If the Britney Spears episode of Glee was too light on story, and "Grilled Cheesus" too heavy on message, "Duets" was akin to the porridge on which Goldie Locks dined: Just right.
The varied songs fit in organically with the plot, a new character was integrated into the group and the show went back to correct one of my biggest problems with it. Let's go over all the things this episode did well:
It made viewers care about Sam. Granted, we had already met this (fake!) blonde-haired jock, but this installment gave the character depth, personality and even a burgeoning relationship. Seriously, is anyone not rooting for Suinn now? With the exception of a smooth dating nickname, Sam and Quinn seem perfect together and we're on board to see where this goes. (No offense, Puck, please don't hurt us.)It re-introduced us to Quinn. Since her baby was born, the Cheerio has fought with Santana and tried to return to her bitchy ways, but she's mostly just been absent from any main storyline. Until now, that is, as Dianna Agron - lip quivering, eyes watering - shined in explaining to Sam why she couldn't get close to anyone new. Great work on her part. And nice to have Quinn a relevant member of New Directions again.
It made me not miss Sue Sylvester. Okay, I'm lying. I totally missed Sue Sylvester. But Brittany's one-liners almost made up for the lack of Sue's (she thought Artie was a robot and a "duet" was a blanket) and it does make sense for that track-suited menace to not appear on a few episodes. She isn't actually in the group, remember.
It opened the door for actual depth to Brittany. It will be interesting to see if the show really follows through on Brittany dealing with her reputation at school, although this was easily my least favorite aspect of the episode. Should we really feel bad for Artie? The guy's legs don't work, but his eyes and his brain are fine, right? He must have been fully aware of Brittany's philosophy on sex and dating before he hopped/was carried into bed with her.
And, let's face it, Artie isn't innocent here, either. He's clearly not over Tina. The idea of him actually feeling used and hurt by his (shocking!) sexual experience felt both forced and too much like an after school special.
It made me crave breadsticks. I was assuming they'd be of the soft variety, though, weren't you?
It introduced viewers to scissoring: I won't reveal what this action is to ignorant readers, but to those of you in the know: Can you believe the show went there?!?
It course corrected Kurt. I practically cheered out loud when Finn explained to Kurt that he doesn't have a problem with gays, he just has a problem with how Kurt can come on too strong. As I wrote about at the time, Glee glossed over Kurt's role in the "fagot" incident of "Theatricality." Finn was wrong to have used that word and Mr. Hummel was right in going off on him about it - but, as Finn so rightly said last night, if he acted around a girl the way Kurt acts around him, there would be major repercussions.
Chris Colfer is outstanding and the character of Kurt is refreshing to have on TV, but just because he's gay doesn't mean he should be able to get away with any behavior he likes. Kudos to the show for re-visiting this concept. It's great for Kurt to be comfortable with who he is, but he still must be cognizant of how he treats other people who are different from him.
It gave us unique pairings. Sam and Quinn? Artie and Brittany? Santana and Mercedes? Great to see tandems we aren't accustomed to putting on performances... all of which we've captured in our Glee music section!
There's no new episode until October 26, so we'll have plenty of time to analyze this one. What did everyone else think?
** We'll be interesting Chord Overstreet tomorrow. Got any questions for the actor? Leave a Comment with them and we'll ask!