Glee recap, review blog on Episode 14: Hell-o

Some random thoughts on last night’s long-awaited return of Glee in Episode 14, Hell-o:

First off: Finally! ‘Nuff said.

Beyond that, this show felt a bit like a sequel which labors to reintroduce characters and situations at the start and thus feels a bit warmed over. But that was inevitable after four months, and I’m sure Glee is attracting many new viewers who need to catch up.

Almost every episode has some musical show-stopper, and at first I’d thought this one’s would be the Beatles’ Hello Goodbye, which sounds so vibrant on the 3-1/2 minute studio track. But on screen, while it ended the show, the song was cut to 90 seconds, and its visual performance was more about surviving the number for a pained Rachel, who wanted the “goodbye” part for Finn. Check out the celebratory full-length audio version and see if you agree.

No, the true show-stopper, I believe, was Lionel Richie’s Hello, performed by Rachel and Jesse. Wow! Finally Rachel has a male singer her equal with whom to perform a duet. In fact, he took charge, with Rachel singing harmonies. But I loved it. Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff, co-stars on Broadway in Spring Awakening, also work together like chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

The producers promised to correct some of their mistakes of last fall, but did not do so in one regard: what I call the Pee-wee’s Playhouse “Secret Word.” You know, where one word keeps popping up in an episode, and you scream real loud when you hear it? Last year, such words included “confidence.” For the spring premiere, it wasn’t just “hello” but also “introduce” or “introduction.” Grammatically, Will should have told Emma there were things about him he wanted to introduce her to, but instead said he wanted to introduce those things to her. (“Thick-headedness? Meet Emma.”) Awkward. But that’s what happens when you keep wedging a word unnecessarily into a script. Do we have to have this show’s themes pounded into us like slow children? Come on.

But though Hell-o wasn’t a great Glee episode, it was a very good one, even if it did virtually disregard Puck, Quinn, Artie, Tina, Amber and Kurt (though the last two had moments). And damn it’s good to have them all back. Next year, Ryan Murphy, please — no more four-month waits between shows. You’ll have 25 episodes instead of 22, and you can spread them out better than that.

Also, welcome to the fold, Idina Menzel. If you’re not destined to be revealed as Rachel’s biological momma, consider it the biggest fumbled show-biz opportunity since Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch instead of simply declaring of Katie, “What can I say? I love her.”

Meanwhile, thanks, Ryan, for a rousingly successful return to Glee, which remains my favorite show ever. And I hear next week’s Madonna episode is the best Glee show — ever.

We are rolling in it, Gleeks. From the top!

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