Glee Review: Rock Salt with You

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I liked Glee's Michael Jackson tribute episode a lot more than I thought I would. A backward compliment? Sure. But, hey, it's still a compliment.

Unlike past tribute episodes - to Britney Spears, to Christmas - this one managed to weave in a few key developments, mostly basing its MJ covers around ongoing storylines and legitimate character realizations...

... with the exception of Artie's totally random moment of anger, which resulted in an imagined "Scream" performance and an imagined few minutes of Artie walking around that served as an example of everything Glee can do so wrong: ignoring all logic and continuity for the sake of a song it can sell on iTunes.


But I'll ignore that - and also ignore the fact that these kids are 16-18 years old, and Jackson last released an album in 2001, and, as harsh as it sounds, until he died, his music was NOT what most people talked about any time the icon came up, making it hard to believe today's high school kids would really worship the guy and constantly talk about "WWMJD?" - in order to focus on the positive aspects of the episode. They include:

Sebastian. Give it up for a true villain! We all love Sue Sylvester, but she's really just a quote machine at this point. Viewers can't take her seriously. Certainly not when compared to a guy that fills a slushee with rock salt.

There's been talk of making Grant Gustin a series regular on season four and I'd be all for it. Just don't even try to soften him up, Glee. There's nothing wrong with having a sincere antagonist for the group to rally against, especially when it leads to Santana threatening to go "all Danny LaRusso" on his ass. That was awesome.

Finchel. They clearly should not get married, not when each of them is essentially saying they need the other person in their life because, well, they don't have much else in their life. That's not a healthy outlook on love.

But I definitely appreciated the extra attention given to the proposal here; the duet they sang; Finn's commitment to making the most important question he'll ever ask more memorable than a quick, unexpected speech in the auditorium; and what can only be described as a hesitant yes from Rachel, at least once she realized how she shared the huge NYADA news with someone else prior to her fiance. Heck, what she even thinking of Finn at the time?

Quinn's negative advice to Rachel - you don't want an anchor from the past holding you back from the bright lights of the future - is pretty much magazine-spewing nonsense. If you love someone, you love someone. Period. But is this true love? Or is it high school love? Would Finn complete her, or hold her back?

The performances. They were great. That's never my issue with Glee. We all know how talented the cast is; I just often take exception when Glee comes across more like a concert (or, even worse, a PDA-inspired concert) than a television show and I vehemently disagree with those who somehow claim we shouldn't expect strong storytelling just because the characters sing.

(Watch Smash on Monday. Trust me, you can have both.)

So I'm happy to give props to my favorite covers here, which were led by Santana and Sebastian's simple, cello-accompanied "Smooth Criminal" and which concluded with the whole group nailing "Black or White," including a version of the face morphing MJ made famous in that video.

What didn't work for me? Anything involving Quinn. Sorry, the show ruined her forever in my book when she went all nutso in an attempt to get her daughter back.

Similarly, I feel no emotional attachment to Sam and Mercedes. As I said in my last review, we saw these two holding hands once, and we've barely seen more of Mercedes and Shane. It's times like these when my irritation grows because it wouldn't have been challenging to have built up an actual love triangle, or to actually have given Mercedes something to do outside of New Directions. That way, a duet such as the one here would have felt earned, not contrived.

Also: Did the group really choose to perform a number instead of go to the police with evidence of the rock salting? (And wouldn't remnants of the slushee also be pretty good evidence? Wouldn't doctors have picked up on the substance in Blaine's eyes?) That might be the most Glee-ish storyline ever. I don't mean that as a compliment.

But there I go being negative again. So I'll turn this over to the readers. What was your favorite cover? Is it believable that kids born in 1995 would be this into Michael Jackson? Will Rachel eventually turn Finn down? Should she?


Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (281 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


I'm sorry, but it's possible that they like MJ that much. It all depends on where you grow up and by what you are surrounded. I went to conservatory and we learned about him. Also my parents listen a lot to MJ. Loved this episode!!!


