S3E13: Glee may purport to be all roses and heart-shaped glitter, but things aren’t so shiny when you look up close. Some of those pieces of heart-shaped glitter are really cute and festive and – dare I say it – entertaining, but when the fun is over and the confetti settles, there’s just this big pile of crumpled, shiny paper that no one has the energy to clean up. Despite Brian Stokes Mitchell’s and Jeff Goldblum’s best and valiant attempts, the return of a newly healthy Blaine, and the tendency I have to love everything that comes draped in pink and read hearts, this episode helped a once great show continue its downward spiral.
“And now, commence the teenage love-making.” –Hiram Berry
Rachel's dads surprise Rachel and her betrothed in the auditorium with a piano – now we know where Rachel gets it from. Both dads feign happiness for Rachel and Finn’s impending marriage – but guess what? They’re not happy, because they're good parents even though they've been completely absent for two years.
First, Finn and Rachel make their happy announcement to the glee club and everyone quickly chooses sides – of course Quinn is on the anti-marriage side because she’s gone all independent woman since she came back from the dark side. Somehow, Rachel has gone from that terror shot when she realized she’d committed to Finn before she got her NYADA letter to blushing bride-to-be without so much as a hop, skip and a jump. Finn’s parents and Rachel’s parents have a little plan to make them realize their mistake: a big ol’ family Valentine’s dinner.
At the end of this awkward love fest, saved only by Jeff Goldblum’s always classic delivery of even the worst lines, both sets of parents drop the bomb: the blissful cohabitation starts now. Finn’s mom even brought him his jammies. But the parents’ brilliant plan backfires when Finn and Rachel recover from their first fight over her ridiculous bedtime regimen with even more determination to stay together. In fact, they’ve moved the wedding date up to the week after Nationals – you know, just in time for the season finale. Thankfully, we’re left there, but it seems this is the ridiculous plot that just won’t die. It’s so obvious that they’re nuts, but it’s almost like the writers believe their audience is torn. Hey guys, we’re not.
”When it comes to love, I don’t know who I am.” -Mercedes
Next, we have the most engaging couple on the whole show: Sam and Mercedes. Unfortunately, they suffered a contrived fate this week. Though there’s absolutely no reason they two of them would stop making googly eyes at each other, Mercedes finds an illogical loophole. Mercedes finally told Shane that she kissed Sam, and they promptly broke up. This should mean the course is clear for Samcedes, right? Wrong. Mercedes decides that she can’t be trusted to be in any relationship. Yes, because an adorable boy who’s been ardently pursuing you sang you a romantic song and then kissed you and you’re supposed to just smack him? Well, yes, of course, you’re not supposed to give in, but this is high school and let’s be honest: most high school girls would be hard pressed to make a better decision.
And this is where that awkwardly-timed rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” By no fault of the writers, Amber Riley, or the show itself, this performance was just a little hard to watch. Glee’s style is inherently goofy and garish, and normally using such a classic, emotional song would be just another example of the show’s hyperbolic use of music. But in light of Whitney Houston’s passing, it seems just a bit disrespectful. Of course, I reiterate: there’s no way the show could have prevented this because they filmed it long before the real-life tragedy struck.
But, it does the trick for Sam and Mercedes. Sam is furious; he obviously agrees Mercedes' reasoning is seriously flawed. They’re officially on the outs, which is conveniently awkward because they just happen to be in the four-member Christian club together. For some reason, this club also sings (oh wait, Glee Project winner Samuel Larson needed a place to sing at McKinley; that’s why), which leads to Quinn, Mercedes, Sam, and Larson’s uber-Christian hippie Joseph into singing songs about love together while Sam and Mercedes look miserable next to each other. We did not earn this form of television torture, writers. Just let them have at least some sort of romantic progress. PLEASE.
