Glee blog review Episode 16 ‘Home’: It’s the story, stupid

Kristin Chenoweth

After last week’s knockout Madonna-thon on Glee, and hearing the slow-tempo songs coming up this week, I figured Episode 16, with such a steel-hard act to follow, would disappoint. But I was wrong. Home was one of the best Glee shows yet, proving yet again that story and characters must resonate before the music matters. And this exceptionally well-written episode (thanks, Brad Falchuk) had the strongest story and character development of the spring season so far.

That’s not to say the music didn’t deliver, especially Kristin Chenoweth and Matt Morrison’s roller-rink reunion of Springsteen’s Fire, and even more especially Amber Riley’s beautifully sung and highly emotional Beautiful, which became emblematic of Glee’s “diversity is beautiful” mantra. (Star Trek’s Spock said much the same thing back in the ’60s.) If your eyes didn’t get misty when others joined Mercedes on the gym floor in a show of solidarity, perhaps you should be watching wrestling instead. To date, this is the series’ most meaningful song of the season.

Has anyone noted that Lea Michele’s Rachel lacked a single scene of her own in this episode? Since she’s usually a major focus, that was weird. But she and Jonathan Groff’s Jesse St. James were disregarded in favor of a Mercedes- and Kurt-centric plot, whose big payoff was again seeing Kurt’s dad and Finn’s mom –perhaps the series’ most endearing recurring characters — sharing happiness together. Again, the tears welled up. How could they not? Glee is first and foremost fun, but it’s truly at its best when it shows a compassionate heart.

I’d also like to note that Chris Colfer’s Kurt, while a soprano, has more vocal range and stylings than many might expect. For Like a Prayer, he sounded like an angel. For this week’s A House Is Not a Home (don’t Burt Bacharach and Hal David deserve their own Glee episode?), he sounded like Neil Sedaka. (Kids among you, Google that blast-from-the-past name, and know that he’s still recording today.)

I also welcomed Dianna Agron’s Quinn finally getting some spring screen time, and showing again that she no longer is the hell-bitch of the Cheerios, but a girl who’s learning to care for others. It was interesting, though, that you could hardly tell she’s pregnant. Aren’t pregnant women supposed to get larger, not smaller? (And that question goes to you, Nicole Kidman. Ahem.)

I also loved Kristin’s show-ending show-stopper of Home, from The Wiz, which will not translate to a white-only Broadway show, meaning she’ll squander her ill-earned (and preposterous) $2 million payoff from her late lover’s wife. (Why would the widow of a man who cheated on her want to keep his deceit a secret for him in death? Ya got me.)

All of this just goes to show that Glee can mean many things as entertainment, and they don’t all involve edgy, cutting humor or boisterous songs performed by the cast’s strongest singers. Glee is its own little world of different folks with different strokes, and we should all be grateful for the care that goes into making each one of them shine.

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