Tuesday's episode of "Glee" felt like two episodes in one. The first half of "Sexy" seemed entirely too light and frivolous, taking place in some kind of fictional fantasy world where Holly Holliday (Gwyneth Paltrow) could perform a song like "Do You Want to Touch Me" while wearing tight leather from head-to-toe and not be immediately fired. However, the episode took a more serious, balanced and emotional turn in the second half, turning into one of Glee's better episodes of the season.
Strangely, the emotional core of the episode was centered around Santana and Brittany, who have almost exclusively been used for comedic purposes to this point. I loved that Brittany was the one that pushed for the two of them to talk about their feelings, and then when Santana finally did open up and admit that she wanted a relationship with Brittany, Brittany was the one who pulled away. That scene might be my favorite of the season, and Naya Rivera really nailed it. It's good to see that she has more range than just being the bitch or the slut.
It'll be interesting to see how Santana reacts in the next few episodes. I think it'd be easy for her to just outwardly go back to the way she'd been before, sleeping around and acting like a cold bitch, but I'd rather see her build on that emotional development. And while Sam is clearly oblivious to Santana's true nature (even telling Artie how cool it was that their girlfriends were so close), Artie isn't quite as foolish, and hopefully he'll realize that Brittany should be with Santana, and let her go without being hurt.
There's also something of a love quadrangle being set up between Carl, Emma, Will and Holly -- though Carl seems to be on his way out. As it turns out, he and Emma haven't consummated their marriage, and in a "session" with Holly (who Carl seems to have mistaken for some kind of sex therapist, rather than just the substitute sex ed teacher), Emma admits that her feelings for Will aren't entirely clear and may still exist. However, Will is falling for Holly, who might finally be ready for a real relationship. Only, she wasn't exactly forthcoming with what she knew about Emma, which is bound to blow up in her face in the future. But we'll leave that for another episode.
I also loved that we got another example of Mike O'Malley's confused but well-minded parenting. His relationship with Kurt is one of the things "Glee" has done consistently well in both seasons, and it was on display again today as Burt struggled to have "the talk" with his gay son, but did the best he could. Plus, we got a nice scene with Burt and Blaine, and while I thought it was interesting that they didn't address Blaine's drunken sleepover from a couple weeks ago, it was a good interaction nonetheless.
On some level, the episode was a microcosm of this season so far as a whole: some stuff, particularly the more silly stuff, didn't really work, but there was enough stuff that did work that it was worth watching.
Now, as for the music...
Do You Want To Touch Me (Oh Yeah) - B-
The song itself was solid enough, but you can't talk about this song -- originally performed by Gary Glitter then famously covered by Joan Jett, who Paltrow seemed to be channelling in her performance -- without discussing the overall performance. When Will held up his little hand written note that asked "TOO MUCH?", I just nodded. I know Holly's supposed to be the "fun" sub, but this took it WAY too far.
Animal - B
Speaking of performances (rather than just songs), it appears that Darren Criss's go-to dance style is "jump up and down various levels of objects", to the point that as soon as I saw the set piece for this song, I knew exactly how Blaine's choreography would go. Man, that guy really likes jumping up onto levels, then jumping down from them. That aside, it was nice to see the Warblers do more of a true duet with Blaine and Kurt, rather than just a Blaine solo.
Kiss - C
I know this song was originally performed by Prince, in that classic falsetto style, but Tom Jones did an incredible cover of it using a deeper register, and that's how I hear the song now. So to hear Matthew Morrison go for the traditional Prince style, at least for the first verse, was disappointing. Plus, it was a waste of his voice. At least for the second verse and final chorus, he dropped down to his natural register.
Landslide - A
I may not like Paltrow, but I'm willing to admit when she nailed a song, and she nailed this one. Plus, Rivera and Heather Morris both delivered emotional performances, leading to the incredible scene I mentioned above. I know "Glee" likes to do big set pieces a lot, and there's a time and place for that, but sometimes the low-key, person-with-a-guitar, no dancing performance is the way to go. Think back to last year's finale and "Over the Rainbow". This was like that, but even better because Brittana was involved.
Afternoon Delight - C
I don't know Miss Pillsbury, that sounds kinda crazy. Sounds like you have mental problems, man. Yeah you got mental problems, man. Yeah, she really does.
Sorry, I can't hear that song and NOT think of "Anchorman."