"All I want to do is be able to kiss my girlfriend, but no one can see that because there’s such an insane double standard at this school.” -Santana
And Joseph the religious zealot and hippie (is that even a thing?) intertwines his unnecessary plot into another storyline: that of prejudice against Santana and Brittany for their Lesbianism. Figgins gets a complaint because the two of them share a peck in the hallway – even though this is a school that once hosted a kissing booth for profit in the middle of the hallway – and Figgins decides he can’t allow the couple to display their affection in the halls.
This issue of inequality is handled fairly well, except that we never find out who issued the complaint. Instead, we simply see Santana take her anger out on the new guy: super Christian Joseph. Obviously, he was the one who complained, right? To test the theory, Santana orders a Valentine’s song gram from the Christian club and we watch Joseph sit motionless without agreeing to sing the song for a lesbian couple. In the end, he agrees to do it and we’re left to assume that he’s probably the guy who complained to the principal. It’s a little obtuse to let the new very religious guy take the blame for such a prejudice claim – sure he sang the song at the end and said he accepted Santana, but this show is all about how making assumptions is detrimental. Shouldn’t they have shown us that to assume the Christian kid did it is wrong? Or, if he did do it, have him admit it. This isn’t a series that thrives on subtlety and open-ended storylines; it can’t make that shift just once and expect it to fit within in the story.
"You think you love me?” –Kurt
All this week and last week, Kurt has been missing his sweetheart, Blaine, who is still laid up after the impossible rock salt slushie incident. Yet, somehow, Blaine is sending Valentines signed “secret admirer” from his state of bed rest. At least that’s what Kurt assumes. Well, there were two ways this could go. (Okay, there’s a third and it involves a new character, but I have faith that the writers wouldn’t add two unnecessary characters in one episode.) Option one is that the secret admirer is Sebastian, trying another hair-brained scheme to come between the happy duo. Option two is better, but still a little over the top: it’s Karovsky. It turns out to be option two, and Karovsky takes off his gorilla mask – because if there’s anything that whips Kurt into a frenzy, it’s linebackers dresses as gorillas – and admits that he thinks he’s in love with Kurt. He rattles off the list of reasons tracing back to the night at Scandals, the bullying, and the hate kiss. There’s just one issue: he hasn’t come out at his new school. And even though Sugar Shack nee Breadstix is hosting a private event, one of the football players from Karovsky’s new school over hears and this point of contention will likely come back into play at an arbitrary moment during the remainder of the season.
”No single people allowed. They’re sad and boring…and they don’t exist in my world.” –Sugar
And this is where I draw the line. How. Why. How. WHY. Sweet, sweet Rory and sweet, sweet Artie are both lovesick for one Sugar Motta. This is prefaced by Schue announcing they’re short on the regionals budget and Sugar’s response is waving a pile of cash in his face before announcing that everyone has to come to her party at Breadstix, which she’s forced her dad to rename Sugar Shack, after her. Sure, she gets everyone Valentine’s day presents, but this is the girl who, a few weeks ago turned Artie down because he was disabled and she feared what people would think. Now, she’s letting Artie and Rory shower her with gifts – including a real, live puppy – and finally serenade her to win her over. Artie chooses “Let Me Love You,” which was pretty sweet and it seems to win the brat over. But Rory pulls out the big guns: he’s being deported back to Ireland at the end of the year (is that how deportation works? Finish your schoolwork first, young laddie?). Later, it seems that Rory made the whole thing up to win over Sugar because she asks him about it and he forgets about it for a second. Now, there’s a teenage decision: lie to make something happen for Valentine’s Day, Feb. 15 consequences be damned.
We end the episode with the glorious, welcome, luminescent return of Blaine (can you tell we need him around here?) singing “Love Shack” with a little help from Kurt and some New Directions song birds. As usual, Glee can deliver a great show, so the song is a fantastic, romantic, upbeat production that lulls us into complacency. The plot may not make sense. It may make you question whether or not you’re reading a 15 year-old girl’s dream journal at times. But man, can these kids sing and dance.
What did you think of the episode? Were you disappointed at seeing so little of Jeff Goldblum? Do you think Finn and Rachel are nuts? Do you think Joseph is a weak character? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler.