Glee Episode Review: Swan Song
I do not spend a lot of time obsessing over what Ryan Murphy is tweeting at any given moment, but I heard a rumor that when this episode ended he asked his twitter followers if they liked the episode. Knowing what I do of this very difficult man, I suspect he may have been sneering at Brittana shippers. On the other hand, he might have been talking to me.
"See, see, you opinionated little Kurtsie blogger! Quit complaining! I FIXED it! Are you HAPPY now?"
I ought to be, huh? And yet I leave this very uneven episode strangely unsatisfied. In order for the events in this episode to play out the way they did, the writers needed to rewrite history in a handful of places, place blame where it was not due more than once, and generally make authority figures behave like erratic lunatics who make ridiculously arbitrary and cruel decisions simply so that we, the viewers, will find what we see surprising or shocking. A lot of what happened on Glee tonight really didn't make any sense.
Now, it is not at all shocking to me that New Directions lost Sectionals. I have news for everybody; the Warblers would have won even if Marley had NOT collapsed, because Gangnam Style was really embarrassingly bad. However, I am extremely disturbed with everybody's reaction to losing. As soon as Marley collapses, Kitty starts squeaking that she needs food, and that's the only clue Santana needs to proclaim the truth; Kitty spent most of the season trying to kill Marley, and this is the result. The rest of the episode should have been at least in part about people dealing with this very ugly and evil revelation, which damaged them all so much. And yet... nobody held Kitty at all accountable for her actions, although Tina was quite ready to skin Marley alive for getting sick.
We even had a scene where Marley blamed herself for being stupid and self-centered. Whatcha wanna bet her eating disorder vanishes now? It's done it's job. Her eating disorder did not begin in a realistic way and I doubt it will end in a realistic way.
Sue twirls her mustache and crows over the demise of Glee Club. Rinse, lather, repeat. I have seen this before. Since she was actually the mastermind behind their win at Nationals last year, I find the fact that she has regressed to her first season self to be both disappointing and monotonous. It also wasn't that funny... except for a scene in which Brad, the long-suffering piano player, finally speaks to thank her for ending the Glee Club. He hates those kids. I wonder if he hates his paycheck.
Rachel's arc at NYADA is getting to be monotonous. Ah, she is a special, special snowflake who must be handed everything she wants with very little effort. Yes, got it. There was a dance-off with Cassandra, which served little purpose but to remind us that Lea is a better singer than she is a dancer. Uh... yeah, we knew that. Oh, and Cassandra is a bitch. Well, we knew that too. I can't believe I am saying this, but I would have cut the entire Rachel/Cassandra conflict AND one of Rachel's two Winter Showcase solos to get a few scenes where Finn and other Glee kids tear Kitty limb from limb for what she did to Marley. (And I don't even LIKE Marley!) For that matter, I would have cut the entire Rachel/Cassandra conflict AND one of Rachel's two Winter Showcase solos for a story about how Rachel convinced Carmen that she deserved that honor in the first place. Oh, and... she won. I guess she won to balance out the Glee Club loss. Yes, the Glee Club has lost a competition that creates huge narrative problems for the rest of the year, but it's OK because Rachel won a showcase with no implications at all that we can see. Lea is a terrific singer and her solos were very pretty, but they really served no storytelling purpose except as a very poignant contrast to Finn's situation as he sadly packs up the New Directions memorabilia. We did not need two of them.
At one point Finn screams at the Glee club members because they try to find something else fun to do with their time, since they can't even rehearse for a Christmas concert. (Btw, does anybody remember that April Rhodes GAVE them that auditorium specifically so this could NOT happen to them? Well, let's drop that piece of continuity. It's inconvenient.) Uh, Finn... yes, moving on and finding other projects is indeed a sensible, mature way to handle losing. Your bitterness is ill-placed. By the way, congratulations. You have discovered one more thing that you suck at. Now, why aren't you dealing with the fact that Kitty was directly responsible for Marley's collapse?
As for the Brittany and Sam romance.... well, my first thought is that this almost came out of left field, and after the intensity that was Brittana, and the fact that Santana was actually IN THIS EPISODE, I find the transition to this new romance to be a bit hasty. The fact that they were saying phrases that included "I Love You" in it so quickly is also hasty. I thought their song was too quick and so was their kiss... and I am NOT a Brittana shipper at all. And the dig at the lesbians... dude, that was just poking a beehive for fun. Not necessary. Since I think Chord is a so-so actor and Heather is dreadful, I do not see this going well.
For what it's worth, my husband, who is very much a GA watcher, thought the meta reference to lesbian bloggers was very funny.
And finally... Kurt.
I'm supposed to be happy about Kurt. I think I am happy that Chris Colfer is this jaw-droppingly talented. I am delighted that he gave a performance tonight which reminded me why I am still loyal to this mess of a show. However, I think the fact that Kurt finally got into NYADA tonight would have been more satisfying if his story made any sense whatsoever.
Last spring, we watched him prepare extensively and meticulously for the audition that he should not have gotten because his resume was bare, even though he has experiences in canon that would make that resume pretty good. Then he gives a wonderful audition that Carmen absolutely praises to the skies. Then... he suddenly does not get in, and he is immediately silenced. Then, he is suddenly a Vogue intern because the show actually needs him in New York and they have to throw something together to make that work. Now, he's begging for a chance to audition again, and Carmen treats him like he crapped on her floor because the audition she praised so very highly last year is now emtionally shallow and surface. Well, lady, why didn't you say that last year? She wants him to show emotion, but does not frame this as the constructive criticism of a mentor. She snarls it as if he's done something unforgivable and does not want to give him a second chance because... they have to set up this stupidly contrived situation for him. Now, those of us who know that emotional conviction is actually Kurt's musical ace in the hole are tearing our hair out. Then, all of a sudden, she announces that he's got an intermission's time to prepare an audition piece and perform for this showcase that is supposed to be this incredible honor for NYADA's very best students.
So this lady is telling Kurt that he can only get into NYADA as a student if he's able to give a credible performance with no preparation of any kind. Excuse me, but that's just irresponsible storytelling. I am so sick of the Glee writers telling us again and again that people can perform without practice
The only saving grace to this whole appalling mess of a story line is that Chris Colfer is pretty much the best thing that ever happened to Glee. His actual performance was breathtaking, and so was his acting. Single-handedly, he nearly saved this story. (Hey, everybody, go vote for him to win the People's Choice Award.)
But I still would have found the moment when Kurt got his NYADA letter much more satisfying if it came at the end of an arc that showed him working for that honor to earn the respect of a character who behaved as if her judgments were based on some kind of rational criteria. Because Carmen is irrational, inconsistent, unfair and arbitrary, Kurt's final triumph here seems to be a fluke that occurred because Carmen finally happened to zig instead of zag in her continued stream of really random and poorly explained behavior.