Review/Recap Glee Season 3 Episode 17 ‘Dance With Somebody’: Begin the goodbyes

As another song-loaded Glee, but not another treading-water show, Dance With Somebody restored rocky romance to McKinley, entwined with far fresher and better performances than last week’s disco daze of Saturday Night Fever rehashes. Yes, the Whitney Houston music was grand, but Glee’s love stories also progressed nicely in the process. What’s not to love?

Kurt and Blaine’s rocky romantic road bumped along under the weight of Kurt taking Blaine too much for granted, while Blaine distanced himself self-protectively, not out of lack of love for Kurt. And when a wildly overzealous kid from a neighboring high (really, he acted high — tone it down, fella) started text-stalking Kurt, it wasn’t all right or okay, and Blaine was right to be hurt.

But with Emma’s help — or, actually, none of it — the two reconciled in her office in one of their most tender moments of the series.

Thanks, Darren Criss, for bringing such strong acting chops to this episode — not to mention an angrily potent It’s Not Right But It’s Okay, to which Kurt responded with the impassioned adoration of I Have Nothing.

As for being a Whitney Houston tribute show, that was secondary, since the late singer was barely referenced, and Will’s rationale for her relevance to the glee clubbers’ upcoming goodbyes was trumped up.  This wasn’t about Whitney. It was about our favorite little glee club starting to come to terms with life’s passages and transitions — even Puck, in his clumsy way, via shot-glass bonding with the guys, and even long-feuding Santana and Rachel, who buried their hatchet in a heartfelt embrace of newfound friendship.

That’s not to mention Kurt and dad Burt having a heartfelt hug as they realized life was irrevocably changing with childhood’s end.

Most of the other music didn’t signify much plotwise beyond an excuse to get sprightly and spirited, and the group did that well enough. Their sole slow exception was the night’s best number: the opener’s inspired a capella spin on How Will I Know. But it was storytelling that truly propelled this episode, including Quinn’s budding romance with Joe, and Will and Emma’s sudden fast-track to the altar.

Uh, Will, if you’re looking for a space not only to get hitched, but to perform, isn’t there a huge New Directions stage and auditorium right under your nose? Just sayin’.

Now it’s on to NYADA auditions and Nationals competition, with five more hours (including two on one night) to wrap up a three-year saga for much of Glee’s core cast. Like Emma, I’m philosophically open to new bloods replacing the originals (that’s how we got Darren Criss), and as much as I love them, I’m not saving all my love for Rachel, Finn, Kurt and other seniors.

But as long as they’re coming to terms with farewells, so am I — starting now, not with May 22′ s finale.

Where do I begin? May I simply say that flaws and all (the writing can be shaky), I love this show more than any other TV series I’ve ever seen — and heard. The spirit, the heart, the love, the sheer emotional power of song — no other show has delivered this way before. Hell, no other show has even tried.

Sure, those graduating seniors are special — and always will be.

But so is Glee itself.

And, let us hope, always will be.

— Bruce Westbrook

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