Glee goes Fleetwood Mac with Rumours episode – TV Review

[[Glee (TV Series)|Glee]] loves to take a concept for an episode and immerse everything in that concept. Take tonight’s Rumours-themed episode, which leans heavily on Fleetwood Mac’s album of the same name. The cast are embroiled in a complete drama-fest when Sue Sylvester uses the newly-revived school newspaper to spread rumours about the glee club.

What worked in this episode was the clever way the Fleetwood Mac history lesson was interwoven with the plot. In fact, Rumours leaned heavily on the fact that the band – like New Directions – were heavily fragmented at the time the album was recorded. But as Kurt noted, the only thing that got them through was a complete focus on the music, leading to the band recording their masterpiece.

Now, I haven’t been a regular Glee viewer this season. Reasons? It’s a bit contrived, and often it feels like the characters have to bend to fit the musical choices for the episode rather than the other way around. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that sometimes Glee communicates concepts better using music than actual dialogue. That was never clearer in this episode than when Rachel serenades Finn with a fierce rendition of Go Your Own Way and later when the entire group uses Don’t Stop to rally round newly-impoverished Sam. That final performance was a real goosebumps, feel-good moment.

As far as plot goes, I’m loving the Santana lesbian storyline. Brittany not so much. She’s no sooner dumped Artie and she’s ready to leap out of the closet in her new webseries Fondue For Two. But perhaps that’s the way you’d do it if you lived life as simplistically as Brittany. I don’t know.

It’s fitting that Santana is maintaining a sham relationship with Karofsky – two dominant alpha-types feverishly hiding their sexuality by pretending to date. All credit to Naya Rivera, who is nailing the character of Santana beautifully, displaying the vulnerability and the conflict that are at war inside her. It’s easy to hate Santana for being a bitch 90% of the time, but her struggle in coming out shows that she’s not as confident as she seems.

Elsewhere, the love triangle square between Rachel, Finn, Quinn and Sam continues to rage. Well, no-one’s really interested in Sam, but Rachel seems to want to steal Finn back, and Quinn’s determined to keep him. Yawn. Double yawn.

A highlight of the rumours-themed show was how Sam was assumed to be having affairs with Kurt and Quinn. What could have become a somewhat preachy resolution to that storyline was saved by Chord Overstreet, Lea Michele and Corey Monteith displaying brilliant range of emotions. Sam’s character was steeped in shame over his family moving to a motel, while Finn and Rachel were stricken with guilt over the assumptions they’d made.

Why did this work so well? Because the ending got to the heart of why we love Glee in the first place. New Directions for all their infighting and conflict are a family, and when the chips are down they’ll back each other up. We saw that earlier in the season when Kurt was being bullied. It was a genuinely touching moment when Finn revealed that the club had bought his guitar back from the pawnshop – and Sam realised he didn’t have to be ashamed and that he had the support of his friends. For everything that Glee fudges up on a weekly basis, they often get the emotional response pitch perfect.

Things I have a problem with? Sue Sylvester. I think even Sue’s becoming tired of Sue right now, hence the weirdness of her Bowie and Ann Coulter disguises (though I thought they were actually Lady GaGa and Madonna). Yes, it’s fun that she wants to destroy the Glee club every week, but she strikes me as too intelligent to maintain a vendetta for this long. She’s the McKinley High equivalent of Dick Dastardly.

Will Shuester must die. There, I said it. The baggage that Will brings along with him – ex-wife Terri and Kirsten Chenoweth’s annoying character – are two reasons to lose him. But Matthew Morrison is surely the original template for the Scream mask when he sings. But ultimately he’s cheesy and a tad one-dimensional and his storyline doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Bottom line: I think Schuester’s the character who will die this season, hopefully leaving the door open for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Holly Holiday to return on a full-time basis. But I reckon Matthew Morrison probably has a big career ahead of him as a light entertainer. He’s America’s answer to John Barrowman.

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