Glee, Episode Six: Shark vs. Bear
After a filler ep last week that played out the string on the musical subplot, Glee was back on point last night in a big way. Co-creator Ryan Murphy was once again the credited writer this week's "Vitamin D," a fun episode that moved the season forward and had all kinds of conflict. Plus the two performance numbers were the most energetic and dazzling yet. Plus the solid character narration introduced in the pilot came back with a wicked vengeance, recalling bits of Election. Glad to have you back, kids.
Will's glee club members are apathetic about the upcoming sectionals, since they're competing against a school for the deaf and a group from a halfway house, so to force them to get motivated, Will splits up the guys and girls for a battle of the sexes, with the winning group rewarded the song selection for sectionals. Murphy was killing last night with visual and verbal gags, like Will's chart showing different competing forces: Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, lightning and a swimming pool, and my personal favorite because of sheer potential awesomeness, a shark versus a bear. Think about it!
So the A-line was all about the kids gearing up their numbers, but it tied in nicely with the second plot, which was all about Will's wife getting a job as the school nurse just to keep an eye on him after Sue Sylvester narcs that Will and Emma have been kinda maybe sorta flirting. Terri's a pretty loathsome character, even for a comic fantasy like Glee, and I almost feel bad for actress Jessalyn Gilsig. Still, she works it well.
Anyway: Terri, having zero nursing experience, gives Finn a decongestant packed with pseudoephedrine when he complains of being tired, and soon the whole guys' team is cruising on OTC uppers for their performance. It was also a cute twist to see Kurt turn on the guys, pledging his allegiance to the women's team and telling them about the pills, so of course they started juicing. That was the gimmick that led to their sped-up, hyper performances, and they were flat-out great.
The numbers this week were insanely happy, enjoyable mash-ups, with the guys mixing Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" with Usher's "Confessions Part II" while the girls did Beyonce's "Halo" with Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine." Yeah, it's the second ep in three weeks to use a Beyonce tune, but screw you, haters! The songs this week were fantastic, and the kind of amped-up karaoke-ish vibe was the perfect summation of the show's fun spirit. (Insert grad student remarks about mash-ups being the Web 2.0 version of karaoke right here.) Sadly, Rachel did not scream, "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so ... scared!" before collapsing into Finn's arms.
Terri inevitably got caught, so she was fired. But two really interesting things happened because she was at the school: (1) She and Emma had a surprisingly frank talk about Will, basically fighting over who deserves him. (2) The fallout of the whole students-on-speed thing was that Will now has to co-teach glee with Sue! On one hand, huh? On the other, forcing them to work together is bound to make for some fun story, no matter how long it lasts.
OH YEAH: Emma, feeling trapped and alone and desperate, freaking agreed to marry Ken! Their whole talk about it was depressing for many reasons (she wanted to keep it a secret, he said that was better than he'd expected, I cringed until a rib broke). She and Will exchanged a look of longing and frustration at the end of episode before walking their separate ways. But really, it's not a matter of whether they'll end up together, just when. Who knows how their respective relationships will turn out, but they won't last.
Line of the night: The dialogue totally popped last night, and Finn was channeling Chris Klein in the best way. But the honor goes to Sue. She had a lot of sharp jokes this week, including a veiled John McCain jab about her being born in the Panama Canal Zone and running for office twice. But the winner was her dismissal of Will and Emma's flirting: "I'm trying desperately to ignore the trickly sweet inanity of your asinine conversation, but now I've got bile in my mouth, and I will hold my tongue no further." Win.