Welcome back Gleeks! It’s finally here.. the MUCH-hyped Michael Jackson tribute episode!! Much like the Madonna and Britney tributes before it, this is likely to be an impressive one! With TEN (Yup, 1-0) musical numbers planned, it’s also the most music-filled episode to date, so I guess we can expect it to be light on plot?
And on to GleeHee!! SHA’MON*ah! (after the jump…)
We open with the New Directions crew once again roaming the halls of McKinley discussing what they should do for Regionals. The ladies formerly known as the Troubletones (minus Sugar Motta once again…) are lamenting that they missed their chance to perform Michael Jackson with the group at Sectionals. The world stopped a moment to think about how great “Man In The Mirror” really was but suddenly Mr. Schue shows up and agrees that they should do more Michael!
Blaine, ever the prepared leading man, already knows JUST which song would be perfect to start “MJ Week” and new directions burst into a completely choreographed, hyper-realistic number with “Gotta Be Startin’ Something” that sets the dream-like, quasi reality that we see for much of the rest of the episode. The number starts in the hallway, heads into the library and suddenly is in full costume – each member of New Directions (and tonnes of extras?) dressed as different versions of Michael with extremely elaborate lighting. It all ends with a glitter glove. Perfect.
GLEE! (the title shot, not random yelling on my part).
Cut to Finn and Rachel. We learn Rachel has asked for three days to decide if she will accept Finn’s proposal. He reminds her that three days are up and she tries to explain to him why it’s a hard decision for her. She says that it’s all very romantic but calls out how rushed and crazy it is because they’re in high school and senior year is full of big decisions. He reveals that if he’s to follow her to New York, he needs to know she’s committed to him. When she tries to assure him she wouldn’t stray, he recoils and tells her to take her time, seemingly afraid to hear any more explanations.
Later, Rachel and several members of New Directions are at The Lima Bean talking about their plans to perform Michael Jackson songs at Regionals. Rachel admits she’s never really understood Michael and the others tease her about it.
In struts our favorite new Glee villain, and new head of the Warblers: Sebastian. He reveals that Blaine let their game plan slip and he’s already hijacked the idea and created a Jackson setlist for the Warblers for Regionals. He taunts that he’s “sick of playing nice” after dishing out the most HATEFUL insults this show has ever seen. (No shade whatsoever intended toward Santana, who can compete with the best of them.)
Back at the choirroom, Mr. Schue presents the week’s assignment: “WWMJD” (What would Michael Jackson do?). The New Directions, still fuming from their run-in with Sebastian, want to fight and stand up for themselves and form a plan.
Cut to a dark parking garage, any Jackson fan knows exactly what is about to happen here.
The two Rival Glee clubs perform a duet/battle of the classic “Bad”. The Warblers provide the beat while New Directions do most of the singing. This number is wonderfully choreographed and faithful to the original. My only wish is that they had styled New Directions differently so there was more of a duality between them. Occasionally it was hard to see who was who and it was like they were collaborating more than competing. Later in the episode, I second guess that this is EXACTLY what Ryan Murphy wanted me/us to think.
It quickly becomes clear that Sebastian’s Warblers are up to something. After being handed a mysterious paper bag, the number ends with our formerly flirtatious new villain delivering a game-changing slushie to the face, fully intended for Kurt who he seems to have taken a particularly large dislike for. Ever the hero, our dear leading man Blaine is the unfortunate victim as he valiantly takes the bullet for his love.
The next day, Kurt fills the others in: Blaine’s cornea was “deeply scratched” and requires surgery. They tell Mr. Schue that they believe Sebastian put something into the slushie deliberately to hurt someone. Schue tells them Dalton Academy are investigating but the kids are angry and they want to take matters into their own hands. Ever the morally-righteous Spanish teacher, Schue tells them that they need to do this by the books lest they get themselves disqualified from Regionals but let’s face it – this has become personal. Artie is particularly angry and sick of being told “it gets better” when he just wants retaliation and for it to be better, NOW. As we continue to bounce between reality and fantasty, Artie plants his two feet on the ground, stands up and walks off screen with Mike Chang following.
