There's nothing I love more than to watch a good hour of Glee on Thursday nights. Tonight's episode, however, was more than just good.
"The Role You Were Born to Play" was excellent! Fantastic! Stellar! Outstanding! And a million other exclamations I'm probably forgetting! Seriously, Glee, that's how you do it.
I hope I'm not alone when I say that I really, really loved it all. If I seem to swing like a pendulum in my Glee reviews, it's because the show kind of does the same thing. I'm happy to report that the pendulum swung its way back to the positive side tonight. Now how do we get it to just stay put?
The episode centered around casting for the upcoming McKinley High production of Grease with Finn at the helm as director. Artie, who sensed Finn's hesitation, called in Mike and Mercedes to help with vocals and choreography.
Watching those two walk down the hallway was thrilling. I don't think I knew quite how much I'd missed them until they appeared!
But even as much of the old cast came back together, tonight still allowed the newbies to shine. In fact, the newest members of the glee club were thrust into the spotlight in a way that helped us get to know them better and root for their success.
And Ryder Lynn? Totally nice to meet you!
Sue's attempts to block Wade/Unique from playing the role of Rizzo were classic Sue. She's mean and hyper-critical, but she's expressing the concern she expects everyone to have. That is, will the town riot when they find that a boy, one who happens to identify as female, might play the role of Rizzo, a female character?
Finn, however, after going toe-to-toe with Sue Sylvester and having a moving conversation with Wade/Unique, cast him in the role anyway. Sue will likely be right regarding the backlash of this decision, and I'm interested to see how Glee will handle this.
This is a real concern for some teens these days, gender roles and fitting in, and Wade/Unique, summarized the issue for his character well.
I don't feel right in the men's locker room, but I can't go into the girls'. And I don't feel right in men's clothing, but I can't wear dresses every day. It sucks to never know your place. It's just nice, for once, to feel like I've found one. | permalink
While we often castigate Glee for its "lesson of the week," this is one that's timely and relevant. My hope is that going forward it's treated with the same level of poignancy as it was tonight.
The Jake/Ryder/Marley/Kitty square was even interesting to me. Marley is the quiet, unassuming girl next door. Will she choose the bad boy or the seemingly nice one? Will Kitty constantly get in Marley's way? These are but a smattering of the questions I found myself asking...um, myself....while watching. For the first time, I feel genuinely invested in these new characters we've been getting to know over the past five episodes.
It's always a good night when Coach Beiste is on my TV, even if her role tonight was to serve as Will and Emma's relationship therapist when last season proved that she has issues of her own to work through. One couple from "The Break Up" is safe:
Will and Emma are still together.
After agreeing to go to Washington, Emma finally explained to Will why she doesn't want to. (To read what Emma had to say to Will, and more, check out the Glee quotes page!)
If the writers didn't feel compelled to make Will such a thick-headed nincompoop sometimes, then they could've just had this conversation in the previous episode. Seriously, is it too much to ask that Will just be written as evenly reasonable all the time instead of just when there's a resolution at stake?
And speaking of break-ups, we learned that Kurt and Blaine have definitely broken up, though Kurt is refusing all of Blaine's attempts at communication. Seeing Blaine so emotional was both sad and humorous, as it was intended to be, I'm sure.
Do you know what I think facilitated the relative ease with which I was able to engage with tonight's story lines?
There was no New York in tonight's episode.
If I'm being completely honest, it was really refreshing. Dare I say it, but this might have been the best episode thus far this season because it felt like each character was given adequate screen time without rushing from one plot to the next and then back again like some kind of storytelling tennis match.
I love Kurt and Rachel as much as everyone else, but tonight proved that while they may have been the heart and soul of Glee in the beginning, it's possible for the show to evolve without them. Or rather, beyond them.
And that's the thing about high school that makes high school shows work. There will always be the mean girls, the jocks, the socially awkward ones and the weird kids who just want to fit in. That's what makes a show like Glee the kind of show people want to watch. There's something, or someone, in it for everybody.
What did you think of "The Role You Were Born to Play"? Did you miss Kurt and Rachel in New York or did you find that the entire hour passed before you realized you hadn't seen them? What do you think of the new characters after this episode?
And remember to visit our updated section of Glee music to download your new favorites!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.