Remember last week’s episode of Glee? Yeah, those sure were the days. It was certainly a comeback of sorts for the lagging show, but we’re back to tenuous territory with this week’s Bieber fest. With the exception of Rachel and Mercedes’s fabulous diva-off, the performances felt oddly flat (and no, we’re not hating on the Biebs — “Somebody to Love” is strangely catchy). As so many of you commenters noted, perhaps last week’s verve came from the absence of the Glee adults, because the return of Will, Emma, and even the usually dependable Sue seemed to only drag down the episode’s tempo. It doesn’t have to be this way! Matthew Morrison has a great voice, so why does it seem relegated lately only to random White House functions at which he makes impromptu performances? The man can do more than strum a ukulele and make lame comments, writers! And Sue’s trip to “the house of sad” and back — isn’t this the woman with a sister with Down syndrome, who’s constantly trotted out whenever Sue needs a dose of Life Really Isn’t That Bad? Sigh. This week certainly wasn’t all bad, but, much like Rachel, we’re ready for a real anthem to kick things back into competitive form.
Sam’s too doltish to immediately catch on to Finn and Quinn’s lie about hooking up — that Quinn saved Finn’s life after he choked on a gumball, which is somehow both believable and ridiculous enough that we wonder whether Quinn was the mastermind behind it (Note: She also must have a pretty amazing immune system, beating mono after a mere two weeks). But he’s at least worried, which means that when Mr. Schue reveals the newest plot-friendly twist in the regionals rules — thou shalt sing an anthem — Sam’s ready to fine-tune his haircut and start a one-man band: the Justin Bieber Experience. The best parts of Sam’s performance — the purple hoodie, the squeal-inducing hair shake, the dorky dance moves (the Bieb himself tweeted “we just gotta work on those moves @chordoverstreet”) — sadly weren’t vocal, but at least we have Finn’s marvelously bored facial expression and Sue’s reaction — “We’ve gotta get that girl on the Cheerios” — to keep us entertained.
“Somebody to Love”
We’re not sure what to make of the flood of interest Sam gets after his Bieber performance. On the one hand, we fail to see how badass Puck could find joining the Justin Bieber Experience any less embarrassing than singing with New Directions. On the other, these are high-school boys, a.k.a. sheep, when it comes to what will impress girls. Driven to such desperate measures by the post-Valentine’s lull (Tina is somehow ignoring Mike Chang’s amazing abdomen in favor of Angry Birds — how?!), the boys organize a nicely synchronized dance routine, featuring puffs of chalk dust, for the girls, whose overdone screaming is, we hope, a joke. The song’s a good fit for former boy-band member Kevin McHale, and the dancing happily echoes long-gone great episode “Acafellas,” so we’re reasonably pleased.
“Take Me or Leave Me”
There’s a whole lot of questionable Sue-related activity this week, starting with — in classic Glee fashion — Will and Emma nonchalantly walking into her house unannounced. They find an Adidas-clad woman overdosed on gummy vitamins, too depressed to even read Emma’s “I Am Too Depressed to Even Open This Pamphlet” pamphlet and so hopeless that she’s an easy target for Schue’s “Life is beautiful!” pep talk. Or not! It’s all part of an evil plot, of course, to rupture the glee club from the inside, a not-entirely-convincing narrative for Sue, but one that gives Mercedes and Rachel an excuse to get their Rent on. Much like the two divettes, we’re left feeling quite warm, fuzzy, and ready to hug someone when the duet’s over. And the winner? It’s a tough call, but Mercedes gets the edge, not least because she one-ups Rachel in the taunting department: “I have to go get my cross trainers. Want to know why? I am going to be doing some runs.”
“I Know What Boys Like”
Color us surprised that Puck’s crush on Lauren has lasted beyond its relevant episode, though it’s still uncomfortable to listen to his come-ons related to her size. And Lauren’s performance is fine enough: It’s nice to see some nod to the fact that all glee club members don't start with voices like Lea Michele's. Also, Tina and Brittany’s backup dancing is appropriately raunchy. Still, can we briefly revisit that plot point way back when, when Puck impregnated Quinn? And for a short time seemed hopelessly in love with her?
Comebacks, the actual theme this week, only show up in the most random of ways. Rachel wants to regain the attention of the masses and is for some reason convinced that getting Brittany to spread her fashion sensibility is the way to do this. Via a number of eyebrow-raising developments, Sue goes about her own revitalization: visiting a pediatric cancer ward and singing with Will (we still can’t believe kids with cancer seemed like the best option here); initiating a performance of a My Chemical Romance song, in lumberjack-chic wardrobe (wha? On so many levels); and, finally, signing up to coach Aural Intensity, New Directions’ main regionals competition (other than “the one-two punch of Kurt and Blaine,” which when did Kurt last sing a solo with the Warblers, again?). It’s all a tad confusing, though we thankfully get some wisdom from Rachel to close the episode. As the one character who begins to make a comeback in a significant way, she begins a campaign for an original song at regionals, which sounds both potentially awful and awesome. Speaking of potentially awesome — house party at Rachel’s next week!