@Miss Gossip. Nope, TOTALLY agree with you. seriously, so stupid for rachel and finn to marry. I don't think it's weird they like michael, but i do agree it's stupid how they all seem crazy about it. Plus, the whole WWMJ do thing is kind of funny, considering his personal life. Pretty convenient how they left all that out. I also think they should have included beat it, and it was weird they did an MJ tribute like two episodes after singing like three songs by him/jacksons.


There's no way that all the Glee kids know that much about Michael and basically worship him. I'm from '94 and I know some songs and things about him, but we didn't grow up with him. The 20-somethings for that matter, did grow up with Michael.
My favorite song was definitely 'Wanna be starting something'. The performance was brilliant, I loved the choreo. I might be the only one, but I agree with Quinn. Also, Finn is Rachel's first boyfriend! She hasn't seen anything yet, she hasn't explored yet. She's just 17, give me a break. I would get into the idea of Finn giving her a promise ring though, or a "tying the knot" ring. Those rings are nice and appropiate.


I agree with everything you're saying except the whole loving Michael Jackson thing - i was born in 1995 and everyone at my school in the UK absolutely loves Michael Jackson, I mean some people are totally obsessed with him. So i think that it is believable that they would be so inspired by him.


am i the only one who loves sebastian! there's something about a bad boy :P


(final cont)
I'm so sick of of them starting each episode so cheesily and predictably, 30 seconds of dialogue then bursting into song in the corridor (or wherever they happen to be). This show has become High School Musical (and that isn't a compliment) and it doesn't have the eye candy of Mr Efron to make me tolerate such mush (sure the vocals are miles better but I'll just wait for my favourite cast members to release albums, it's less painful to watch).
Like I said, I'm out. Sure the music is okay but if I want that I'll check iTunes, I'm not wasting 40 odd minutes weekly to hear a song I might like, life's too short.


As planned I am now out, I held off quitting purely for this episode and it didn't swing me back in. Writing is still stupid and as much as I loved Artie finally standing up to Mr Schue (wish he HAD told him singing about stuff doesn't make everything better) the re-enactment of the Scream video was just stupid and out of place (would have been more effective if he'd just left the room normally only in a huff).


Okay it might just be me but do you reckon Blaine knows about the rock salt in the slushie? Cos I'd be super pissed if I found out everybody else knew, HAD evidence and didn't give me the chance to go to the police to press charges! What the hell was up with them saying they'd let him get away with it cos his classmates now 'knew what he was'?! It was assault, and for once Santana used her bitchiness for good (and was clever, initially, about it too) why did they ALL then become so idiotic that they think singing rectified the situation and let him get away with committing assault?! Probably the same screwed up reason Sue isn't in jail for GBH and attempted murder of that choir coach I suppose (for shame Glee writers, FOR SHAME!!!).


This was a good episode. Best thing about it was that most songs actually MOVED the plot and there wasn't very many of them thrown at us at once. But when did Quinn become Stephen Hawkins and Artie suddenly needing anger management classes? I like evil Sebastian, he's fun and believable to watch. His role is much more defined than Jesse's was. I'm all for Finchel getting engaged, as long as they don't ACTUALLY get married anytime soon. Coz then it'd be for all the wrong reasons. Best song for me has to be Black And White. KM is the man. Brilliant voices and mixing in that cover. I think MJ would be proud. As cheesy and cliche is Finchel's duet, I LOVED it. If my boyfriend proposes to me like that it would be very difficult to say no to. And the song fitted them so PERFECTLY! Their voices were amazing in it.


I don't think that Finn would necessarily hold her back, it's the fact that they're like 18! seriously, is glee trying to convince the audience that getting married when you haven't finished high school, or the reason that they're getting married is that fin has no future? I thought Rachel was supposed to be smart. This story line physically hurts me. If Fin/Rachel and Emma/Will have a joint wedding i am out for good.

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Glee Season 3 Episode 11 Quotes

I'd throw this mocha in your face, but it's not nearly scalding enough.


I don't want to see the spectacle that is Michael. I want to be the spectacle that is Michael.