Makeover. It’s an interesting concept. We make ourselves over every morning when we put on make up or do our hair or select an outfit. We make ourselves over when we meet new people, hoping to offer them the best impression of us. And we sometimes make ourselves over when we start somewhere new, hoping to be what we want to be instead of what we are.
Four characters were made over physically this episode. Sam and Brittany were both made to look more serious with the addition of suits, glasses and slicked back hair, Blaine was made into someone more approachable with the loss of the bow tie, and Rachel was made sexier with lashings of make-up.
But the idea that changing who you are on the outside to change who you are inside doesn’t work for any of our characters this episode. Brittany still “says something stupid” when it comes to the debate, Sam is still a guy who stripped to feed his family, Rachel is still that girl haunted by her first love, Blaine is still the boy who’s lost without Kurt and needs to find himself.
Rather, our four characters discover that what they need is to makeover what’s inside, whether that’s by letting go of someone, holding on to something or opening up to something new.
Sam opened himself up to a new friendship (who doesn’t love Blam?) and the new experiences that bromance will bring, while similarly starting to come to terms with his feelings for Brittany (and when did he break up with Mercedes?).
Brittany is still trying to fill the void left by Santana, and discovers that she needs more motivation to do something that just needing to fill that void (Blaine also realises this in relation to the void left by Kurt). She’s still oblivious to Sam’s feelings for her, which I like, as Brittany needs to sort herself out before getting involved with someone else.
Rachel discovered that changing the way you look might make you feel good, but it’s not so easy to change yourself inside or the way you feel – her first instinct when telling Brody a story was to tell him that she’d never told Finn. And when Finn turned up at the door, Rachel morphed straight back to that girl she was when she arrived in New York, unsure, afraid and still holding on to/mourning her first love.
While we’re on the subject of Rachel, I’m not sure I loved the idea of changing her into some sort of sex kitten. However annoying she is, Rachel has always been true to herself even when she’s uncomfortable with her looks. In earlier seasons her unease with her nose or her decision to dress sexily to impress Finn always led her to realise that it was her own skin she felt most comfortable in, and that made her special. This time it seems putting on high heels, incredibly long false eyelashes and showing cleavage makes Rachel think she’s more likeable, even though, I’d like to point out, Brody liked her just fine before. The feminist inside me is screaming at this. And also, when did Rachel decide to give up her vegan principles to cook duck for a boy? Plus, she now looks like Lea Michele and not Rachel Berry.
Finally Blaine. Poor Blaine. He doesn’t really know who he is, as evidenced by numerous things this episode. First, there was his inability to commit to just a few clubs, instead joining everything (note Blaine in the Superhero Sidekick Appreciation Club, as he feels like the sidekick to Kurt). Then his inability to choose a tie himself. Then taking advice from Sam, instead of just making a decision himself. And then, oh, and then, he made the biggest realisation of all – that he came to McKinley for Kurt and built his life round Kurt, and now Kurt’s not there any more. So where does that leave Blaine? Who is Blaine without KurtandBlaine?
With KurtandBlaine there were some interesting, and realistic, developments this episode. Klaine has always been the most mature couple on Glee, but in some ways the most unrealistic as well, with their promises of never saying goodbye and of always being there. Both characters are idealists when it comes to each other, and this week they realised it’s hard to live up to those ideals when real life gets in the way.
Kurt is doing exactly what he promised Blaine he wouldn’t do way back when in Dance With Somebody – leave him behind when he went to New York. Sure, they’re Skyping and texting and calling, but they’re losing that emotional connection, or at least Kurt is. Caught up in his new life in New York, he assumes that he can regale Blaine with his stories and that Blaine will treat him the same way while he changes, and Blaine remains static. Separated physically, Kurt stops reading the signs that tell him Blaine is upset or annoyed or lonely, and instead focuses on himself. The Skype conversation we see is completely one-sided – Kurt does all the telling, and Blaine all the listening, and that’s no way to have a successful relationship.
The final decision by Kurt in this episode, to not answer the phone, is a poignant once. We’ve seen bad things happen before when Kurt has decided not to do something – his dad had a heart attack when Kurt decided not to go to Friday night dinner, Karofsky tried to ring Kurt and then attempted to commit suicide. Of course, those things weren’t a consequence of Kurt not being there, and I’m not saying anything like that will happen in this instance, but Glee does like to use the tool of someone ignoring someone else as a set up for something bad. We shall see next week what happens.
I enjoyed the focus on old glee clubbers this episode, as the first two episodes of this season have included vast amounts of screen time for the new members of New Directions. The Mr Schue storyline was by the by, clearly a set up for next week, so I won’t dwell on that.
Instead of new people in New Directions, we got introduced to Isabelle Wright, designer extraordinaire and Kurt’s new mentor. As with nearly all the adults we’ve seen in Glee, she was in desperate need of some guidance, and somehow turned to Kurt, an 18-year-old with no professional experience, to inspire her career. It’s far from realistic, but in the world of Glee all adults (apart from Burt Hummel) seem to be more immature than the teenagers they’re supposed to inspire. Still, she was a fun character (more than a little Carrie Bradshaw), and Sarah Jessica Parker doesn’t have a bad singing voice either.
Our characters all showed changes this episode, and so the songs in Makeover were a reflection of that.
Blaine’s opening number, Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears, was a power ballad of sorts, but it was also a love song to Kurt, an absent Kurt. While there were lyrics about being right behind you, there were also plenty of other lyrics foreshadowing what may be coming, including those about almost making it. One lyric stuck with me and really summed up Blaine: “Even while we sleep, we will find you acting on your best behaviour.” Isn’t that Blaine all over? Always on his best behaviour? He needs to loosen the mask and start being who he really wants to be.
I didn’t really enjoy Celebrity Skin, mostly because I think Brittany’s voice is quite weak. It’s difficult to get enthused about the music when you have amazing singers like Artie and Tina being sidelined. Plus, Hole’s music around that period was quite dark (that album also contained Northern Star, which was about Kurt Cobain) and I just didn’t think this song really fit Brittany and Sam.
The Way You Look Tonight/You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile was a fun number, and a bit of light relief in a heavy episode.
A Change Will Do You Good was okay, but didn’t really impress me. Plus, it went on for too long and included montages of people skipping through New York, which are very annoying.
Not really one scene, but I enjoyed Blaine and Kurt’s voiceovers. We so rarely hear from these two, so it was nice to get a little insight into their minds, particularly Blaine’s. It’s interesting to hear his thoughts at the beginning, and then watching as he realises he’s built his life around Kurt, which he doesn’t at the beginning, even though he’s talking about filling his time now that Kurt has gone.