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Glee Recap: An Anxiety Attack Set to Music

GLEE: Blaine (Darren Criss, L) and Kurt (Chris Colfer, R) perform at Will and Emma's wedding in the "I Do" episode of GLEE airing Thursday, Feb. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Last night’s episode would’ve been very different had it featured the wedding of Season One Will Schuester. Remember him? Kind guy, terrible rapper, and, sure, a little intense at times, and maybe naïve to the point of delusion at others, but on the whole, he was someone you could root for. When he and Emma kissed for the first time in the first season’s winter finale, it was legitimately exciting. It was the good guy getting the girl.

And then I’m not sure what happened. The easy answer is that Glee happened, and that’s true. He’s spent four seasons being the supposed moral compass of a show that stakes out different moral ground each week, and so of course he seems hypocritical at times. On top of that, the show has leaned really heavily on “Mr. Schue does something insensitive and then is sorry” as a storytelling device. When it comes down to it, though, the answer is much simpler: I stopped rooting for Will when he stopped being kind to Emma.

All of that is a long way of saying that Emma leaving Will at the altar isn’t a disappointment. And it’s certainly not a surprise.

What is surprising is the epic, mike-drop worthy way in which Emma bolts. She’s never been a go-to featured vocalist (this is only the sixth song she’s performed in four seasons on Glee), and “Getting Married Today” is one of Steven Sondheim’s most difficult songs to perform well. Despite that, Emma blows the anxiety-attack-set-to-music out of the water, and it’s made that much more surreal and hilarious by the fact that Sue is sitting behind her in an identical wedding dress, eating strawberries with the stem on. Even though the wedding is called off, Santana asks Mr. Schue if they can still have the reception (she was nominated to approach him about it because she’s “numb to other people’s feelings”), and they do. Sue even volunteers to throw Emma’s abandoned bouquet and Rachel catches it, which opens up a Pandora’s box of relationship re-dredging with Finn.

“You were the one who told me to stop moping around!” Finn points out, after literally plucking a petal from a daisy and murmuring, “She loves me not,” under his breath. This goes on for, like, several full minutes, punctuated by Finn’s ideas about the current state of their relationship and a lot of extremely heavy-handed garden imagery. The whole thing is kind of excruciating, and not just because it’s corny — speeches and feelings aren’t Finn’s style, and so it all feels a little overwrought. Still, while I’ve been critical of Finn and Rachel’s chemistry at times, there’s a sort of playful ease to their interactions in this episode that’s been missing in their scenes in the past. Rachel and Finn haven’t been around each other all that much this season; perhaps my heart grew fonder of them in their absence.

Finn and Rachel then launch into “We’ve Got Tonite,” which is a prime example of how shaky the song choices on Glee have been this season. According to Billboard, Girls has more influence on a song’s chart placement than Glee does these days. Part of that waning influence is due to the fact that Glee’s novelty has had ample time to wear off, but an equal part has to be due to the fact that this year’s song choices have featured fewer contemporary hits and fewer unique arrangements. “You’re All I Need to Get By” is a great song, and it’s sweet when Jake and Marley sing it to each other, but it makes sense that people aren’t clamoring to download it, or any of the other very similar ballads that have been featured this season.

Even if “We’ve Got Tonite” isn’t the most inspired song choice, it still leads to mushy (and, in some cases, booze-fueled) slow dancing and a mass exodus to a block of hotel rooms upstairs. Marley and Jake stare at each other awkwardly and then realize they’re not ready for sex; next door, Finn and Rachel sleep together, and then Rachel sneaks out before he wakes up. Artie and Betty (a niece of Emma’s who’s also in a wheelchair) hook up and then laugh about how they have no idea whether the sex was good, presumably because they couldn’t feel it. It’s a strange, ignorant note in the middle of an otherwise sweet sequence. Kurt and Blaine tumble into bed even as Kurt reminds Blaine once more that this doesn’t mean they’re back together and, most surprisingly, Quinn and Santana hook up, too.

There’s already been some criticism of the Quinn and Santana hookup, but even though having two gorgeous young women sleep together during sweeps month does seem suspicious on the surface, I don’t think it was any sort of ratings ploy. I’ll go a step further and say I think it was well handled, and maybe even important television. This isn’t an example of a TV show making someone into a sudden lesbian for the sake of convenience; it’s an instance of same-sex sexual experimentation that’s safe and consensual and, judging by everyone’s bedhead, fun. It was no more or less remarkable than any of the other hookups in the hotel that night, instead of being its own Very Special Episode. At the end of the night, Quinn decides it was fun, but she’s still into men. No big deal.

For all five couples, it’s a mostly mellow morning-after. Even the weird sexual energy Tina’s been throwing at Blaine finally gets resolved, but not before Kurt snaps, “Did you Vapo-rape my ex-boyfriend??” at her. Meanwhile, Finn tries to get Mr. Schue to dive back into life, exclaiming, “We’re going to win Nationals. And we’re going to find your wife!” Hopefully they’ll branch out into additional crime-fighting ventures once Emma is back, because I would watch the hell out of that show. Hawaii Five Glee! Meanwhile, Rachel’s back in New York and reunited with Brody, who I guess spent his Valentine’s Day as a high-class male prostitute? And, apparently, she’s pregnant. I literally cannot conceive (no pun intended) of how Glee would handle an abortion story line, or even a miscarriage, so I guess we should we should start the Rachel Berry Baby Name Pool now. I’ll go first: Streisand.

A few stray contenders for best line of the night:

  • “I’m so over this and it hasn’t even started yet.” —Santana
  • “All you kids have dated so incestuously that I can’t even remember who can tolerate who anymore.” —Emma
  • “Well, don’t say that to Will Schuester! He’ll have you singing a stripped-down, acoustic version of ‘I Will Survive’ in front of a choir room of teenagers with meaningful looks on their faces.” —Sue
Photo: Adam Rose/FOX