Saturday, March 12

Gleecap - "Special Education"

I've explained and apologised a few times regarding the lack of Gleecaps the past couple of weeks, so let's just get on with Gleecapping this episode shall we?

In "Special Education" New Directions are on their way to the Sectionals competition, but Mr Schue aims to shake up the group a little and go against his usual formula. There is a a couple of relationship fall-outs - Finn and Rachel, Mike and Tina and Brittany and Artie. And Kurt struggles to be himself in The Warblers.

(my Gleecap after the jump - contains spoilers)
The show opens with Will asking Emma to be his plus-one at Sectionals because she always brings them such good luck (not his students' incredible talent or anything). Despite his need for a charm Will is pretty convinced New Directions have sectionals in the bag thanks to his 'killer' set-list. Obviously by 'killer' he means predictable and what he always does, which is finally mentioned by Emma; Finn and Rachel do a ballad, followed by a classic rock number where Mercedes belts out the last jaw-dropping note - It is after all what he always does! Will, is obviously thrown off by Emma's comments and decides to shake up the Glee club performances a little by not giving Rachel and Finn (or Mercedes) solos and instead gives the lead to Quinn and Sam - I'm sorry how is giving the Aryan version of Finn and Rachel something different? Why not Tina and Artie? or Tina and Puck? Or, yknow, Tina and anyone because that girl never gets to sing!

Of course Rachel manages to turn the situation to her and moans about not getting 'her' solo. To, I dunno, shut her up Santana tells Rachel about taking Finn's virginity in the last series (so we remember, this happened when Finn and Rachel weren't dating - Finn was single, Rachel was dating, the sorely missed, Jesse St James of Vocal Adrenaline and Rachel had told Finn she'd slept with Jesse to make him jealous). To try and work through their issues, actually, no. Do you know what? I don't care. Genuinely, Rachel is annoying, sanctimonious and ego-maniacal; Finn is annoying, sanctimonious and spineless. I don't like them and I'm sick of moaning about how I don't like them. I think Quinn put it best.

"You used to be just sorta unlikeable, but now I feel like punching you every time you open your mouth!"

So, on to characters I actually like. Kurt is having a blast at Dalton not being pushed into lockers every second (I haven't seen any lockers at Dalton as of yet, so yey!). He's also loving being in The Warblers; As their newest member Kurt is instructed to look after an actual warbler - their mascot Pavarotti the Canary. Here we start to see the glitz of being at Dalton begin to tarnish - despite having a no tolerance for bullying policy and being generally open-minded, the Dalton boys appear incredibly uptight and unmoved by Kurt's jokes. Which is even more apparent when Kurt's ideas are brushed aside by the Warblers' 'democracy'.

Meanwhile, back at McKinley. Having been chosen to showcase her dancing skills at Sectionals (with Mike Abs) Brittany becomes 'paralysed with fear', literally (and really needs to pee), as she feels she might let her team mates down. Artie, instead of reassuring her, gives Brittany a 'magic comb', which gives people 'winning powers' [insert passé Charlie Sheen related joke here]. Due to Kurt's departure the Glee club need a new member to qualify (again) and as Mr Schue is on a 'switching things up' kick he asks Puck for help, because he's popular and stuff. Puck decides to recruit in the boys locker, because they've always been so easy to talk to and forthcoming? He tells a story about Bruce Springsteen to encourage the football team, which black version of Karofsky deems 'redundant'. This was surprising for two reasons; Firstly, black Karofsky was right, it was redundant. Secondly, he knew what 'redundant' meant and managed to use it in context. (Another surprise for me. Currently finding actual Karofsky kinda hot. Just me? Never mind.) Either way, the football team beat Puck up and lock him in a portaloo and is later rescued by Lauren Zeises (who we previously saw as the only female member of the Wrestling team and a crazed Twilight fan). Lauren agrees to join Glee under two conditions; Firstly, that she gets '7 minutes in Heaven' with Puck (which, really who can blame the girl?) and secondly if he buys her a load of Cadbury's Creme Eggs. If you missed it, the second point is funny because big girls like food and will do absolutely anything for food, right? Of course! *sigh*.

