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GLEE: Epiode 15, The Power Of Madonna

What's going down?

"Madonna. Simply saying the word aloud makes me feel powerful; even in voice-over. How I have worshipped her ever since I was a little girl. Madonna is the most powerful woman to ever walk the face of the Earth."

Sue clearly has strong feelings about the pop icon and by yet again blackmailing Figgins manages to put a new policy in place, whereby Madonna's Greatest Hits will be playEd Loudly over the school's tannoy all day every day. She also requests that a few of the students experience Madonna's life; basically meaning that she wants to ship them off to New York to seek their fame with only $35 in their pocket. I wonder who it is that she has in mind.

The Cheerios coach has always wanted to pay homage to Madonna and now that the team are set to take nationals again she is finally able to do so. At practice she gets them to ask themselves the question; What Would Madonna Do? Sue has already figured out the answer which is "usually date a younger man." She insists the Cheerios find some younger arm candy, telling the freshmen that unfortunately they're going to have to start prowling the middle schools. In order to win, they're going to have to start living like Madonna.

Over at Glee club rehearsal Rachel asks her fellow members on advice regarding the big issue of virginity. She wants to know what to do if a boy pressures her into having sex and she doesn't want to. She of course hides the fact that the boy in question is still Jesse St James as we cut to them the previous night where she tells him she isn't ready. Santana's advice? "Just do what I do, never say no." Tina tells her that we girls are just going to have to accept that guys don't care about our feelings. Cut to Artie and Tina, where he tells her if she wants to "get all up on this" she's going to have to change her style as the "goth thing was two years ago."

Overhearing their conversation Schue seems concerned about the amount of boy trouble they're having. He suggests that they go to Emma for advice on dealing with the problems - though she proved to be of little help to Rachel, as, if we remember from last week's episode, she is still a virgin herself, even going as far to suggest that she speak to her rabbi. However, the girls still think that the boys' attitudes will never change. Will tells Emma he'd like to help her become more confident as he thinks this will in turn have an effect on the students of McKinley, as well as preparing her for the advice she'll need to give.

As Will leaves her office he hears Madonna's "Ray of Light" blaring out of the speakers and walks in on the Cheerios practising. While Sue says Madonna would weep from amidst her stately manor home in the countryside it gives Will an idea to get the Glee kids to perform their own numbers by her. If they think that's hard try passing a gallstone like Sue - that's hard. Over at rehearsals the girls and Kurt are psyched for their new assignment but the boys aren't quite so impressed as they insist they'd prefer to sing something manlier. Will tells them that this is their problem and calls them out for being "disrespectful, bullying, sexist and misogynistic". If like Finn you're wondering what misogynistic means Brittany can explain. "When I pulled my hamstring, I went to a misogynist." In order to show the boys just how Madonna has empowered woman, Rachel leads the girls in singing "Express Yourself", suits et al.

Keen to follow Sue's instruction to be like the Queen of pop, Brittany tells Santana about the new boy she's dating, Wes Brody. ""He's super-cute. He plays soccer with my sister. He's seven." Her best friend panics that if she doesn't find a "younger, inferior man" then Sue will kick her off the team. Brittany tells her to try and seduce Finn again, with the best way to keep a hold of him being taking his virginity: "Madonna, like, wrote a song about it." So Santana marches over to Finn, deciding to take the blunt approach telling him it's high time he lost the big v because "everything about you screams virgin." He cuts her off telling her that he still has feelings for Rachel. However, once Santana says that it's obvious that she's still dating Jesse, it looks as if Finn may change his mind.

Madonna isn't playing in Emma's office and she calls Sue in to ask her why. "Well, it's simple, Arlene. You don't deserve the power of Madonna. You have none of her self-confidence, her power over her body, or her sexual magnetism. Simply put, you have all the sensuality of one of those pandas down at the zoo who refused to mate." Ouch. Turns out Sue had her intercom disconnected.

Rachel calls Finn in for some extra rehearsals for their Madonna assignment. She asks him to do a mash-up of "Borderline" and "Open Your Heart" with her and she thinks both the boys and the girls need to come together and as co-captains the job should fall to them. Finn asks her if she's still dating Jesse and at first Rachel is defiant that she isn't. Eventually she admits it and begs him not to tell the others. "If this leads to something bad don't expect any more friendship from me," he tells her. During their performance it's obvious that the two aren't quite over one another just yet. However, we see Finn agreeing to take up Santana's offer now that Rachel has someone new.

Kurt and Mercedes decide that they want to remake a Madonna video, telling Will it's going to be "madge-ical." Just then Sue sweeps in telling him that she won't allow the Glee club to steal the Cheerios' thunder with their Madonna numbers. Will's not having any of it and decides to get himself a piece of the hair jokes action. "By the way, how's the Florence Henderson look working out for you?" he asks her. "Oh, maybe you should try a new setting on your Flowbee." Later, after seeing how upset Sue was, Kurt and Mercedes go to her office. Here she reluctantly admits that when she was younger she bleached her hair blonde with chemicals such as ammonia and napalm to try and be like Madonna. However, her hair was so damaged she's had to wear it short. She only picks on Will's hair because she's jealous. They asks if they can involve the Cheerios in their Madonna video and promise Sue that they'll help her find a new look.

