Oh Glee I love so much, you’re back! This episode was nothing short of a joy to watch, in fact, it lived up to its title: Wonder-ful.
There was laughter, there was sadness, there was friendship, there was love, there was Burt Hummel. It was as perfect an episode as Glee can put together while Rachel Berry still exists as a character. Only joking. Well, sort of.
Wonder-ful felt a bit like old Glee, pre-class of whatever year this new lot will be graduating. And it felt like that because much of the old New Directions were together at McKinley, and among them were Mercedes, Mike and Kurt.
The latter was back because his dad was due to get test results telling him whether his cancer had been beaten back by treatment. Burt’s cancer was such a bombshell storyline, and it’s been largely ignored since the Christmas episode (apart from one brief mention last week), so it was nice to see it readdressed.
Kurt’s OCD added a bit of lightness to the storyline, while at the same time also being a marker of how dark this storyline has the potential to be.
I enjoyed Kurt’s voiceover as he packed for New York and then arrived at McKinley. His comment about not worrying because he wasn’t hooking up with Blaine this time made me chuckle, since the hooking up was such fun, but it was good to see Kurt acknowledging his confused feelings when it comes to Blaine.
Those feelings continued to manifest themselves through the episode in little ways, as Kurt showed he didn’t know how to take Blaine’s comment about Kurt looking “dirty cute”, Kurt’s confusion over Blaine’s comforting hand on his at the Lima Bean (an echo of previous times they’ve done this), and Kurt’s comment that Blaine is cute when he’s nervous.
But first, Papa Hummel. He was fine, thank goodness. All the treatment worked and Burt is now cancer-free. To celebrate, Kurt called him to McKinley and sang You Are the Sunshine of My Life to him (while Blaine looked on at Kurt longingly).
Papa Hummel is not just there for Kurt, Blaine calls on him for advice. After presenting him with a rainbow pin and talking about gay marriage, Blaine asks Burt’s permission to ask Kurt to marry him. And Burt says no. Which is completely the right answer. In another display of Papa Hummel wisdom, Burt tells Blaine that marriage changes things, that it’s not something to be rushed into, regardless of whether you’re straight or gay. And he tells Blaine that he and Kurt will be fine. When Blaine asks how he knows, Burt gives the best answer – when people love each other like Blaine and Kurt do, they’ll be fine.
Blaine is clearly thrown by Burt’s advice, having expected to be praised for his prospective romantic gesture. And Blaine almost asks Kurt to marry him, but changes his mind at the last minute and instead asks Kurt to stay for regionals instead. It might be disappointing for Blaine, but marriage is not the grand gesture needed for these two to get back together. Personally, I don’t think it needs a grand gesture at all, it just needs time and then honesty about their feelings for each other.
Meanwhile Mercedes was back from LA to record the music video for her new album, which includes the “soon to be hit song Hell to the No“. Nice reference there Glee, you can do continuity when you want.
In between teaching Marley and Jacob how to embrace their talent, and putting Kitty in her place, Mercedes gets a call from her sleazy producer, who tells her that she must redo a photoshoot and show more flesh, or her album will be dropped. After some consideration, Mercedes decides to go her own way, and rely on her talent to succeed. It’s great seeing Glee showing a strong woman relying on her voice and refusing to change who she is to succeed (unlike Rachel’s adoption of a new look to make it in New York).
I’m not entirely sure what Mike is doing back. He seems to be taking Jake under his wing, and the writers of Glee have set it up so that Mike is endorsing Jake as the new Mike so we can all love Jake. It hasn’t worked. Mike is the new Mike.
Also having difficulty with their future is Artie, who got into film school in Brooklyn, but isn’t going. He tells the interfering (but actually well-meaning) Kitty it’s because his mum is scared to let him go, but after Kitty visits Mrs Abrams it turns out it’s Artie who’s afraid to let go. After a heart-to-heart with his mum, Artie is persuaded to follow his dream and not be afraid.
Over in New York, Rachel is preparing for her Funny Girl callback. She starts by calling Will to thank him for being an amazing teacher, and recounting how she sang Don’t Stop Believin’ in her audition. This all felt really awkward, since Will’s not a great teacher, and well, it was just a weird phone call. I wonder if this was originally written as a phone call between Rachel and Finn, which then had to be changed after Cory Monteith went into rehab?
Cassandra July finds out Rachel is going for a callback, and proceeds to tear Rachel apart, calling her names and mocking her. But guess what? It’s all an act. Cassandra actually wants to cheer Rachel on, and sets up the whole class to sing to her and make her posters and stuff. And then Rachel thanks Cassandra for pushing her to be a better dancer. This is such crap, I can’t even get to grips with it. Rachel’s idea of a good teacher is completely warped. I don’t care if Rachel is now a better dancer, Cassandra bullied her for most of the season, and it’s terrible behaviour.
Apart from the New York scenes, this episode of Glee was a triumph, and reminded me why I love the show so much.
So much to pick from! There was the coffee shop scene between Kurt, Blaine, Mercedes and Mike that was just full of camaraderie and love, all the Stevie Wonder songs, which were brilliant, Artie and Kitty’s budding friendship, and the big number at the end which felt like season one Glee at its best.