Speaking of Glee music: Okay, now I'm even enchanted by their cover of "Rose's Turn." At this point it's like being under the influence of a drug addiction. Someone please bring me back to earth and remind of exactly where Kurt was horrible, because I am just...not...remembering any parts like that and that cannot be right. He was a professional Rachel-basher and creeper-stalked Finn to the point of sexual harassment; I know I had issues.
Anyway. This post brought to you by the fact that I am steadily acquiring the library's entire collection of Glee music. Not for keeps, unfortunately, but I have seven different albums residing in my empire right now, and hoping I can get at least one requested DVD set to join them before any are due. I am drunk on my prosperous fortune.
Glee, 3x11, "Michael"
A solid bid for third place -- which means we now have three episodes qualifying as Excellent -- and considering first & second are already locked up, that is good work for the week. There were like 5 minutes total during which I was not a spasm of joy.
I realize the pacing was an insane switch-off race of "Dialogue! Song! Dialogue! Song!", but I think it worked. All the numbers were good -- though that may just be a side effect of my newfound determination to accept everything in context -- and most of the storylines were right up my alley.
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
"But why is there crotch-grabbing??"
That's the number-one horrified question on my mind, which just about disqualified this number on principle until I spent half an hour replaying it with a hand over the screen, watching shoes until I had figured out exactly how to self-censor the performance to avoid seeing either that or the almost-as-inappropriately-disturbing moves from Kurt and Sam (both of you, seriously, STOP IT).
Besides that, this was my second favorite of the night. Blaine slays me whenever he takes confident lead on a number that involves dancing; when he strides down the hall, I am just a mess of glowing pride and overwhelming joy that we get him back next year (coming to terms with him being a junior: done). Artie's voice is probably best suited to Jackson's work, but...that does not compute once Blaine starts. Rightful King of Glee Club, now and forever.
Then there's the excellent library work, where there is an excessive amount of flirting with Quinn that I can't even handle.
This works better in motion, but you see my point
(+Rachel & Quinn are studying together! Voluntarily! Fine, with Tina, but at least together they form my dream team of The Good Glee Girls). And finally, the fancy stage production, where I adore everything except what I have previously dressed down. It just makes me so happy, not least because Blaine's falsetto is my favorite part of "Man in the Mirror," and now there's more of it.
Let me explain my feelings with the Deluxe Transcript entry I wrote as soon as this was released as a sneak peek.
Giant gang of kids, the better to witness Blaine's downfall, are sitting around chatting about Michael Jackson. Santana is in the middle of making death threats at Rachel for not “getting” his music when our resident Meerkat Face shows up. In twenty seconds flat, he gleefully rats out Blaine and causes a general shitstorm, then concludes with the magnificent line, "Oh my god, hey Kurt, I didn't recognize you. You are wearing boy clothes for once!" Since he's officially dropped all pretense of friendliness, Santana promptly channels her Lima Heights Adjacent/Gangsta Ho mode to threaten him instead. He just beams at her and hides behind his states attorney daddy to throw some racist insults her way. Guys, Sebastian is kind of my favorite now.
And that's all it took (well, that and "Smooth Criminal"). Let it be known that from this day forward, Sebastian has filled that empty place in my heart left by Azimio's invisibility and Karofsky's defection that needs a confident bully to torment people I hate. I am in love with how hard he owns his assholery, and how he keeps showing up because Blaine consistently refuses to see anything but the good in people, and god help me, that perma-smirk that so infuriated me when Sebastian first appeared is now my favorite thing about him. Almost starting to see why all the Warblers went soft in the head and appointed him captain, because I'm under his spell.
(then again, Blaine wasn't there very long before he was leading them either, so maybe they are all just afraid of power and hand it off to the first person who comes along and asks for it)
[Edit: Would you like both headcanon for how that happened as well as Warbler insight into the scene below? Here you are. (untitled?) by jakia. Trent used to go to McKinley, you know.
First thing that came into my head:
I also ran it with a flipped image so the text flowed more naturally, but this is what got posted to my not-yet-officially-revealed!Tumblr.
Loved everything about this -- the smirky Warblers, Blaine leading the faceoff, his brief turn shoving Sebastian, how Santana's vocals kill when she enters. Although I did contemplate what might happen if some of their theatrical fight choreography turned into actual fisticuffs and maybe an all out brawl and then somebody brings a knife to a song fight and Blaine's life gets very meta in the worst possible way. No? It's not like reality was all that far off the mark...
