TV Review: Glee Season 4 Episode 20
Yeah, I couldn’t resist.
And surprisingly, she’s managed to spread her aura of not-awful even into the McKinley plot lines this week.
It really is a miracle.
TL;DR Santana gets a lot of screentime, but doesn’t develop much. Oh well. And Blake makes a shocking revelation.
Okay, so our plot in McKinley starts off with a blackout at the school, which apparently lasts several days. Inspired by that thing that just happened, Will decides the glee club should do an “unplugged” week. Cue mostly tolerable acoustic songs. Blake is still chatting to “Katie,” and she has somehow given him the confidence to reveal his (latest) secret: he was molested by his female babysitter when he was 11. To everyone’s horror, Glee plays this subtly and genuinely. I know, right? Kitty reveals to him that she was molested as well, but their budding romance is stomped when Blake says he’s still hung up on “Katie.” Despite the obvious. Okay. Becky also tries to get Sue back as Cheerios coach. Meanwhile in New York, Sarah Jessica Parker is back (and Kurt still works for her. I think even Glee forgot about that) and she has Kurt, Rachel and Santana volunteer at some ballet gala. Santana realises she doesn’t know what to do with her life, but avoids wangsting about it.
Despite Rachel and Kurt insisting that she should. Santana is evidently a traitor to all Glee kind.
You know, at this point, any halfway tolerable Glee episode is gonna seem stellar. And this is what we’ve got here.
Most of the songs are nice enough. The ballet song that SJP, Santana, Rachel and Kurt do together is actually enjoyable because it embraces subtlety. Something Glee is rarely adept at.
My only major issue with the episode is the absurd blackout premise. Does McKinley high school not have windows? Those hallways have always looked fairly sun-drenched to me.
Why I hate this episode:
For reals, it’s basically pitch black inside McKinley without the lights on. What the fuck, guys? Just come on.
We still don’t know who “Katie” is. I’d be impressed that they’re managing to stretch the mystery if it weren’t for Blake’s pathetic denial about the situation. He says he trusts “Katie” and shit. He goes on to turn down a hot lunch date with Kitty because of “Katie.” Who, in case you’ve forgotten (Blake has), isn’t real.
Also, you know it’s gonna be fucking Alex.
Blake having a second, earth-shattering secret is blatant plot recycling. Lazy.
Rachel and Kurt are (though, it is predictable) ridiculous turds to Santana. They have a meeting with her because they think she’s wasting her life by getting a job to pay for rent, instead of going to NYADA like them. This is dumb because 1) Santana likes her job, is good at it, and has to, you know, pay fucking rent. Unlike those 2, who are on daddy’s dimes. And 2) there is more to post-high school than going to NYADA. At least Rachel and Kurt’s shallow world view isn’t validated, but it isn’t dismissed, either.
Sam has some sob story about how he’s used to living without electricity because his family is poor blah blah blah. We’ve heard it all before.
He also makes a terrible mini-speech about how obsessed young folks are these days with being “plugged in” and on the “Twitterverse” and “blog-o-sphere.” Did an 80 year-old Amish woman write this?
SJP is back. Ew.
Rachel, Kurt and Santana don’t really do anything when they’re supposed to be working at the ballet gala. They even get to wear legit Vogue vault dresses (except Kurt. Shocking, I know). Then they’re rude enough to ask if they can take a break from not-working to watch the show. Bitches.
Blake sings Everybody Hurts. I’m surprised it took Glee this long. It’s sung over a montage of the glee club members getting slushied. This is supposed to be emotional and empowering, but is just hilarious.
Oh, and the glee club do an a cappella song near the end. Could it be a more obvious attempt to ride the coattails of Pitch Perfect? Yeah, they had that a cappella episode back in season 1, but the timing of its return makes the cash-in clear.
Reasons to watch:
The 2 issues that Glee covers this week are thankfully handled with restraint. I’m sincerely glad that I can expect Glee to deliver on the odd occasion.
Blake’s molestation is given enough screentime and plot importance for it to be relevant, but is handled quietly. He reveals it during a glee club session, and the boys want to high-five him (because double standard rape). Though Will and the girls try to be less enthusiastic, it’s Kitty who brings the emotional weight. Her own revelation of sexual abuse is similarly low key. Glee really could have gone to the moon and back with the melodrama potential, but they didn’t. Nicely done.
The other issue is Santana’s lack of direction. Glee does end up pretty much just saying “whatevs, you’ve got time to figure things out,” but it’s Santana’s honesty about her life that makes it meaningful. She’s not crying in her bed, inches away from reaching for the bleach and funnel because her dream didn’t immediately get delivered to her. She’s just out there doing what she can. Good on her.
Also, she’s a cage dancer at a lesbian bar. That’s perfection already.
The ballet song was a lot of fun. I’m not familiar with the original show tune, so I guess I’m lucky not to have a reference level for it. But yeah, the 4 of them sang well and kept it simple. Cool.
Sue’s show tune where she fantasizes about injuring the Cheerios while bemoaning them is classic Sue. And it’s pretty special to just have Sue randomly get a song without any contrived circumstances or build-up.
Santana suggests Run Joey Run for Rachel’s callback performance. She remembers.
SJP doesn’t spend the whole episode giving Kurt a rim job. That’s nice for a change.
Becky comes clean to Figgins about the “shooting.”
Sue has been working as a punishing personal trainer at a Call On Me inspired gym. Naturally.
Best line goes to Kitty, who is getting sick of Blake’s shit with “Katie”: “Stop embarrassing yourself.” She’s got you there, bro.
Santana only agrees to work the ballet gala so she can get a free dress.
Oh, and I will now be expecting at least 2 overblown secrets from Blake per season.