Glee: Mash Off recap/review

Finn deserved it.

That slap? He deserved it. Somehow, over the course of this season, Finn has turned from a sort of loveable, clueless guy into a complete arse.

Sure, he has had his moments – telling Rory he wanted him to join New Directions, telling Santana, Brittany and Mercedes he still wanted to be their friend.

But then he just negates it all with his other actions. He was mean to Rory before he was ever nice to him. He said nasty things to Brittany, knowing full well what he was saying. He constantly makes snide remarks to Blaine or ignores him on purpose (is that storyline going somewhere?). And this week, in Mash Off, he outed Santana in a hallway in the middle of the school day. Nice work Finn. And then he was completely unsympathetic at pretty the end. See? He deserved that slap.

I don’t know why he’s become mean, but I don’t like it and I don’t really like Finn anymore. He’s never been my favourite (or anywhere close) but now I just don’t like him. I hope he redeems himself in future episodes, as I don’t think Finn is a mean character at heart.

So, that slap was really what this episode was all about. It wasn’t as good as last week’s The First Time, but that was a particularly well crafted episode. Still, Mash Off was also not as bad as I expected, although it was a bit flat.

One good thing was the conclusion of the ‘Quinn tries to steal her baby back’ storyline, because at least now Shelby knows what she’s up to.

I’m also more hopeful about the Shelby/Puck storyline. I’m happy they didn’t kiss again, and hopefully Puck’s crush will continue to be written as an unrequited crush, and one that he gets over eventually. Please, writers, please don’t let this storyline go further down the wrong road.

This week saw a return to the class president storyline. Actually, calling it a return is probably an exaggeration, since it’s never been delved into significantly. Still, this week we got to see some speeches, which at least moved that plot point along a little bit. Eventually we’ll get to an election, and maybe by then the candidates will have graduated from college.

Anyway, hands up who saw Kurt’s policy shift coming a mile away after he helped Rory off the floor? Obvious as it was, Kurt’s speech was still very sweet, and totally believable. It was made better still by Blaine’s earnest nod and the look on his face, pretty much the only direct indication (outside of the two of them in the background of scenes being couply) that they’re closer than ever.

Rachel continued to become a more likeable character for me as she came to the realisation that she’s not the best person for senior class president. That character is definitely maturing this season, and I like it.

Running on parallel to the senior class president race is the race for Congress. This whole race is being conducted in a completely unrealistic manner. There’s no way any of those ads shown would ever be allowed to run. Ever. But Glee is a television programme, so I will suspend all knowledge of elections and just go with the flow here.

Time did a great piece recently about Sue Sylvester and how she has no purpose in Glee at the moment, amusing as her character is. I see this, and feel it. Sue is still funny, and Jane Lynch is brilliant to watch, but I don’t love Sue as much as I used to. It may be controversial, but it’s how I feel. It doesn’t mean I don’t like her, I thought she showed perfect Sue Sylvester-like sympathy towards Santana at the end, and her mocking of Burt is spot-on Sue, it’s just not as funny anymore.

Talking of Santana – whew, what an emotional wringer of an episode it was for her. She was the emotional heart of this episode, and much as there were sweet or funny scenes, without Santana this episode would have been dull.

I love Santana, and think she rocks. However, there came a moment in this episode where I  thought she had gone too far in her bitchiness as she “apologised” to Finn. She can be a bully, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. It’s not right, and it needs to stop. And this week, she didn’t just cross the line, she sprinted over it like Usain Bolt doing the 100m. The cliche “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, has never been more untrue. Santana’s words really do hurt people, and as the seasons have progressed they’ve gone from being funny comments to being mean ones.

But when Finn opened his mean mouth and outed her, I was back to feeling for her and back on her side (although she was still wrong). Finn was pretty much spot on in his assessment that Santana is always so harsh on other people because of how she feels about herself. He just went about telling her the wrong way. 

This week Naya Rivera did a brilliant job showing off Santana’s layers. It’s easy to see her as a bullying bitch with no substance (which she is a majority of the time), but Rivera shows the love Santana has for Brittany (both romantic and platonic), and the joy she feels at being valued in the Troubletones.

And then, the best bit, she’s got a heck of a voice on her. The Adele mash up was the best performance by miles in this episode. Amber Riley’s voice was flawless as always, but it was Rivera who stole the show with all the emotion she put into Someone Like You. You could see the feelings – anger, sadness, frustration – building and building throughout the number. And at the end, it all had to come out in a torrent of screaming. 

The music:
I wasn’t hugely impressed with the musical numbers this week, but that’s probably partially because I didn’t know a lot of them, apart from the Adele songs and Blondie’s One Way or Another.

I did enjoy the mash up during the dodgeball scene, but that’s because it was a fun scene. And while we’re talking about dodgeball, let’s take a moment to appreciate how athletic a lot of the cast are, particularly Heather Morris with her brilliant no-handed flipping.

I was a bit freaked out by the New Directions mash up. If it hadn’t been for the dodgy mustaches, I’d probably have happily bopped along. As it was, I was just spooked.

Compared to last week’s emotion and drama filled musical numbers, this week’s (apart from Rumour Has It/Someone Like You) seemed a little emotionless and boring. Again, that’s probably because I don’t know the songs, but I can safely say Glee has done better when it comes to mash ups.

Oh, I just remembered Hot for Teacher. That was alright, made better by Blaine and Mike dancing in the background. Way better.  

What Glee did well this week:
The writers revisited a bunch of ridiculous storylines and either moved them along or brought them to some sort of conclusion. It’s comforting they haven’t just forgotten about a bunch of plots introduced earlier in the season, or dragged them out for so long that they get more ridiculous.

Also, a little mention for the cute Rachel/Kurt scenes. Their friendship is sweet, and I’ve spoken lots before about how I enjoy the friendships in Glee.

Next week:
Another flipping hiatus.

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