Media Consumed, Day 32: 06/08/10

Glee, Season 1, Episode 22 “Journey”

Fact: I’m one of the biggest Journey fans you know, so it’s easy to see why I appreciate Glee’s love affair with Steve Perry and Co. The pilot’s use of multiple Journey hits (among them the criminally underused “Separate Ways”) hooked me early, and the season one finale had me nearly frothing at the mouth by using the band’s name as the title of the episode. But I must say - even with the medley during Regionals, I was slightly disappointed with the lack of Journey songs. [Note - my disappointment stems from a selfish wish to see the group tackle a 45 minute Journey concert with no regard for standard storytelling practices, so take this mini-review with a grain of salt.]

While the series has taken a bit of a dive recently with the Gaga-infused “Theatricality” and the uninspired “Funk” airing last week (one of the season’s low points, in my opinion), “Journey” returned the series to its soaring highs and reminded us - and capitalizing on every opportunity to go over the top - how much fun this show can be when it loses all inhibitions and just goes for it.

I was as surprised as anyone when the Regionals performance came 12 minutes into the episode, as I naturally expected it to come near the end. “Faithfully” was great - boy, that Lea Michele has got some freakin’ pipes - but the rest of the mashup (“Any Way You Want It,” “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” “Don’t Stop Believin’”) didn’t match the intensity of the initial performance and left me a little unaffected. It was fun to rock out to some Journey, but I think they wasted an opportunity to explore some stuff that we haven’t heard yet (“Be Good to Yourself” seemed like the obvious choice). Finn and Rachel’s reconciliation was fitting with the finale nature of the show. Of course we all expected something like that to happen (ditto with Will and Emma), so I don’t feel the need to discuss those aspects further.

But the structure of this episode was well-conceived, allowing for the borderline brilliant piece of television that featured the birth of Quinn’s child edited against Vocal Adrenaline’s rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I call it “borderline” because I think it walked that line a bit too tightly and tipped over into some iffy territory at some parts, which - naturally - I’ll spell out for you now.

[Quick note: during the Journey medley, I told my friend that if I were a judge, I would preemptively award New Directions first prize based on song choice alone, and tell everyone else to go home without performing. I quickly amended that statement with, “unless, of course, one of the groups did a Queen medley, in which case I’d listen to it, and then award New Directions first prize anyway.” As you’re well aware by now, this exact situation almost came to pass, so I just thought it was funny and semi-prophetic.]

My problems with the “Bohemian Rhapsody” piece are with more than the drawn-out and uninteresting choreography of Vocal Adrenaline: I feel like the introduction of Quinn’s mom (who we haven’t seen in FOREVER) was included exclusively so the cutting back and forth would make sense with Quinn shouting “Mama!” along with the song lyrics. These types of touches are typically kind of cute in this show, but this one was a bit overkill for me. The editing was pretty great for the first half of this performance/birth, but at some point near the halfway mark, it lost its mojo and became too cliche for its own good. This is the balance that the show itself strikes on a weekly basis - it’s so cheesy that sometimes it heads into after-school special territory, but can occasionally turn out a great episode that feels confident and coherent.

Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester’s one liners were a thing of beauty this week, comprising some of the best writing for the character in the series so far. Her confidence in New Directions has been hinted at for a long time now, and for those who claim the first place vote for the Glee club was out of character, the writers came up with a creative way to answer those cries: have Sue be mistreated by the other “celebrity” judges, and play on her self-esteem and spitefulness. Personally, these were my least favorite sequences in the episode; I assume this is partly because of my utter indifference toward Josh Groban and my disgust with Olivia Newton-John and her general demeanor. Also: how is the news anchor any more of a celebrity than Sue Sylvester? At least Sue has won multiple national titles and is a known personality in her niche; Newton-John neglected to mention the anchor would also “stay in Ohio” after the performance was over, undercutting the entire point of her argument.

I’ve also decided that Principal Figgins is one of the most inept characters in the history of television. Blackmail or not, the guy never does anything but sit and listen to Will and Sue argue week after week. Get him out of the picture - he’s useless.

And considering this show’s propensity for breakneck pacing, I’m surprised and pleased that the writers chose to show a bit of restraint in this season finale. I worried that the epic nature of a finale meant they might amp it up and “out-Glee” themselves, but the showrunners wisely took the opposite approach: relationships were left unfixed (or at least, un-finalized; see: Will & Emma, Finn & Rachel), and they didn’t bother going through every character in depth to get a sense of resolve from each of them. Instead, they focused on the major character relationships that have been brewing all season and relegated the others to a series of small montage moments, a move that I found discouraging at first (since I generally like the secondary characters more than the main ones) but have since realized was probably a smart move. Artie, Mercedes, Kurt, and Tina have all had their moments throughout the season, so there’s no need to hurriedly revisit them and marginalize their characters even further.

