Thursday, April 28, 2011

Glee-"Born this Way"

There's a flash mob in the mall on "Glee"
Credit: FOX

My review of this week's episode of Glee is after the jump.

I went into this episode of Glee with very opinionated expectations. I was in the mindset that this supersized could be awful, it would seem like it was six hours long and it would seem like the show has lost all sorts of storyline momentum. I was significantly worried about an episode that was extended so that FOX could attempt to crush NBC and The Voice (Well, you all saw how that went). I didn't see the merit in a 90 minute episode, I really didn't. Glee usually struggles to fill an hour, so I wondered what the show would have to do in order to fill the hour. Quite frankly, throughout the day yesterday, I was dreading the episode a little bit because of the amount of worry I was feeling towards the episode

It certainly didn't help that my relationship with this show is on a very small string. It's just been so inconsistent over the past season and when I watched last week's episode, it was all amplified (because of how bad the episode was). I decided that this episode would be the one that decided if I would continue to watch the show. If it was terrible, I would bow out of the show and stop watching. If it showed some sign of storytelling competence, I would be willing to keep on going.

Through the first half hour of the episode I thought I would be bowing out after this episode. I like the idea of doing an episode about acceptance, especially with the at least somewhat troubled characters, but I wasn't confident after watching the first half-hour of the episode that the idea was working. I just didn't care about Rachel wanting a nose job, or the prom queen plotline. Honestly, I was ready to completely give up on the episode. It didn't take a lot to change that, but I was more sold on the episode after Kurt had the scene in Figgin's office where he meets with Karofsky. It was after that where at least parts of the episode seemed to click, and at least make a decent episode of Glee. Not a brilliant one mind you, but one that lies on the better side of the spectrum.

I've been saying for a long time where the material in each episode that's resonated most with me over the course of the past stretch of episodes was the material involving Kurt. Chris Colfer is one of the strongest actors on the show (probably second to Mike O'Malley as his dad) and I thought that he killed it in this episode. He was the reason why I wasn't completely opposed to the arc with Kurt at Dalton finishing. He completely sold what the script wasn't. Heck, I'm surprised that Glee remembered that this story arc existed, as it's been awhile since this has even been mentioned on the show. But even if my problems with the writing of the arc, I still found a way to enjoy the plotline. Mike O'Malley sold Burt's reaction to Karofsky deciding to apologize to Kurt, allowing him to the school. He made that seemingly random scene actually have some stakes behind it.

And then Kurt actually returns to the building. But before he can be welcomed back by everyone, he gets serenaded by Darren Criss. "Somewhere We Always Know" was a well performed song, I can't say it fit in well to the show, but it was very well performed by Criss. Then we had a one song act. As I can recall, this is the first big one song act since "Bohemian Rhapsody" last season. I'm not so sure that the song merited having the entire act to itself, but it was so well performed by Chris Colfer. I could hear the emotion behind his performance (even with the overproduction of Glee music). I thought this was a very well performed song that actually served a purpose in the episode. Strangely the way they placed the Kurt plotline in the episode was that they had about two acts of it and then it was done. I wish that they had spread this out throughout the episode so that I could care more about the beginning, oh well.

Everyone wants to be prom queen. Quinn, Lauren, and Santana all have different plots out there to win the title and different ways of achieving them. Quinn is hot, that's her campaign. I can't blame the character for trying this (and having it work for the first half of the episode) but I didn't care about a contest that would just be about how Quinn is hot. It was when Lauren brought out who Quinn used to be before McKinley where the plotline started to actually have meaning. Quinn changed herself so that she would be accepted. I'm not sure that the show earned that payoff, but it was very well performed by Dianna Agron. The idea that Quinn had to accept who she used to be is a very good one. But even better then the scenes with Quinn having to come to terms with herself was the scene where she tells Lauren how she's proud of her for being proud of herself. That was a very well done scene from the performances, and really the first time where I saw Lauren as a character, rather then an actress on a TV screen.

But the strongest part of the prom queen plotline was the stuff involving Santana. She's had a higher profile this season and I'm really happy with that. Naya Rivera has done a great job with everything she was given this season. This is one of the few plotlines on Glee where I'm intrigued to see how this goes and when they will out Santana. That should be very good in the future.

Some other thoughts:

  • I could spend an entire paragraph saying how stupid the Rachel plotline was in this episode and how that was very stupid of her to even consider a nose job but I won't. There's no need for it. That plotline didn't pay off at all in my mind and I didn't like it very much, even if it did have a strong musical performance.
  • Another plotline I didn't care for: The Emma plotline. The main reason was I just didn't care. I lost interest in her character a long time ago, so now finally starting an arc that they should have started a long time ago is not going to cut it. If they had ditched the Carl arc and started this in the beginning of the season I probably would have cared, but I don't now, oh well, wasted opportunity there.
  • This week was another very strong episode without the presence of Sue. I think that says a lot about how the character has been written the past season and how the character has no point in existing. 
  • As Myles McNutt pointed out in his review, they should not have done a mall sequence after Joss Whedon perfected it in the episode that he directed last season. This sequence was terrible in comparison to last year's sequence.
When the Glee club went on stage to perform Born this Way, I was in a better mood then when the episode started. I felt like they at least had some form of payoff in some of the plotlines, which I guess at this point is more then I could ask for from an episode of Glee. While it was far from the best, it at least restored my confidence in the show a little bit and led me to believe that there's still a slim amount of promise in the show.

What did everyone else think?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Some ground rules for you to follow when commenting here:
1. This is probably the most important rule: be nice. I will not tolerate any rudeness towards other commenters or myself.
2. Be relevant, comments will be deleted if they are not relevant to the discussion.
3. No spoilers, I and many other people don't want to know what your mother's, sister's, best friend's, brother said about what's going to happen on Chuck. There are many places for discussing what's going to happen on the show in the future, this isn't one of them.
4. Please hit preview to preview your comment before pressing post comment to be sure that it will be logged.

Thank you, keep reading, and enjoy the conversation!