SOUND OFF: GLEE Goes Three Ways
Gloria! Glee is nearing graduation season, complete with senior flings, faculty faux pas and Fat Tuesday-befitting festivities on the NYC side of the show, as well. Last night's ep gave us some major '80s gems, '90s lite rockers, '00 anthems and even an obscure '60s tune, too, showing the dependable diversity of not only the music but the general themes of the one and only hit musical dramedy series in history. Heart to The Supremes to Simple Minds, Wilson Phillips and Destiny's Child - it was a delight.
By the way, don't miss my special InDepth InterView with Lea Michele all about the new season of Glee and much more, available here.
In honor of the theme of tonight's episode, penned by Rivka Sophia Rossi and directed by co-creator Ian Brennan, "Trio", here are three exemplary examples of the most excellent elements of the show - highlighted by three trios: the New Directions threesome of Blaine (Darren Criss), Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz); the McKinley faculty foes Sue (Jane Lynch) and the couple otherwise known as Wemma, Will & Emma (Matt Morrison & Jayma Mays); plus, the NYC crew of Rachel (Lea Michele), Santana (Naya Rivera) and Starchild (Adam Lambert).
1. Hold On
Will and Emma proceeded to succeed in conceiving a child, though on school time, much to the inadvertently stumbled-upon horror of Becky (Lauren Potter). Thus, Sue enacted a characteristic hilarious exchange with the teaching twosome in disciplining them for acting on their intentions on school property, though their efforts were apparently for naught. At first (spoiler alert!). And, as far as the McKinley story goes, what will become of Sue Sylvester in the supposedly entirely NYC-focused ensuant final season and a half of the series following graduation in a few weeks, especially considering she is set to be involved as much as always (how could she not)? We shall soon see, one way or another. As for Emma herself, we are well aware already that Jayma Mays will be making her exit soon enough, so the moments shared with Morrison were ones to treasure for fans of the pair. So, too, was "Danny's Song" a superb selection to showcase Morrison's rich vocals. Notably, it was the second Kenny Loggins song to be features on the show, following last weeks "Whenever I Call You Friend", which Loggins brought to fame alongside rock icon Stevie Nicks. The happy note to end the storyline upon was a pleasant coda to the colorful B-storyline of the show.
2. Jumpin', Jumpin'
On the other side of the McKinley-heavy ep, the New Directions emerging trio of Blaine, Sam and Tina made for fine fodder for a few fantastically kitschy musical numbers - among them, a booming cover of the Simple Minds standout "Don't You Forget About Me", complete with '80s regalia, as well as a bumpin' Destiny's Child R&B gem, "Jumpin', Jumpin'". While the motivations may have been strained, the drama was a light parallel to the more dark and dramatic shadings of the NYC story; and even Wemma (until the end). Yet, Blaine's disgust with Sam and Tina's d'alliance seemed a bit forced and the sooner he gets to NYC the better as far as he is concerned, all told. Criss continues to be a show standout with his assured vocals and charismatic appearances throughout - astonishingly so, actually,
As expected, the NYC storyline delivered on the showstoppers, drama and flashiness - as (almost) always. It's profoundly pronounced that the series is inevitably and inextricably moving towards the Big Apple full-time and that focus is amply apparent in the strength and tangible energy clear to be seen in the NYC-set scenes, both in their pacing, style, feeling and verve. Last night's episode was certainly one example - though the painting of a spare room and faculty bathroom sex aren't hard to top on the coolness level, after all. Case in point: Rachel and Elliot aka Starchild ignited a fearsome Heart firecracker with "Barracuda", showing off two of the strongest vocalists on the series - now or ever - with a barn-burner of a rocker. Sensational. So, too, was "Gloria" given a three-way thrill byway of Santana joining the flashy pair for a sing-off rendition of the FLASHDANCE staple. Scintillating, indeed. Guest star Demi Lovato joined in on the fun for a spirited singing of a more obscure '60s soundtrack song by Motown legends The Supremes, "The Happening", led by Kurt (Chris Colfer) with appreciable back-up by Starchild. Closing out the songstack for the show was the Wilson Phillips classic "Hold On" given bi-coastal group treatment - billowy white drapes included.
Next week, Nationals! Yes, Glee is going cross-country with a show set in Los Angeles aptly titled "City Of Angels", complete with Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." and much more. Plus, PITCH PERFECT and SPRING AWAKENING's Skylar Astin appears for the first time. Stay tuned until then - and grab your shades!