Glee's return following the Cory Monteith tribute was sure to be a bumpy one. The right amount of pathos needed to be balanced with a healthy dose of moving forward.
In some ways, Glee Season 5 Episode 4 managed to do that, but in others, it fell far short of the mark for a good return after such a heavy-hitting episode. There were some nice moments, but overall, this felt like a filler episode where nothing important took place.
One excellent thing to come out of the evening, however, was Starchild. Anything that gets more Adam Lambert on my screen is okay by me.
Many of the characters felt a little too recovered from Finn's passing, and since there was no explanation of a time jump happening, it sort of feels like Glee's tendency to make tragedies into After School Specials has struck again.
The New Directions went from mourning their loss to choosing between Katy Perry or Lady Gaga songs and being completely freaked out by some bizarre show choir which seems more like a Gothic Cirque du Soleil.
I'm sorry, but Throat Explosions? Really? That's not even something which can be taken even remotely seriously. And yes, I realize I'm talking about a show where kids get an assignment to come to school dressed like either Katy Perry or Lady Gaga and then get suspended from a voluntary club for refusing.
That particular story bugged me. Schue suspended Marley for standing up for herself when that's kind of the shtick of both Gaga and Katy Perry and suddenly I realize I've put entirely too much stock in the capabilities of a TV teacher who constantly misses the point of his own assignments.
Regarding assignments, part of what made tonight not work is the fact that Glee has already done Lady Gaga once before. They did it better the first time around. And whose idea was it to bill Katy Perry as this wholesome girl-next-door? This is the same girl who had a hit about graphic sex with an "alien," right?
Sure, compared to Gaga she's "nicer," but I didn't exactly understand the lesson. And Blaine looked like a cracked out My Little Pony.
The best thing to come out of that lesson was Artie's voice on "Applause." Can he get a solo every now and again? (Check out the rest of the Glee music from tonight's show. "Marry The Night" was also spectacular!)
I want to care about the high school students, but episodes like this make it nearly impossible. I want to care that Jake might have cheated on Marley because Marley wouldn't let him get to second base, but the whining and ridiculously over-the-top way some of the characters there have been written make that impossible.
Tina is a drama queen prone to histrionics. Sam is just dumb, and he wasn't always. All of the Cheerios need to be forgotten. Give us Blaine and Artie, and maybe Baby Puckerman, if only for his abs, in which case throw in Ryder, too, and let's get the heck out of Ohio.
Let's go, perhaps, to New York.
The idea of Kurt starting a band is silly. Completely silly. The five of them are just going to get together and sing? That's not a band, Kurt. That's a group of people who get together and sing.
But still, this band idea is giving us Starchild, AKA Elliott Gilbert, and I couldn't be more thrilled with Adam Lambert being on Glee. If ever there were a natural fit for this series, it's Lambert. If he were in every episode from here until the end of the series, there'd be no complaints from me. Give him a microphone and some eyeliner and let him sing.
Rachel's line about singing "My Man" at her Funny Girl rehearsals was another subtle reminder of Finn's absence, one of only two on the night. I don't think he needs to be mentioned frequently, but seeing Will, or at least Blaine, Artie, and Tina, struggling just a bit wouldn't be a bad thing.
What did you think of Glee Season 5 Episode 4? Were you hoping for more mention of Finn? Did Glee do Gaga better the first or second time around?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.