Cue an obligatory music video re-creation: this time the Janet/Michael duet “Scream” and one of the most expensive music videos of all time. Kevin McHale and Harry Shum, Jr. DOMINATE this number and remind us even moreso how tragic it is that Artie is confined to a wheelchair for most of the series when McHale is such a great dancer. The footwork is top notch!
Rachel approaches Quinn in the washroom to seek her advice about Finn’s proposal. Quinn reveals that she received an acceptance letter to Yale and Rachel congratulates her. Quinn tries to tell Rachel that she hates the idea of “dragging an anchor from my past into the bright lights of my future” and assures Rachel that she has a great life ahead of her and if she wants to chase her dreams she will need to break-up with Finn after graduation. It seems this bitter resolve may have more to do with Quinn dealing with knowing she will have to say goodbye to all of her high school loves as she enters into her rendition of “Never Can Say Goodbye”. At the end of her number, she tells New Directions about Yale and thanks all of them for sticking by her through all of her crazy and delivers some more “words of wisdom” pointed at Rachel. “You can’t forget your past, but you can let go and start your future”.
Later, Kurt tells Santana that very much like Artie, he wants to get revenge on Sebastian but because he’s fought against violence in the school for so long they have to take the high road. Santana has to keep Snixx in check, but decides Kurt is right, they can’t play dirty, but vows to help him get back at Sebastian.
Sam, in his never-ending quest to win back Mercedes, says that since they’ve never done a duet together he wants her to sing “Human Nature” with him. He lights up a marquee wall with her name on it, adding that they’ll all be seeing her name in lights for years to come. In this moment, the world falls in love with Sam Evans all over again, but Mercedes needs to stay strong because she’s still got a man (right?).
As she walks away, refusing the duet, Sam begins to play and the lights change and she gives in and starts singing. They so a BEAUTIFUL, acoustic rendition of one of Jackson’s most beloved songs and it ends with the sweetest, most innocent and softest of kisses. Say it with me, AWWWWWWWWWW!! (but seriously, isn’t she still taken? Did I miss a breakup?)
Burt Hummel interrupts Mr. Schue’s Spanish class to let Kurt know his NYADA letter has arrived. Kurt opens it to find he’s a finalist for the selection process. Burt EXPLODES with pride and love for his son, telling him that despite all the hardship he’s had to endure with high school that he’s “won”.
Burt Hummel, if you were real and NOT straight, I would be proposing marriage. The best Dad on television continues to be f*cking amazing. <3<3<3
With the news of Kurt getting his letter to NYADA, Rachel finally breaks under all of the pressure. McKinley’s over-achiever has not had a great year. She rigged the Senior Class President vote, got suspended from school, was disqualified from competing in Sectionals and as a result she has not received a letter from NYADA. On top of that she’s worried about Finn’s proposal and Quinn’s warning. She breaks down on her best friend’s shoulder at the moment when she should be congratulating him.
After the break we come to Blaine’s bedroom where Kurt is reading to him at his bedside and he’s sporting an eyepatch. (If the surgery doesnt work out he could always rock bedazzled patches…)
Rachel and Finn arrive to visit and the three sing Blaine a rather dull and pointless rendition of “Ben”. A song Michael wrote about his pet mouse when he was just a child. I’ve never liked this song and really didn’t dig this scene. It took away from the overall flow of the storyline.
Soon the reason for this slow-down reveals itself as the next scene’s intensity needed a preceeding breather. Santana goes to Dalton and confronts Sebastian, demanding to know what he put in the slushie. Sebastian admits to nothing, joking that it was “red dye number 6”. Santana reveals that Blaine requires surgery, but Sebastian manages to look like he doesn’t really care. He challenges her to a duel, singing of course. Luckily there are two cello players in the room and Santana says she’s gonna need them as the two lock eyes for an INCREDIBLE version of “Smooth Criminal”.
The stark arrangement with just the two Cellists and the two singers as well as the way this scene is filmed make for some amazing television. Perhaps a rival for best number of the season and one of the series’ best! Santana asserts she was the duel winner, which is 100% truth, but anyway. She demands he tell her what was in the slushie and he admits it was rock salt before thrusting another slushie (this one minus the booby trap) into her face.
