They say good things come to those who wait (for all values of “they” that equal the collective cultural consciousness). For Gleeks, those good things came in the most recent episode, “Original Song” (2-16), with a heaping helping of fabulous fan service.
After the highs of season one, season two has been a bit of a meandering ride, less a roller coaster than a gentle boat ride; sometimes Pirates of the Caribbean fun, sometimes It’s a Small World irritating–and the irritating could get as annoying as those tinny tiny voices of the infamous Disney attraction. Weirdly, off-arc episodes such as “Comeback” (2-13) or the stunt-casting “The Substitute” (2-7) with Gwyneth Paltrow fell flat. This wasn’t the show I was used to watching.
The show writers and producers redeemed themselves, however, in their pre-spring-hiatus offering. With Regionals finally here, the episode kicked off into high gear with a song from the Warblers, ushering in forty-three minutes of utterly enjoyable show. As Kurt sweetly complained of the club having turned into “Blaine and the Pips”–an ongoing fan gripe–I watched, riveted, through to the awesome results of his stand for equality. An outcast and doo-wopping background singer no more, after Warbler mascot Pavarotti’s untimely death, Kurt offers tribute with a wonderful rendition of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”. Blaine sees the right of Kurt’s earlier observation and forces the group to change, something they’re beyond averse to doing. But Blaine’s word becomes truth, and he and Kurt are set to sing a duet at Regionals.
Then, the shining moment so many of us have been waiting for as Kurt’s tearfully gorgeous paean to Pavarotti sparked the awakening of what we fans have known all along: that Kurt and Blaine were meant to be more than BFFs. As Kurt meticulously decorates a wee coffin for the dead parrot–ahem, canary–Blaine explains that the duet is “an excuse to get to spend more time with you.” Shazam! Kurt experiences his first meaningful kiss. Can I just say I squeed like a twelve-year-old meeting Justin Bieber in person? I’d been wanting Kurt to get a loving relationship since pretty much day one. After my girls Mercedes and Tina, Kurt is my favorite in this talented ensemble. Chris Colfer, once again showed the acting chops that have garnered him so many award nominations and wins as he reacted to Blaine’s outburst. Kurt’s expression of open hope mixed with awed wonder as he processed the information was priceless. The kiss itself: utterly satisfying. Sweet, tender, and full of all the beauty that romance-loving Kurt could want.
But “Original Song” wasn’t just the Kurt/Blaine show, as much as I wanted to spend more time with the new couple. Back at McKinley High, New Directions once again is dealt a blow. After finding out that the club can’t perform My Chemical Romance’s “Sing” at Regionals, thanks to sneaky Sue Sylvester, the gang chooses to write and perform original compositions. From the hilarious “Only Child” where Rachel sings that she’s “…the only Berry on her family tree” to Santana’s hilariously inappropriate ode to Sam’s most prominent facial feature “Trouty Mouth” to Puck’s love song to Lauren “Big-Ass…Heart,” we Gleeks enjoyed the absolute worst of what can happen when a bunch of high school kids write their own music without direction. Admittedly, I was rooting for the rocking “Hell To the No,” Mercedes’ signature number, to make it to the competition, but alas, it was not to be so. (I think that’s my own new theme song.)
The Quinn/Finn/Rachel love triangle finally came to a head as Quinn confronted Rachel and made it very obvious that Rachel needed to move along…for her own sake, as well as for the sake of the other two. Quinn does seem to have the right of it. A Quinn/Finn pairing will inevitably end up as a nice couple in the Lima ‘burbs, her selling real estate, him taking over Burt’s garage, while Rachel’s star needs a much brighter future. Thanks to her broken heart, Rachel is finally able to pen a number perfectly suited for Regionals: “Get It Right,” which she performs in her usual powerful diva way.
After this and the amazing “Loser Like Me,” where the club bounced and rocked their way through a new signature number, Regionals competition culminated in the absolutely most brilliant staging ever: the red slushy confetti tossed onto the crowd as foam L hands were wielded by everyone in the auditorium. The trophy was quickly handed to New Directions (as it had to be, so they can move forward to Nationals in New York). Sue’s decking of the Lt. Governor’s oh-so-sloshed wife was simply the cherry on top of what was a shining example of why I fell in love with this show. For me, too many of this season’s episodes disappointed: the aforementioned abhorrent Justin Bieber tribute for one (“Comeback”) which seemed to truly go off the rails of the story arc; “Blame it on the Alcohol” which wasn’t even as good as my least favorite (and very similar) Buffy episode, “Beer Bad” (4-5). Inconsistency in a second season is to be expected, especially for a show whose nearly instant fame and recognition was so very unexpected, but “Original Song” renewed my (shall I say it?) glee and utter enjoyment of this silly, but brilliant show.
Some of my favorite highlights not mentioned above:
- Regionals judges Kathy Griffin as a Christine O’Donnell-esque former Tea Party candidate and Twitterer, and Loretta Devine as former-exotic-dancer-now-nun
- Aural Intensity’s “I Love Jesus” themed set list (coached by Sue Sylvester)
- The aforementioned sloshed political wife’s finest (and only real line), “My husband is verbally abusive and I have been drinking since noon. I’m bored. Let’s just see who won, huh?”
What’s next for New Directions as they prep for Nationals? One thing seems for sure–there’s got to be a way that Kurt (and Blaine) end up back at McKinley and part of the team. I can’t image Ryan Murphy not including our boy in the glee club’s shining New York competition. I’ve got my own theory about how this happens. We’ll see if it pans out.
What are your predictions for the last few episodes? Several of my colleagues and I are putting together our lists as we wait not-so-patiently these next weeks until the return and New Directions new challenge.