December 7, 2012

Episode Review: GLEE, "Swan Song"

I've defended plenty of sub-par episodes of Glee over the years and even hated a few, but "Swan Song" was the first one to disappoint me. It wasn't enough of a hot mess or filled with enough emotion to elicit much of response out of me, with the exception of frustration, and that's sometimes worse than being out-right bad.

New Directions lost its first Sectionals ever due to Marley's fainting spell on stage, and Finn had to deal with the fallout. Sue commandeered the choir room, the glee club was without a place to rehearse or a competition to prep for, and everyone went their separate ways in order to fill their need to compete. Along the way, Sam finally came clean about his feelings towards Brittany. She was initially hesitant because she didn't want him to feel the wrath of the lesbian blogger community, but she eventually realized that he's the only one to make her happy since Santana broke up with her. In New York, Rachel won some important competition while Kurt got an impromptu NYADA audition and magically got in.

First off, I want to thank Glee for helping me realize how easy it is to make it New York City. Since day one, Rachel and Kurt have had everything pretty much handed to them with minimal struggle and it's getting kind of old. Sorry, Rachel getting toughed up by Cassandra doesn't count as struggle since no one's tossed a frozen beverage in her face. Heck, even Brody got his kiss after being a man whore. Look, I get that Glee exists in a world where everyone's dreams come true but Rachel and Kurt's good fortune with little effort is getting ridiculous, and I'm starting to be taken out of the NYC moments because the whole point of the show is to root for the dreamers and it's hard to do that when they're stumbling into success. This is how disgruntled Homeland viewers must feel like.

Maybe the reason why I reacted so poorly to NYADA this week had to do with the fact that it once again cut into the stories that I actually care about. Finn having to figure out how to keep the glee club alive after such a devastating defeat should have dominated the hour, but it took a backseat to Rachel's TWO solos during the winter watchamacallit and Kurt's by-the-seat-of-his-ugly-pants callback. Instead of spending time with Finn getting his wits together, he's relegated to collecting New Directions' trophies while his ex sang "O Holy Night." What the what? Thankfully for him she called and some of the Big Apple magic rubbed off because he would have never figured out how to get New Directions back together if it wasn't for her. Such a wasted opportunity. As was the fact that no one really seemed to care about what happened to Marley or how Kitty somehow side-stepped taking responsibility for her hand in it all. Hopefully, we'll be seeing her comeuppance soon, but oh how I doubt it.

As for Sam and Brittany, I've been on that ship since the start of the season because it's nice to see new pairings every now and again. I'm sure Brittany's right and this new couple will somehow get all of the Brittana shippers all riled up, but at least this one feels more organic and wasn't born out of a very funny joke. That said, it's odd that Sam has yet to address his relationship with Mercedes. It's like it never happened, and usually I wouldn't care, but it's jarring nonetheless. Regardless, they're cute together and will make adorable Aryan babies.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I know that this isn't going to happen, but I hope Glee sticks to its guns and keeps New Directions out of competitions for the rest of the season. It'd make things aimless for a bit but it's not like that'd be new territory for the show.
  • Do you feel bad for Blaine, Kurt? Yes, he'd be going on to Regionals (and probably would've won multiple Nationals) if he stayed at Dalton and DIDN'T FOLLOW YOU TO McKINLEY! Ass hat.
  • I always get a kick out of the Cheerio in the neck brace. I don't know why.
  • Again, I don't usually nit-pick but wasn't the whole point of April Rhodes buying the auditorium to avoid New Directions being homeless ever again?
  • I can't help but think that Brad's first words were wasted in this episode.
  • Tina's become intolerable this season. Why keep her around if this is how you're going to use her?
  • As annoying as this episode was, it was nicely shot. Like the cereal scene.
  • I'll say it, the band just showing up is one of my favorite jokes.
  • At this point, every OG has been either a football player, cheerleader or both. So much for being under dogs.
  • Since it's post-Thanksgiving that means football season's over so Flynn joining the basketball team made sense.
  • The Interfaith Paintball League was the greatest sight gag ever!
  • I wonder if the dancer in the crazy get-up is going to be Rachel's new rival once Kate Kudson's contract is up.
  • I'll never say no to a good Breakfast Club reference.
  • Musical Highlight: "Don't Dream It's Over"
  • "That's what I felt when I saw Prometheus."
  • "Turns out glee club was really holding me back."
  • "No, your lips are so soft and horizontal."
  • "Tina, enough."
In some ways it's appropriate that this episode was called "Swan Song" because it was the first one that had me questioning my loyalty to the show and hoping that it would bow out. That's not to say I wouldn't watch and probably enjoy a fifth season, but it's not a good sign when Glee makes me feel like I wasted my time watching it, and that's what it did this time around.


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