[Edit: That was fast. Sharp - fides_rationem]
Happy Early Valentine's Day, blaine_angst
I see Dalton's zero-tolerance policy on bullying has really made an impression.
Still in a bliss coma that it happened exactly the way I envisioned it, right down to him protecting Kurt, which I thought was just rabid speculation. I was prepared to take the Very Potter Musical Crucio-ing as my only audio for the scene, so nice work adding new anguish. And I know this vid was done for deliberate melodrama/mockery, but you pretty much need to watch it in slo-mo to clearly see what happens, and it is helpful in that regard.
Personally, I like to play that clip in the episode unmuted at quarter speed; the screams are much more dramatic that way. Also, someone has helpfully mentioned how much the red slushie looks like blood spattered on the ground. Yeah, I'll be over there, illustrating like seventeen different plots that have appeared in my head since the day Karofsky threatened Kurt.
Still waiting to be hooked up with the canon-compliant missing scene fic, but in the meantime, you can play with this awesome alternate version in which the culprit is a dislocated shoulder rather than eye injury. I promise it is everything you could possibly need, though I advise only reading part 1. Or, well, you can start part 2, but you'll know when to stop.
Cold As Ice - fides_rationem, a/k/a jetsfanforlyfe, a/k/a "that person who turns out to be the author every other time Google independently dredges up an unusually spectacular story"
Suffice to say that Kurt's subdued, detached responses while describing what happened to Blaine are nothing short of perfect. Also, I've missed Angry Schue coming out to yell things like "Do you want to get disqualified from Regionals?" and send kids on time-out.
I enjoyed Artie increasingly revving into such a rage that you wonder if maybe he is going to go all Hulk Smash on the nearest object, like the piano. But the song...apparently this is the darling of the world, and I didn't like it. In the bottom 3, because the song had glimmers of potential [edit: and the audio-only version is growing on me? whoops] but the literal screaming and the static sound effects were awful, the performance was freaking weird, and I couldn't concentrate on Kevin McHale's apparently legendary dance moves because all I could think about was how, without the glasses, he looks exactly like Jonathan Togo.
Perfection? Quinn asking Rachel if she's pregnant. (if only!) Rachel seeking honest advice from a friend. Quinn kicking ass and gets into Yale because of her triumph-over-pregnancy story. SINCERE HUGGING HAPPENS. Quinn getting another forceful speech urging Rachel to spread her wings and fly, which in any other episode would lead to one or both of them performing Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" to great effect.
"Even thought I loved some of them. But by the time the snow falls in New Haven next winter, I won't know why."
Why does that somehow feel like the saddest thing I've ever heard her say? Or at least the epigraph to a reflection fic.
The only thing I hate is when Quinn teeters dangerously into implying that marriage is an archaic institution at any age ("I guess at one point it made sense to love somebody your whole life, but it doesn't anymore."). Frick, social activism is totally going to get its claws into her once she arrives at Yale and turn her into one of those Needlessly Aggressive College Feminists, the type of kids who like to feel important by stamping their feet, using pretentious language beyond their years and making a lot of outraged and cliched noise about things they have no firsthand experience with.
Never Can Say Goodbye
I got stupidly excited by the lyrics I looked up ahead of time, and then was disappointed by the faster tempo and general lack of expected emotion in the performance, but Quinn solos are such rare and precious things that I've accepted their 40-50% fail rate just to stare at her face. OR ACTUALLY: to stare at her face nestled up close to Sam's. (were there other boys? meh. irrelevant)
This is like the only part in the entire episode with good lighting.
In context...this breaks my heart. She looks stunning, and I know I should be grateful Glee is trying to stagger its goodbyes, but the fact remains that it is going to rip my heart to shreds when Dianna is the only important cast member who doesn't come back next year. Between the lyrics and the photos in her locker that tell the story of everything, I'm a weepy mess. I wanted everything for her, and maybe now she'll get it, but it's too late and it's never enough.
Liked how it ended in the choir room, though, all cute and bouncy
Translation of giant capslock mess in my notes: She told Mr. Schue first. Made a specific stop to visit him before she told anyone else (I'm assuming even before Rachel) -- clearly he also wrote her recommendation letter -- and he's still so freaking proud of her that he has to babble about it again in front of everyone and tell her how much she deserves it. THIS IS ALL I HAVE EVER WANTED FROM THEIR RELATIONSHIP.
Repressing mildly rageful feelings about Quinn's increasingly ham-fisted subtext in Rachel's direction ("You can't change your past. But you can let go, and start your future."); focusing instead on how Kurt immediately shoots a look over at Rachel to see how she's taking the news of Quinn's success. ♥
Still a bit weepy about Quinn leaving for good and striking out all on her own, even though she needs it.
Santana earned a full blown Character Redemption Pass right here as soon as she suggested dragging Sebastian "bound and gagged" to a tattoo parlor and getting him a tramp stamp that says "Tips Appreciated." I am taking it away from her on Valentine's if not sooner, but for one glorious week she did the impossible and made me love her again. From this point forward, she is flawless. p.s. "Prancy Smurf." Girl, I have missed you.
It is just too delicious that Kurt has violent revenge impulses when it comes to people hurting Blaine. And that he's struggling to come to terms with it, but it doesn't make the feeling any less real. #dead
Worst part of the episode, only scene I can't watch. It's an appealing tune and I will listen to it as part of a CD, but I loathe this forced 'romance' more than I have loathed any non-Puck-inclusive het ship on this show, and I just want to hear Sam sing a non-country song by himself again someday, okay. I miss his voice.
They Can't Take This Away
That is a ridiculous reason to pull him out of class, Burt. I like that Kurt's mind immediately jumped to Blaine, because THAT is the only reason you should be here.
Oh, I see what you did there. If I had not decided 3 days ago to love their friendship, this hug would have done me in under any circumstances. Of course it would have. It is utterly foreign and yet so completely welcome territory to see Kurt be the one providing safe-harbor comfort; never tiring of watching her cry into his shirt. But the thing with loving their friendship is that now I also get to love how wildly excited he is to share the good news with her, his foot-in-mouth attempt to laugh off her melodrama, and his face falling at her meltdown. (Major component of reaction notes: "KURT'S FACE. JUST KURT'S FACE, ALL THE TIME.")
I will now proceed to ignore the rage bubbling in my chest at the implicit confirmation that Rachel apparently applied nowhere else and is now banking every ounce of her not-inconsiderable talent on a) a ridiculously competitive school vs. b) NOTHING. WHAT IS A SAFETY SCHOOL, GLEE? Please look it up and get back to me with your plans to rectify.
As a song, it's boring (and ack, it IS about a rat. CANNOT DISSOCIATE), but it also has the best 3-way split I've ever heard on Glee. I love the equal shares on soloing, and the various combinations of the two not singing lead at a given point create gorgeous harmonies. But forget the song; we are really here for the context.
Best part of the episode, right here. Not even the 10,000 hilarious pirate!Blaine cracks taken at this scene prior to airing can ruin it. (honestly, Leno, it was just
* I need huge HQ screencaps so I can examine the bookshelves in that room. They are tall and stuffed with books and as distracting as injured!Blaine is, I have priorities in order. And I was not paying a whole lot of attention in 3x05 so I only just noticed that there are horse trophies in his room. Horse trophies. No, I dare you, be more perfect. (here is an awesome over-analysis of everything spotted in 3x05; the relevant part is the multiple pictures of polo)
* Rachel & Finn showing up to visit. They can stay together only because these four all need to run off to New York and share a 2-bedroom apartment after high school at some point. Either way, it is just really important to me that Blaine & Rachel stay thick as thieves.
* Kurt's mildly alarmed reaction but inability to articulate why Blaine should shut down his oblivious toast
* "Honestly, I'm terrified." They gloss right over this in favor of making Rachel sound as stupid as her boyfriend, but I perked up at a tone that suggests we should come back to this at a date closer to the actual surgery and/or when it's just him & Kurt.
* Blaine's face. Just all the time, in general.
* Kurt holding his hand throughout the song
* I feel like I should list that one twice
* It made me very flaily
[Edit: Speaking of people visiting Blaine, here's a story twist: what if Sebastian is just a straight-up sociopath?
Rage, It Burns Like Chinese Torture - mannadisanicola. Sebastian and Blaine have a nice intimate talk about the future.
