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Glee: 4.06 – “Glease”

Let’s get this out-of-the-way first: the title really annoys me. I hate how they had to change the name to Glee-ify it. Or whatever. That annoys me but I’ll try to remain impartial for the entire recap. The kids of McKinley High have spent a grand total of a week rehearsing this show so let’s see if they can pull it off.

The episode opens with Will making an announcement about leaving Glee club to go to Washington D.C. He’s leaving at the end of the week and will be back in 3 months. He won’t even be around for Sectionals. And he announces Finn as his successor. Sue interrupts and objects to Finn being in charge of the Glee club. Nothing comes of her objections and she storms out of the office with threatening music behind her. WTF?

Finn talks with Sue in the teacher’s lounge. Finn apologizes to Sue about calling her baby a “retard”, but Sue doesn’t accept it because she’s seen his true colors. I have to agree with Sue on this point. Finn was a jerk last week and I don’t mind her holding a grudge against it because of that, especially when it seems like Finn doesn’t have any remorse about saying it. Finn goes to practice in the auditorium, but Sue tells him that she’s booked in for the next two weeks for the Cheerios to keep the musical out of it.

Finn arranges rehearsal at Burt’s mechanic shop. Sam, Joe, Ryder, Jake, Artie & Mike aren’t so sure. But Finn tries to inspire them to imagine the set and get into their characters. This leads into an impromptu performance of “Greased Lightnin” It’s really uninspired and of course they have the five male characters that are boring as a wall.

There’s a little bit of a problem later with Wade playing the part of Rizzo. His parents are supportive but concerned about the teasing he might receive. Sue also supports this decision and Wade is out of the musical. This leaves Finn without a Rizzo for the show (which opens tomorrow). Santana returns from college and says that she will do the role. Artie brings up the point, “The show opens tomorrow and we just gave you the script.” But Santana is confident because “I was born to play this role since I was 1.” Right after Santana convinces everyone, Tina comes walking in assuring everyone that she can do it and the costume fit. She’s rightfully pissed. “You have got to be kidding me.”

During a rehearsal Marley realizes that she can’t fit in her costume. She’s gained weight and gets ridiculed by Kitty. Marley says that she has no idea why it doesn’t fit. I begin to brace myself for a pregnancy storyline before the show quickly does a flashback where it shows Becca altering Marley’s costume to make it smaller. Kitty then invites all of the ladies over for a bonding session to get closer like their characters in the show. Marley then has a conversation with her mother in the cafeteria. Marley asks when her mother started gaining weight. Her mother reveals it happened after she divorced Marley’s father. Marley’s mother tells her not to worry and they are going to start a new strict diet together.

The sleepover happens at Kitty’s house with Kitty, Marley, Brittany, Tina, Sugar & Wade. Kitty pulls Marley into the bathroom and offers her a pill to suppress her appetite so she can fit in her costume. Marley thinks it over in the bathroom. While she’s in there, Kitty leads a performance of “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” while wearing a wig and acting like Marley. Becca Tobin sing-talks her way through the performance and it’s another lame imitation from the Grease movie that seems half-hearted in execution.

There’s also some drama happening in New York City (which was completely missing last week). Rachel’s dance class is now being introduced to the upper classmen to “bring up their game”. Rachel is paired with Brody, of course. Rachel tells Brody that she got her first audition for an Off-Broadway play, a new avant-garde production of The Glass Menagerie set in a zoo. Cassie overhears Rachel talking about this. Cassie knows the director and doesn’t think that Rachel is prepared or “broken” enough for the director.

Later, Kurt is helping Rachel stretch in the dance studio. Kurt gets a text from Tina with updates about the musical. Cassie walks in and overhears them talking about this. Cassie tells them that they need to go because they could get closure for their recent break-ups (she has ulterior motives). This convinces Kurt to go, but Rachel can’t because she doesn’t have money to buy an airplane ticket. (At least that’s realistic.) Cassie offers up her frequent Jet Blue flyer miles to pay for it.

