Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Glee 1.13: "Sectionals"

“The kids are completely freaking out. Artie keeps ramming himself into the wall, and I’m pretty sure Jacob Ben Israel just wet himself.”


I thoroughly enjoyed the fall finale of Glee, and I wish I didn’t have to wait until mid-April to see more (although I suppose the return of Chuck and Lost will keep me occupied until then). True, it was almost like a checklist of all the things that needed to be resolved, but it all happened in an organic way, and it was very satisfying. Not only did it provide satisfying conclusions (for now, at least), to lingering issues, but it also opened doors for some stories that will probably be told in the spring. It accomplished everything I could have hoped, plus there were some fantastic musical numbers. I can’t really ask for anything more than that.

Really, the only thing that, as they would say on the Brady Bunch, stuck in my craw was how most of the group utterly disregarded Finn’s feelings and well-being in the beginning of the episode. Mercedes has told most of New Directions the truth about Quinn’s baby daddy, and now it’s all Operation: Don’t Let Rachel Find Out. They rightfully figure that if Rachel knows the truth, she’ll tell Finn. Their rationale is that if Finn finds out the truth now, it will completely ruin their chances at Sectionals. That rationale doesn’t make things better, though, because it’s extremely selfish.

Thankfully, Rachel is figuring out the truth on her own. She notes that when Quinn tripped the other day, Puck was unusually concerned about her welfare. She has a rather brilliant plan to find out the truth. She mentions to Quinn that she might want to have a genetic work-up done on the baby- one of Rachel’s cousins was a Tay-Sachs carrier, and Rachel remembers how scary that was. Rachel quickly mentions that Quinn probably doesn’t have to worry about that, considering most Tay-Sachs carriers are Jewish. As predicted, Rachel overhears Quinn ask Puck to take her to the doctor to have the baby checked for “Jewish diseases”

There’s plenty of drama still going on among the adults as well. Will needs to find a new faculty advisor for New Directions, and Emma volunteers. Emma tells Will that Ken was okay with it, but he’s really not. Will doesn’t press the issue- he’s just grateful for the help. The reaction to Emma as the new advisor is mixed among the Glee kids. She does a good job handling the first “crisis,” though. The kids need to finalize their Sectionals set list, and there’s a typical argument between Rachel and Mercedes over who gets to sing the ballad. I could go on a post-long rant about how Rachel is constantly vilified for her diva behavior while Mercedes is encouraged, but I digress. Emma sensibly suggests they have a sing-off.

Mercedes sings “And I’m Telling You” from “Dreamgirls.” She knocks it out of the park, but on rewatch, I was so annoyed by her behavior that I couldn’t enjoy it. Rachel has about the best possible attitude about the whole thing, though. She acknowledges that Mercedes was great, tells her she can sing her song as the ballad, and even gives her the hug. Rachel Berry has really come a long way since her days of storming out every time she didn’t get a solo.

After rehearsal, Finn tells Rachel that he really hopes they win Sectionals. He feels like it would make things in his life all right again. Things have been just so stressful with Quinn and the baby. Rachel takes her chance and spills what she knows. The aftermath of the reveal is absolutely superbly acted by Cory Monteith. Finn goes to the choir room and just starts wailing on Puck. After Will breaks up the fight (I guess Emma must have called him when it went down), Finn storms out, saying he’s through with all of them.

Rachel, again showing an emotional/moral compass of some sort, genuinely apologizes to Quinn, and says that her motives for revealing the secret were selfish- she wanted to break up Finn and Quinn. Honestly, though, I don’t think her motives were entirely selfish, and even if they were, Finn was genuinely hurting, and it was high time someone told him the truth. Surprisingly, Quinn isn’t mad. She commends Rachel for doing what she herself didn’t have the strength to do. Her reaction to Puck was more troubling, though. She still doesn’t want him to be part of the baby’s life- she wants to go it alone. I appreciate her desire for less stress, but it’s really not just her involved in the situation. The child is Puck’s daughter, too, and he should have the same opportunity to try and be a parent, especially since not all teens in his situation would ask take on that responsibility.

