s a uniter of friends. (Wow… remember when Finn hated Blaine last season?) They all get hyped up and do a big group hand thing and then segue into a group performance of “Some Nights.”
“Some Nights” is one of my favorite songs covered on Glee, as well as one of my favorite performances. It was VERY reminiscent of the pilot’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” (red shirts and jeans… some of the same lines – lines, as in lines of people, not lines of music). It was great to hear Blaine throughout the song (even though it was a group numbers, you could hear him over most of the other people on the “whoas”) and I was super pleased that he was given the line “Some nights I wish this song would end/cause I could use some friends for a change.” I wish they didn’t edit to a wide overhead shot during this line and would have shown Blaine’s face for this pivotal lyric, but alas.
Because of Glee, I finally learned all the lyrics to this song. And you know what? It’s super sad. “What do I stand for? Some nights I don’t know anymore.” I listened to this so much there came a point where I almost teared up because of the lyrics. (I’m telling you… songs have really been getting to me. I’m going to probably legit cry when we get Kurt’s song for 4.09.)
Anyway, while Blaine was featured heavily in the song, the number belonged mostly to Ryder, Jake, Marley and Kitty (Tina got a little solo time, but this was mostly a new people number). It was a great way to incorporate the newbies into the remaining Glee kids from last season. (Though, did you notice Unique was not in this episode? Hmmm…)
It was nice to see the group united as they head into Sectionals next week. (I LOVE SECTIONALS. I kind of live for competition…but I’m more looking forward to the Warblers songs than ND’s… I don’t like “Gangnam Style” #sorrynotsorry)
So, on a whole I liked this episode a lot. I liked that Sue, Will, Emma, Rachel and Kurt weren’t in it. I thought the music was pretty good and was pleased with the additional Ryder/Jake stuff (I want them to be friends.). Although the Blaingst broke my heart throughout a majority of the episode, I liked that Sam stepped up to give Blaine some tough love. Sam didn’t have to fight for Blaine to stay, but he did because he’s a good friend. I hope Blaine makes some more friends in the Glee club. And I hope that the writers come up with some decent story lines for the characters instead of just rehashing old plot lines from S1 (which they have been doing a lot this season, sadly).
So, Sectionals, then Cheerios(!), then Christmas… I’m looking forward to our finale three episodes before the winter hiatus.
How about you?