It was such a busy week of television with finales and a fabulous episode of Glee that I’m going to do the reviews separately starting with Glee. If you haven’t watched it and don’t want to be spoiled then don’t read, everyone else jump with me.
Tuesday’s episode of Glee was amazing, and really moved some story lines along that were needing it. All that aside let’s discuss one of the best parts of this episode, it was Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, Doogie Howser MD). NPH was fabulous, and made the episode.
NPH played Bryan Ryan, a nemesis of Will’s from his days in Glee club, who just happens to be the newest member of the school board. Bryan is there to cut programs, but mainly Glee club. He’s never gotten over his dreams of being a star failing, so he’s out to get the choir program. He actually runs a show choir recovery program (ie. Show Choir Anonymous) where he helps people get over the hurt from being in or loving show choirs. Bryan is determined to shut down the program, and goes as far as to crush the kids dreams.
He tells the members of New Directions to write down their biggest dream on a piece of paper, and then he tells them to crushes them by telling them that they’ll never achieve those dreams, using Will as an example. I felt so bad for the kids who all looked so hopeful then they looked so defeated.
Will takes Bryan out for drinks, in an attempt to change his mind about cancelling the program. He cause Bryan to admit that he misses singing, he even hides show bills from Broadway in his basement like porn. 😀 I was laughing at that one. Will cues up the juke box to Piano Man (original by Billy Joel) causing a delightfully amusing duet to ensue. He even goes as far as to convince Bryan to audition for Les Miserables that’s being put on by a local theatre company.
Will and Bryan end up auditioning for the same role (Jean Valjean which is indeed a pivotal and impressive role), and after they fight over song choice they end up singing Dream On (original by Aerosmith) as a duet. Holy freaking cow, it was fabulous, fantastic and phenomenal! NPH pulled off the falsetto at the end of the song with such ease you’d think the original was his. I love him. Will was also quite sexy singing this song and I was pleased to see Will get some serious screen time singing in this episode.
Sue is really upset that Bryan Ryan doesn’t hate show choir anymore, because he’s coming after her Cheerio’s budget. They have a rather informative debate about funding for high school programs. (arts vs. athletics) They both have some incredibly valid points. [side note :In my opinion we need a healthy balance of both in our schools today to help our kids be well rounded individuals. Otherwise they won’t be able to contribute to society in a way that is helpful for everyone’s futures.] They bicker and then agree to have angry sex (apparently the only kind Sue knows) in her secret room. So amusing.
Bryan then uses some of the Cheerio’s budget money to buy New Directions some bedazzled jean jackets, tear-away dance clothes (that make my mind travel to bad places 😉 ) and the complete collection of Broadway sheet music. Unfortunately, while the kids are revelling in the glory, Sue walks in and breaks the news that Will was given the lead in Les Mis and Bryan got to be a “townsperson”. Bryan is hurt and vindictive so he cuts the glee program all together. *sigh* Bad Bryan Ryan.
Will hunts Bryan down at rehearsals for the play, and gives him the after school special speech that tells him how Glee has been a place for these kids to be who they are. I found the speech cheesy, but it worked. It also helped that he gave up his leading role to Bryan. Bryan agrees to leave the club’s funding in place and runs off to finish practicing for his new role.
That was that for Neil Patrick Harris’ wonderful guest appearance. The thing is as great as guest stars are I’m a bigger fan of the main cast, after all they’re who we fell in love with in the first place… that said I’d welcome NPH back anytime !
Speaking of the main cast there were quite a few great stories unfolding around them this episode as well. We’ll start with the my favorite about Artie. The dream he wrote down on the paper was … to dance. *tear* Tina wants to help him, so she choreographs a dance number which backfires when Artie gets really fed up with his wheel chair. He then asks her to pass him the crutches he borrowed from another student, and he tries to walk. Artie believes he can do it because of the upper body strength he has from using his wheel chair, unfortunately it doesn’t go so well and he ends up face down on the floor. It was humiliating to watch, and one of the reasons we’re reminded that while Glee is a comedy, it’s also filled with lots of drama that makes you sad and weepy. (Or is it just me?)