And, gay as it may be, I enjoyed Will and Puck’s acoustic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to close the episode. I can see many worse situations - most of them literal - in which the show could have chosen to employ that song, but this one was unoffensive and fit well with the quietly triumphant tone that wrapped up an interesting first season of television.

At least, that’s the way I “C” it.

Justified, Season 1, Episode 13 “Bulletville”

If you somehow missed Justified this season, I implore you to go back and catch up on all thirteen episodes this summer. After worrying me in the beginning with some one-off episodes that didn’t matter to the overarching storyline, the serialized nature of the show returned in full force in the form of Boyd Crowder, one of the most interesting characters on any TV show that I currently watch. Walton Goggins does tremendous work playing that character, and tonight was a coming out party for him.

We finally got to see Boyd singled out in the woods, away from other characters and completely on his own in his element. Up until this point, the audience has been unsure as to Boyd’s true motivations: since Raylan is suspicious of Boyd’s conversion, the audience mirrors those concerns. We haven’t seen Boyd alone with himself since his conversion, so there was always the chance that he was putting on a show for people to hide some underlying scheme. But tonight we see that wasn’t the case - barring some epic “old Chinese guy with the fishbowl from The Prestige” reveal, it appears that Boyd truly practiced what he preached after he emerged from prison a changed man.

This was an excellent finale - Olyphant was phenomenal as usual, the episode was action packed, and everyone stayed true to their characters. The shootout in the woods was more tense than it would have been in other episodes since major characters were dying off left and right, so the threat of danger and consequence felt very real. It also raises some interesting questions about next season: what happens with the cartel comes to collect on their investment? Will Raylan hook back up with Winona, or Ava? (For the record, I prefer Winona - both personally and for Raylan.) Is Bo Crowder really dead? Consider me hyped for next season.

[They can’t kill Bo, right? He’s such a great character, and M.C. Gainey does a fantastic job portraying him. It’d be a shame to only have him for one season.]

Media Consumed, Day 30: 05/18/10

LOST, Season Six, Episode 16 “What They Died For”

Listen, I’m obviously the first one to admit that I hated last week’s episode. You can read all about it right here. I’m not going to apologize for those thoughts because I still think most of my criticisms hold true; but with that said, I will admit that last week’s episode works as a great piece of setup for this week’s episode. Hearing Jacob reference events from “Across the Sea,” even going as far as to repeat lines of dialogue (“Now you’re like me”), made me appreciate the foresight of the writers and had me regretting my lambasting of last week’s episode.

But enough about last week. Let’s talk about how amazing this episode was. I was lucky enough to see it five days early at the LOST Live event last Thursday night. Thanks to my friend Amy Barker, I got to see composer/conductor Michael Giacchino conduct a 47-piece orchestra at UCLA, playing music from the show with the occasional appearance by one of the 20 (!) cast members that also attended the event. After the concert, a theater-sized screen was lowered and the surround sound was kicked on because the powers-that-be decided to show us “What They Died For” early. Watching the show on a huge screen in a crowd of 1800 die-hard LOST fans was a really fantastic experience.

The writing here was some of the best of this season. Desmond was at forefront of the Flash Sideways, but that story connected seamlessly between Jack, Ben, Desmond, and Sawyer. I couldn’t stop smiling at seeing Desmond’s plan in action - everything from beating the crap out of Ben in the school parking lot to ending up in jail with Sayid and Kate to the breakout with Ana Lucia and Hurley. There is obviously going to be a huge charity concert event in the finale, in which I’m guessing David (Jack’s Sideways son) will play a concert with Drive Shaft and Faraday (I’m psyched already). The Dr. Linus/Rousseau storyline did nothing for me, but, not surprisingly, Desmond delivered my favorite line tonight in his exchange with Sayid in the back of the police van. I don’t remember it specifically, but it had something to do with running over a handicapped guy in a parking lot.

Back on the Island, Jack finally crosses the threshold from Man of Science to Man of Faith, taking Jacob’s job as protector of the Island. And what was up with Ben? Amy and I discussed this after seeing the episode on Thursday: I thought Ben had kind of redeemed himself and given up his killin’ ways; when he broke down for Ilana and essentially said all he wanted was for somebody to want him, I thought he had officially crossed over to the good side. Clearly, the show doesn’t want things to be that simple, so Ben finally kills Charles Widmore and asks SmokeLocke if there’s anyone else that needs to be killed. Is this all part of some bigger plan from Ben, or has he really reverted to his old self?

Anyway, this was freaking great and I’m going to stop talking about it now. I can’t wait for the season finale on Sunday, so in the meantime, read Myles’ 4000 word review of this episode over at Cultural Learnings; I haven’t read it yet, but if you love TV analysis (and LOST) I guarantee it’s worth your time.

Glee, Season One, Episode 19 “Dream On”

Getting the obvious out of the way early: I thought the NPH/Matthew Morrison duets were awesome - both “Piano Man” and “Dream On,” the latter of which I promptly bought on iTunes. Plus, you have to admit that Bryan Ryan is a pretty perfect name for NPH’s character.

As for the actual content of the episode, I’m not the first person to say “I saw that coming” to the notion of Idina Menzel playing Lea Michele’s mother considering the striking physical resemblance. Since both women are incredibly talented, I’m down for whatever ridiculous shenanigans will arise from that subplot as long as the two keep singing together.

While following your dreams was clearly the theme for tonight’s episode, the show seemed to handle Artie’s storyline in a particularly strange way. It glorified his pipe dream of being able to walk again with that ridiculous boy band mall dance (shot in a cool YouTube-y way by director Joss Whedon, though), but then used Emma as the dealer of harsh reality, timidly letting Artie know that there was no way he’d walk again for many years. That’d be fine if they left it at that, but the longing way Artie sang the final song left me a bit confused as to the show’s allegiances to its own theme: his evident sadness at the lack of realization of his dream seemed out of place with the speech he only minutes earlier gave Tina about being OK with his situation. I’m not too terribly concerned with the messages this show is presenting on a micro level, considering their macro message of “be yourself” is stamped heavily into the very fabric of the series, but this back-and-forth in tonight’s episode struck me as a little strange.

I also really appreciated the lack of Emma and Will drama, and hope that this streak is continued for at least a few more episodes. Although, I will say that the preview for next week made me ashamed to watch the show. I guess I’d call myself a supporter of Lady Gaga, but seeing the garish way that the show abuses her novelty in next week’s episode made me not even want to watch it. Granted, it’s just a trailer, so perhaps it will handle the content with a bit more maturity than initially indicated. With no new LOST to watch next Tuesday, I suppose I’ll be tuning in to find out.

Media Consumed, Day 28: 05/11/10

LOST, Season 6, Episode 15 “Across the Sea”

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I thought this was the weakest episode in LOST’s history. Half of the episode was devoted to the Man in Black (still no name?!?!) and Jacob as children, asking obnoxious questions to a mysterious mother figure who is actually a murderer. And as she says, “every question you ask will only lead to more questions.” That may be the case, but I really don’t think we’re at a point in the series where that is an acceptable cop out anymore.

Besides being disappointed that there was not a single cut to the current timeline, I kind of hated this episode because we aren’t nearly as invested in the MiB and Jacob as we are in “our” characters - the ones we’ve spent six years with, learning the ins and outs of their personalities and watching them grow and evolve. Throwing us in with Jacob and MiB - especially these characters at varying ages in a single episode - is jarring and feels out of place for the show, considering the important fact that “Across the Sea” really didn’t answer any big questions for us. Look, I’m not a guy who HAS to have every answer, and I’m totally cool with being left in the dark on some things. But this late in the game, and in an episode that was heralded as a game changer? This was weak sauce.

There was an allusion to the frozen donkey wheel, but we don’t know how MiB figured out the science behind it (as if we could comprehend the science of turning a wheel and ending up in the Tunisian desert, but you know what I mean). And the Adam and Eve question was answered, but I didn’t really understand that whole reveal. If MiB is dead in a cave next to his mother, who was talking with Jacob on the beach in the Season 5 finale? Who’s been inhabiting Locke’s body this whole time? I suppose there is some sort of disembodied MiB soul floating around somewhere, latching onto bodies and such, but that still doesn’t answer the question of how MiB looked like, uh, himself while he was talking with Jacob on the beach the first time we saw him. Any thoughts? Please share in the comments section.

The only way I’ll be pleased with this episode is in a retroactive sense, and that’s only if A) this episode is referenced again in flashback and it’s revealed (as suggested by Myles) that a time-travelling Daniel Faraday suggests the Donkey Wheel to the MiB or B) this episode is referenced again and it’s revealed to take place AFTER the events of the show as we know it. Like, all of our characters’ stories come to an end, and parts of this episode are replayed as some of the final scenes in the series, implying that the entire cycle is about to start over again. I don’t know, even that sounds kind of lame. I’m disappointed in Cuse and Lindelof, but still hopeful for next week’s episode (which I’ll see Thursday night at LOST Live - thanks Amy!) and the finale.

Glee, Season 1, Episode 18 “Laryngitis”

Coming off of what I thought was a terrible episode last week, Glee turned it around with “Laryngitis” both musically and in terms of storytelling. Granted, there are the drastic shifts in tone (re: Finn’s paralyzed friend) that this show is known for, but I almost welcome those kinds of decisions if they’re supported by music that fits my personal tastes. Seeing Mark Salling’s Puck sliding across the floor singing Sammy Davis Jr. was a blast, and Santana and Mercedes’ rendition of Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy is Mine” brought me back to the good old days. (I once bought Monica’s album solely for that song, so I was unabashedly singing along tonight.)

If you know me at all, you’ll easily be able to guess my favorite song of the night: Finn’s rendition of “Jessie’s Girl.” The song seemed to fit well in Cory Monteith’s vocal range, and that song is so damn fun it’s impossible not to like. Lyrically, it was perfect considering Rachel’s relationship with Jessie St. James of Vocal Adrenaline, and in the fallout of last week’s “Run, Joey, Run fiasco” it’s clear the show wants us to start hoping for Finn and Rachel to get back together. This kind of posturing reminds me of what Community has been doing with Jeff and Britta over the past few episodes of that series, presenting more scenes with just the two of them interacting and putting their chemistry front and center.

Revisiting the whole “Kurt getting jealous because his Dad’s spending too much time with Finn” scenario seems a bit premature, especially considering they just devoted an entire episode to this topic not too long ago. I think they should have come up with another Artie story and pushed this one to Season 2. Puck and Mercedes’ relationship was almost completely useless, and essentially only served as a way to A) address the fact that Puck shaved his head and B) get Mercedes out of the Cheerios.

It’s strange that we get an episode with so little Sue Sylvester and not even a cameo from Emma, but you know what? I’ll take it. Emma and Will’s storyline always feels secondary to me anyway, so it’s nice to take a week off from that every once in a while. And I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT for next week’s episode (directed by Joss Whedon), featuring Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison singing Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” 

Justified, Season 1, Episode 9 “Hatless”

I’ve never heard of Jere Burns before, but I’m taking extreme notice after tonight’s episode of Justified. Burns plays the sadistic Wynn Duffy, a guy who absolutely looks like a malevolent maniac ready to snap you in half at any second. He brings such a scary presence to that role…I’m really hoping that Duffy sticks around for at least a full season or two.

As for the rest of the episode, it was interesting seeing Raylan in a different light. I was just talking to my friend Joe today about this show, and he said he stopped watching because Raylan felt invincible and there were never any consequences for his actions. This episode was seemingly a direct response to those criticisms. Raylan, suspended from duty at the Marshal service, didn’t have the swagger that he usually has in spades. He got his ass kicked outside of a bar, (he was wearing a Florida Gators shirt, so all is right with the world), his hat was stolen, and he was essentially acting alone trying to put together the pieces of this mystery and protect Winona from her husband’s boneheaded decision to get involved with the Dixie Mafia. That being said, of course things come to a conclusion that benefits our hero, but at least there was a true sense of danger in this episode (again, thanks to Burns’ performance) and a feeling of punishment from Raylan’s superiors hovering over the events that transpired tonight.

I also thought the T Bone storyline was incredibly effective, and I felt like I’ve known that character from the beginning of this series. The man’s willingness to help a friend in need, and his ability to withstand the brutal consequences was admirable and made for some truly empathetic TV.

Media Consumed, Day 26: 05/04/10

LOST, Season Six, Episode 14 “The Candidate”

Ho. Lee. Crap.

You know how some of the episodes this season have been kind of maneuvering characters around, not much happens, and it seems like they’re waiting for some bigger play down the road? This is not one of those episodes.

[If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re A) caught up with the show and already know the spoilers I’m about to reveal OR B) don’t care about the show at all, are reading anyway, and don’t mind reading the MAJOR spoilers I’m about to reveal.]