Elsewhere, Tina and Artie are worried that Mike and Brittany have been 'practising' things other than their dance routine, because Mike Abs' lips taste like Lipsmackers; Kurt is offered an invitation to compete for a solo and asks Rachel for advice. Rachel says more things I'm not interested in and advises Kurt to sing 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' from the musical 'Evita' (and so we have our first song of the episode). I love this song and thought Kurt did a great job. Yet, we continued to see the shine fade from Dalton (and Blaine) a little more as Blaine signals Kurt to tone down his performance. Kurt doesn't get the solo and Blaine explains that perhaps Kurt should stop trying so hard. It's sort of ironic really. The place where Kurt was told he would be accepted as the person he is, is the exact same place he is being told to blend in and be uniform. This of course came from 'Mr Solo' himself, Blaine.

Once at Sectionals we get two songs in a row to make up for the lack of singing in the first half of the episode. The first song comes from elderly contenders, The Hipsters as they sing 'The Living Years' by Mike and The Mechanics. I quite enjoyed this song - although not as energetic as the other competition performances we're used to it was a nice change. And I loved that they had an Artie and a Mercedes to sing the high notes! The second song comes from The Warblers singing 'Hey Soul Sister' by Train. I hadn't heard this song prior to watching this episode, but I really loved it. Mostly because, well, Blaine's dreamy and Kurt's doe-eyed looks make me smile. I do of course love The Warblers acapella, barber-shop quartet sounding performances. The thing with the Warblers (and The Hipsters) is that they are the complete opposite of last years main competition, Vocal Adrenaline. Where VD (hah!), where energetic and extremely produced, The Warblers are a lot more subtle and acoustic. Yet, for some reason the New Directions don't feel the need to change or adjust the way they perform - all the performances they do at competition level seem so 'safe'. Perhaps, they are aware of this point as the New Directions act pretty scared in the Green Room. 

Meanwhile Artie confronts Brittany about her adultery, Brittany thinks he means she's a 'dolt', because she's lost the magic comb. Finally Artie does what he should have done in the first place and tells Brittany that she's awesome. Problem solved. Except, wait. Why did Mike Abs' lips taste like Lipsmackers? Dun, dun, dun.

The Glee club are forced on stage by Mr Schue, regardless of their problems and open their performance with 'Time of My Life' by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. How different and unique was this performance? The opening was exactly the same as their openers for Sectionals (Don't Rain on My Parade) and Regionals (Faithfully) last time, but hang on, was that Quinn and Sam singing? Groundbreaking! I do of course love this song though and I love Quinn, all it was missing was some sort of Patrick Swayze tribute dance break. This performance was immediately followed by Santana completely nailing the Mark Ronson produced, Amy Winehouse version of 'Valerie' (originally by The Zutons). It was awesome, as was Brittany and Mike Abs dancing - now this performance was different Mr Schue. (On a side note did anyone notice the little gestures and signals between Brittana during this song? More to come on that later in the series Gleeks). 

Of course the competition is a draw (with The Hipsters coming in third. Ageism!), we are only half way through the series and one of our main characters is a member of a different Glee club. I was a little confused as to why New Direction got the trophy though.

Once back at school, Emma reveals to Will that she became Mrs. Hottest Dentist Alive whilst in Vegas over the weekend and Finn and Rachel are officially dunzo. So, really, cheers all round. Also at Dalton, Kurt is worried as Pavarotti appears to be ill, Blaine explains that the bird is simply shedding his feathers. This had to be some kind of metaphor because really why else would it be mentioned? I know why the caged bird sings and all that.

Finally the episode closes with the 'unsung heroes' Tina and Mercedes who are given a chance to sing. So we're going to give the 'unsung heroes' a chance to sing every week, yes? Nah, lets just go back to the usual formula, right Glee? But for now let's just pretend it's going to change (as we do every week) and enjoy a bit of Florence and The Machine's "Dog Day's Are Over".

What did you think of the episode? Were you a little bit sad about the lack of songs, or did you think it was a good balance of story and songs? How do you feel about Lauren Zeises joining the club? As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Next week it's 'A Very Glee Christmas', which I'll be honest I'm already questioning doing a Gleecap for  because I'm not normally a fan of special episodes (unless it's MSCL or Father Ted) and with it being done a while ago, I'm kind of over Christmas. We'll see.


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