Okay, you guys, we’ve had our fun, but we can’t just ignore it anymore — that great, big, stinky elephant in the room (OMG, smellephant!): This season of Glee has been one great, big, stinky, smellephant of a stanky stinker. It just stinks. With the exception of last week’s de-virginization jamboree, which was, you know, a’ight, every single episode of season three so far has been a boring, disappointing jumble of flat characterizations, uninspired music, and unrepentant nonsense. Don’t argue with me! You know it’s true! The most dynamic character in this entire season has been Kurt’s brooch collection.
But then! Episode six! This is a damn fine episode of Glee. The music has that catchy exhilaration of earlier seasons! Actual events happen in the lives of characters! People do things that make sense (kind of)! I don’t know if this is just a lucky one-off or a canny return to form, but it’s the kind of episode that’s going to have people saying, “Glee is BACK!” a whole bunch of times until I have to tell them to please stop. (Confidential to those people: ENOUGH.)
The episode opens with Puck et al. performing a Shelby-themed rendition of “Hot for Teacher” (not at all awkward!), because Shelby is his teacher and he is hot for her. Then we jump right into Sue’s first anti-Burt congressional attack ad, which is all about how he has a baboon heart and is therefore likely to gnaw off the noses and genitals of Ohio’s citizenry: “I’m Sue Sylvester, I have a human heart, and I approve this message.” It’s Sue! Being funny again! But the wonders do not cease there.
This next scene involves Kurt, and he is wearing an outfit. Ohhhhhhh, is Kurt ever wearing an outfit. Kurt out-Kurted himself so hard in this scene that he became a double-reverse-Kurt and imploded the universe. It is the greatest woe of my job — nay, of my life — that I cannot spend this entire recap writing about Kurt’s outfit. It is a configuration of fabrics that can only be described as garb. It has transcended clothing. Kurt looks like a terminally ill woman in a 1987 movie of the week. He looks like a Moroccan ninja turtle wearing some sort of ancient Egyptian do-rag. He looks like if Yasser Arafat dressed up as moss for Halloween. NO! He looks like if Yasser Arafat made a cameo in New Jack City. (Note: I would like it to be known that right after I typed those Yasser Arafat jokes, Sue pointed at a chair and said, “Have a seat, Yasser.” I’m angry that Sue is stealing my bits, but I’m also proud. Proud and angry. I’m prangry™. Don’t steal that, Sue.)
Mr. Schue and Shelby have a dumb talk about how they’re worried that New Directions and the Trouble Tones will get too competitive when it’s time for them to compete, because apparently competition isn’t what competition is all about (YES IT IS). Someone uses the phrase “World War Glee,” which is a pun even I can’t love. They decide to pit the two glee clubs against each other in something called a “Mash-Off,” which everyone insists on saying over and over all nonchalant like it’s a thing (“Each group’s going to put together their own mash-up to go head-to-head, for the first ever McKinley High Mash-Off”). They sing a duet, Mr. Schue makes his “I’m singiiiiiiiing!” face, and the kids all groove around the stage like it’s the best thing they’ve ever heard. This is going to be the best “Mash-Off” ever! Whatever a “Mash-Off” is! It just sounds a lot like what they do in regular glee club! But quit crying and just go with it!
The New Directions have a meeting in which they decide to mash together some Hall & Oates songs for the “Mash-Off” (APPROVED). I mention this scene solely to let you know that Kurt came to school today wearing a velveteen equestrian helmet with his Hogwarts dress robes. (Even though, as everyone knows, the Hogwarts Glee Club uniforms are ecru, NOT taupe — seriously, is Hermione still the ONLY PERSON who’s read Hogwarts: A History!?!?) I feel like if we auctioned off Kurt’s capelet collections we could cure world chilliness.
Okay, so you know that weird fake subplot where Santana thinks Finn is fat for no reason? Well, it’s still happening, it still makes no sense, only now it’s a major plot point that I have to spend time thinking about. Hhhhhhhhh. Santana calls Finn fat so many times that Finn is fed up. He has no choice but to challenge her (and her entire glee club, because … ?) to a game of dodgeball. Now we will truly see which of these not-fat people is the fattest! Because of the dodgeball! Because everyone knows fat people can’t dodge! It makes sense! Stop asking questions! In the midst of dodgeball, the opposing teams perform a tight, playfully choreographed mash-up of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “One Way or Another.” Santana’s team emerges victorious and decides to celebrate by making that Irish kid bleed out of his face (because Finn is sooooooooo fat). “Stop it!” cries Kurt, no stranger to facial bleeding, “Maybe that’s how the others treat us around here, but we don’t do this to each other. We’re better than this!” Santana says something bitchy. Next scene!
Back in the hallway, Finn, faced with the reality that he is too fat to destroy Santana via dodgeball justice, calls her a big lesbian coward. Snap snap snap snap snap snap snap snap snap snap snap snap snap!!!!! (Also, it’s about goddamn time. Secret lesbian was getting super boring.)
Puck is still super into Shelby and confesses to her about Quinn’s criminal-mastermind baby-stealing plan. This causes Shelby to make emotion-face. Then Puck says all this stuff: “I’ve always thought of Beth as an accident, but she’s no accident. Quinn and I gave her life. But somehow, God or nature or whatever meant for you and her to be together. You were always meant to be her mother. And I’d like to be part of her life too.” I stopped listening halfway through and I think Shelby did too.
Okay. It’s “Mash-Off” time. First up is New Directions with Hall & Oates’s “I Can’t Go for That” and “You Make My Dreams.” Fun fact: This is scientifically the best thing that has ever happened on Glee. I would gladly pay one million dollars in gratitude-bucks just for the privilege of watching Mike Chang, Artie, Blaine, and Puck do a choreographed dance in their matching Oates costumes. (Note to Glee producers: don’t bother collecting; the check will bounce.)
At the debate for class president, Brittany vows to outlaw tornadoes (it’s been a while since we’ve had some good Brittany! Thanks, show!) and Kurt tells everyone that they’re fat and then announces he’s going to ban dodgeball because it endangers the nose-bones of nerds everywhere. Rachel drops out of the race and tells everyone to vote for Kurt. Then Rachel and Kurt have a heartfelt chat about becoming best friends again, which was confusing because I had forgotten that they were in a fight even though it was going on only moments before.
Apparently someone other than Sue and Mike O’Malley is running for Congress (and of COURSE they have a kid at McKinley, since it is literally Ohio’s only building). This other dude runs an attack ad against Sue, criticizing her for allowing Santana — NOTED LESBIAN — to exist. Now, I’m no legality scholarologist, but I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to run a photo of a minor’s face on television next to the words “this child is a great big lezbo.” But, you know, this is Glee. People just do whatever. Santana is devastated.
And then it’s the end! To close out the “Mash-Off,” Trouble Tones’ perform Adele’s “Rumour Has It” and “Someone Like You,” which reminded me that Santana is my favorite singer on the show. Santana might not make any sense sometimes, but she is not boring. (Grillion-dollar idea I just had: Santana from Glee records a duet with Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20. THINK ABOUT IT.) After the performance, Santana runs into the audience and slaps Finn in the face. Snap. Won’t fat people and lesbians ever learn how to get along?