Friday, October 16, 2009

Glee 1.07: "Throwdown"

“I don’t trust a man with curly hair. I can’t help picturing small birds laying sulfurous eggs in there, and I find it disgusting.”


This week’s episode of Glee wasn’t one of my favorites, but it definitely had its moments. “Throwdown” deals with the fallout of Principal Figgins’ decision to make Sue and Will co-directors of New Directions. We start with Sue and Will having an extremely tense and heated argument in the auditorium, complete with slow motion yelling. Sue and Will even bicker a bit in their shared intro voice over. They acknowledge that fact within the voice over itself, too. I do love a little meta humor. It’s an easy way to get at least a little chuckle out of me.

Using an atypical episode structure for Glee, we then backtrack “a couple of days” to see what led to this tense situation. It all started with Principal Figgins calling Sue and Will into his office for a Glee Club status report. While hugging it out at Figgins’ request (more like his threat to never let them out of the office, really), Sue and Will whisper mutual promises of destruction. And even though it’s kinda creepy, this scene proves to me that Matthew Morrison could have chemistry with a wall if he put his mind to it.

It doesn’t take long for Sue to make good on her half of the promise. She finds out from Quinn that minority students in the Glee Club don’t really feel very included. The group performs mostly show tunes, and the kids want more diversity in the music. Sue decides to turn the kids against each other. She comes up with a plan where the Glee Club will be divided six and six- Sue’s Kids and Will’s Kids. She takes anyone who could possibly be considered a minority, including Tina, Mercedes, Artie, and Kurt.

I didn’t really love the musical performances in this episode. Sue’s Kids perform “Hate on Me” with Mercedes singing lead. It’s a good performance technically, but it just didn’t really do much for me. Will decides he needs to take a more positive turn with his kids, so they perform “No Air” with Rachel and Finn on lead, of course. As much as I think Finn is an adorable character and Cory Monteith does a wonderful job portraying him, I just don’t think he has a strong enough voice to justify putting him on lead all the time. I’d love to see Puck (Mark Salling) and Artie (Kevin McHale) take the lead more often. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but it bears repeating, since the quality of the music is part of the marketing plan for this show.

The one musical performance I liked was an impromptu, covert jam session between both halves of the Glee Club of Nelly’s “Ride Wit’ Me.” I loved that it wasn’t overproduced. It sounded like a bunch of high school kids with above average voices having a fun time. I wish more of the music sounded like this. Will was happy to see all the students together again, but Sue’s Kids had to skedaddle, because Sue didn’t want the two halves of New Directions intermingling at all. Which brings me to another critique of this episode. There was way too much Sue. Mostly I find Sue funny enough, and Jane Lynch is a comic genius, but she’s so acerbic that she works best in small doses. A whole episode mostly built around her antics is just too much. I missed Emma’s sweetness in this episode (Jayma Mays did not appear this week at all).

Sue’s machinations eventually result in only three kids, Finn, Rachel and Quinn, being on Will’s side of the Glee Club. The three of them start a rehearsal performance of No Air for the other nine Glee Club kids, but Sue starts to have them get up and walk out before Rachel can even get through one measure. This is what leads to the argument from the first scene. Afterwards, Will is embarrassed by his conduct, so after some cooling off time, he goes to see Sue in her office. She agrees to take a very minor role in Glee Club management from now on. Will knows his problems aren’t over, though. It is Sue we’re talking about, after all.

The B story in this episode was once again the silly Terri fake baby (“Trust me, I was there! It’s FAKE BABY!"...heh…this plot always makes me think of HIMYM) plot, so it doesn’t really merit much space here. Will takes Finn and Quinn to the OB/GYN for Quinn’s first sonogram, and they find out the baby is a girl. Terri is now in big trouble in two ways. First, the already told Will the baby was a boy. Second, taking Finn and Quinn to the doctor has made Will upset that he hasn’t gotten the chance to take more of a role in Terri’s pregnancy. He’s made an OB/GYN appointment for her, and they’re both going.

Terri’s so-obnoxious-it’s-not-even-entertaining sister comes to Terri’s rescue. The plan is to blackmail Terri’s sister’s OB/GYN, obviously. Apparently Terri’s sister’s kids are incredibly stupid (not really surprising, considering their mom), and Terri is going to sue the OB/GYN, saying that problems with the kids’ births are to blame. The OB/GYN rightly notes that this is an incredibly frivolous lawsuit, but relents when reminded that there’s only one other OB/GYN in town, and all the women will go to his office instead if there’s even a hint of a problem. The OB/GYN manages to fool Will into thinking footage of Quinn’s baby is his own.

At the end of the episode, the next phase of Sue’s plan is soon apparent. She talked to a skeevy school blogger who had been blackmailing Rachel with the threat of revealing Quinn’s pregnancy. Now that Sue knows Quinn’s secret, she can make Quinn’s life miserable. She goes into a Glee Club rehearsal and announces that the knows Quinn is pregnant and the story will be available for the whole school to read soon. The Glee Club tries to show their support for Quinn in a sort of overly-treacly sweet musical performance, but who knows how long that will last. Or if Quinn even really cares- she is Sue’s mole, after all.

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