For what the last episode was lacking in drama and musical, this episode was Glee-fully full of it. The theme of this “Special Education” was winning and losing; underdogs versus superstars; losing gracefully or winning treacherously.
Part of the “education,” was human dynamics of competition and the New Directions apparent lack of emotional quotient was what made their education painfully “special.”
I have to say that I think this is one of the best written episodes of Glee. What it lacked in political fanfare, it made up for in tight, metaphorical story line, which was pretty much the initial genius of Glee before it started getting all topical and commissioning popular artists for songs.
Every relationship on this show as a winner/loser dynamic and most of them were brought to light in this episode. When Schue invites Emma to sectionals as their lucky “totem,” Emma points out that Mr. Schue is not utilizing the “underdogs” enough and that he should let someone else win: “You’re a constellation of stars. I would just hate to think that you might be ignoring some of them because they don’t burn quite as obviously bright.”
Schuester takes note and gives Brittany and Mike dance solos and Quinn and Sam the vocal solos. What this does is set Rachel aflame and she subsequently uses her voice to be a sore loser and making her less liked by the whole team. Quinn says in her dry manner: “You used to be just sort of unlikable, but now I feel like punching you every time you open your mouth.”
At some point, Santana calls Finn a hypocrite and tells Rachel (in front of everyone), the dirty truth about their rendezvous the school year before: ”That’s right Yentl. Your sweetheart, he’s been lying to you. Because him and I totally got it on in that hotel room last year.”
Rachel flips out, but not so much that doesn’t try to make it work by taking Finn to “therapy” with Emma. Because Santana is so hot, a part of Rachel feels threatened by her beauty and special expertise. Again, she feels like a “loser” and Rachel is used to being top dog.
Kurt has moved on to the all boys school and joined the Warblers. Perhaps, not the center of attention, Kurt is used to have his voice and individuality celebrated (and bullied), but in the Warblers he is on neutral ground and must prove himself as part of a group rather than simply unique.
Part of this initiation requires him to take care of a bird named Pavarotti. It is through this bird (yay, symbolism!) that Kurt will learn to think of something other than himself. Another part of the initiation is auditioning for a solo. He gets pointers from Rachel and they do “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” but Kurt doesn’t make the audition because he has to stop thinking of himself to make it in the Warblers.
Meanwhile, Brittany is having trouble contemplating losing, so much so that Artie finds her hiding in a corner:
I’m paralyzed with fear. I’ve been here since second period. I really, really have to pee…I can’t handle the pressure. I know I’m more talented than all of you. Britney Spears taught me that. It’s just I can’t have whether we win or lose on my shoulders.
Artie, in amazing boyfriend fashion, plays up to Brittany’s delusional charm and offers her something she can understand:
It’s really too bad. I can’t give you my magic comb…you never heard of a magic comb? You comb your hair with it and you can’t lose…I’d give you mine, but I need it. Wait, since your gonna dance the lead at sectionals, if you win. I win.
“If you win, I win” should be the philosophy every character takes away from this episode.
New Directions needs another member so Schue uses Puck’s bad boy charm to recruit: “Glee needs you to be it’s ambassador.”
Puck replies in usual Puck awesomeness: “More like it’s Am-BADASS-ador.”
Unfortunately, being in glee is still seen as being a loser and after Puck recruits for Glee club by going to the football players, they beat him up, locking him in a port-a potty for 24-hours. A rather portly maiden named Lauren comes to his rescue and Puck tries to recruit her to join New Directions. She concedes as long as she can have, “a carton of Cadbury eggs and seven minutes in heaven….with you.”
Now that the kids have enough members to become “winners” at sectionals, their lucky totem, Emma can’t go because Will Schuester will be there and hottie Carl told her no. Her and Carl exchanged their love vows. This makes Schuester the loser again and for the rest of the episode he makes creepy faces or smiles incessantly.
I don’t know why but something about Mr. Schue’s face in the last couple of episodes has bothered me. Once attractive and likeable, Matthew Morrison has played a little frantic, weird, and desperate, and it’s not a good look. Get over it, Schue. Move on.
Everyone is fighting. Artie thinks Brittany cheated on him, she concedes to adultery, but only because she thinks “thought it meant being stupid, like being adult.”
Tina is mad at Mike Chang for sort of cheating on her, even though he didn’t. Rachel is still mad at Finn, although not really. Everything is topsy-turvy, although no one really knows why. They are dealing with not being number one and it’s incredibly confusing.
As these green room shenanigans go on, the geriatric hipsters sing ”The Living Years” (we see what you did there, Glee).
Kurt and his Warblers sing [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Train[/lastfm]‘s “Hey, Soul Sister.” Blaine makes me wish I was fictional television gay because he is so hot that I would turn male, homosexual and imaginary for him.
Mr. Schue tells the babies to stop being…babies and “Get up there and for six minutes that you’re not alone.”
Quinn and Sam do a yawnworthy rendition of Dirty Dancing‘s “Time of My Life,” while Santana does [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Amy Winehouse[/lastfm]‘s “Valerie.” We actually think this is the best musical number ever done by Glee. Santana has a gorgeous voice and Brittany and Mike are talented dancers.
Of course, New Directions and Warblers tie, because in the game of Glee, no one is really a winner.
Or are they?
Emma and Carl get married in Vegas making Mr.Schue the “loser” in love. Likewise, Rachel tells Finn that she cheated on him with Puck, making Finn the loser in “love.”
Everything has turned sour once again, leading to an ironic rendition of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence and the Machine’[/lastfm]s “Dog Days Are Over” by Mercedes and Tina.
- Who do you think won and lost in last night’s episode of Glee? Let us know in the comments!