Kurt & Rachel return to McKinley and reminisce about times there, even though they were just there a few weeks ago. They run into Mercedes in the hallway and have a mini-reunion. They go backstage and they run into their exes, Finn & Blaine. It’s really awkward but it’s an honest moment for the show, which is badly needed for this hour of ridiculous plot. It then randomly cuts to Blaine singing “Beauty School Dropout” on stage (without any warning the production of Grease has apparently already started and it’s well into the second act.) I always welcome a Darren Criss performance (you should know this if you’ve read my previous recaps). It’s not of his best performances, but I’ll take a half-baked Criss performance over a full-out performance by most of the other cast members.

Marley’s costume is tighter than ever. Becca leads Marley to the bathroom to purge herself. Ryder catches her in the bathroom trying to throw up. Blake Jenner isn’t really convincing in his “Marley! Stop that!” moment. He then shares a story with her about a guy on the wrestling team trying to make weight. It starts off a little sappy but has a funny ending that redeems the moment from being overly sentimental. Ryder leaves and Marley sings the reprise of “Look at Me” as she prepares herself to go on stage. It’s thankfully shot but a strong vocal from Benoist.

Santana & Brittany have a moment backstage. Santana reveals that she only did this so that she could see Brittany again. They both talk about how they aren’t seeing anybody but there’s still some feelings there. Santana is a compelling character and her chemistry with Brittany is spectacular. That one moment backstage has been better than anything they’ve been trying to force with Ryder, Jake, Marley & Kitty. This leads into Santana beginning “There Are Worse Things I Could Do”. It transitions into Cassie singing the song while rehearsing with Brody. Then it shifts to Wade looking sad and singing the song in a fantasy from the audience. There’s also a scene between Tina & Mike that is jammed after this one that lasts about 15 seconds and completely ignores them the rest of the time. They are actually interesting characters and the show has given them about 1 minute screentime together over the past few weeks.

Marley is in her sexy Sandy costume. Ryder tries to reassure her but Kitty swoops in and announces that a theater critic is in the audience. The critic makes Marley more nervous, but Ryder comforts her and they makeout backstage. This leads into “You’re the One That I Want”. The song is always a crowd-pleaser and it’s one of the more successful performances of the evening. Jenner & Benoist have good chemistry here.

But it then transitions into a fantasy number for Finn & Rachel taking the lead roles. Rachel becomes upset about this and runs to the bathroom to call Brody. Brody’s phone rings and Cassie answers. Cassie tells Rachel that she fooled around with Brody as revenge for Rachel putting her down with her comment about trying out for the older woman role in The Glass Menagerie*.

Rachel comes out of the bathroom and has a scene with Finn in the hallway. Finn says that he’s glad that Rachel came and it meant a lot to him. There’s some nice closure for their relationship between them. It’s actual a heartfelt scene between them. Lea Michele & Cory Monteith really display their heartache without going into an overdramatic screaming match. Great job from both of them. But maybe I spoke to soon. After they’re done, Blaine comes in and has one of those overdramatic moments with Kurt. Kurt is still upset about Blaine cheating and they don’t get that moment of closure.

After the show is over, Artie reads the review from the critic that Kitty was talking about. The critic loved it and said that Ryder & Marley were stars. Kitty is pissed. Will gives a goodbye speech and comes off as smug, per usual. Will is never shown with the kids anymore so it comes off as forced to make the audience believe like he’s an integral part of the students’ lives. Will has a short moment with Finn in the hallway giving him some confidence to run the Glee club and walks out of the school.

While it was an improvement over last week, the show still has some major issues and a lot of things don’t even come close to reality anymore. Characters come back whenever they want to and it just seems forced and contrived every time it happens. I love Naya Rivera and she blows everyone out of the water. If the show really wants to sell us on these new characters, they have to stop bringing back the old ones and reminding us that the new ones are just thinly drawn caricatures compared to the old ones. There were some nice moments though and I highlighted them in the recap. Even if the show doesn’t even want to bother with plot consistency, they should at least put some more effort into the execution and production of the musical numbers. At least give us that!

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