Ah, the midseason finale, otherwise known as “the episode in which Will gets everything and the story is wrapped up with a neat little bow.” Which brings me to wonder what we will be coming back with when Glee returns, which will hopefully be…never. (I kid, I kid, I can barely wait until it comes back from hiatus!) This is going to be a quick review, just pulling my thoughts together a bit because I believe that Anna and I are doing a bigger writeup over at FWD later, so consider this abstract thoughts more than anything else.
Seriously, did anyone notice that Will got…everything he wanted? This was the episode in which his trampling on others finally paid off, and perfect, martyred Will got to Beat Sue, take the glee club back, and Get the Girl. So, let’s examine things a bit.
Beating Sue: Will finally got to out Sue’s machinations which had been going on throughout the season, and the other show choir directors were even shamed into confessing about the cheating with the set list. Which set the stage for one of the most awkward and bizarre scenes I have ever witnessed, in which Will got to sit smugly in the principal’s office watching Sue get her dressing down. That seemed to be part of a theme of this episode, which was also “the episode in which the ladies get their comeuppance.” Can you imagine, for a moment, how humiliating that would be in real life, to be hauled in for punishment and to have your chief rival witness it?
Taking the glee club back: Of course, we knew that this had to happen because of the structure of the show. Will selflessly took the fall of the glee club’s mistake last episode, so of course he regains control with this episode, as part of the larger Vindication of Will plot. And of course the glee club welcomes him back, the conquering hero, with a special number they prepared just for him. (During which, as Anna pointed out, he looked incredibly bored.)
Getting the Girl: Ah, yes, let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about the scene in the bedroom in which Will’s mentally ill wife tells him that she’s seeking out counseling, abases herself, tries to make herself as pathetic as possible, all the hopes of getting that real prize back. And Will rejects her to hurry to Emma. Dressed in virginal white, of course. I’ve been hating the characterization of Terri all season, and I’m still on the fence. She’s either a really well written mentally ill character (and it bears noting that people are more likely to abuse women with mental illnesses), or she’s a total mess of a stereotypical manipulative woman character, and the writers just completely missed the whole mentally ill angle.
The women of Glee in this episode. Sigh. Oh, so much sighing. Let’s start with Rachel, who once again got to be the star, rescuing the Glee club in the process. She is not the better singer. They’re just setting her up that way. Of course Mercedes couldn’t perform a ballad on the fly to save the club! Rachel needs to be the center of attention.
And, of course, Rachel gets there by stomping on others, by being ruthless and cruel. As seen in the scene in which the Second Unmasking of the Deceiver happens, and Quinn is outed as the lying, deceitful sneaky mcsneakerson that she is. Which Quinn proceeds to thank Rachel for, with a reference to “bravery.” There’s nothing brave about disclosing private information about someone else to try and steal her guy. Rachel didn’t risk anything by doing it. And, of course, Finn had to respond with violence, because that’s what the heroic men of Glee do! They get violent when they realize that teh ladiez are all liars.
We also had the gay quotient upped this episode, with the obligatory titillating bicurious cheerleaders. Of course, it’s safe for them to come out, unlike Kurt, and it will also be safe to display their sexuality on screen, unlike Kurt’s. I assume that this will become a bit of a running gag on the show, perhaps in part to distract us from the fact that Kurt is basically not allowed to be sexual. “But see, we have gay people!”
I don’t really want to go into the sectionals performance that much. It was incredibly painful and troped; look at the underdog club with their Handi-Capable bus inspiring the audience to sing and dance! But, think on this; why did they not show the Deaf choir performing? Why did they, instead, show the audience reacting with hankies? (A throwback to all the obsequious praise in the media after “Wheels” from people saying that they “bawled” at the “inspiring” scenes with the Deaf choir.) We saw song and dance numbers with everyone else, but the Deaf choir, apparently, was not worth watching.
Which seems pretty par for the course, for Glee. Ultimately, the white able people get everything, including the focus. This was really brought home to me early in the episode, when the choir was seated during practice and I realized that all of the white people were on one side, and Artie and the people of colour were on the other. This separation persists throughout the series; the characters are not fully integrated and do not feel like a whole group because they are consistently divided. From Very Special Episodes dedicated to specific minorities because their plot lines are too unimportant to flow naturally through the series, to blatant segregation on screen as seen when Will and Sue were codirecting the glee club. And this show won a diversity award.
There was one high note in this episode; what was probably intended as a throwaway line from Sue, in which she scathingly tells Will “you’d never hit a woman, would you?” This makes her, to date, the only character who has called Will out for abusing his wife. Funny how Sue was the only one who could do that.
Edited to add: You can also check out Laura’s review of “Sectionals” at Adventures of a Young Feminist!