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This Week on "Glee": Yesterday's Gone, Yesterday's Gone

By Katelyn Anne | TV | May 5, 2011 |

By Katelyn Anne | TV | May 5, 2011 |

Lord Tubbington would be proud. After two episodes of middling mush, “Glee” finally brings us something resembling a good episode. Maybe it’s because I had ridiculously low expectations and with good reason. Generally, tribute shows flop on “Glee” and the group turns classic rock songs into bland pop tunes with barely a notable snippet to play for the 10 second preview on iTunes, but this episode was surprisingly decent. Did they pick another gigantic cliche? Yes. Did they waste another guest spot? Yup. Have they been worse? Most of the season.

Although the greatness of this episode had little to do with the theme and more to do with the supporting cast. The saving grace of this show rests almost entirely on Santana. As much as I think that she’s manipulating Brittany and that their relationship borders on unhealthy, Naya Rivera is flawless in the role. She’s a character that started one-dimensional and is now one of the most complex on the show. Even when I know that Santana has been bad for Brittany, I’m still rooting for Santana to find some happiness. With all of her scheming and posturing, Santana shows an incredible emotional depth and she’s proving herself to be the better bad girl on the show than Sue. But as well as Santana has been developed, the writers are still struggling with how to work her relationship with Brittany. For once, Artie said something right (“Santana is manipulating you.”), but then he followed it up by being a world class douche and calling her stupid. Now, I’m not one hundred percent positive, but while Santana may not have called Brittany stupid, she has said much worse things to Brittany. It felt a little too contrived that the minute Artie drops the bomb on Brittany, she would turn and run to Santana and declare their relationship. “Glee” tends to have a problem with leap-frogging their characters so much that they forget that some relationships need a better natural dissolution and creation.

However, Santana cannot come to Brittany’s show and accept Brittany’s invitation to prom amd Brittany is heartbroken. There’s a small scene where the pervy kid asks Santana about her and Karofsky and she deadpans that they’re probably soul mates. I would have loved to have seen an exchange between Karofsky and Santana where they discussed her relationship with Brittany in regards to their fauxmance. It’s a little disappointing that the show is not mining the bearding relationship between Santana and Karofsky, especially since both actors seem to do a great job with heavier scenes. As nice as it would be to see more of that aspect of their relationship, at least the show is giving us some worthwhile and creative moments with Santana.

As for the fest of the cast, creativity isn’t really an option. Since the theme of the episode is the album “Rumours” and also the club is dealing with rumors, the group has to deal with one big secret. In the school paper (which Sue has turned into a gossip rag so it should be shut down, but for whatever reason, in a school with no extra money, they have enough funds to dump into McKinley’s version of the Enquirer), it’s revealed that some people are showing up coming out of a motel room and it’s assumed to be Quinn and Sam. Finn and Rachel decide to go on a stake out at the motel and while he’s snapping pictures of random motel dwellers; they discuss doing a duet for regionals. Someone explain to me how Rachel has convinced herself that Finn is the best vocal partner for her. This chick needs to listen to her sing with anyone else in the club and realize that she and Finn are practically the least compatible. Anyway, while on the stake out, Finn and Rachel discover more than just their tedious feelings for one another: Sam and Kurt are seen coming out of the motel room. Instantly it is assumed that Kurt is cheating with Sam and that Sam is gay. When this rumor gets bandied about, Kurt denies it by deflecting it and Quinn promptly asserts that Sam is not gay. Finn is weirdly confused that she would know that and becomes defensive about it with Rachel. She points out that Quinn and Sam used to date and Finn sort of acquiesces, but still seems miffed about it. This pretty much confirms my belief that Finn has some control issues about his girlfriends (and about the girls he likes to play head games with). Finn then tells Rachel that he always liked how open and honest she was and they share a glance, but before their obnoxious flirting can go any further, Sam and Quinn are seen leaving the motel and hugging. The obvious assumption is that Sam and Quinn are both whores who should be publicly shamed for cheating together.

