Episode Review for TGWT: Girl Power: Round 3
Season 3, Episode 11: Michael
An episode dedicated to Michael Jackson? What more could we ask for? With the drama (of course there's drama, this is Glee people!) intermixed with a variety of Michael's music, we knew we were in for a wild ride.
While Blaine (Darren Criss) is left in need of surgery after Sebastian (Grant Gustin) tampers with a slushie thrown in his face, Kurt (Chris Colfer) receives his NYADA letter to reveal he's a finalist. There's also Rachel (Lea Michele) accepting the marriage proposal from Finn (Cory Monteith), but let's not neglect to remember the singing duel between Santana (Naya Rivera) and Sebastian!
Now, where to begin? With much to discuss, we'll let music be our guide. Unlike in other tribute-heavy episodes where the songs feel forced, "Michael" was a much needed improvement. With many of the songs fitting in with the characters storylines, it didn't feel too farfetched. No, it wasn't perfect of course, but with some fantastic performances it built a solid episode.
"Michael" opens with , which is led by none of than Mr Blaine Anderson with the New Directions as back up. They break into song in the middle of the hallway after the former Troubletones member Mercedes (Amber Riley) expresses her disappointment in missing out on performing Michael's songs. With fantastic choreography, heavy leaning, a great vocal performance and some seriously 'Michael' outfits, what a way to start!
Not disappointed at all with the performance, the song pulls a good 4 out of 5 for starting us off with a both fun and impressive number.
After we're thrust into the issues between Rachel and Finn in regards to his recent marriage proposal and Rachel's seemingly reluctance to accept. The two share a heart to heart in relations that though Rachel wants to be with Finn, she'll be heading to New York, even if she doesn't get into NYADA. Though they both know Finn will follow her there, Finn admits that it'll be harder to have a relationship in New York compared to Lima. The ring in all retrospect from what we can tell from Finn is that he wants it to be a reminder of their love at that exact moment.
This was what can be seen as a very heartfelt moment, and felt like it wasn’t something out of a soap opera. But it also leaves everyone questioning: will Rachel say yes, or no?
Things follow with Sebastian apparently eavesdropping on Kurt, Santana, Blaine, Rachel and Artie (Kevin McHale), who are discussing Michael. He proceeds to reveal that he knows about their plans to sing Michael at Regionals, supposedly pinning this blame on Blaine. Being the new captain of the Warblers, he tells them how he’s their no longer playing nice.
This was a funny scene that started the rivalry between the New Directions and Warblers. It seems somewhat tense at times, but is understandable due to the situation.
We are later led into a ‘Jackson-off’ between the New Directions and Warblers in the form of Bad. This was filled with fantastic pieces of choreography, some impressive vocals and the feeling that we were watching the beginning of a brawl. The number echoes the original video, and it climaxes in the unforgettable moment when the slushie is thrown.
Now there’s a villain we can really hate! Okay, okay, sure there’s been mean jocks tossing around slushies at the glee club since, well, ever. But when you think about it, only someone truly evil would add rock salt to the mix. This entire compilation of scenes would have to mark one of my favourite moments in the episode and deserves a good 5 out of 5.
After the smack down, we’re sent right back to the choir room to see the aftermath of the attack. With Kurt revealing to the New Directions that Blaine now had to undergo surgery after his cornea was deeply scratched, the group is left furious at the news (as are we). Will (Matthew Morrison) soon attempts to settle the teenagers down, but Artie finally puts in his own verdict: make them feel some pain as they had been for years.
Will goes against this, saying that violence wasn’t the answer. Artie loses it and yells at poor ol’ Mr Schue, leading into a dream sequence of non-other than Scream, which is a duet with Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.). Now, it’s those times when Artie is able to stand on two feet (even only for one scene), that really have us jumping up from our own.
The performance shows us some cool dance moves from Artie intermixed with Mike’s rubber legs, and though the vocals aren’t spectacular, the fact that the Janet and Michael Jackson song is recreated in a fun and special number, it is given a solid 4 out of 5.
We later come to find Rachel and Quinn (Dianna Agron) in the bathroom where Rachel asks for advice. She admits that Finn asked to marry her, and she doesn’t know what to do. Quinn tells her that she can’t marry him, before proceeding to show her acceptation letter into Yale, saying it’s her ticket out of Lima. She says her point is that she may have dated Finn, Puck and Sam and loved most of them, by next year, she won’t know why.
Rachel is clearly conflicted by the statement and asks Quinn if she’s telling her to break up with Finn. Quinn replies that she is all for them living out the next few months and enjoying themselves, but she would never want her to bring baggage from her past and into her future. She sympathizes that they are a lovely couple, but life is great and everything she wants will be there as long as she isn’t with Finn. If she wants to be happy, she has to saying goodbye.
This scene was a true stand out in the episode. It wasn’t dramatic, teary or overemotional, just a heart to heart between two girls. Quinn makes valid points and gives Rachel things to think about, and it just feels very natural and isn’t forced one bit.
The scene then leads into Quinn singing Never Can Say Goodbye. Though this is a tiny step down from the other numbers, it still delivers a powerful message and is something to relax to compared to the upper tempo of the previous songs. The song portrays that Quinn wants to leave Lima and everyone in it, in the dusk. While others may seek bright futures, Quinn just wants to escape. The song felt very personal and in depth that it will have a 4 out of 5.
The little speech Quinn gives the glee club once she’s finished is both very sweet and powerful at the same time. A noticed point is the clear way Quinn looks to Rachel as she says “you can’t change your past, but you can let go and start your future.” A warming scene, it’s a true highlight.
