Glee Review/Recap Season 6 Episode 9 ‘Child Star’: Busy Newbies

glee child star

One thing I’ve appreciated about Glee’s final season is how the show is still Glee. That is, it’s going on with another incarnation of the McKinley glee club while also wrapping up long-running storylines and rewarding long-standing characters and their fans.

Hey, the show must go on — or all over the place — or something. So be it.

Besides, since night one I’ve loved the newbies in New Directions. Heck, some might say they’re even more appealing than ND’s second incarnation with Season’s 4 and 5’s Marley, Ryder, Jake, Joe and Unique.

For Child Star, I was glad to see Spencer, Roderick, Mason, Madison and Jane get special focus, even if the show did feel overly weighted toward them considering Glee’s nearness to the end and the narrative burdens that presents.

But keep in mind four major characters had zipped off to honeymoons, and as for stalwarts Sue, Will and Rachel, they had ample scenes.

As for the night’s big-event musical performances, they were almost as celebratory as those at the glorious reception for last week’s A Wedding — which now happens to be my all-time favorite Glee hour, and that’s saying a lot.

Even so, for all its pluses Child Star was more of a routine show than a rousing, big-finish, final-season page-turner. Of course, there are plenty of “routine” shows among Glee’s now 117 episodes which were pretty damn good. And this was one of them.

The idea of the glee club — if not the faculty — being coerced to perform for the bar mitzvah of the superintendent’s nephew was both crazy and somehow credible, at least in a fanciful Glee context. And with talented but bratty 13-year-old Myron (played by young show-biz vet J.J. Totah of Disney’s Jessie) joining the glee club at the end, it’s clear he’s being positioned to help push Sue over the edge and galvanize a series-ending resolution of her story.

But for this show, his main function was to provide the bar mitzvah as an excuse to get the new ND performing again after their sensational job at Sue’s invitational, while lending their characters some depth in the process.

Though I don’t buy Mason’s budding affection for Jane (do I have to say why?), I loved his scene with controlling sister Madison as she owned her protective possessiveness and, in effect, set him free.

He’d done that for himself singing Queen’s I Want to Break Free during the wildly elaborate bar mitzvah party, joining solid number Uptown Funk to demonstrate this new ND is worthy on its own. But Break Free was downright nutty, wedging unpolished Sue and Beiste onto the stage alongside Rachel, Sam and Will in an absurd amalgam given Myron’s cruel insistence on perfection.

His own Lose My Breath at the top of the episode was enjoyably overblown — sort of a junior Vocal Adrenaline. But for me, the best number of the night was Spencer’s burst-into-song solo for Friday I’m In Love, the bouncy, crazily uncharacteristic yet irresistibly melodic tune from mope rockers the Cure. (Loved the whistles in this arrangement.)

I also appreciated the bonding intent of the episode-closing Cool Kids, another infectious toe-tapper, which the growing ND performed with unlikely new member Myron as well as Spencer’s rather drab new boyfriend. In a way, this was their Don’t Stop Believin’, given the matching T-shirts and “we’re all in this together” stance.

Of course, such a comparison isn’t flattering, considering the far more memorable thrill of the closing number back in Glee’s pilot. I prefer to think that the new ND’s breakout song was All Out of Love back at the invitational, a case of vocal fervency at its best.

I do wish Roderick had more of a story than being the overweight kid who miraculously makes a dangerous rope climb to save the day and connects with Spencer as a pal. And his response to Spencer’s wish not to screw it up with his boyfriend (“Yeah, I hope you don’t either”) was the night’s lamest line.

But the newbies did get worthwhile attention, though now I say: You’ve had your day. Now it’s time to get back to the basics for the final four shows and drive home Glee’s core stories for its core cast.

I sense honeymoons will be curtailed. I sense Dalton Academy, while vast and surely fire-protected, will somehow burn to the ground and free the Warblers to perform elsewhere. I sense Sue’s growing madness will reach a boiling-over point that propels her elsewhere. We shall see.

Until then, I’m in total agreement with Spencer. Fox may have stuck Glee in an unenviable Friday night time slot, but it hasn’t kept me from watching and savoring the last hurrahs of my favorite TV musical — hell, my favorite TV series.

Yes, Fridays I’m in love.

— Bruce Westbrook

 

 

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