Glee Review/Recap Season 4 Episode 21 ‘Wonder-ful’: Oh really?


Beware the literal hype claim in titles. Just as Smash has been no ratings smash for two seasons, neither was Glee’s Episode 21, Wonder-ful, a wonderful show. Much like last week’s Lights Out, its songs felt stitched-on and vaguely pertaining to plot, and beyond that lay a minefield of narrative gaffes beyond even Glee’s own stretched standards for continuity.

Where do I begin? How about with the fact that, since the glee club warmly welcomed Finn back to McKinley at the end of Episode 19 as co-coach with Mr. Schue, Finn not only has disappeared. He hasn’t been mentioned. Not one line of dialogue to account for his absence. Nothing. Nada. And it stinks.

But it also underscores why I think Glee has faltered for the last two weeks: With Cory Monteith’s sudden departure for rehab, three original scripts — and surely better ones — had to be rewritten, quickly and on the fly. Add the double-whammy of Heather Morris’ pregnancy, and Glee has had to improvise.

And hasn’t done it well.

So while I’m pointing out an excuse, I’m also not condoning the past two shows’ misfires, including the glee club’s unaccountable enthusiasm for old-fashioned Stevie Wonder songs immediately after dismissing Mr. Schue’s own old-fashioned choice of material. Hey, I appreciate Wonder’s music, but in a quaintly nostalgic way, not as cutting-edge or contemporary. And this close to season’s end with Regionals competition next week, it made no sense to halt everything to pay tribute to one artist whose music won’t even be used at Regionals if they expect to win.

It was also awkward to bring back Mercedes, Mike and Kurt to help the club prepare when all they did was hog the stage themselves with one gratuitous spotlight after another. But at least Kurt had something else to do: go with his Dad and (finally!) stepmother Carol to hear the results of Burt’s prostate cancer treatments. Of course, Kurt was less supportive than selfishly freaked out, but hey, he was there, and he had a right to be there. (As did stepson Finn — oh yeah.)

And thank gawd Burt is OK. It was previously declared that his bout was caught early, and prostate cancer advances slowly. So it would’ve made no sense — and insulted millions of men facing the disease — if Burt had been in dire straits. So this was a relief, in more ways than one.

As for the subplot of Blaine wanting to wed Kurt, I agree with Burt: Now’s not the time. You’re too young. You’ll get there. Will that stop Blaine from proposing? We’ll see, but I doubt it. If youth is anything, it’s impetuous.

Beyond Burt’s clean bill of health (well, there is that ticker), it was also gratifying to see a genuine (if sudden) character arc on Glee for a nemesis, that being Rachel’s dance teacher, Cassandra July. (Great to see Kate Hudson again at season’s end, as with Sarah Jessica Parker last week.)

Yes, her sudden support was — well, sudden. But as Cassie said, it was NYADA tradition to honor and boost a student getting a big Broadway audition — and more importantly, she’d goaded Rachel because she saw great potential in her, not because she despised her, and she wanted to celebrate her student’s success.

I also LOVED that scene’s Wonder number in particular, since Uptight (Everything’s Alright) so fit the spirit of the moment. And I welcomed seeing some real choreography at NYADA, unlike the childish skipping and prancing that infantilizes the McKinley kids just about anytime they dance this year.

Speaking of that audition, there was some big news for us: Rachel got a second call-back for Funny Girl, and she’s in the final three women (or “girls,” as she put it). This means she need only best one of them to be the understudy and eventually get the part anyway. Or not.

It’s also welcome to see Artie soon heading to NY (well, Brooklyn — where Rachel and Kurt live) to attend film school. And at least Morris’ absence as Brittany has been accounted for, though with the absurd notion that one fluke test score would impress MIT so much. But hey — I’ll take it. It’s better than “And where the hell is Finn?”

Since we’re back to awkwardness, it was odd having Ryder’s catfishing put an hold for a week, along with Blaine exposing the truth behind Sue’s taking the fall for Becky. But again, I’m thinking Glee’s writers had to do some major scrambling — very quickly — and this, I’m afraid, is the result.

Still, if Glee’s taught me anything (or reinforced it), it’s that there’s always hope. And with next week’s All Or Nothing episode offering Regionals as well as Rachel’s call-back — along with songs written in this century — I’m hopeful that Glee at least will end Season 4 well, after faltering in the past two shows.

Uptight? Yes. But everything will be all right — I hope.

— Bruce Westbrook


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: