Glee Review: With A Little Help From My Friends

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As much as I love Glee - and I do love Glee - I'm ready for season 4 to end so we can hopefully move on to bigger and better for seasons 5 and 6. And hopefully more consistent story lines, too. Though maybe I'm asking for too much.

While there were some excellent moments tonight, for the most part "Wonder-ful" was anything but.

Mercedes Returns

Because I'm a fan of ending on a good note, we'll start with all the ways tonight's episode went wrong, starting with a tribute to Stevie Wonder.

Here's the thing about tribute episodes. Only a couple of them in the history of Glee have actually worked well. This one certainly didn't. In fact, I think the entire tribute was set up so that Will could tell Mercedes to take the "higher ground" and point to the band. 

Tonight's tribute felt like something American Idol would pull. Probably because they do this same theme every season to varying degrees of success. What's terrible is when I actually feel like American Idol is doing something better than Glee when my usual response while watching American Idol is to think about how much better Glee does things. (Did you follow that?)

Despite the fact that some of the numbers were fantastic, Stevie Wonder as a tribute episode didn't work and felt forced. Completely forced. 

You know what else felt forced? The fact that we're supposed to care about Mercedes after having not seen her since before Sectionals. We've barely heard a peep about her and now she's having this crisis because at 18 years old she's got a record deal but can't get the album released.

It's not that I don't care about Mercedes at all. It's that I haven't been given enough of her story this season to care. 

Tonight she was paraded in as a vocal coach to whack Marley in the stomach with some maracas before the girl flailed about awkwardly in the middle of a big group number. Marley's not Mercedes. She's not even Rachel. And that's okay because she's Marley. Mercedes telling her to add in vocal runs was laughable.

What was completely not laughable and actually amazing? Baby Puckerman dancing with Mike. 

If the entire episode had consisted of the two of them dancing, it would've been awesome and a vast improvement over what we were just given. Jake has some skills! And unlike his songs in previous weeks, "I Wish" was actually suited to his voice making it one of the better performances of the night.

"Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours" was another great number if for no other reason than 1) Jake danced again and 2) it's just a fun song. I appreciate what Kitty did for Artie, and it was great to see Katey Sagal as Artie's mom.

Kitty's definitely this weird, love-to-hate-her character who is growing on me. I can't figure out why she cared so much about Artie seeming depressed, but I'm glad she did. Artie's an underused character, so any chance to put him in the forefront is fine by me. I like the idea that he's going to Brooklyn Film Academy because it's another glee clubber who will end up in New York City with Rachel, Kurt, and Santana.

Now that we've finally arrived at the New York portion of this review, Rachel's endurance of Cassie July's unprofessional and unethical bullying paid off in a way that redeemed the character and actually has me wanting her to stick around beyond this season. 

Cassie got wind of Rachel's callback audition for Fanny Brice and planned to ruin her audition by showing up. She moved Rachel's midterm to an earlier date and assigned her the hardest ballet piece possible only to punk her and have the class there to throw a celebration. She shrugged it off as just something NYADA does for all of its students when one of them gets a Broadway callback, but there was actual happiness in her face that said she was proud of Rachel. 

Cassie was relentless because she saw Rachel's potential. And Rachel's potential is limitless. I'm actually nervous for her because, remembering the New Directions' first trip to Regionals, Murphy does love to have his leads lose. 

Even though Kurt was in Lima to find out his dad's cancer is gone, (Three cheers, Burt!) his story feels like part of New York and not Ohio. I'm truly not sure how I feel about Blaine wanting to propose to him. I understand what Blaine means when he says he needs to go bold, but I'm not sure why we're revisiting a teen proposal again. I'm sure it's Ryan Murphy's way of showing his support for gay marriage, but he could've done that without having Blaine want to propose, I'm sure. I'll be interested to see where that goes on the season finale next week.

What did you think of "Wonder-ful?" Did you think this tribute to Stevie Wonder worked? Do you think Rachel will get the role?


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (83 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


This season is all about lost opportunities.
Kitty's dance routine must have required lots of practice with Jake and Ryder, and they couldn't help getting their bodies entangled repeatedly. None of them would mind but Marley should hav Ble been furious.
MogicallyBlaine and Mike should have done that, making Tina cry and Artie console her. Eventually we would learn that they did it to send Tina back to Artie, but nt until Tina did a more erotic dance with Blaine.


OK show last night. Can do w/o the Kate Hudson character. She adds absolutely nothing to this show. I feel like the writer of this article, ready for this season to end.


It's really one of the best episodes of the season. Second best tribute after Michael. I don't know how they fit 7 songs and so much storylines. 4.2/5


That was up to the writers to write a story for Mercedes the other times she came back in the show and not wait all this time to do so. Other than that I enjoyed her storyline, cared about her and was glad to see her again.

Charmed jenna

The fact that we've known Artie was in to making movies all along doesn't make it any less out of the blue, we've known this about Mercedes as well, the only difference, she's just been featured less. Lastly, I really love how they showcased Mercedes and Mike in this episode, more so than the first time they came to help. We needed all those doses of their talent to survive the episodes we won't see them.

Charmed jenna

For once Miranda, I have to respectfully disagree. I'm usually in sync with your reviews, but I feel like this one was way way off. This one was one of my favorites of the entire season. This was also probably one of the best tribute episodes Glee has ever done, because it actually focused a lot more on story, although I have to agree, the premise of the tribute was forced. The thing I really don't get is, why give the episode 3 stars, if it only really seems that you dislike the premise of the tribute and the Mercedes' SL. I think it deserves at least 4 stars. Also, I may be a bit bias, because I love Mercedes, but I enjoyed her SL and it still touched me, although I get what you're saying about that part, but what bugs me about what you said here was that the SL was completely out of the blue and we're supposed to care, yet so are a lot of other SL's though, like Santana moving to NY, everything Quinn, even Artie's SL in this episode. The fact that we've known Artie was in to making movies all along doesn't make it any less out of the blue, we've known this about Mercedes as well, the only difference, she's just been featured less. Lastly, I really love how they showcased Mercedes and Mike in this episode, more so than the first time they came to help. We needed all those doses of their talent to survive the episodes we won't see them.


I think you're completely insane. This was by far the best episode of the season, and for my money, the absolute tops of all the tribute episodes. One or two of the arrangements could've used just a smidgen more punch, but overall I thought the Glee versions of Stevie Wonder tunes were pretty sweet. The stories within were good, too, I thought. Several characters' plots moved along nicely, there were some real emotional moments (like Kurt singing for his dad), and we even saw a few new developments to keep things interesting (like the possibility of Artie and Kitty as a couple, which I find strangely intriguing).

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Glee Season 4 Episode 21 Quotes

Kitty: Hey Crippy Longstocking, wait up!
Artie: That's offensive.
Kitty: Aw, boo hoo.

Will: Brittany's at M.I.T. touring the campus because she's got an early acceptance.
Kitty: That can't be true.

Glee Season 4 Episode 21 Music

  Song Artist
Glee cast signed sealed delivered im yours Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast superstition Superstition Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast you are the sunshine of my life You Are The Sunshine of My Life Glee Cast iTunes