May 15, 2012

Episode Review: GLEE, "Props" and "Nationals"

After last week's horrible episode, I didn't know what mindset I would have going into two-hours of Glee, but for the most part I enjoyed both "Props" and "Nationals," and that's a win in my book.

In "Props," Tina finally got fed up with always being pushed into the background and had an epic tantrum that rivaled Rachel, then she bumped her head and had a body-swapping dream sequence that made her appreciate said ingenue and somehow came to terms with being the team player who will always be overshadowed. Elsewhere, Beiste got out of her abusive relationship while Puck realized that he's more than his station in life which led to some heartfelt moments between the two of them.

Let's start with the positives. I really enjoyed watching Puck's emotions boil over as he had to deal with being labeled a loser and a screw-up because he was given some depth that we haven't seen before. For the majority of the show's run, Puck's been a sleazy punk who put more time and effort into banging teachers than caring about his future, and now that he's facing being held back he's decided to grow up. I've been more intrigued by Puck's arc over the last couple of episodes than I've been by what he did the previous two-and-a-half seasons, and I finally get him. Pairing him with Beiste was also a good move because it allowed her to get some closure after "Choke," and reminded us that even badasses can hurt sometimes. Their stories were an example of Glee getting sadness, despair, hope and redemption right. So good.

I had more problems with Tina's story in spite of the very humorous body-swap scene (I was expecting this gimmick to bomb) because I don't know what it accomplished. From the onset, I figured her outburst was going to lead to her taking herself more seriously, which in turn would lead to her being respected as a performer, but in the end she once again supported Rachel while learning the importance of being a team player (something she's been since day one). It felt like Glee just put the spotlight on Tina just to remind us of why she's there instead of actually progressing her as a character. Maybe I missed something, but I didn't think "Props" did Tina any favors.

As for "Nationals," this was obviously the episode where New Directions headed to Chicago to compete for the big prize, and oddly enough not a lot happened. There were a few tense moments as the glee club rehearsed for their big performance, and a moment where Mercedes got food poisoning thus jeopardizing her ability to partake in the routine, but everything worked out in the end. There was also the return of Vocal Adrenaline, Unique and Jesse St. James which led to the oh so tense moment when New Directions finally bested its arch rival. Once back in Lima, McKinley High cheered them on, Will got some loving from Emma as well as being named Teacher of the Year.

The nationals competition was decent enough, and the celebrity judges really didn't take away from the rest of the episode, so I was thankful for that. My only quibble with "Nationals," and to a lesser extent "Props," had to do with everything magically going right for the gleeks. Whoopi Goldberg caved and attended Nationals just to see Rachel sing despite telling her that she didn't deserve special treatment, Puck got to take his final over again because he went the extra mile by dressing in drag and New Directions won (even though VA once again destroyed them). Look, I get that Glee's about underdogs and dreams and has always been a surreal world, so of course everything's going to go our heroes' way, but sometimes losing is more interesting than winning, and I would've been impressed if New Directions once again lost, but that's just me.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • These very meta "Last time on Glee" tags have become one of the more entertaining aspects of the show. Who says this show isn't aware of its mistakes?
  • I'm glad that they restricted the body swapping to an act instead of an entire episode because it was the right amount of insanity, and a full 40 minutes would've been too much.
  • Mike being unsupportive of Tina felt very out of character and made me dislike him for the first time ever.
  • Selfish Rachel has to be the worst character in the history of television. Yes, that includes Ellis from Smash.
  • Finn and Puck as Kurt and Blaine was genius.
  • Artie as Santana, not so much.
  • Another winner, Quinn as Sugar.
  • Goth Lea was SMOKING!
  • Santana, Mercedes and Brittany confronting Beiste was a little uncalled for and in poor taste, but I suppose the ends justify the means.
  • Am I the only one who got a vibe that the scene between Whoopi and Jesse opened up the door to him heading to NYC too?
  • For some reason, the idea of Emma's first time being Will's reward for winning Nationals was really off-putting.
  • Will's obviously not the best teacher, but I was OK with him getting the award because of what he meant to the glee club, and hopefully he will be a non-factor next week when it's supposed to be about the students. Also, did it feel like a send-off to anyone else?
  • Why haven't we gotten an entire episode with Sam doing his Christopher Walken impression?
  • "Isn't she the one who used to stutter?"
  • "My Comanche name is 'Cheerleads with Wolves.'"
  • Sam: "Shouldn't we be in some grinding union?:
    Santana: "Wanky."
  • "And afterwards, we're going to make out because your boobs are slightly bigger today for some reason."
  • "I am strangely turned on right now."
  • "You know, you and me we're badasses. Nobody thinks anything hurts us, but it does."
  • Cooter: "Who's going to love you the way I loved you, Shannon? Who's going to love you now?"
    Beiste: "Me."
  • "You are loved, pun'kin. You are not alone."
"Props" and "Nationals" did not set the world on fire, and that's alright by me. They were fairly well-structured, serviceable episodes that pushed the narrative forward with minimal lacks in judgment. That may sound like I'm making excuses for it jumping the lowest of hurdles, but sometimes the little victories are just as important as the big ones.


Anonymous said...

Yet all the other character on glee can be selfish and no whines about that. Why does Rachel get the heat for working hard and going for things? Mr Shue is the one who should figure out how to handled solos better not Rachel.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail