September 3, 2012

Episode Review: GLEE, "The Rhodes Not Taken"

I've always struggled with "The Rhodes Not Taken" because the episode had some of the better musical performances, but it also was frantic, convoluted and messy overall.

After Rachel left New Directions because she was not given the star treatment she felt she deserved, Will was unsure how he would fix his performer problem. While out eating with Terri, he learned that Vocal Adrenaline had been flunking one of its top dancers to give them an advantage. This little bit of underhandedness gave Schue and idea, so he had Emma look up an old glee club member who did not officially graduate. He met up with April Rhodes and found out that being a big deal in high school does not translate to real world success. She was a mess, but Will was convinced that she would give New Directions exactly what it needed. The rest of the club was unsure about her being there, but she was able to win them over via unseemly methods.

While Schue was dealing with April, Finn was doing his best to get Rachel to return to New Directions. You see, Will told Emma about Finn's situation so she had a sit-down with him to let him know that getting an athletic scholarship would be difficult so he should aim at getting a music one instead. Finn knew that the glee club would not be successful without Rachel, so he needed her to come back to the group. The only way he could come up with was to lead her on and give her hope that he'd be with her. He sweet talked her and even took her out on a date, which worked until she found out that Quinn was pregnant with his child. Obviously, feeling betrayed and outraged, Rachel left New Directions yet again.

The glee club's invitational was coming up, but Will was starting to doubt April because of her drinking and inappropriate behavior. He asked her to clean up her act before the event, and she agreed to but fell victim to her demons. She showed up to the invitational drunk, but Will let her go on. During her performance, Will realized that bringing her into the fold was a mistake, and during intermission he told her that she couldn't go back out there. April also arrived at the truth that her time was up and she shouldn't be taking the spotlight that should've been reserved for the kids. The two parted ways, but New Directions didn't have enough people to put on the second act. That was until Rachel came back once and for all.

Like I mentioned before, I really enjoyed almost every musical moment during the episode. "Somebody to Love" was one of New Directions' signature pieces, and I even got a kick out of Kristin Chenoweth's "Last Name" even though I disliked the song itself, but even then she was ultimately a distraction.

My biggest issue with the episode was Rachel's indecisiveness and how she left New Directions, came back, and left again just to return what felt like the eighth time. I get that she's young, and not sure how to handle that kind of situation, but the constant back and forth got tiresome, and it didn't mean anything in the end since she was only gone for the span of one episode.

It could also be argued that "Rhodes" was the beginning of the end for both Will and Finn since they were so insecure with their stations in life that they had to rely on others to get what they wanted even if they had to use manipulative tactics. While I cannot excuse their bad behavior, I still thought that their motivations were valid even if their approaches were wildly inappropriate, but I can understand if other's didn't. The thing is, Glee needed them to be the good guys, and turning them into these conniving cads only hurt the show. But that's a discussion for another time and place.

Other Odds and Ends
  • Apparently, Will's been betraying Finn's trust since the very beginning.
  • Was Jacob Ben Israel Glee's biggest mistake? Probably.
  • Damn, that Versace joke was dark.
  • Was April an escort of some kind?
  • I kinda want to see a spin-off featuring the all-girl jazz band that backed up Rachel during "Maybe This Time."
  • Matthew Morrison and Kristin Chenoweth did sound good together.
  • For the record, Rachel kissed Finn.
  • Remember when Emma had a backbone?
  • "Bring buffalo wings."
  • "Stick that in your pipe and smoke it."
  • "Oh, Bambi. I cried so hard when those hunters shot your mommy."
  • "Yeah, I think they import the pepperoni from like Michigan or something."
In a lot of ways, "The Rhodes Not Taken" was the seminal episode of Glee. The story was a little scatter-brained, and the guest star got too much exposure but it had some standout music. Who would've known that would become the formula that would define this show for the foreseeable future?


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