Rachel decides to out the presumed couple at practice and Sam finally admits that the reason that both Kurt and Quinn were at the motel is because they were helping out his financially destitute family. Insert sad trumpet noise as Sam runs off and Rachel twirls her hair apologetically. I’m not kidding, go back and watch, she’s playing with her hair and looking like she’s just smacking on some gum. As cliche as it is to have the “giant misunderstanding about the kid who happens to be poor,” I thought Chord Overstreet did a good job with it. It’s been done almost as much as Quinn’s Lucy Caboosey story, but watching Sam cry when they brought him his guitar he pawned really pulled at my heart strings. Poor Trouty Mouth, the glee club will take care of you! They do give him bad advice, though, he says he may need to quit the club to get another job (or maybe get more hours as a pizza delivery guy?) and they tell him that that’s out of the question. Guys, seriously, his whole family of five lives in a motel room and his parents spend all day looking for work. Whatever, this is TV white kid poor, where even though they have no money or savings, they can still sing about how happy they are and how everything will be OK at the end of the show.

Also, April Rhodes was back. She was wasted in character and wasted as a cameo. Her song was cute, but the rumor that she was there to help get started (the Will would be leaving the glee club to go to Broadway) was squashed in about two seconds. Will Schuester would never leave those kids behind! He loves those kids so much. They saved him from a bad marriage and made him realize what was really important: being with those kids. I’m sure the tumblr Pedo!Will was having a field day with that. But in reality, his subplot was the weakest part of the episode and I would have preferred it spent more on Santana, Brittany and Karofsky.

It was nice, though, that April got to sing a somewhat funny song (and the only non Fleetwood Mac number), “It’s 10am and I’m drunk.” Matthew Morrison and Kristin Chenoweth are good Broadway actors and it was fun to watch both of them perform in that element for a little bit. Part of how Shuester fails is that he’s this normal character that acts out all these extremes, but since stage acting allows for much broader performances, Morrison tends to come off as less obnoxious doing the full stage production show tunes (i.e. “Make ‘em Laugh”). Other than that, the song was a cute interlude that reminded me how great Chenoweth’s voice is (and how much I miss Pushing Daisies).

The rest of the songs were all from Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and most of them were surprisingly good. The weakest was definitely Artie’s performance of “Never Going Back Again.” Poor Artie’s voice just doesn’t hold up as well to the other guys’ and it definitely didn’t work for this song. Plus, I wasn’t crazy how they pretty much used that song to tie up the Brittany and Artie relationship and send her to Santana. Probably my second least favorite of the night, even though it was still pretty good, was “Don’t Stop.” I’m never crazy about show’s getting tied up with a neat little bow and that song felt less like they were trying to rally together and more like, “You will never hear of Sam’s financial troubles again.”

“Dreams,” sung by April, was mostly forgettable, which is surprising. Generally, April makes a hug impact, but while going over the episode, I almost forgot she sang anything other than her Broadway number. Again, her cameo was a total wash and this just proves it. While she sang it very well, the song just didn’t match up to some of the better performances, like “I Don’t Want To Know.” Finn and Quinn may not be the best couple, but they are really cute performing together. Both of them sang it pretty well, but the number was definitely made better by the performance between the two of them. As sweetly as the two of them sung the number, it was the little tugs and angry glances that made the scene feel fantastically awkward for everyone else. Rachel used their negative momentum to sing a song to Finn, “Go Your Own Way,” and she did surprisingly well with it. It seems like Lea Michele may have finally taken some notes about how toning down some of her performances. I tend to like her songs a lot better when she makes it less about, “look at how well I sing,” and more about singing the song with some justice. I can’t tell if this is a maturity that comes from experience or if she just picks and chooses which songs she wants to make all about her, but hopefully it’s a trend that remains.

Best song of the night had to go to “Songbird” sung by Santana. It was phenomenal and brought tears to my eyes (of course it didn’t help that this episode also contained the amazing “It Gets Better”/Google Chrome ad). If Santana keeps singing like that I have no qualms about her dating and manipulating whomever she wants. I’m actually really hoping that when Glee inevitably crashes and burns, Naya Rivera has a career after this because she’s too talented to just only have “Glee” on her credits.

It seems like the show finally wizened up and gave us a pretty decent episode, but with only three episodes left it remains to be seen if they can actually take this momentum and end the season in a good spot, or if they’ll squander it all by continuing to put Sue in ridiculous costumes.

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