The one-two punch of the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day hit the “Glee” gang pretty hard, and this non-holiday themed return is all about launching a ‘Comeback.’
First, welcome back Guidance Counselor and Stamos Wife, Emma Pilsbury. Though she seldom felt compelled to step in and combat the bullying at McKinley, a Sue-icide note from the fallen cheer coach has reminded her of the office full of all-purpose pamphlets she has yet to hand out to students and teachers in need. In a world where depressed faculty members audit extra-curricular activities, that and a bad idea is all it takes to get Sue into the Glee Club.
Despite Will’s efforts to present the raging side effects of her Coach Sylvester’s hormone replacement therapy in a positive light, the group is unanimously displeased by the intrusion. Still, the quest for show choir gold continues, and Mr. Schue announces that this year, New Directions will face Kurt and the Warblers and Oral Intensity (not Vocal Adrenaline?) at Regionals. The chosen theme for the sing-off is Anthems, and without missing a beat, the Bieber-ized bottle blonde jumps to his feet.
“Baby” - The room may not be convinced that the teeny-bopper love song qualifies as an anthem, but they’re loving the mop-topped cutie singing it. Chord Overstreet got the Bieb’s recipe for blending innocence and charisma into a very endearing, crowd-pleasing package. Do I buy sex-crazed Santana catching Bieber fever? Not really, but other than that, I’m buying into the Bieber Experience.
“Somebody to Love” - Yeah, that’s right. Even a Bieber Boy Band is working for me this week… although I admit, part of my enjoyment of this performance was the sharp Lauren Zizes commentary afterwards.
After a day in glee club and a pair of performances by a quartet of wanna-Biebers, Sue has made the predictable decision to demolish the glee club from within. Step one is pulling Rachel and Mercedes into a diva-off.
“Take Me or Leave Me” – The power duet from the Broadway classic “Rent” was the perfect choice for both divas and ended with a happy acknowledgement of that undeniable truth. Lea Michele and Amber Riley are perfectly suited for this duet, which was first performed on Broadway by Tony Winning Diva and Rachel Berry Mother, Idina Menzel and Fellow Diva and Possible Unseen Mercedes Mom , Fredi Walker. Even Sue couldn’t crush the power of this performance.
When Sue can’t even instigate a little inner-glee club drama, Will decides to milk her vulnerability for all it’s worth and takes her and his ukulele to the pediatric cancer ward to sing to some sick children.
“This Little Child Of Mine” – Sappy moment set to music, indeed. Will unlocks Sue’s sensitivity, and my guess is there will be hell to pay for that later.
Brittany’s emergence as a fashion icon and Rachel’s unsuccessful attempts to promote the Berry brand on the coattails of her authority is one of the best ‘Glee’ subplots in quite sometime. There’s just something instantly better about the single and striving Rachel than the girl we’ve sporadically seen on Finn’s arm for the first half of the season. Rachel’s description of her “sexy schoolgirl/librarian chic” style and the eventual “comeback from what?” tough love speech felt like classic Berry moments. The return of this heartbreakingly hilarious character is a welcome comeback indeed.
“I Know What Boys Like” – Lauren Zizes makes her musical debut and even if it wasn’t the best performance of the night, I’m really enjoying the way the writers have developed this character and her relationship with Puck. Sometimes I think they’d fit better in their own indie movie than in this loud and crowded ensemble, but overall it’s a top-notch storyline.
Sue makes the valid point that none of the week's songs thus far have qualified as Anthems, and she demands to be a part of righting that wrong -- aka singing with the glee club.
“Sing” - A performance in plaid of the “My Chemical Romance” tune is the kind of finale that was a season one staple. On-stage and on-theme, it was a solid ensemble showpiece, though I will agree with R. Berry and say that it’s not enough to win Regionals… and Sue's earlier interest in being a part of the performance barely makes sense to begin with, let alone when it turns out that she is coaching the competition.
Fortunately, Sue's mood swings are not the only coda. With an eager Santana waiting in the wings, Sam breaks up with Quinn, and Finn encourages his freshly focused “Dwarf Diane Warren” ex-girlfriend to write a Regionals-winning original anthem. A sweetly platonic Finn and Rachel moment that reminds us why we started to root for these characters in the first place is a strong way to end a solid comeback episode!