Jin and freaking Sun. How tragic was that? As soon as the guys moved that first metal locker off of Sun and we saw that she was still trapped, I started shaking my head; I knew if one of the Kwon’s was going down, then both were. After their triumphant reunion a few episodes back, and Sun returning his ring early in this episode, I should have seen this coming - but it blindsided me. Great, great television. What’s going to happen to their daughter? I’m banking on Kate raising her.

One thing I DID see coming was the old bait and switch with SmokeLocke and the backpack. They showed a cutaway to Locke holding the backpacks, and right then you could predict how the whole rest of the episode would play out (with the exception of the Kwon’s deaths, of course). And what about Frank? Did he survive that sub door blasting off into his chest? Is he going to make a dramatic appearance and somehow save the day a couple episodes from now? I’ll say yes, considering that his “death” wasn’t explicitly shown. I realize Lapidus is a minor character, but he at least deserves a close up if he dies. He’ll be back. And I had already almost forgotten about Sayid’s sacrifice - turns out he wasn’t completely consumed by the darkness after all. This bodes well for Claire, who I’m guessing might eventually come out of Crazy Town and return to Aaron by the end of the series. But freakin’ A, Sawyer - listen to Jack and none of that would have happened!

The Flash Sideways story was on point tonight, also. Jack’s obsession with fixing everything returns in full force, with the good doctor deeming Locke a candidate for a new spinal surgery he’s cooked up. Anthony Cooper isn’t looking so hot these days thanks to an (irony anybody?) plane crash, and since Locke was the pilot, Locke refuses Jack’s help so he can wallow in guilt over what he did to his father. And Jack’s line, “I wish you would have believed me,” was a perfect callback to Locke’s suicide letter to Jack seen back in Season 5’s “316.” 

My favorite part of the Flash Sideways was Jack and Claire’s meeting at the hospital. The newfound brother and sister discover that (shocker) they were both on Oceanic 815, and Claire shows Jack a music box that Christian left her in his will. The box plays “Catch a Falling Star,” the song she sang to Aaron on the island all those years ago, and has a mirror built into it, allowing a great shot of the siblings looking at their reflections and keeping that trend going throughout this season. We’ve seen it many times before - Jack in the reflection at that tower where he saw his childhood home, Sawyer (as a cop) in his hotel room, etc. - and it represents the characters catching a brief glimpse into their parallel lives. I’m completely fascinated with how Lindelof and Cuse are going to end this particular timeline, especially now that there are more living cast members in the Sideways than in the On-Island timeline.

The death toll has really kicked up in the last few episodes, with Ilana’s exploding act and now the death of Widmore’s Chubby Employee, Jin, Sun, Sayid, and possibly Frank. It was also cool to see Bernard again, if only briefly, but I missed Ben, Desmond, and Faraday. Obviously we’re going to see them all again soon, so I’m not too distraught.

If you were complaining about this season being slow, then this episode was your remedy. We’re getting close to the end, and I can’t wait to see what happens. I’m willing to bet, though, that whatever happens, happens. (Heh. Little LOST humor for ya there.)

Glee, Season One, Episode 17 “Bad Reputation”

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" was the only redeeming quality about this episode. Other than that, I thought it was pretty worthless. I hate to be so dismissive, but seriously: Ice Ice Baby? Can’t Touch This? "Glists"? Olivia Newton-John? What the hell?

Media Consumed, Day 23: 04/13/10

LOST, Season Six, Episode 12 “Everybody Loves Hugo”

This was something I thought we’d never see on LOST: a continuation/semi-wrap-up to the Libby storyline. I’d heard rumors that Cynthia Watros, the actress who plays Libby, was not going to return to the show again, but this episode obviously proves those rumors false. I’m glad, too - seeing Libby in that mental hospital all those years ago was something I was hoping to get an explanation for, and while - in typical LOST fashion - we didn’t get the whole story here, we got enough to satisfy my particular interest in that loose thread.

As predicted, Desmond’s involvement has seemingly sparked a revolution among 815 passengers and their loved ones - moving on from Daniel/Charlotte and Charlie/Claire last week to Hurley/Libby this week. It seems the two worlds are converging as our friends in the Flash Sideways get flashes before their eyes of their lives in the Real Timeline. And after Ben Linus disapproving speaks with Desmond (it’s funny because he thinks Desmond is a pedophile), our favorite Scotsman freaking runs Locke over with his car. I honestly didn’t anticipate that, although it’s fairly clear Desmond is simply trying to incite the same “realization” in John that he, Charlie, Libby, and now Hurley have seen.