Jesse finds Rachel in the library after he pushes a copy of Sondheim's music from the shelf; only he could best express his melancholy. He apologises for acting like such a jerk and trying to pressure her to have sex with him. He tells her that instead she deserves "epic romance" from him and that he's willing to wait. However, she tells him that she is ready, though we soon see her smile fade. Emma has also decided that she is ready as she takes charge and tells Will that she needs to take control of her body like Madonna, "which is why I'm planning on doing the nasty with you tonight at your place." Will couldn't look more pleased.

Next we have a few minutes of sheer creative genius, Sue Sylvester in a re-enactment of the "Vogue" video. I've been waiting to see Sue perform from the very beginning and while she may not be the best singer or dancer in the cast, boy does she do it justice.

That night, Rachel and Jesse, Finn and Santana and Emma and Will all sing about their prospective doings of the deed, as they serenade each other with "Like a Virgin." We see all over them get closer and closer but we're yet to find out who has gone through with it.

Back in Figgins' office, Sue yet again insists that he pack off some students to New York Madonna-,style but as you can imagine he ridicules the idea. However, he does say that she shouldn't need to wear the cone bra that she's currently sporting over her tracksuit because she, Sue Sylvester, is just like Madonna. Flattery will get you everywhere, Figgins, but I'm not quite sure Sue's going to stop blackmailing you anytime soon. With this she decides that it's not her that needs a reinvention but everybody else. Her first targets are Kurt and Mercedes who, after helping her, she asks to join the Cheerios.

At Glee Finn and Rachel discuss how their Friday night dates went. Rachel says she didn't know why she was so nervous about "giving it up" and Finn says that he couldn't go through with it after all. Turns out they're both lying and it was he who lost his big v, as we see his regret at a first time that didn't mean anything, as Santana insists he take her somewhere to get fried chicken. Emma apologises to Will for not being able to go through with it either. He tells her he's fine with it but realises that they probably shouldn't date until his divorce, which he's just filed for, has been finalised. He also thinks that she should get counselling for her problems.

Because Rachel told Jesse that because they were show choir rivals she would never be able to give herself fully to him he takes it upon himself to change schools, insisting that he's moved house to live with his uncle which is in McKinley's catchment area. Will tells the Glee club, that it's all above board but they, like the rest of us, smell trouble ahead.

As the Cheerios perform their latest routine to "4 Minutes" they have the added help of Kurt and Mercedes on vocals. They are both as fabulous as ever but Will is angry at Sue for recruiting them. "Let me fill you in: future center square Kurt Hummel there and his brassy hag Mercedes just tore that Madonna song." The two tell him that they plan to continue in the Cheerios as well as Glee because there they don't have to play second fiddle to Rachel, Finn and now Jesse.

Will has assigned the boys the number "What It Feels like for a Girl" to try and get them to understand the girls' feelings. Finn is up for it but Puck isn't quite so sure stating that "I think we're gonna need a new baritone 'cause Finn would like to become Finnessa." However they eventually come round to realising that they need to take more care of the girls' feelings, with Artie apologising to Tina for telling her she needed to change her look. Finn then apologises to Rachel for driving her away, only to be interrupted by Jesse demanding a sing-off. However, to be fair to Finn, he decides to be the bigger man and backs off, saying he accepts that Rachel is with Jesse.

We end as the whole club, with new addition Jesse, sing "Like a Prayer" with a full gospel choir backing them.

11 o'clock number

I had high expectations from this Madonna episode and I wasn't let down. My favourite of the night has to be the ending performance of "Like a Prayer" where the whole cast really got to show off their voices. I always love the numbers where they simply perform them onstage. I had to suppress a few giggles during "Like a Virgin" as the three pairs got it on with one another, though Naya's voice really should be noted on how good it is. I'm surprised we haven't heard her sing before and I really hope that we get to in the future. I think the only way to describe the "Vogue" video is Sue Sylvester as she completely owned the camera; again we need more performances from Jane in the future. Chris and Amber were utterly magnificent in "4 Minutes" showing why they deserve to be leading man and lady in their own right. The thought of Kurt as Justin Timberlake really brings a smile to my face. As with all Finn and Rachel numbers the Madonna mash-up was as fun as ever and showed that it's probably not the end of the road for those two. The all-girl number "Express Yourself" was fun and flirty and they all did a good job of putting those boys in their place. My least favourite, howeve,r was "What It Feels like for a Girl" but I think that's down to personal preference, as I really dislike the song.

Quote of the week

Sue on Will's hair: Oh, hey, William. I thought I smelled cookies wafting from the ovens of the little elves who live in your hair.

Final thoughts

As you would expect from a Madonna episode it was fabulous from start to finish, with the songs and the narrative merging together really quite well. At first I wasn't quite sure if the storyline would have that much to it. The biggest issues that this episode has brought are relationship dilemmas. Will and Emma have firmly come to an end, as have Rachel and Finn as she continues to date Jesse. It seems pretty clear that he's playing her and now that he's joined New Directions it looks like he could be playing them too. Will anything more come of Finn and Santana, now that they've slept together? It'll be interesting to see if anything else happens: it's about time we had a new pairing. Now that Kurt and Mercedes have also joined the Cheerios what's that going to mean for the Glee club?

 


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