Glee Recap/Review Season 5 Episode 7 ‘Puppet Master’: Felt Fantasy


Has Glee stopped mourning yet? Do puppets get fists shoved up their — well, you know?

Rhetorical questions aside, Glee’s Episode 7, Puppet Master, turned the shakiest of premises — depicting characters as Muppets-style puppets — into a wacky yet weirdly wonderful triumph of nutty entertainment.

No, it didn’t make sense, but yes, it had me going. For anyone who rants Glee should live up to its name and be fun and not a sermon-of-the-week sensitivity lesson, well, here ya go.

The nonsense involved turning Glee on its ear via one offhand remark to Blaine about being too controlling — like a puppet master. Soon he’s fashioning puppets not only of fiance Kurt but also of Tina and everyone else, while talking to them with fierce conviction. (Blaine — they’re puppets.)

The puppets were punched up by the dubious plot device of a gas leak somehow causing Blaine, Jake and Sue to hallucinate, or at least have vivid dreams. This allowed the show to deliver deliriously unexpected musical numbers, from Blaine’s hammy mugging for Queen’s You’re My Best Friend amid a gaggle of puppet pals (I prefer his kick-butt Don’t Stop Me Now) to Will and Sue channeling Astaire and Rogers in 1935’s Top Hat via the tune of Cheek to Cheek.

Less weird but far more vibrant was Jake’s dancing and singing for Janet Jackson’s Nasty and Rhythm Nation, a mash-up that produced one of the best musical numbers of this young season.

I often say: Show me three minutes of any other TV show that’s as good as select three-minute musical numbers on Glee. This is one of those times. Show me. I want to see it. But I don’t think it exists. I think Glee, at its best, is better than anything else on TV, and Glee was at its best for this beautifully realized rendition of Jackson’s vintage music and music videos. (I also dig black-and-white photography, which we got twice tonight.)

Madonna’s Into the Groove, performed in a cookie-cutter imitation by Kurt’s band in New York, felt stitched on and pointless, but I’ll forgive the show for one irrelevancy. (Yet where was Demi Lovato’s Dani in that number? She seems to be getting marginalized.)

Music aside, one oddity is that such a silly show had some heavy scenes, from Sue’s sad rejection by a hunky school superintendent she’d hoped to date to Jake’s futile pleading with Marley to take him back to Bree’s surprising vulnerability and despair when a false-alarm pregnancy made her rethink spending two seconds with the school’s biggest lady killer.

Heck, even pianist Brad finally got some lines to reveal a horrible gambling addiction, though self-absorbed Blaine didn’t hear a thing he said.

But mostly Puppet Master concerned not the grounding of gripping drama but the tripping we came to love back on Season 1’s Vitaman D episode. And I haven’t even mentioned the finale of The Fox.

Yes, that hit novelty number capped things off, performed simultaneously in Lima and New York amid puppets and goofy animal masks. Yet despite its childish zaniness, I loved it. In fact, the infectious song ended too soon.

More! I want more goofiness!

Wait — is that just a gas leak talking?

— Bruce Westbrook



2 Responses to “Glee Recap/Review Season 5 Episode 7 ‘Puppet Master’: Felt Fantasy”

  1. Carrie Says:

    I LOVED Into The Groove and thought it was the best part of the show. Lima is NOTHING but rehashes – Tina having hallucinations, Rachel having a pregnant scare, another break-up – who needs it? And sad to say – I found Blaine creepy and not funny.

  2. Carmen Says:

    That episode was horrible.

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