Santana had a “booby trap” of her own. We later discover that with Artie’s help she was recording the conversation and has the proof of Sebastian’s indiscretion on tape. She wants to bring it to the authorities and get Sebastian kicked out of school. Kurt argues that getting Sebastian suspended won’t stop the Warblers from singing Michael Jackson at Regionals nor help them compete against them and that sometimes payback isn’t the best way. He says what they need to do, is teach the Warblers a lesson. The rest of the club (aside from Santana) agree.
The club run off to the auditorium to practice and Finn asks Rachel to stay behind. (Yup, sounds like a song coming on.) He wants to tell her that when he proposed he left out the “most important part” and asks her to listen while he starts singing “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” which of course, becomes a duet. Usually I’m all team Finchel but this number was really bland until the vocals got more interesting near the end. Cute but really not their best. At the end of the number, Rachel accepts Finn’s marriage proposal and the world remains unsurprised through their tear-filled eyes!
We close the episode with the Warblers arriving at the McKinley High auditorium. New Directions have asked them here to tell them that a.) they’ve decided to scrap the idea to do Michael Jackson songs for regionals and b.) show them why they’ll still win regionals regardless. They decide to do one last MJ number to show the Warblers that try-as-they-might, they really don’t understand the essence of Jackson’s music.
A glorious performance of “Black or White” follows and everyone but Sebastian seems to enjoy it. All of the Warblers (except him) get up on stage to dance and sing with New Directions. Unfortunately, they decide to have a moment of mimick come in again as Glee recreates the infamous morphing scene from the end of the original music video, but it’s a cute moment. When the number ends, the room is rather unevenly divided. Sebastian sits smugly in the audience, while both his team and his rivals look down from the stage at him.
Sebastian was not won over by the song. Santana reveals that she has proof enough to get Sebastian suspended or in trouble with the law over the booby trapped slushie incident, but Kurt throws the tape to Sebastian, stating The New Directions would rather beat him at Regionals than get a cheap revenge and revel in the fact that now his fellow Warblers know what an awful person he is.
Later in the hallway, Rachel is happy to report that her NYADA letter was delayed in the post and that she too, is a finalist! Obviously. Kurt hugs her, overjoyed then asks “Wait, have you told Finn yet?” Dun, Dunn, Dunnnnnnnn……
Overall, this episode was completely kick-ass. Not only did it feature several of the King of Pop’s best tracks, but it flawlessly escalated and set up the conflict for the second third of the season as we gear up for Regionals and probably Nationals since this is the last year many of the series regulars can compete.
- Despite the large amount of musical numbers, this episode still had plenty of plot development and kept it simple enough to be effective!
- As always, Glee shines it’s brightest when it keeps things simple and uses songs that mirror and enhance the storyline. In my personal preference, I also think it succeeds best when it uses fantasy sequences to supersede what can often be mundane shots of characters simply singing to one-another.
- Grant Gustin once again steals every scene he’s in! Sebastian is pure spite and venom and he plays it devastatingly well. He is much better suited as a villain for the whole glee club than as a potential relationship-ruiner for Klaine. That being said, I support shaking things up with Klaine but I don’t see it happening for fear of the ridiculous fan backlash that would be sure to follow. I do, however, wish Dave Karofsky would make a return and either fight against or with Sebastian. I just want my Karofsky back!
- Seriously, where the F*CK is Sugar Motta? You decide to keep her around but randomly leave her out of multiple episodes? What’s the deal? We could at least make some random joke about how she’s never around and acknowledge it. Continuity, folks. In one number you have an entire unnecessary gospel choir just appear out of nowhere but you can’t keep all of the kids in your Glee club sorted? Ryan Murphy, hear out prayer!
- I still want Lauren Zices back. I’m not sure why you thought it wasn’t working with the adorable and hilarious Ashley Fink, but this is just unacceptable. Lauren Zices does not approve.
Next week, we have another new episode and it’s another one we’ve all been waiting for. Ricky Martin makes his first appearance as a potential rival for Mr. Schuester in “The Spanish Teacher”. For the most part, this episode will feature songs by Spanish/Latin artists (including a personal favorite by Gloria Estefan and what appears to be an LMFAO song? Really?)
As always, I’ll be here to provide a recap and my gleeky thoughts!
Thanks for reading! I welcome your comments and feedback 🙂