Praise Cheesus! Last week wasn't a fluke. Glee is really back! Even without Sue, this week managed to deliver with a heated duet competition. Jealousies rose, revenge and redemption were attempted, and one Gleek lost their V-card!
The episode opened with the sad, sad news that our beloved Puck(erman) was sent to juvie for stealing his mom's car, crashing into a convenient store and driving away with the ATM. So that's how he plans on taking care of his baby. But with Puck in jail, who would play guitar and make the ladies sway and swoon! Who would fill that dreaded 12th spot in New Directions! Oh. Right. The new kid, Sam. Mr. Golden Locks burst in to the chorus room like a total nerd. "Sam I Am!" he says. "I don't like Green Eggs and Ham!" he says. I don't buy his nice, awkward but adorable schtick. But you know who does? Kurt. And by buy I mean lusts after. Lust which is only made worse by Mr. Schue's decision to pay for a dinner at Breadsticks™ for the couple with the best duet.
Everyone in the club freaks out at the idea of going to Breadsticks for free, which, at first I thought was kind of weird, but then I remembered that in high school (and college for that matter) kids will do anything for a free meal. Especially at a place with bottomless anything.
Finn and Rachel kicked off the duets with a sickeningly sweet version of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John. I happen to like this version better, but to each his own. Apparently, something about staring longingly into Finn's eyes and singing a song written by, most likely, one of her idols, Rachel manages to shed some of her uber bitch and has a revelation! Finn makes her want to be a better person. And to do this, for some reason, she and Finn have to throw the competition to let Sam win, in order to keep him around so he can help them win regionals/nationals/whatevernals. At first, Finn was struck by Rachel's sudden turn toward selflessness, but realized, in a rare moment of intelligence, that in the end keeping Sam around to help win nationals would eventually help Rachel out, thus her still being a selfish bitch to some degree. Baby steps, Finn, baby steps. They didn't build Rome in a day. Let's all just take Rachel's moment of lucid kindness as the first moment of many, less irritating Rachel scenes on the show.
Yeah, mission throw the competition accomplished.
Kurt, also looking to win in his own way, approaches Sam to be his duet partner, completely ignoring Finn's warnings. See, Finn, still fresh off the gay-guy-hit-on-me-and-I'm-not-cool-with-that-but-I'm-cool-with-him boat, warned Kurt about making Sam a social pariah within his first few weeks, for his own personal gain... i.e. singing with him to win a free dinner and some alone time. Sam wasn't really given the opportunity to say no, what with Kurt's constant chit chat about dyed hair and show tunes, so the fact that Sam and Kurt were going to be duet partners led Finn to push his mildly homophobic concern for Sam's well being on him in the locker room. And for that, I thank him because we were treated to this:
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Even if Santana claims that she's only there because Puck is locked up, and she "needs something warm beneath [her] to digest [her] food," it's pretty obvious that Brittany is smitten, in as much as Brittany can be. It's a blow to her that Santana decides to bail, as a best friend and make-out buddy, and solicit the other powerhouse of the group, Mercedes, for a duet. Because, although Brittany can dance, she doesn't have that same umph that Mercedes and Santana both share, and Santana knows that together they'd blow the proverbial diva roof off the diva house. Which they do. Because they are both hungry to take over some of the glory that Rachel's been hoarding with her Barbara Streisand impressions. Or... hungry for unlimited free breadsticks. Or both.
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Over in Asian paradise, another couple seems to be crumbling. Tina and Mike are fighting over all things Asian. Dim Sum dinners with overbearing moms. Chicken feet salads. Singing duets. See, Mike (who is totally rocking his screen time) is afraid to do anything other than dance, which is apparently all he can do. Tina, playing the role of every nagging girlfriend everywhere thinks she can change him. Ugh. #asianpeopleproblems.
In an attempt to get back at Santana for ditching her, both sexually and professionally, she turns her slutty sights on Artie with this come hither stare.
Despite his first instinct to roll away, he doesn't. After all, he wants to make Tina jealous, too. So the two use each other. Well, Brittany uses Artie... in that way.
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And then they don't even end up singing, because Artie realizes he was used, but — surprise! — Brittany seems to have actually liked him! And then she lost him. She even practiced everything in that scene from Lady and the Tramp, in hopes that they'd get to do it on their Breadsticks date that never was. Artie just lost his virginity, which as a high school nerd, he should be ecstatic about. I don't care how holier-than-thou you are, if you're a 16 year old male virgin and social outcast, losing it to a hot cheerleader, no matter how dumb and easy she happens to be, is a win.
After coming to terms with his true motives for wanting to sing with Sam, Kurt lets him off the hook, and decides to go full on theatre kid by singing with the only person who can hold a candle to his talent: himself. The song of choice? "Le Jazz Hot" from Victor/Victoria. It was exactly what Kurt needed to do. It fit him like a cross-dressing sparkly fringed glove.
Free from Kurt's overbearing duet direction, Sam starts to put the moves on Quinn, by... admitting to seeing Avatar six times and complimenting her in Navi. That would be the language they speak in the film. I know, it's not even as cool as Elvish. Also, six times? That's like $120 if he saw it in 3D each time, and let's be serious, that's the only way to watch Avatar. Yet, even that level of nerdity wasn't what turned her away from him at first. No, she probably found his obsession with Avatar kind of endearing. The flat out attempt to make out with her while practicing their duet? Not so much. But duet they did, after a little prodding from Finn and Rachel. Watching the two of them sing "Lucky" by Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz was like watching the beginning of The Notebook: The Musical (someone make that happen!). Two pretty blonde people being pretty and blonde throwing away their pretty blonde cares to sing a pretty blonde song about pretty blonde love written and sung by pretty blonde people. Ugh. #whitepeopleproblems.
Then Tina and Mike do their thing, which happens to be the most clever use of a duet since... Kurt's, about 10 minutes prior. Tina, who I didn't realize was so well versed in showtunes, chose Sing, from A Chorus Line. The song is all about not being able to sing! So Mike Chang gets to do the fancy dance while Tina awkwardly bops behind him. I guess it could have been worse.
The winners end up being Sam and Quinn, everyone's favorite new Aryan couple, and they end up really hitting it off at Breadsticks. And instead of using the gift card, Quinn lets her guard down and insists that Sam pay, as a gentleman always pays on the first date. Awwwww, the pretty people are in puppy love. And at the table behind them, poor Brittany practices her Lady and the Tramp moves alone.
She may have lost Artie and Santana, but she'll always have the meatball.
Rachel then asks the lonely Kurt, aka her gay doppelganger, to sing a duet "just for them," because she's still on her selfless wave. Everyone watches as they out belt each other and make those scary singing faces that you only hear about in horror stories.
And that's all for this week, Gleeks. One last thing. As good as this episode was — and let me tell you, for a Sue-less episode it was damn good — duets? With no Captain & Tennille? What a rip off.