‘Glee’ Recap: Break-Ups and Shake-Ups at Sectionals

Naya Rivera and Kevin McHale of 'Glee' (Photo: Fox)

Naya Rivera and Kevin McHale of 'Glee' (Photo: Fox)

Glee‘ scribe Brad Falchuk must have run the Magic Comb through his hair before sitting down to pen “Special Education,” because this episode was a total winner.

It wasn’t an episode built on show-stopping musical numbers (“Journey”) or stunt casting (hello, “The Substitute”). What it did have was a handful of juicy nuggets that added up to a really solid show.

The nugget that started it all was that Emma shot down Schue’s predictable Sectionals strategy in, like, less than a minute. We haven’t had Jacob the Jewfro around in a while to say what we’re all thinking, but this time Ms. Pillsbury was on our side to say, “Seriously? Rachel and Finn and a rock ballad AGAIN?”

Convinced to let some of his other stars shine, Mr. Schue let Ken and Barbie (aka Sam and Quinn) have the ‘Time of Their Life’ as they put their new-found puppy-love spin on the ‘Dirty Dancing’ song…. It’s true that we’ve seen that back-entrance groove down the aisles to the stage more than once now. Still! It wasn’t exactly what I’d have predicted for the Sectionals opener.

Watch Tuesday’s Episode of ‘Glee’ on xfinityTV.com

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So Emma’s cutting comment cued Schue to take a Rachel solo out and put a Brittany and Mike dance number in. The new direction of New Directions caused an epic Rachel meltdown, because Baby isn’t used to being put in the corner. When Schue went into his long-overdue tirade at Rachel for being an annoying pipsqueak, applause broke out in my living room.

Watching Rachel deal with not being the star for once, while dealing with her jealousy over Santana and Finn’s non-virginity revelation … well, it was a welcome change. It forced her to be a thoughtful human being with Kurt. I wasn’t sure about them being all huggy at Sectionals, but their pairing won me over when she got him to smile during the Warblers’ performance of “Hey, Soul Sister.”

It’s too bad that Dalton isn’t Kurt’s happily-ever-after place after all. He won’t last somewhere that individuality is stifled.

Meanwhile, poor Brittany stressed so much over the pressure of having a key role in the performance, and then over losing the ‘Magic Comb,’ that her weird behavior made Artie think she and Mike were literally stepping out together. Tina’s paranoia did not help matters. The group reached a near-implosion in the green room at Sectionals. Last year’s underdogs had become this year’s divas.

The point is that with the exception of Sue Sylvester, who must be on a honeymoon with herself, the entire ensemble was utilized in one way or another. Everyone got screen time, and the stories were handled without being heavy-handed or overly sentimental (which the show is sometimes accused of being).

Wait, I know, Burt Hummel and Terri Schuester were missing. I love both the actors, but as long as I get my WMHS characters, I really don’t miss those two.

As it stands now, Finn and Rachel are splitsville, and Schue is heartbroken over Emma’s surprise Vegas marriage to Dr. Carl (John Stamos). Puck played (somewhat) nicer with the kids after his 24-hour imprisonment in a port-o-potty. Blaine went from being Mr. Courage to Mr. Conformity, but I suspect that’s not enough to keep Kurt from wanting to be more than just friends. Will anyone end up under the mistletoe next week? I can’t wait to find out.

What took home the trophy:

Best Musical Number: New Directions’ take on “Dog Days Are Over” featuring Tina and Mercedes. No, it didn’t sound like Florence, but it was fun and beyond catchy.

Best Brittany Line: “If we lose, we should throw possums.”

Best Bad Advice: It didn’t help Kurt win over the Warblers, but Rachel’s suggestion of “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” meant that we got to hear them both sing it. Huzzah!

And what didn’t deserve a prize:

Worst Number: When you take away the threat of Baby being put in a corner, “(I’ve Had The) Time of My Life” is nowhere near as climactic. I know I’m always whining that Quinn should have more screen time, but that song’s just too stale for the Glee kids.

Most Missed Character: Every episode needs a dash of Sue.

Now that we’ve made it through Sectionals, are you gearing up for the road to Regionals or just ready for a break? Sound off below.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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