For the past two weeks, the plots of "Glee" didn't really center around the actual show choir portion of the show. The Britney Spears episode spent most of its time in fantasy land, and last week's Grilled Cheesus story was more about the club member's personal beliefs. So it was nice to get back to a competition style episode this week, and I think they executed the plan well enough.
There was also an underlying theme behind Mr. Schuester's theme of the week: duets. While a duet is supposed to bring people together, in reality it actually seemed to cause more rifts between the characters in the glee club.
Rachel and Finn thought they were destined to win the competition, but decided to throw it so Sam would win and want to stay in glee club and help the team win nationals. Finn saw through Rachel's plan, knowing she was doing it for self-serving reasons, but went along with it anyway, at least until Sam wanted to pair up with Kurt.
Finn's issues with Kurt definitely run deeper than he's willing to admit, and they spilled over into Finn getting in the way of a potential Kurt-Sam duet. That did lead to an interesting Sam-Quinn pairing and some self-doubt and discovery by Quinn. Up until this episode, I'd thought Dianna Agron was underutilized this season, but this was a solid episode for her, and it's nice that she gets to have a romantic story line with someone, since her history kind of precludes any reunions with Finn or Puck.
There was also some tension between Mike, Tina and Artie, leading to the weirdest romantic pairing in the show's history, but we'll get to that.
Of course, that all paled in comparison to the Brittana action we got in this episode. Santana is clearly just using Brittany as a sex toy while Puck is at juvie (oh yea, Puck is at juvie, for crashing a car through a store and stealing an ATM… or as I call it "the opening scene from 'Barbershop'", so he wasn't around this week), but Brittany has feelings for Santana, even if she expresses them in the same idiotic fashion she expresses everything.
That led to Brittany seeking out Artie for a duet as well as sex, because, well, Brittany will sleep with just about anything (I think that was pretty well established last season). Once she was sure Artie was human -- she told him, "for awhile, I thought you were a robot" -- she decided to sleep with him. Only, it turns out what was a pretty emotional thing for Artie didn't really mean anything to Brittany -- at least according to Santana -- and it led to a surprisingly heavy scene between Artie and Brittany, and kind of a sad moment for Brittany near the end of the episode. Heather Morris is really having a breakout season, even if she didn't get to sing this week.
As for the characters who did get to sing, let's get to this week's song review:
Don't Go Breakin' My Heart - A
As soon as the opening chords of this song played, I knew it was going to be a winner. Sometimes Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) duets can result in Rachel overpowering Finn (just look at Faithfully from last year's finale for an example), but they really complemented each other year, and I think this was Finn's best vocal performance of this season so far.
River Deep, Mountain High - B+
This is a noter song where I expected one of the singers to overpower the other, but Santana (Naya Rivera) did a solid job keeping up with Mercedes (Amber Riley). I have to admit I would have preferred to hear Riley tackle this one on her own, but this was pretty good too.
Le Jazz Hot - C+
I know based on my grades from this week and last week, it may seem like I have some kind of Finn-esque vendetta against Kurt (Chris Colfer), but I don't. I just didn't enjoy this song. The performance was good, but in an episode where all the performances were straightforward in the choir room, the theatrical setting with the costumed choreography just didn't seem to fit.
Sing! - B
If I'm grading this duet between Mike (Harry Shum) and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) solely on its vocal quality, it'd be no better than a C (Mike really can't sing), but they had so much fun with it that it gets bumped up to a B.
With You I'm Born Again - D
This is a weird one to grade, because Finn and Rachel were clearly throwing the competition. The song itself was sung well enough, but there's simply no way to get past the performance.
Lucky - B-
True story: this was the first dance song at the wedding of one of my friends. Their dance was WAY better than the performance by Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Quinn (Dianna Agron). But the vocal performance was solid… maybe even better than the original (I really don't like Jason Mraz).
Get Happy! - A
I think everyone who watches the show can agree that Kurt and Rachel have the two strongest voices among the cast (though Mercedes can definitely hold her own), so any time the two of them can sing together, it's a good time.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.