We are later cut to Kurt and Santana, the later talking about getting revenge on Sebastian. Though the scene may be short, it still shows a softer side of Santana. Yes, she may be talking about hurting Sebastian, but it shows that she cares about Kurt and Blaine, and it’s a certainly a sight to see.
Another sweet as sugar moment to see is in the next scene, in which Mercedes meets Sam (Chord Overstreet) in the auditorium after receiving a note from him. Sam asks for her to sing a duet with him as they hadn’t previously done one. As she tries to leave, the band members start playing Human Nature with Sam on the guitar and Mercedes starts singing. Somehow the two end up on the stage together and there’s ‘Mercedes’ written on a light screen on the stage behind them. In a flurry of emotions, the two end up kissing.
Not the best performance of the episode, it still holds its own and manages to cement ‘Samcedes’ further into the ground. It is given a 3 out of 5.
Kurt and Burt (Mike O’Malley) are soon in the choir room after receiving Kurt’s letter from NYADA on whether he’d made it into the finals or not. Kurt nervously opens the letter and reads it. Everyone is left on the edge of their seats in anticipation and worry for the star and if he had made it one step closer to his dreams or not. In a slow moment, he finally turns to tell his father that he’s a finalist. Burt sweeps him into a hug and tells him how proud he is.
After the two’s father son moment, Kurt is off of course telling Rachel about his acceptance. When he asks her what her own said, she admits that she didn’t receive a letter. With her hopes down, she tells him that she knows it’s because she didn’t get in. In tears she falls into his embrace and he hugs her tight.
Next scene and Kurt is reading to Blaine who’s wearing his new eye patch. Finn and Rachel proceed to enter and Blaine says that his surgery is next week and he is terrified. Finn tells him not to worry and Rachel assures him that there are many one eyed successful performers out there. He admits that he’s disappointed to be missing out on Michael week, leading Rachel to take out a pitch-pipe and they begin to sing Ben.
Admittedly, this was one of the weaker performances. Though the vocals are smooth and nice, that’s as far as it goes. To be honest, it was kind of a let-down and quite boring. It can only really be given a 2 out of 5.
Later at Dalton, Santana confronts Sebastian and the Warblers in an attempt to discover what they had put in the slushie. She tells them that he now has to go into surgery and may subsequently lose his eye. Trent (Dominic Barnes) worries if he’s okay or not, but is shut up by Sebastian who tells him he’s ‘got this’. Sebastian tells her that it was a pity that he got in the way, as it was originally intended for Kurt. She continues to ask what he put in it until he feels that she’s questioning his honour.
Telling the Warblers he doesn’t want them to ‘see him make a girl cry’, they leave and the two perform Smooth Criminal. What is the best performance in the episode, everything about it is perfect. From the choreography on where they are and the layout of the chairs is phenomenal. One thing that shouldn’t be neglected to mention though is the amazing performance by the cellists, who put on a magnificent show. They hold Sebastian and Santana’s voices together perfectly and earned the number an easy 5 out of 5.
At the end of the undoubtedly superb performance, the Warblers re-enter and she once again asks what he put into the slushie, so he tells her it was rock salt and then slushies her.
Hurrying back to the New Directions, who are in the choir room while Mr Schue isn’t there, she tells that that she found out it was rock salt Sebastian put into it and even recorded him saying so. Kurt then tells her that they can't give it to the police as Sebastian may get kicked out of school, but the Warblers will still do Michael and beat them. He tells the group that he has an idea on how to teach them a lesson.
Finn asks Rachel to stay behind, and she tells him that she knows that he’s waiting for an answer, but Finn says that he knows it’s a big decision for her. He tells her to listen as he knows that she hears him better when he isn’t talking, which leads him into I Just Can’t Stop Loving You. After the song, Rachel tells him that he is the love of her life, and she may not have it all, but she gets to have what matters if they are together, telling him yes. He slides the ring onto her finger and they kiss.
The song is although sweet and romantic, the vibe that’s being sent off is that Rachel is only driven into accepting because of the fact that she doesn’t believe she’s gotten into NYADA as the acceptance letter hadn’t come as quick as Kurt’s had. She’s just striking out for something stable to hold onto, which just so happens to be Finn. The song definitely deserves a 3 out of 5.
Later, the Warblers enter the auditorium and Artie tells them that they aren’t going to be performing MJ at Regionals, but they want to show them what Michael is really about, as they clearly don’t get it. They perform Black or White, leading the Warblers, minus Sebastian, all join in. At the end, Santana tells Sebastian that she could call the cops or his headmaster and have him kicked out of school and possibly arrester for what he did to Blaine. She pulls out the tape of him admitting to tampering with the slushies, but Kurt gives it to him, saying that him not being at Regionals would ruin the joy of beating him. Sebastian later leaves after Artie tells him to get out.
It’s a very light-hearted, fun end of the episode song that concluded the numbers for the episode. The vocals were well done and choreography wasn’t too shabby and is given a 4 out of 5.
The last scene shows Rachel walking up to Kurt, who’s at his locker, showing him the letter from NYADA that she’d just received. He asks her what it says and she tells him that she’s also a soloist. Kurt hugs her, but when he asks her is she’d told Finn yet, her smile instantly vanishes.
With the conclusion of yet another episode, Glee does nothing but impress. Yes, there are the nit-pick things here and there that everyone has, but no one can deny that it was a good episode. In an overall decision, this episode earns a 4 out of 5.