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Gleeview - "Michael"

Written by Erik Galston on Wednesday, February 01 2012 and posted in Reviews

After a brief hiatus, Gleeviews return just in time for Glee's tribute to the King of Pop.

Since Gleeviews has been on hiatus, lots has happened with the New Directions. To recap: Rachel rigged the student body election so that Kurt could win. It backfired – she was suspended, Kurt was disqualified and Brittany won. Sue lost her election to Burt, and her man to Coach Bieste (who later eloped with him). Quinn, realizing that ruining Ms. Corcoran's life would only hurt Beth, changed her mind and decided to apply to Yale. After losing to New Directions, The Trouble Tones dissolve, with Mercedes, Santana, Brittany and Sugar rejoining New Directions. Sam returned to McKinley with hopes of rekindling his summer relationship with Mercedes. Finn learned that his dad didn't die a hero's death in Iraq, but died of an overdose after coming back to the U.S. Devasted by the news, he proposed to Rachel, right after the Glee Club helped Will propose to Emma.

This brings us to the most current episode. "Michael" was a great episode. Unlike the Britney Spears episode, the song selections were perfectly chosen for the storyline, instead of fitting the episode to the songs, they fit the songs to the episode. Ten songs were used in total (for every song I'll put the characters who sang it in parentheses); "Wanna Be Starting Something" (Blaine and New Directions), "Bad" (Artie, Blaine, Santana, New Directions and Sebastian and the Warblers), "Scream" (Artie and Mike), "Never Can Say Goodbye" (Quinn), "Human Nature" (Sam and Mercedes), "Ben" (Kurt, Rachel and Finn), "Smooth Criminal" (Santana and Sebastian), "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (Finn and Rachel), "Black or White" (New Directions).

Michael Jackson was the topic of the weekend for the club, first as what they were gonna do at Regionals (since the girls from the Trouble Tones were upset they didn't get to do the Jackson songs at sectionals). After Artie, Kurt, Rachel, Santana and Blaine run into Sebastian at the coffee shop, that plan was put in jeopardy. Sebastian, (who is the new captain of the Warblers and doesn't want to play nice) tells them that the Warblers will be doing MJ for regionals. Devastated, the club tries to figure out what to do next. Will decides that the lesson for the week was WWMJD (What Would Michael Jackson Do). The kids decide to "dual" the Warblers with the song "Bad" for the right to do MJ at regionals. At a parking garage (similar to Jackson's original "Bad" video) the two groups compete. At the end of the song, Sebastian throws a slushie at Blaine, which damages one of his eyes.

New Directions is furious, they believe there was something else in the slushie, but since they can't prove it, they really can't do anything about it. Will tells them that they just need to be better than them at regionals. This clearly upsets Artie, who lashes out about how unfair it is for everyone to just expect them to take the high road. He wants revenge and he wants to cause them pain. Will tells Artie to take a break and cool down. This leads to a dream sequence with Artie and Mike recreating the Michael and Janet video for "Scream."
Quinn, after telling Rachel that she got into Yale, tells Rachel that even though Finn and Rachel are a great couple, they can't marry if Rachel wants to have a future. Quinn believes that they both have so much to live for and that they shouldn't tie their futures to their high school past. After performing, "Never Can Say Goodbye," Quinn thanks everyone in the glee club for helping her get where she currently is, telling them her future wouldn't have been possible if not for the rest of the group's support.

Sharing a tender moment in the auditorium, Sam and Mercedes perform a duet of "Human Nature." Sam tells her after the duet he will stop pursuing a relationship with her and she can be with Shane. Mercedes and Sam kiss at the end of the song, so we'll see where that leads in future episodes. 

Kurt receives his letter from NYADA (New York Academy of Dramatic Arts), telling him he's a finalist to get into the school. Kurt tells Rachel, who is heart broken that her letter hasn't arrived yet. She is certain she's not gonna get in, and breaks down, telling Kurt that she has nothing except her boyfriend. Later that night, Rachel, Kurt and Finn visit Blaine who is excited for Kurt's news, but sad that he can't be involved in the MJ week. Blaine's eye injury will require surgery but he should make a full recovery, (the surgery will explain why Blaine is missing for a couple episodes while Darin Criss is in NYC on Broadway).

