GLEE Recap: "Michael" - It's McKinley v. Dalton in the Battle for MJ - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

GLEE Recap: “Michael” – It’s McKinley v. Dalton in the Battle for MJ

January 31, 2012 by  

Move over Sharks and Jets. Step aside Crips and Bloods. There is a new turf war and this time it’s McKinley v. Dalton – and these kids fight with some mean harmonies.

In the first tribute episode of the season, GLEE took on the music of Michael Jackson. I had hoped it would be a musical feast, and I wasn’t disappointed. You gotta love an episode that smacks you in the face with a super strong performance before the opening credits. Nine performances made it into the episode (“I Want You Back” by The Warblers was cut in editing, but it’s still available for purchase on iTunes) and and not a true grenade among them.

The Warbler/McKinley battle was the backdrop for most of the episode, but “Michael” also included one of the show’s biggest moments – Rachel Berry agreeing to marry Finn Hudson. Throw in some college acceptances and the “aine” of Klaine being injured and I guess you’ve got yourself an episode.

Here’s a bit of what went down tonight and my take on the show’s epic musical moments. Be sure to share your favorite moments from tonight’s GLEE in the comments.

The ex-Troubletoners were bummed that they missed out on singing Michael Jackson at Sectionals, but Mr. Schue told them that his music could still be in the cards for their next competition. After Blaine let it slip to Sebastian that McKinley was taking on MJ for Regionals (what are Regionals? and more importantly, why are Blaine and Sebastian chit chatting on the phone?) the swarthy lead Warbler decided that the  Dalton boys were going to tackle the King of Pop, too. And since the Warblers would be performing first during the competition, the dream of singing Michael Jackson was squashed for the New Directions.

Mr. Schue’s kids were sick of being pushed around and stepped on at every turn (and in case you weren’t aware of it, just go back and watch every episode of GLEE that has every aired and at least one character will let you know in an impassioned monologue) , so they decided not to give up on MJ without a fight. In the depths of night, Blaine and Santana and their leather jackets beckoned the Dalton boy to a parking garage (under the precipices of what, I’m sure they didn’t even know). Next things you know, the Warblers are a cappelling the bejesus out of “Bad” and the two show choirs are battling it out with some serious vocal adrenaline. (Ok they weren’t there, but they should have been. Jesse St. James and Sunshine Corazon could have really added something to the fray.)

Unfortunately Sebastian didn’t get the memo that gleekers battle it out with their voices and not weapons so when Sebastian went to slushy Kurt, Blaine stepped in and pushed his boyfriend out of the way only to take the brunt of the ice cold red drink in the face. Next thing you know, Blaine was on the ground writing and moaning in pain (for accuracy I had to go back and watch that scene about five times before writing that sentence – I’m nothing if not a professional). But our boy wasn’t suffering from brain freeze. Seems those dastardly Warblers (or should I say Sebastian Warbler) added a little rock salt in to the drink, thus scratching Blaine’s eye to the point that surgery was needed. (Our sources tell us that Blaine saw a specialist in NYC named Dr Finch [that’s F-I-N-C-H], the same eye doctor who helped Harry Potter oculus reparo his eye sight and is currently helping Nick Jonas with this eye ailments. Recovery was slated to take place over the course of three weeks.)

Meanwhile, Finn was still waiting on Rachel’s answer regarding his marriage proposal. She was having a hard time understanding why they needed to be married in order to stay together after high school, but she promised to think about it. Rachel sought out of the advice of Yale University Class of 2016’s Quinn Fabray – right, because going to your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, who up until recently was also your on-again/off-again mortal enemy totally makes total sense. Oh wait, this is GLEE. The newly reborn Ms. Fabray essentially told Rachel not to marry Finn because although they are a “lovely couple” Rachel needs to move forward and not be anchored down by Finn.

Damn you Ryan Murphy – this is the Quinn I like – why did you ruin her the first half of this season?!

Listen, had Rachel come to me I would have shared the sound advice my dear friend Oprah once gave me – “doubt means don’t.” End of story.