Dialogue: Santana's outfit is smoking, and that silhouette of her striding past the classroom was the best. I love how she comes in and tears them down for turning on their former friend. I am fascinated by Sebastian's stranglehold on this group that allows him to instantly silence their concern, and how delighted he seems when Santana gives as good as she gets, having apparently considered her a worthy opponent who will thus be even more fun to destroy. "She questioned my honor. I demand satisfaction." Stop, stop, you're killing me! You can be a series regular
Performance: Best of the night, bar none. I'm thinking Top 5 of the entire season? I was riveted by the cellos, voices and performance from the very first play. I maintain that their chemistry is on fire and am struggling to believe they're both gay, or at the very least, that they would not have mutually disinterested hate sex for reasons of blackmail or other personal gain. But literally everything from the music to the intense expressions to the predatory cat-and-cat game (nobody's a mouse here) prowling around the chairs was stunning.
"Kurt, this isn't violent, this is clever. I taped it to my underboob."
SERIOUSLY. This is why Santana is on fire today. I think the only person who gets to decide whether they go to the police or not is Blaine. Because he is Blaine, he will probably share Kurt's reasoning, but medical bills are involved here -- and even if he still refuses, I think his parents might want action taken against someone attacking their son unprovoked. Especially when it's the second time. And even for Glee, this an extreme insult to my intelligence: "You can't go looking for payback every time the world wrongs you"?!
a) Sure you can, and
b) Injured to the point of requiring surgery. That's not petty revenge, that's why we have laws about assault.
I Just Can't Stop Loving You
Another in the bottom 3. Again, it's quite an appealing rendition and I would listen to it on a CD, but this romance makes me stabbity, and the kiss was the second worst thing about this episode. Fine, show, I'm just going to sit here and keep waiting for someone to shut this nonsense down. Can't even deal with how much it kills me to watch them destroy Rachel's character for Frankenteen. I just want to swoop in and take her away from all the bad options in her life. It makes sense now why Quinn got so hostile, doesn't it? This is like Blair Waldorf, minus outright emotional abuse but worse because I actually care about her. WHERE IS HER DAN.
p.s. Finn, you know what else symbolizes your promise to stay together, but in a more age-appropriate way? A promise ring. Remember when Sam was all over that? Somehow that has actually become the less stupid option.
Troll Murphy: LOL JK CUT FOR TIME AT THE LAST MINUTE.
Black and White
Performance: Oh, this song! I recognize it! (first one all night) Just did not know it was Jackson. I love many things about this rendition (Rachel's "hee hee," Santana's entrance, Kurt's pointed "when I saw you kicking dirt in my eye" and fierce twirls), but I've been over Artie rapping for a long time, and the morphing effect is going to give me nightmares.
Then again, watching the Warblers remember that Kurt was their friend too, and that they in fact used to not be dillholes and thus climbing on stage to dance in one big happy show choir family? My heart is very full. Never understood why the guy leading Uptown Girl, who is my favorite of the bunch, wasn't in charge anyway.
Post-performance: Not a bad scene overall, but repressing rage about the fact that Kurt decides to actually turn over their only evidence back to Sebastian. How stupid are you? If you insist on taking the misguided high road, then at least use fear as a motivator. And didn't the Warblers already know what kind of person Sebastian was? At least two of them WERE RIGHT THERE when he admitted to it in the first place, remember? Waiting with a non-laced slushie? Plus they are all the special kind of cowardly jackass who walks away from their injured friend in the first place, so...not totally sure what you proved here today.
I'm just happy they tacked this onto the end so I could have a week or so to squee about how cute they are and plan their fabulous New York adventures before something screws that up. Given the amount of rage capslocked into my notes about the idea of Kurt getting in without Rachel, it will not be pretty.
TL;DR/In Conclusion: Sebastian is my new favorite, Santana was awesome, the Hurt/Comfort Radar went crazy, the music was 100% successful, and nothing in the episode (save Sam/Mercedes kissing) made me react in a "THIS ANGERS AND HORRIFIES ME" manner that Yes/No did, probably by virtue of excluding Sue, Brittana & Emma. I'm very happy with it.
Up Next: Let me see, how I can articulate my interest in Ricky Martin..."Livin' La Vida Loca" is a great song to dance to and counts among my personal radio classics. The end. And considering this will be our first week without Blaine in ages, not looking forward to this episode at all.
(Darren Criss, why don't you have at least three clones so that you can simultaneously be on Glee and Broadway, part of StarKid, and pursuing a solo music career? There is just not enough of you to go around).