Santana decides to pretty much take it into her own hands to get proof that Sebastian did something to the slushie, and goes to Dalton and confronts him. Because she threatens his honor, Sebastian demands that they "throw down" so to speak. They use "Smooth Criminal" as their throw down song. Afterwards, Sebastian admits to Santana that he put rock salt in the slushie, but that it wasn't meant for Blaine it was meant for Kurt. Santana goes back to New Directions and tells them they have proof now, as she recorded her conversation. Kurt tells her that rather than get Sebastian expelled, they'd be the better people and show them they are better than him. Finn has Rachel stay in the choir room, and sings "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" with her. After this Rachel accepts his proposal, as she doesn't really have anything else going for her.

The New Directions, invite the Warblers to the auditorium, and tells them they can do MJ for regionals. Kurt tells them that instead of tearing each other down, as show choirs they should be helping to better each other and support each other. Artie tells them that they may be able to perform his music, but that the New Directions embody what MJ was all about. They perform "Black or White" complete with morphing heads like in the original video. The Warblers (except Sebastian) join New Directions on the stage. Afterwards, Santana tells the Warblers what Sebastian does, including showing them they have proof. They give Sebastian the tape, but the Warblers already are clearly viewing Sebastian in a different light.

The episode ends with Rachel receiving her letter from NYADA, she also is a finalist. Rachel is happy but unsure how she's gonna tell Finn.

This episode had plenty of "wow" moments for me. Kevin McHale's performance as Artie was very good. I was in complete and utter shock when Artie lashed out in anger. After 3 years of abuse and nothing changing, it was nice for a character to actually acknowledge and voice concerns. You could really feel for him. The music number that followed that scene was perfect. "Scream" was the perfect song to showcase Artie's frustration. I loved that they did it in a dream sequence, and recreated the original video. Michael Jackson's original version is one of my favorite songs from his catalogue. The original video was innovative, and the show did a very good job of recreating it. Plus any time that Kevin McHale can showcase his dancing is great tme.

After 2 years of Quinn not acknowledging the club for being there for her, it was nice to finally have her be thankful for what they did. Diana Agron's vocals for "Never Can Say Goodbye," while not the best on the episode, were great for the song. She may not be the best singer in the cast, but when she does get a solo, her voice conveys the emotions behind the words, and this was no exception.

One of the best parts of this episode was finally seeing Sebastian and Santana interact. Since Sebastian was introduced, I have waited patiently until the two characters met – Sebastian pretty much being the male Santana. The first interaction was well worth the wait. It was nice to see someone that could actually give Santana a run for her money in the put down department. The highlight of the episode was the "Smooth Criminal" performance. Watching it, you could really feel the anger and hostility coming from both characters. I loved that the show used the "2Cellos" from YouTube in the performance. It really made the song something special. I highly recommend checking them out on YouTube or their own website ( ).

As much as I was hoping for Rachel and Kurt to NOT get into the New York School, it was nice to finally see Kurt be happy after the first part of the season where everything he was doing kept falling apart. I was a little upset when Kurt told Rachel about his letter, and instead of being a good friend and being happy, she turned it into all about her and how her life sucks. I should have expected that, since it is Rachel Berry and that's pretty much been her number one character trait the entire series, but after the election debacle I almost thought she had changed.

This episode was great for a fan of the show. I know a lot of people tuned in for the tribute to MJ. I talked to a friend who had never seen the show before, but watched it strictly for the MJ songs. He told me he had no clue what was going on, but that it was fine because the singing was great to him. As a fan of the show, I was happy that it moved a lot of plot lines forward. I was impressed with the music and the musical performances. I know there are a lot of people who will gladly rip the show apart; I've encountered plenty of people in my life who hate it and react negatively to me when they find out I love the show. Its not for everyone. If you don't like it don't watch is what I have to say to the haters. To me its pure escapism, the one hour a week that continually brings me joy, and that's what this episode did for me.

Looking ahead to next week, all I have to say are two words: Ricky Martin.

Written or Contributed by: Erik Galston

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