S2E19: Every time Kristen Chenoweth stops by Glee, you know you’re going to get a little extra camp and that’s totally fine. What I wasn’t expecting was another dose of what we saw in the season premiere: constant referencing of the show’s ridiculous popularity. We get it, you’ve got good ratings and the interwebs are constantly buzzing with any tiny newsbit that pops up, but we know that because WE’RE THE ONES MAKING IT POSSIBLE. So, please stop.
The glee club is supposed to be trod upon. They’re supposed to be nobodies, yet somehow when Sue reinstates the school gossip newspaper it’s filled with rumors about them. Remember in the season premiere when Jacob Ben Israel followed the club around asking questions about their personal lives as if the rest of the school cared? Well, this was part two and while it worked for the plot, it’s self-indulgent and frankly it’s a stretch, even by their standards.
The one good thing I will say about this episode is that it’s almost got the wild storyline syndrome under control. Instead the usual ridiculous amount of plot points, we’ve got a manageable, but still complicated web of events.
“The Muckraker motto: ‘If I heard it, it’s probably true or something.'” -Sue
The main issue this episode is Sue’s ongoing crusade against the glee club. It’s a two-parter, hinging on reinstating the gossipy school paper, the not-at-all-stupidly-named Muckraker, and by bringing April Rhodes (Chenoweth) back to tempt Will with a shot at the big time.
The Muckraker’s tirade of rumors seems to be the most effective weapon against the bunch-o-horny teens. It shakes the group to its core, spreading the word that Quinn is cheating on Finn with Sam and that Santana is a secret lesbian. Because Rachel is trying so desperately to make Finn jealous in any way possible – even by asking Sam to prom (he promptly and kind of harshly turns her down, perhaps because her proposal was so obviously calculated or because his home life is in shambles, but whatever) – and like she did when she knew Quinn was lying about the paternity of her baby in season one, Rachel shoves the rumor in Finn’s face. Boom, the club is on the outs.
The other part of Sue’s insane plan – seriously, she’s not even hilariously insane; hello, lame David Bowie and Anne Coulter costumes – actually ends up working out to the club’s advantage, sort of. April comes back to ask Will to help her write her musical about herself, Cross-Rhodes: The April Rhodes Story, and while she definitely awakens a bit of his Broadway bug, she ultimately helps him get to the point of using the beloved Fleetwood Mac album, Rumours, to bring the club back together because Fleetwood Mac used it the same way when they were about to break up. I actually thought that was a really cute idea that a high school choral director might actually use – for once.
I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the gleeks’ performances of the classic songs, because in most cases they opted for cheesy instead of genuine. April and Will’s was probably the worst; though I love Chenoweth’s voice, their rendition of "Dreams" (one of my favorite songs of all time) just didn’t work for me.
“Hi, I’m Brittany S. Pierce and this is my new internet talk show, Fondue For Two, which combines the two things I like the most: hot cheese and talking to people.” –Brittany
In addition to joining the Muckraker, Brittany’s new internet show is doing some legwork as well. In her first episode, she outs Santana as a lesbian – I guess she’s figured out that Lebanese was the wrong word. Darn. This was probably the best part of a so-so episode, mostly because I feel like Brittany should have started her own web series long ago and she’s quickly surpassed Sue Sylvester as the best character on the show.
Anyway, Artie is jealous because apparently Santana has been manipulating Brittany and he’s sick of it. Instead of having a constructive conversation though, he calls her stupid which is the quickest way to make her cry. She runs straight to Santana for support, who expresses her feelings with a Fleetwood Mac song and then makes a deal to go on Fondue for Two. Brittany will ask her out on the series and then Santana can just accept without having to admit anything outright. Brittany is the sweetest. She’s been such a darling about Santana’s discovery and Santana has been so vicious in return. I feel for her in her struggle, but it's hard because she can be so nasty about everything.
Speaking of which, Santana stands Brittany up and returns to her false relationship with Karovsky. Brittany catches her giving an interview to Jacob Ben Israel about their prom court campaign (seriously, the constant school media attention in this episode is OBNOXIOUS). We saw this coming, but I’m actually enjoying the way they are handling this plot. Often this season, they solve things too quickly and I like that they’re taking their time with an issue that is so difficult.
“What did I do?” – Rachel
“I’m sure you did something.” -Santana
Back to the question about Sam and Quinn’s possibly clandestine affair. When we saw Kurt visiting the same motel room where Quinn was spotted, it was fairly obvious that she wasn’t cheating - and come on, Kurt certainly wasn't either. It simply doesn’t make sense. Of course, I wasn’t privy enough to know what was really going on. In the meantime, it provided an opportunity for Rachel to continue to try to drive a wedge between Quinn and Finn with her sleuthing and “Go Your Own Way.”
The song brings out Quinn’s claws and everyone demands an explanation for the rumors about Sam and Kurt’s possible affair and Sam and Quinn’s possible affair. It turns out Sam's dad lost his job and his whole family lives in the motel room and that Kurt and Quinn were simply helping him. Rachel and Finn flip their switches from sleuthy to caring and apologize to Sam by getting his guitar back from the pawn shop. This would have worked a little better if Chord Overstreet was a bit of a better actor and it was a bit of a melodramatic twist, but I like that Sam’s got a little more of a relatable backstory other than his shyness about his “trouty mouth.”
By the end, though Rachel and Quinn are fighting over Finn, Santana broke Brittany’s heart, Will is distraught over giving up his Broadway dreams for the kids and Sam’s embarrassed about his family’s situation, they all come together to sing “Don’t Stop.” The choreography was a little weird, but Sam was actually a really enjoyable lead singer, surprisingly.
The only thing I wasn’t sure about was whether this performance reinforced Will’s decision to stay, or if he had a furrowed brow because he’s unsure he wants to stick with his decision. Hopefully this is a set-up for more conflict and not a one-off plot point that will be erased in the next episode. They're going to New York for nationals though, so I'm sure it will come up again. I’m really enjoying the way they are starting to move a little more methodically with a few of these story lines. Keep it up, folks!