Up until its final moments, I was ready to proclaim Glee’s Episode 14, I Do, one of its best episodes ever. Its game of musical hookups was dizzying, yet still oddly meaningful and real, and its progressions of plots and characters was wildly eventful and impressively story-changing. After four years, this series still has its monotonous haters and its malcontent whining fans, but in my book, Season 4 so far has been Glee’s best ever, as new characters take hold and older ones evolve.
But not every change is good, while some changes go far beyond “not good” and into the realm of “unacceptable.” And one such change would be the horribly hackneyed and monumentally unwelcome news, as suggested, that Rachel is pregnant.
I mean, been there, done that, not only on Glee, but on countless other shows, where the cliche of “I know — we’ll give the character a baby!” has led to trumped-up drama or comedy while undercutting the greatness of a sexy, independent female with a full life already.
I’m talking Peri Gilpin’s Roz on Frasier. I’m talking Sofia Vergara’s Gloria on Modern Family. And now I’m talking a girl on Glee whose fulfillment of long-held show-biz dreams is the heart and soul of this series — its ultimate end-game — and for whom being a mom while an underclassman in college would be, in a word, disastrous.
I mean, it cannot happen — which is why I cling to the belief that Rachel, if preposterously pregnant (she’s not Catholic, and she is the world’s biggest control freak, so why this?) will not carry that pregnancy to term — that Rachel, if pregnant, ultimately will miscarry, and that this episode’s miscarriage of narrative justice, if set in motion, will derail, and return us to the Rachel we know and love/hate — the Rachel who does not need to live out a teen cliche, but needs to become a star.
Beyond that, Glee’s 80th episode was an incredible show — one in which the story was so strong that the songs, while superb, were almost incidental. That said, I loved the Motownish You’re All I Need to Get By, song- and dance-wise, and adored the closing Anything Could Happen, a rousing ABBAesque anthem from Ellie Goulding (Lights) that fit like a Glee glove.
Bob Seger’s We’ve Got Tonight was a lovely duet from Rachel and Finn; Just Can’t Get Enough was a long overdue Depeche Mode song (ever notice how ’80s-oriented Glee’s proms, dances and parties are?); and (Not) Getting Married Today was Glee in full-bore Broadway mode for the dramatically frantic song from Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
But the Valentine’s Day story is what made this show sing, and in so many ways. I won’t recap it fully here — I hate “then this happened” recaps, anyway, and assume any reader of this blog will have seen the show and want to bat around viewpoints — if not, hopefully, insights.
Suffice it to say, it was great seeing Glee Project 2’s Ali Stroker get her unpromised day on screen while playing a fiercely confident woman; seeing Ryder’s selfless Cyrano de Bergerac (look it up, kids) show his love for Marley from afar; and noting that Jake’s preoccupation with bedding Marley made it clear the right couple isn’t Jarley — as I suspect Marley also knows. What’s more, Emma’s fleeing the altar felt right, not forced; and the makeouts and hotel hookups between Kurt and Blaine, Santana and Quinn (!) and Rachel and Finn were as randy and real on an adult level as Glee has ever gotten.
Now what? Now, I’m guessing Emma and Will still will wind up married — where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? (Ouch.) I’m thinking Ryder and Marley will be back as a couple. I’m thinking Rachel’s “modern” fling with a deceitful Brody is done. And I’m thinking Finn was right — that he and Rachel are “endgame.” But I also think “baby makes three” is not a valid playing card, and that game will end more fittingly with Rachel on Broadway, not changing diapers for a child whose father may not be her true love.
Remember, this is a fictional show, and I’m not wishing a miscarriage on anyone in real life. But Glee isn’t real. In fact, even as entertainment, it’s what I call a musical fantasy, where folks can break into song on the street and no one notices.
In short, Glee is a show where anything could happen.
But that doesn’t mean it should.
— Bruce Westbrook