Any episode beginning with a slo-mo fight between Mr. Schue and Sue (“Look at us — we’re even fighting in our voice-overs!”) is destined for greatness — especially when it later supplies us with more excellent lines for Jane Lynch than we could ever possibly fit into one recap. A few notables: “Look at me. Even in the heat of battle I am elegant.” “I don’t trust a man with curly hair.” “Cockfight? Fantastic.” We could go on. But back to business: Sue and Schue can only keep up the ruse of getting along for so long, so they divide the kids and each try to conquer, with mixed success. Elsewhere, Quinn throws several hissy fits at both Finn and Rachel, Terri becomes yet more annoying, Will makes us further doubt there’s a brain beneath his ringlets (he still hasn’t touched his wife’s stomach? Really?), and we learn that Puck’s a Jew! The road to sectionals continues, with several great musical numbers along the way.
Jill Scott, “Hate on Me”
After Sue’s moles alert her to the fact that the glee-club minorities feel left out, it’s only a matter of time before she barks out the most marvelous roll call ever: “Gay kid! Wheels! Asian! Other Asian! Aretha!,” basically getting all the kids with personality in her corner. We love that she expects “Mariah hands” from Mercedes, who gives even Jill Scott a run for her money. Though we’re amazed at how magically the kids’ sheet music disappears/a funk instrumental trio shows up/perfect harmony is achieved, we do enjoy the more makeshift choreography, which involves creative use of chairs, leg kicks from Kurt, and more amazing moves from the tall Asian dude. We couldn’t help smirking when Mr. Schue meekly peered in at the action.
Nelly, “Ride Wit Me”
Why and how, may we ask, did the glee children decide to burst into an impromptu choral version of this radio hit from the year 2000? We’re pretty sure they were about 8 years old when it came out (maybe 8-year-olds listen to Nelly these days?), which would make even this reasonably charming burst of nerd camaraderie somewhat unlikely (also, it seems a little fast for the footballers to seem so ... comfortable). But we do like the rough, unrehearsed quality of the vocals — which is what we would expect the glee kids to sound like most of the time.
Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown, “No Air”
It’s the weekly Literal Song Choice: everyone is feeling pressure, from Mr. Schue (Sue: “You’re a failed performer!”) to poor Rachel, who has traded her underwear and dignity to the school gossipmonger in return for Quinn’s privacy, and maybe Finn’s affections (“Let’s just say I feel sorry for my dads, ‘cause they’re probably going to have to dip into my college fund for extensive therapy”). Cue another mournful Finn/Rachel duet (we did giggle at how Rachel immediately loved the song once she heard she’d be singing lead). It’s a standard-issue belter for Rachel, with little to no choreography and strangely Auto-tune-ish sounding Finn, so we’re gonna have to agree with Sue’s thumbs down assessment.
The Supremes, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”
There’s finally some believable conflict on the Finn/Quinn front. The baby is very much real (we were expecting a convenient miscarriage right about now); Finn tells Quinn he wishes she were more like Rachel; and Finn’s intent on naming the baby Drizzle. So we can’t really blame the girl for acting out a Supremes fantasy in which she stars as a little blond Diana Ross. For once, Dianna Agron’s breathy vocals fit the song well, and as we learned with “Bust Your Windows,” any number in which the cheerios double as an ultra-coordinated dance team is a good one. Score one for Quinn!
Avril Lavigne, “Keep Holding On”
We flat out don’t believe that with warring teachers and a low budget the glee kids put together this oh-so-shiny showstopper, complete with fancy lighting and string section — unless of course, it’s imaginary! Which on Glee is entirely possible. The choreography is firmly in the Finn and Rachel circling/reaching hopefully toward the sky mold. But “Keep Holding On” is the ultimate cheesy, let’s-all-get-along song choice, the harmonies are touching, and we must give Lea Michele props for attempting Avril’s mall-rat sneer. Plus, it’s a perfect pairing with Sue’s characteristically dry analysis: “Yeah, too fruity. I can't stand kids getting emotional unless it's from physical exhaustion. I know I'm not like the rest of you hippies, caring about kids’ feelings as if they're real.” More Sue next week!