In this week’s “Glee” — the winter finale dubbed “On My Way” that marks the last glimpse of McKinley High action until April 10 — the musical numbers took a backseat to heavy drama.
(Warning: if you haven’t watched the episode yet, there are major spoilers ahead.)
Much of this week’s “Glee” played like an extended “It Gets Better” PSA, as David Karovsky — the former tormenter of Kurt who has since semi-come out and, in the “Heart” episode, shared his romantic feeling for the boy he once mocked on a daily basis — attempted to hang himself after his fellow footballers realized he’s gay. In other teens-are-super-mean business, evil Warbler Sebastian threatened to post an idiotic, blatantly non-threatening photoshopped picture of Finn on the Internet, a move that might have raised the tensions at regionals. But Karovsky’s near-death suddenly turned Sebastian from Cobra Kai to Daniel LaRusso, so he dropped the blackmail routine. And that’s why “Glee” viewers were treated to the most boring regionals competition ever.
Karovsky’s near-suicide also made Rachel and Finn realize that life is short, especially when there are only a few minutes left in the winter finale episode of “Glee.” So they decided at the last minute to marry immediately at the justice of the peace, allowing Rachel to miraculously find a perfectly fitted wedding gown and select a set of pink bridesmaid frocks that, in the name of David’s Bridal, could not possibly have been ordered and altered in less than two days.
Quinn was late getting to the wedding and — in a moment that changed the theme from “It Gets Better” to “Teens Should Not Text While Driving” — was in the midst of telling Rachel she was on her way when a car slammed head-on into her vehicle, seguing into a “To be continued” title card.
Is Quinn alive? Will Rachel and Finn really get married? Does anyone care that Sue is now pregnant? And why did “Glee” squander the presence of Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell for the second week in a row?
I don’t have the answers, but I do have an assessment of this week’s often lackluster musical numbers.
“Cough Syrup” — Blaine
Darren Criss did a fine job of crooning this alt-rock hit by Young the Giant as the camera cut between his performance and Karovsky’s wrenching decision to attempt to end his life. Emotionally manipulative, sure. But generally effective. Grade: B.
“Stand” and “So Glad You Came” — The Warblers
Is it any wonder the Warblers didn’t win regionals? These song choces were dull (if you’re going to do Lenny Kravitz, at least do “Let Love Rule,” which would have been very appropriate for this episode). And their choreography was way too ’N Sync circa 1997. You know what those blue-blazered guys really need? A charismatic frontman with dark hair, a fondness for bow ties and a capacity to make even “Hey Soul Sister” sound semi-interesting. Grade: C
“Fly”/”I Belive I Can Fly” — New Directions
I’m a sucker for a decent mash-up and this was an unexpectedly lovely mix. It was also the best performance of a Nicki Minaj song that I’ve seen on television in the past, oh, 10 days. (“Glee”: once again one-upping the Grammys.) Grade: B+
“What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” —The girls of New Directions
Okay, here’s where I got confused. I was happy to see the ladies come together to perform this Kelly Clarkson song, even if it was a fairly routine take . But who were some of these girls? I spotted at least two or three singers I did not recognize. Were they anonymous leftovers from the Troubletones days? And, in a non-related question, why didn’t Rachel just have her bridesmaids wear the flouncy black dresses they donned for regionals? They were cute, and that would have been such a money-saver. Grade: B-
“Here’s to Us” — Rachel and New Directions
This was Lea Michele’s big solo moment, and she did what Michele does so reliably: belt out a song with determined ferocity. Unfortunately, this had little emotional impact because the pop song she was forced to croon was so bland. Also: why did Hiram and LeRoy look so surprised and delighted by their daughter? Hadn’t they seen a New Directions performance before? Grade: C.
Weigh in with your own musical number grades — and your predictions for the fate of Quinn — by posting a comment.