S1: E8 Glee is all over the place, I can admit that. But that out-of-control style is kind of what makes the show great. It also means it missteps quite a bit, but at least it keeps things interesting. This week, the choir-fueled dramedy wears all the hats, switching from satire to seriousness to sentimental and back again with each scene and sometime within each scene. It didn’t work the entire time, but when Sue Sylvester combines the three it really works (no surprise there, Jane Lynch is the cornerstone of the show). We also enjoy (or endure in some at some moments) a Glee wedding when Kurt’s dad and Finn’s mom finally take that next step.
The episode starts with Burt and Carol’s huge news. They approach the boys in the hall at William McKinley High and Kurt is immediately giddy (he’s got half the wedding planned in his head before they even finish their sentence) but Finn looks like someone just punched him in the stomach. In his first act as self-appointed wedding planner, Kurt hires New Directions as the wedding band, which means only one thing: a Glee wedding. That does it, and Finn suddenly comes around to the idea. Really? That’s all it took, and now you’re suddenly cool? That kid is like a freaking light switch.
But wait, what’s this? Sue’s sending out invites for a wedding too? What’s that about? Flashback to a recording of Sue’s Corner where Sue’s ex-flame and the lead news anchor embarrasses her by announcing his engagement to the newsy hussy he cheated on Sue with. Naturally, Sue responded by getting on Match.com and finding her soul mate…herself. So she’s decided to marry herself a la that woman in Taiwan back in October. From the looks of her invite list, she’s inviting the president? I’d like to say I’m surprised, but that would be one big lie.
Meanwhile, Sam is getting close to that popularity crown he’s been reaching for, he’s close to recovering from his injury and regaining his Quarterback spot, but he’s missing one puzzle piece: he can’t get Quinn to be his girlfriend. So of course he gets Quinn a promise ring and says he’ll promise not to pressure her and he’ll promise to make her proud. Wow, all this for popularity? This isn’t Mean Girls last time I checked. Quinn thinks it’s sweet, but a bit much, so she says maybe. Smart girl, Sam’s whole thing is either crazy or desperate – I’m going with desperate.
Karofsky is still harassing Kurt. After threatening to kill him, he now just uses simple intimidation, but this drives Kurt to tears. Mr. Schue catches the aftermath and takes Kurt to Principal Sue. Sue says that since Karofsky didn’t actually get caught physically hurting Kurt, there’s nothing she or the school board can do legally. Finally, this issue is being addressed; the kid’s been bullying Kurt all season. Kurt almost lets the secret kiss slip to Sue because he wants her to understand the anger boiling within Karofsky about his hidden identity, but he stops himself. It seems like Sue maybe has a flash of understanding, and agrees to stop calling Kurt “Lady” instead opting to give him an option for a new one – he chooses “Porcelain.” He would choose the one that’s a complement about his perfect skin – he has a ritual, you know.
Rachel gathers the girlfriends of the Glee club need to enlist their football player boyfriends to make Karofsky leave Kurt alone. It needs to be done, but this kind of seemed more like an emergency D.A.R. meeting than a couple of high school girls throwing a plan together. Santana interrupts and is pissed she wasn’t included – she says she’s “dating” Puck. Hmm…if by dating she means hooking up with on a semi regular basis and occasionally dining and ditching at Breadstix then okay, they’re dating. We also learn that Brittany is official with Artie, and what’s this? Tina’s totally jealous. I guess Mike Chang’s abs can’t beat out simple high school jealousy.
As Sue plans her masturbatory wedding, her mother (Carol Burnett) shows up. She’s a professional Nazi hunter – yep you heard that right – but she’s back to set things right. Even so, she’s not doing so well so far. Being the famous Nazi-hunter she is, she left Sue and her sister when they were kids and regularly makes Sue feel awful with her constant criticism whenever she is around. She’s determined to make amends, but she hasn’t yet been to see Sue’s sister in the nursing home, and it seems her main concern is yelling at Sue about her life decisions. You’d think with a comic legend like Carol Burnett on the show, she’d actually be funny, but all she really does is act like a bitch.
The plan to protect Kurt is set into motion, but Finn tells Rachel he can’t do it, making some lame popularity-concerned excuse about how his interference would be worse for Kurt (but mainly for the football team’s winning streak). Are you really surprised? This is high school and popularity is king, plus Finn is so easily swayed. Don’t worry, he’ll swing back around; he always does. In the locker room, Artie and Mike tell Karofsky to stay away from Kurt, but he immediately throws out a few gay slurs about Kurt. Mike loses it and lunges at Karofsky, but the hulking dude throws Mike at Artie. Puck watches but does absolutely nothing (perhaps a result of Santana’s banishment from the girlfriend meeting). Finally, Sam swoops in to help Mike and Artie, but and he and Karofsky fight until Bieste comes in and separates them. Let’s be real though, Sam is teeny tiny. Karofsky is huge. He would have snapped that little blondie in half if this wasn’t a show about a show choir.
Back in the choir room, the girlfriends nurse their boyfriends’ battle wounds - all except Finn and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Rachel is completely disappointed as are the rest of the gleeks. Kurt thanks everyone for their support, and Schue does no reprimanding, but honestly, I wouldn’t have either. Karofsky’s being just plain awful, someone needed to do something.