Speaking of Ben Linus, I thought Michael Emerson was effective with his very minor role in this episode. The exploding Ilana (I DID see that one coming, after they reminded us of the dynamite’s volatility) got some good lines out of the former Henry Gale, and that guy is just fun to watch regardless of how long he’s in an episode.

I’ve always kind of liked Michael (Harold Perrineau), even though he did some nasty things toward the end of his run. I thought he was one of the more sympathetic characters in the early seasons, so I liked seeing him back where I feel he belongs on LOST. He had a nice bit of explanation regarding the creepy whispers (they’re the voices of dead people who can’t move on), so give this episode some points in the “answering questions” column. Side note - I also really enjoyed Jack’s speech to Hurley about letting go. This is the Jack I’ve been waiting for since Season 4.

And I’m not worried one bit about the on-island Desmond being tossed into that well by SmokeLocke. They can’t possibly kill him off in the “real world,” so I’m sure he’s just a little wet right now, treading water to pass the time.

And how about the promo for next week!? That’s the best use of the insane Willy Wonka voice over since it was used in the actual film.

Justified, Season One, Episode 5 “The Lord of War and Thunder”

While it’s going to be hard to top last week’s great episode, Justified put out another solid entry this week. I’m digging this show - it has straddled the line between procedural and serial well so far, and I’m excited about its potential. I don’t think we’ll ever see a bad performance from Olyphant in this role, and he was great again this week as the wandering Marshal with an attitude. The father/son stuff was handled about as I expected, but the show is laying a foundation for future episodes where I’m sure we’ll see Raylan and his dad facing off on opposite sides of the law. Again, Raylan’s sidekicks and boss are almost non-factors, but that totally works for me - we have no reason to care about them yet, so let us focus on Raylan and his story until the writers finally figure out the team dynamic.

Next week’s episode looks good too, and we got a hint of the danger Ava might be in from Raylan’s old baseball buddy so we have that to look forward to in the next few episodes. If you’re not watching this show, you really should give it a shot. Just jump right in and check it out next week - at least you’ll get an idea of the vibe of the show, and then you can go back and catch up if you want.

Glee, Season One, Episode 14 “Hell-O”

Listen, I realize this show is really gay. But I like it, so deal with it. I was actually in this episode (you can see me briefly in the crowd during Finn’s basketball game - I’m the only one wearing a blue and black long sleeved shirt), so take that as you will.

I should have written about this episode immediately after watching it, but since I watched Justified before writing this I’ve already forgotten some of the things I wanted to talk about. Some things I do remember: this show has never been one for subtlety, and that was especially evident in the song choices tonight. Not a big fan (and for the record, I probably won’t like next week’s either since I don’t like Madonna). So far in it’s early run (remember, this is still the first season!), Glee has sped through plotlines at breakneck speed. Seriously - some of the things covered in the first half of this season would take other shows YEARS to flesh out. I’m not saying that Glee fully develops these plotlines, but they sure do use ‘em up and spit ‘em out.

This episode is a great microcosm of that very point. In it, A) Rachel and Finn’s relationship is established, broken apart, Rachel sings with the Jessie St. James (male lead of Vocal Adrenaline), falls for him, confronts him about him playing her, believes his lie, and Finn attempts to win Rachel back - twice. B) Will and Emma’s relationship is established, broken apart, Will makes out with the adult leader of Vocal Adrenaline, and Emma tells him to take time for himself. C) Sue Sylvester is re-established as Cheerleading Coach [an idiotic move that, when watched in DVD format later, will make NO SENSE. Yes, we as an audience have waited for months for the show’s return, but no time has elapsed in the storyline itself.], blackmails the principal, and regains the trust of Brittany and Santana, enlisting their help in her plot to annihilate the Glee Club (and again shattering continuity, after the dim-witted duo had pretty clearly given up on Sue’s dastardly plans and effectively joined our little band of heroes). This all happened in ONE EPISODE.

Regardless of pacing issues, overall insanity, or the fact that this is a show essentially about musical theater, I’m still glad the show is back from hiatus; I enjoyed the episode to some degree and will almost certainly continue to enjoy this series in the future. Although, I will say that a Journey-themed episode akin to the pilot will do wonders for my personal interests (hint, hint, Ryan Murphy).

And I’m not even going to talk about how weird that Sue Sylvester “Vogue” song was at the end. That was borderline frightening.