The bus rolls off to Sectionals without Finn or Will and with Jacob, the creepy blogger guy who first outed Quinn’s pregnancy. The kids aren’t happy at the news they will be performing third out of three groups. Rachel tries to cheer everybody up by saying that either first or third is a good position, but all she gets for her trouble is insults. Have I mentioned that I can’t stand how the rest of the group (except Finn) treats Rachel?

The kids do actually have a legitimate reason to freak out when the competition starts, though. The Jane Adams girls perform “And I’m Telling You” and “Proud Mary” complete with wheelchairs. The kids are all at their wit’s end, and Emma places a panicked phone call to Will, telling him that the kids need a leader. After confronting Sue (who has gone beyond funny and is now just hateful), Will finds Finn in the locker room. After essentially telling him to man up and be a leader and that “you can’t always get what you want,” Finn agrees to try and help the Glee Club. I correctly guessed at this point that we’d be hearing a little Rolling Stones before the hour was through.

Emma wages her own battle against the faculty advisors from the two other schools. I really liked seeing Emma stand up for herself and be extremely competent. It seems like she actually somewhat gets through to the other educators. She makes them feel guilty for teaching their kids that they have to cheat to get ahead.

The New Directions kids are having their own conference in the green room, trying to figure out how to possibly save the competition. It turns out Brittany gave the set list to Sue, by the way, but everybody forgives her because she’s Brittany and obviously didn’t know any better. Mercedes gives the ballad baton back to Rachel (yay for some humility from Mercedes!), and Quinn suggests they perform “Somebody to Love.” That leaves one more song, and Finn arrives right on time with a solution. And I do believe I’ve already alluded to that solution. He’s still not cool with Puck or Quinn, but he’s willing to take one for the team. And he trashed the Cheerios copy machine after copying the sheet music. Which is awesome.

Also awesome is the performance by New Directions at Sectionals. So awesome that it makes Will cry as he listens to it via cell phone. Rachel opens the set with a jaw-dropping performance of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was also entertaining. The audience gives a standing ovation, but the judges don’t really seem to be that moved. The judges are a beauty pageant wash-out, a local news anchor, and a disgruntled state employee. The faculty advisor from Jane Adams approaches the judges’ room to confess to all the Sue-induced shenanigans, but it’s too late- the judges have made their decision.

Will is back at his house, getting ready for Emma and Ken’s wedding, when he is forced to confront Terri. He is actually a gentleman about it, and handles the situation in a fairly adult manner, which is refreshing. Terri tells him she’s been seeing a therapist at the community center, and Will is genuinely happy for her that she’s getting help. When he looks at her, however, he doesn’t feel love or family anymore. He says he doesn’t know if those feelings will ever come back, and I’m really, seriously hoping that isn’t foreshadowing a Will/Terry redux. At the wedding, however, it’s Emma who acts more the grown-up. Emma and Will are the only people at the reception hall because Ken called off the wedding. Emma going to Sectionals was the final straw. Emma is embarrassed about how she’s been acting, and she’s sent her resignation to Principal Figgins. Will tries to convince her to stay, telling her that he just left his wife. Emma smartly responds that yes, he did just leave his wife. She’s got a good point. Leaving Terri was a big life decision, and he needs time to process that.

Will’s professional life at least seems to be taking a turn for the better. The other show choir directors confessed to Figgins about the whole set list stealing scheme. Sue, ridiculously, continues to try to deny it, but Figgins fires her. It’s been a week, but I believe I actually squeaked at that moment (couldn’t scream because I didn’t want to freak out the neighbors). I know we aren’t done with Sue (she even says as much), but it’s nice to see her at least temporarily get her comeuppance.

The kids have a few surprises in store for Will in the choir room. First is their Sectionals trophy. It’s a really freaking huge trophy- I’m wondering if they win Regionals and Nationals, how those trophies will even fit in the room! Second is a bit of a choreography montage set to Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You.” Considering I have a bit of a dance background, I’m a bit embarrassed that I didn’t get what they were trying to do with this scene the first time around. I was like “Why are they using cowboy hats?” when they were actually recreating bits and pieces of choreography from throughout the season. This is all interspersed with Will running after Emma as she’s about to leave McKinley High for good. Emma protests for about half a second before she and Will kiss, and everything is right with the Glee world, at least until April.

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