Whether or not to become Mrs. Finn Hudson wasn’t the only thing on Rachel’s mind, she was still waiting on news from NYADA. As for her bestie Kurt, well he was waiting too, until Burt – also known as the world’s most awesome dad – brought Kurt’s NYADA letter to school and pulled him out of class. When Kurt revealed he was a finalist Burt swooped his boy up in his arms and cried tears of joy, while asking “Who’s going to tell Blaine? You’ve got to let me do it?” – he ships Klaine more than me and Jim Cantiello combined. I heart you, Burt Hummel. As for NYADA, being a “finalist” for college to me would mean that he was wait listed, but I don’t think any of the GLEE writers went to college so for the sake of convenience this plot device was added in*.

*Calm down, of course the GLEE writers went to college. I was just joking. You people have very thin skin sometimes.

Worried that she didn’t get in to school, Rachel decided to accept Finn’s proposal. Ok Finchel lovers, I’m full expecting your wrath after that comment, but honestly it’s the way I saw it play out. I’m not saying that Rachel doesn’t love Finn, but I think she thought spending her life with him would be a wonderful consolation given her assumption that  NYADA wasn’t happening for her. In the end, Rachel Berry was named a NYADA finalist, but when Kurt asked if she had told Finn yet, our little Rachel Berry suddenly looks like she was slushied with some rock salt.

Back in the Battle of MJ, Santana realized that they only thing she hated more than Blaine taking all of her solos, was one of The Warblers taking Blaine out of commission. She decided to battle it out with Sebastian in a hella-sexy singing duel that ended with her face full of slushy, but not before she caught Sebastian on tape admitting that he tainted the slushy that injured Blaine. (The girl has razors in her hair and recording devices in her underboobs – she’s practically an X-Men character.)

I’ve got to stop here and have a small cry for what the writers did to my Warblers tonight. Why? WHY? The Warblers were the single best part of last season. They were fun boys who liked to sing great tunes while jumping on furniture and throwing papers mindlessly into the air.  Now they are throwing slushies in the faces of their friends and at girls?  Guess that zero-tolerance policy for bullying was tossed out with the slushy. I was legit angry that Jeff, Nick, David, Trent and the boys didn’t stand up in defense on Blaine and Kurt – weren’t they all friends? I don’t know how RIB can ever redeem The Warblers. I’m legit bummed.

In the end, Kurt didn’t want to physically fight with his former Warblers, nor did he want to disqualify Sebastian (why, I can’t quite figure out) so the New Directions decided to give up on their Michael tribute, but not before inviting The Warblers to the auditorium to show them how to really sing Michael. The McKinley kids – also known as the walking and singing Benneton commercial – tore up “Black and White” much to the dismay of the boys from Dalton. But in the end, the boys in the blazers came to their senses, and led by Trent, they took to the stage to sing and dance with the McKinley kids one more time. That is everyone but Sebastian who remained seated and smug. And after Santana played the tape of him admitting he tampered with the slushie that hit Blaine, not even his Warbler brothers were on his side. Uh oh, Sebastian.

Tonight’s episode gave us nine Micheal Jackson songs (some of which are already climbing the charts over at iTunes). I’m not going to bother discussing the songs in context of the plot, because this is GLEE and when has plot ever been anything to pay attention to, so let’s just talk about pure entertainment value, deal?