Mama Sylvester’s attempt at motherly love is a song for Sue’s wedding. That’s when the unthinkable happens: Sue Sylvester sing (and not the talk-singing she did in the Madonna episode). Burnett and Lynch belt “Ohio” which facilitates a mother daughter spat about why Mama left and how Sue was affected by it. Mom and daughter embrace, but of course Mama Sylvester ruins it by being awful. She actually says she’s insisting on wearing white to Sue’s wedding because it suits her skin tone and tells Sue she can’t wear white because it looks awful on her. Seriously, this woman makes Sue look like Shirley Temple.
Kurt takes time after school to teach Finn and his dad to dance in the choir room. Finn is concerned that people will see him dancing with dudes, but that’s all shot when Karofsky walks by and makes fun of Kurt. Burt questions Kurt, who keeps hush about the kiss but admits that Karofsky threatened to kill him. Being the super protective father that he he is, Burt threatens Karofsky and lands everyone in a parent-teacher conference. Karofsky lies and says Kurt is making it up because he likes him (hello, bigotry) but neither kids’ dad is buying it. Principal Sue makes her first good move as principal and immediately expels Karofsky for the death threat. It’s not clear how or why, but for once, Sue really gets it.
At Burt and Carol’s wedding (whirlwind, ain’t it? They got engaged and married all in the same week, but I guess if you can’t wait, you can’t wait) Santana helps Finn with his tie and says he should tout his tryst with her so he can be popular, like Sam is trying to do by being Quinn’s boyfriend. Flashback to Rachel being excited that she and Finn will lose their virginity to each other - whoops. Because he loves Rachel, he decided to keep his secret. Shortly after, New Directions opens the wedding with a little show…hey, The Office already did that. If this is your way of getting back at their writers for the “'Blinded by the Light' with actual blind people” quip on the Glee party episode of The Office, it’s not working. Kurt’s dad and Finn’s mom dance to the alter as the gleeks sing “Marry You” (they really LOVE Bruno Mars, don’t they?). Kurt’s dad gives a tear-jerker of a speech about losing his late wife and finding Carol and she adds to it by talking about how Finn is becoming a brother to Kurt. Finn’s face is immediately covered in guilt; he knows he should have stood up for Kurt in the locker room.
Burt and Carol dance their first dance to Michael Bublé’s song “Sway” as interpreted by Mr. Schue, who manages to hog the spotlight. You’d think he could tone down his wild arm gestures for just a minute so people would spend their time looking at the happy couple and not him, but that’s Schue for you.
Then, Finn gives the best man speech, squeezing in a shout-out to his “awesome” mom but using the speech to talk about how he’s become Kurt’s brother (they’re now Furt, like Brangelina) and apologizes for not standing up for him. Apparently, he’s been feeling guilty for a while because he’s also prepared a performance of “Just the Way You Are” (yep, third Bruno Mars song this season) and serenaded a teary-eyed Kurt with the help of the other gleeks. Finn proudly waltzes with Kurt until his dad cuts in and finishes off the song by recycling its second half to win back Rachel’s affections, who’s clearly forgiven him for his former weaknesses. My only question, why didn’t Kurt bring Blaine as his date? When are they going to really date already?
At Sue’s wedding, Mama Sylvester tries to explain why she left to Sue’s sister, but something about the simplified language she has to use makes it a lot harder to paint an acceptable picture of her behavior. Sue finally weds herself clad in a track suit dress – what else? Finally, Sue confronts her mother and calls her out as a bully. So that’s why she understands Kurt’s issues. She kicks her mother out, and says all she needs is her sister. As much as I loved senselessly evil Sue, I’m actually enjoying the way they’re delving into her character because it’s not taking the snark out of her, it’s just giving it a new, more pointed direction. (And lucky for us, that direction still points toward Mr. Schue.)
Then it’s time for sewing up loose ends. Quinn breaks into Sam’s locker with a nail file and steals her promise ring, so naturally now they’re dating. Who knew the super devout blonde cheerleader would also have the ability to break and enter? (But it’s a nail file, so it’s still really feminine, no worries.) It’s clear that the cheerio wears the pants in that relationship.
Sue’s given Figgins his position back, and unfortunately, Karofsky’s expulsion is overturned. Sue says she can do more as a teacher that as principal and swears to patrol the halls so she can catch Karofsky in the act. Sue is not only hilarious, she’s also become a real human and she actually rocks in a non-comedy related way. But even with Sue’s vigilant promise, Kurt is still fearful of Karofsky’s return. He drops the bomb: he’s decided to transfer to the Dalton Academy because they have a zero-tolerance policy about bullying (are you listening American school boards and voters?). It was only a matter of time before his harsh reality pushed him away from William McKinley High. No one takes the news well, they all swear to protect Kurt day in and day out and of course, Rachel is only worried that he’ll be their competitor at sectionals. Ugh, pull your head out of your ass, mini-Babs. Unfortunately, she’s right to worry about the timing, sectionals are only a week away and they’re down one of their strongest singers.