Dynamic Duets recap/review
Hello old New Directioners, this Thanksgiving (yes, I know it was last week) I'm thankful that you've come back to Glee.
Quinn, Puck, Mercedes, Mike and Santana made their way back to McKinley for Thanksgiving, joining Finn, who's already there. Despite the absence of Kurt and Rachel, who decided to stay back in New York because that's the mature thing to do, it was lovely seeing the old gang back together. That short scene where they all sat in Breadstix together laughing and catching up left a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy.
In another way, though, it was bad seeing the old gang back together, because it only served to highlight how the new characters are simply shadows of their forebears. Jake and Ryder are nowhere near as interesting as Puck and Finn (and that's coming from someone who doesn't really like Finn), Kitty's not nearly as mean as Quinn even though mean!Quinn is tiring. And nobody dances as well as Mike - Jake and Ryder's attempts to do so are quite pathetic.
All these contrasts were set against a very, very familiar Glee storyline - sectionals.
The old gang were back to help mentor the new New Directioners, and despite moving on not all the oldies had grown up. Quinn, it seems, has fallen back into her old ways - depending on a man, giving Kitty tips on how to win by using her looks, irrationally bitching out Jake and Puck, and getting into a fight with Santana. I don't like this Quinn. What happened to the self-assured, happy, mature Quinn we left at the end of the last season? I don't understand why the writers have brought crazy!Quinn back.
Quinn and Kitty was the only old and new New Directioner relationship we saw in any great detail. There were a brief few interludes between Marley and Santana, one of which led to the fight between Santana and Quinn over what a bitch Kitty is. I may not like this Quinn, but her and Santana know how to fight, and their disagreement was much more exciting and watchable than the last few episodes' worth of stuff we've seen between Marley and Kitty.
We saw lots of Jake and Ryder this week, whose friendship is going much better than Marley and Kitty's. They're truly bros now, checking the other is okay, offering to step aside so the other can have the girl/spotlight. It's sweet, but really, really boring. Not so boring is the return of Unique, who I do really like and who is the most interesting of the new characters.
We also saw lots of Marley this week, and heard a lot from her inner self. She has the same ambitions as Rachel, but she's a lot more unsure about them, and Kitty's constant niggling has proved toxic for Marley, who spent the whole episode looking ill, and finally collapsed at the end of New Directions' performance at sectionals. I've not enjoyed the bulimia/anorexia storyline, so I'm glad that it's almost over (at least, I hope it's almost over).
The New Directions went up against the Warblers at sectionals. It hurts me to say this, because I love the Warblers, but they weren't exactly brilliant. What happened to season two Warblers, who had great arrangements and who you couldn't look away from when they performed? This season's Warblers were good, but they've lost their spark, and it's made worse by the way they seem to have become really egotistical in the last two seasons. I thought Whistle was alright, but it's a song about blowjobs, so not entirely appropriate, and Live While We're Young was good, but not catchy enough. Also, what has happened to Sebastian's hair?
The other competition was a group called the Rosedale Mennonites, who actually put a smile on my face. Theirs was one of two strange performances this week, the other being the mash-up of Let's Have a Kiki and Turkey Lurkey Time. It was bonkers, but I kind of loved it, especially Kurt's voice.
Aside from the performance itself, it was also bonkers that a bunch of adults decided to spend their Thanksgiving hanging out at the flat of two teenagers. It was obviously Glee trying to hammer home how mature Kurt and Rachel are now, in case you didn't understand the first 10 times they said how mature they were. Only Kurt and Rachel aren't mature, they're still growing up. Saying you're mature and moving to New York doesn't make you mature. Where you are doesn't make you mature, it's what you do and how you feel that makes you mature.
Rachel hasn't quite grasped that yet. She thinks growing up is simply about being somewhere new and leaving behind all the things she knew as a child and taking a stand when she thinks she's been wronged. Brody, thank goodness, put her in her place. He pointed out that she has no right to be angry that he slept with Cassandra - he owes her nothing, especially as every time he's tried to get close to her Finn has got in the way. Rachel needed to hear that not everything revolves around her, and I was surprised, pleasantly, that that came from Brody. His advice to tell her to "not be that crazy girl" is the best piece of advice that Rachel can heed.
It's a nice development to see Brody and Rachel as friends, even though they're still clearly heading to something more. Their weird interaction over the turkey was slightly disturbing, and everyone watching was probably as freaked out as Kurt. Also, while we're talking about Rachel and food - what is going on? She used to be a vegan, then she cooked (burned) duck for Brody on their first date, and this episode she's a vegetarian. Please, writers of Glee, make up your freaking minds about Rachel's dietary habits.
Kurt, too, is trying to be mature but he's not really feeling it. It takes a talk from Isabelle to make him realise that growing up isn't about leaving people or things behind. In advice that really should have been delivered by Rachel if she's as good a friend as she thinks she is, Isabelle told Kurt that moving on is about acceptance, not forgetting. It's about accepting an apology or having an apology accepted, otherwise the hurt just stays with you and festers.
And so, because of Isabelle, Kurt and Blaine finally got a chance to talk. More than that Kurt finally got a chance to talk. We've seen that Blaine's sorry for cheating, and Kurt has had plenty of communication from Blaine about being sorry, but Kurt hasn't really had his say up to now.
Their phone conversation was an important point in Kurt and Blaine's relationship. Kurt can acknowledge that Blaine is sorry, but he's also able to acknowledge that that may not be enough, and that Kurt has to have time to decide whether he can forgive. And the two acknowledge that they love each other, even though they're not together, and may not be together for a long time (or ever). They acknowledge that they are each other's best friends and that's as important an aspect of their relationship as the romance. They make a date to talk things over properly, like they never have before.
And that discussion, more than skipping around New York, more than not going back home to show your independence, more than hosting a party full of fabulous adults, is what shows us that Kurt is really starting to mature, and that he and Blaine can now start to move on. And it's also one of the best scenes Glee has had in a while. And that's something to be thankful of this Thanksgiving.
The musical numbers were a bit hit and miss for me this week. I loved Homeward Bound/Home, because it was great seeing the gang back together, but most of the other numbers didn't really excite me. What was great were the interactions between the former New Directioners, Sam channelling his stripper alter ego White Chocolate (so Glee's writers can remember this but not Rachel's veganism?) and the little comments and reactions from the old current New Directions, especially Artie's quip when Finn says any of the former members of the old gang could be president of the United States one day. Oh, and I loved the stolen Warbler laptop, and the interactions between Brody and Kurt.