Glee Season 3 Episode 13 Review/Recap ‘Heart’: Broken-hearted

Glee rarely disappoints me, but Heart did. With songs in search of a plot and characters in search of meaning, it was a theme episode in the worst way, purporting to be about love when it was as much of a trumped up exploitation of Valentine’s Day as any roadside stand selling glittery junk for those who didn’t care enough to buy earlier than the last minute.

Yes, it had moments, especially the joyous big production number of Stereo Hearts, a musical intro for Joe Hart, played by Glee Project winner Samuel Larsen. In song, at least, he’s a keeper–and will be, being an alleged sophomore (while lackluster Damian McGinty, The Glee Project’s “co-winner,” may be getting written out).

But even that performance was off. I mean, Finn only had to pay $10 to provide Rachel with such an elaborate surprise Valentine’s performance, and not only was he not in it, but he wasn’t even attending? What the — ?

Plus, their yammering about marriage went nowhere (and shouldn’t — naivete like this should not be condoned), including an awkward two-family dinner (where was Kurt?) where at long last we got to know Rachel’s dads — and wished we hadn’t.

Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell were lying, charm-challenged schemers, trying reverse psychology to undercut their daughter’s wedding plans by feigning support. (It seems like she’d know them better than that.)  As Broadway hounds, it’s odd they never mentioned a clear song inspiration for this: The Fantasticks’ Never Say No. And it hurt to see them blithely lying to their supposedly beloved daughter.

Too, their musical chops were awful, from a brief Chapel of Love to a stumbling You’re the Top (which at least has a decent studio recording). Where again did Rachel get her inspiration?

The return of Max Adler’s Dave Karofsky was welcome for dramatic impact, though I preferred him as Kurt’s loyal protector rather than his enamored would-be suitor. And Brittana fans got to see some kissing, though it seemed token, as if to say, “There — satisfied?”

While Mercedes’ I Will Always Love You was spectacularly sung — and far better than Jennifer Hudson’s laborious reading at the Grammys — that coincidental tribute to Whitney Houston (it wasn’t a tribute when they recorded it) seemed perplexing plotwise. Mercedes suddenly despises herself for caring about two guys, so she cruelly dumps both? Not getting it.

And the two numbers for Sugar’s Valentine’s party at Breadsticks had zero relation to anything. They might as well have been for the Junior Prom. Cherish/Cherish completely lost the Association’s song’s tenderness to comply with Madonna’s bouncy pop bent, and Love Shack, while a great B-52s song, was a shrill case of force-feeding, as if to say “Most of you aren’t happily in love, but you’re gonna have Valentine’s fun anyway — and that’s an order!”

Perhaps I should stop there, because I love Glee too much to trample it any more. But love means never having to say you’re sorry for caring enough to criticize — at least, that’s how I see true fandom. No show should be blindly embraced no matter what it does, and I couldn’t wrap my heart around Heart, as much as I wanted to do so.

So it’s back to the drawing board for what looks like a Regionals show melded to a near-elopement. You have another chance to wow us, Glee, before a seven-week hiatus. Please don’t blow it.

We love you too much.

— Bruce Westbrook

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