  • “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” – Blaine kicked things off telling us he’s a vegetable and grabbing his crotch. GMMR readers know I’m biased, but I really thought Darren Criss nailed this song. Loved his vocals and the arrangement was solid. Very cool having the McKinley kids dressed in the various iconic Michael Jackson costumes. Although, if anyone wants to explain why Franketeen was sporting a bedazzled football jersey I’d appreciate it.  As for Darren’s yellow pants, well…
  • “Bad” – The aforementioned singing duel between the New Directions and the Warblers. I’ll be honest, I liked this song much better when I didn’t have to watch it play out on screen. The Dalton guys in their blazers looked infinitely cooler than the McKinley kids in their black leather jackets. I know we were supposed to think they were cool, but they really just looked like a bunch of posers. Side note for the GLEE writers and costume folks – guys in private schools don’t wear their blazers 24/7, nor do cheerleader wear the uniforms every single day to school. #PetPeeve
  • “Scream” – Good thing we are not talking about how these musical number fit in to the overall plot or else I might have to scream (get it?). Standing on its own merits, I really loved this performance. Harry Shum Jr. and Kevin McHale took on Michael and Janet’s “Scream” in a reenactment of the music video. Next to HeMo and Harry, Kevin McHale is the show’s best dancer, so I live for these dream sequences when we get to see Artie dancing. But what really impressed me the most were Harry Shum Jr.’s vocals. I thought he sounded amazing.
  • “Never Can Say Goodbye” -Despite the title, it looks like Quinn will indeed say goodbye, and perhaps Dianna Agron will as well. Tonight it was revealed that Quinn got early acceptance to Yale. And just to think it was only a few episodes ago she was a despicable person trying to steal Beth from Shelby. What seemed like a final farewell, Quinn landed herself a very rare solo singing this classic MJ song to her former flames Finn, Sam and Puck. I couldn’t help but noticed how odd it looked to have Quinn standing by herself in front of the choir room. Given how long she’s been with the show, Dianna hasn’t had many solo performances. Dianna looked and sounded amazing. As I said before, I wish this was the Quinn we had all season long.
  • “Human Nature” – I’m glad GLEE brought back Chord Overstreet if only so we could experience this duet with Amber Riley. Apart from some slight hand-holding, the audience never got to see Samcedes in action. Who knew the two had such killer chemistry?! They sounded amazing together. Gladly giving Apple my $1.99 for this single.
  • “Ben” – I think Chris Colfer summed it up best when he tweeted: “Where else can a guy sing a song about a rat to a gay pirate? #OnlyonGlee” While I enjoyed the performance enough, this was definitely the weakest musical moment for me. Although, I did think that Cory sounded particularly wonderful. He’s so much better off singing in his lower register. Maybe it would have been better if they changed “Ben” to “Blaine”, I don’t know. I was too distracted by Darren’s eye patch to really pay attention.
  • “Smooth Criminal” – Mama needed to dump a cold glass of water on her head after this insanely hot number. Naya Rivera, Grant Gustin and those two cello players slayed this number. There wasn’t a single moment that I am not obsessed with. As I tweeted earlier, “The gay boy and the hot lesbian really need to just bang. Too much chemistry!”
  • “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” – Loved loved loved this Finchel duet. I actually went back and watched it twice. Lea Michele was great as always, but I honestly don’t remember Cory Monteith’s acting ever being that good during a musical performance. He seemed to be so in the moment that he forgot that he had to fake sing and act out the song, it all seemed to come together organically, and it was incredible.
  • “Black and White” – While I liked the song, I didn’t love the way they edited it for the episode. I have the full length GLEE version of the song and it sounds so much better than what made it to the final cut. That being said, I liked the performance, especially when my Warblers took to the stage to try to redeem themselves. Go Trent Warbler for leading the charge.

So that’s a wrap on Michael. Next week Ricky Martin is livin la vida loca in the halls of McKinley High.Until then, share your musical highlights and best/worst moments of tonight’s episode in the comments below.

Filed under #1 featured, Glee


8 Responses to “GLEE Recap: “Michael” – It’s McKinley v. Dalton in the Battle for MJ”

  1. becky from DC on February 2nd, 2012 12:39 pm

    The bedazzled football jersey is I think a throwback to the Thriller/Heads Will Roll performance from the Sue Sylvester Shuffle ep. Because, really, how would a t-rex look in an actual MJ inspired outfit? 🙂

    The MJ ep and your recap were both wonderful by the way. Loved the Dr. Finch reference!!!

  2. gleefan on February 5th, 2012 1:46 pm

    I loved every minute of it. The performances to all the story lines. Loved Finn and Rachel so sweet. Quinn is finally sane. Santana taking the high road to help. Loved it all.

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