Tina really wants to help Artie with his dream but she goes too far in my opinion, by giving him unreachable hope. She researches new medical procedures that doctors are developing to help people with spinal cord injuries walk again. She means well, and they even share a sweet kiss, but it sets him up for sadness. Artie takes the research to Emma to discuss counselling for when he’s walking, to help with the adjustment. Emma is quite gentle but firm when she points out that the science is a very long way from being able to cure him. His face was so filled with despair. Kudos to Kevin McHale for pulling off this story line so well.
During all this Artie goes to the mall with Tina to shop for dance shoes, he daydreams about the therapies working, and he can dance. He’s up and doing The Safety Dance in the middle of the mall backed up by Mike Chang aka “the other asian”(played by the talented Harry Shum Jr.) and Matt Rutherford (played by the underestimated Dijon Talton). It was so nice to see all of these characters get some much deserved spotlighting. Kevin McHale is a great dancer, it’s a shame he’s not able to show it off more on the show. The dance number was a blast to watch and congrats to the guest director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse) for making it look flawless.
Artie had to wake up from the dream though, and insists that Tina chooses a new partner for the dance routine so he can try to reach the goals that are achievable. She is sad, but understands, then asks him to still sing. TIna picks Mike Chang as her partner and they float on air. Artie’s singing was wonderful, although watching him broke my heart. I did love the moment when he was telling her that any of the guys could step into his part without rehearsals except for Finn. 😀 He can sing, but Finn lacks dancing ability.
I was happy to see the Artie/Tina relationship in the spotlight and I look forward to seeing more about them
Moving onto the last big story of the episode, Rachel’s. Jesse returns from his spring break trip, and he runs to make up with Rachel. I thought this was quite strange considering how angry he was the last time he was around. He gave a spiel to Rachel about wanting to make all her dreams come true, and while I wanted to believe him I knew better.
Rachel confesses that her biggest dream is to find her mother, and Jesse far too eagerly sets to making this happen. Rachel brings in suggestions such as Patti LuPone and Bernadette Peters but Jesse just encourages her to search the papers her dads have in the basement to really find her real mother.
Rachel survives looking through the shrine to her in the basement (which she admits is creepy even though it’s flattering), and brings up the boxes with the earliest dates. Jesse pretends to find a tape recorded by her mother in one of the boxes, but Rachel will not listen to it. She insists she’s not ready and tells Jesse to leave.
Now we all knew he was up to something, but we know what now. Jesse goes out to a car and speaks with … Shelby, the coach of Vocal Adrenaline played by Idina Menzel. We find out that Idina is Rachel’s mom (shocker). Shelby wants Jesse to make sure Rachel listens to that tape even though Jesse is showing genuine concern at hurting Rachel.
Shelby tells Jesse the story of how it happened. She answered an ad in the newspaper, and made enough money to live in New York for 2 years. Shelby agreed not to contact Rachel until she was 18, but Rachel can come to her. Shelby also tells Jesse that she had told him to become friends with Rachel not seduce her, but I don’t care, it’s wrong either way. Rachel is going to end up really hurt, and I just hope that Finn will stick by her and pick up the pieces.
Shelby does seem sincere about regretting giving Rachel up, and I felt a little bad for her. Then we see Jesse getting Rachel to listen to the tape and it’s Shelby singing I Dreamed a Dream. Thanks to the magic of television we get to see Rachel and Shelby singing the song together on a stage looking amazing in their black dresses, and it was heart wrenching. The song ends and Rachel is her room alone, and Shelby is in her car alone. So sad, but what a tremendous song and such awe inspiring voices.
It’s not that I’m surprised by this story, it’s just that I didn’t think we’d be seeing this until the end of season 1 beginning of season 2. I was a little shocked that Shelby would use Jesse to get to Rachel though, it makes me question her character. I honestly cannot wait for this week’s episode.
Overall, this episode was as EPIC as I said it was. *Patting my own back* 😉 What did you all think of it? Love it? Hate it? Tell me below in the comments or on twitter (@BaffledAddict).
Check back later today or tomorrow for my reviews of the season finales of Bones and Grey’s Anatomy.