Review Duel: Glee Season 3 Episode 20 vs Episode 21
NOTE: Before you get mad that I’m mean, check out the About and Review Format pages. I’m not a monster, I’m actually on the same wavelength as the average Glee “fan”.
So Glee is airing 2 episodes this week? I smell a network trying to dump a shit show. And it also makes a perfect opportunity for me to do another review duel. Mainly because I can’t be fucked reviewing both of these bitches for a whole post each. Glee doesn’t deserve that.
TL;DR These two episodes are a surprising improvement on the season. Not completely puke-free, but I had fun. Episode 20 is better. You can’t beat Jersey Shore parodies.
I’ll start with Episode 20.
So when I read this was going to be a Tina episode, I was ready to fucking not bother. She’s been demoted to extra for almost the entire run of the show. But evidently Glee wanted to address this.
If you read my review last week, you’ll know of my hate/hate-not-so-much relationship with the “here’s what you missed on” segment. This week I’m torn. The segment pretty much flat out states all the weaknesses and inconsistencies with Tina’s characterisation and slide to the background. I want to like this because it’s funny (and oh so true), but I know that this is another flippant attempt by the writers to wave away their own neglect. I laughed, but not with a smile on my face.
So yes, it’s a Tina spotlight episode. But don’t switch off just yet. Tina trips and smashes her head, which leads to a few of the best scenes Glee has ever had. She enters a fantasy world where everyone in Glee is someone else from Glee. She’s Rachel. While it’s pretty obvious this is a desperate attempt to inject humour into the show, it works fucking well. Highlights include Will as Sue, Quinn as Sugar (she gets it SO right), and Finn and Puck being Kurt and Blaine. The shippers can die happy.
I got excited, too, because this lasted for more than one scene. I thought the whole episode would do it, but no no. Glee isn’t a show that’s fun or whimsical. We need some hard hitting issues, like domestic violence.
Yes, that plot line is back. I wanted it to fade away, but Glee needed a message this week, and this one was still in the box. I actually think Shannon Bieste is one of the more sincere characters, but don’t fucking bog her down with this shit. And don’t tease me with that role play (oh, Rory doing Sam is also scarily accurate) then punch me in the face. How dumb do they think we are? We know domestic violence is bad. And it’s played so black and white, I felt like I was in special ed for social workers.
Why I hate this episode:
I guess it’s my fault for raising my expectations once I saw a few uninterrupted moments of decent television. I should know Glee better than this by now.
Having a Tina spotlight episode has the hilarious consequence of showing how bad she is at acting. All her deliveries are so wooden and in a single tone, I thought Blake Lively had chucked on a black wig and taped her eyes back.
Oh, and with Tina’s plot line of trying to get some credit actually having resonance, the epsiode ends with her completely back flipping and fucking accepting that Rachel is the star, and being part of the team is what’s important. Bitch, you’ve been part of the team for 3 seasons, and look where that got you.
Reasons to watch:
Puck has an affecting sub plot that further deals with his worries for the future. I haven’t seen a breakdown on Glee that I cared about since Will finding out Terri’s secret in season 1. This gets conveniently wrapped up by him being permitted to re-take the test he failed, but I’ll let that slide.
As I mentioned, the role play in Tina’s mind trip is hilarious. And they’re all there, too, so get a close look.
There is a steady current of humour and irreverence in this episode that reminds me why the first part of season 1 was so engaging. Rachel trying to bribe Tina with $50 to shut up was old-Glee funny.
Oh, and Blaine is barely in this at all. Nice for a fucking change.
Now for Episode 21.
It’s Nationals time. Again. And this is the final year for most of your main characters. I wonder who will win?
Yeah, they win. I was kinda glad they did, but there was no suspense. Glee isn’t cruel enough to deny them.
The best thing I can say about this episode is that the performances are long. New Directions does 3 whole numbers, Vocal Adrenaline does 2 and there are a couple other songs. This thankfully cuts into dialogue time. Just like the abundance of action in Eclipse made it a better Twilight movie, the oversaturation of songs makes this a better Glee episode.
Theres not much to this episode, really. They go to Nationals, perform, and then get the results. There’s an agonising, sugary scene at the end where Will gets teacher of the year, but I haven’t got much else to report plot-wise.
So what really pissed me off this week was just a bunch of small things. For example, why is Sue such a pussy? I know this isn’t sudden, but goddamn. There’s no villain anymore.
Speaking of no villains, Jesse pops up and all he fucking does is tell Whoopi to give Rachel another chance. Weak.
Emma actually has a line this episode. How sweet of the writers to remember she exists.
The New Directions performance is pretty boring. Nothing we haven’t seen before. They sing, Rachel gets that “about to cry” face, standing ovation. You know the drill. It doesn’t help that Vocal Adrenaline fucking murders them, and New Directions wins because plot. Oh, and as much as I hated Alex on The Glee Project, that bitch can dominate a number. The highlight of the episode is Vocal Adrenaline’s rendition of Starships by Nicki Minaj. Apart from the atrociously embarrassing sensoring of the word “motherfucker”. I didn’t know that offended people?
Why I hate this episode:
That tone of finality is rife here. Everything feels too perfectly designed to have everyone succeed at everything. Glee is obviously afraid to piss off the fans by leaving a character behind. You’ve been doing it for 3 years now (Tina being a prime example), why change?
Finn also makes a bet with Rick the Stick of $500 on New Directions to win Nationals. Where the fuck did that come from? It’s completely out of character, and doesn’t even serve the drama. Rachel barely gives a shit. Rick hands over the money and is fine about it. Was that supposed to raise the stakes?
Oh, and after Will gets his award, the closing song for the episode is the New Directions singing in tribute to him (and themselves) We Are The Champions. I threw up the gallon of boxed wine I had to chug to make it through 2 episodes.
Reasons to watch:
Linday Lohan and Perez Hilton take up the roles of judges. Although they both look weirdly thin and dishevelled (was it on purpose?), they fire off a couple of decent lines at their own expense. I can count on Glee to deliver genuinely funny judging deliberations.
Alex (from The Glee Project) and Mercedes are in a dressing room together, and it’s very distracting that they are not shown in the same frame. And funny as hell. They probably couldn’t both fit.
Oh, and Will and Emma finally have sex. Fucking (pun intended) finally.
Episode 20 brings the laughs. ‘Nuff said.