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Friday, October 11, 2013

TV Review: Glee - The Quarterback

I was hesitant to write a review or anything on this at all for fear that some might think I was attempting to capitalize off the attention the episode was receiving. In fact, even as I am writing I'm considering abandoning it all together. So I guess if you are reading this that means I wrote the entire thing and hit that publish button.

This review isn't being done as a blogger or a journalist or whatever category someone like me fits into. It's being done as a fan of Glee since the beginning. I'm writing as someone who has the music, has the blu-rays, watches every week, and someone who has enjoyed these characters for five years.   It's pretty safe to say that I am invested.

I'm can also easily admit to the fact that Glee has never been as good as it was when it first started.  I still enjoy it and it still has moments of greatness but it's just never hit the highs of that first season.

You can see that encapsulated perfectly in last night's episode.

Click the RAWR to read more.

A few moments of greatness and the rest not as good as it should have been.   It wasn't the performances, if you can call them that.  I don't think anyone was performing much at all.  These are kids experiencing real grief at the loss of their friend.  All of the emotion we felt came directly from them.  This is at the heart of this episode.  The tears of these characters we've all loved grieving for the loss of another is really the driving force of the episode.

Ryan Murphy has gone on record saying this was a difficult episode to write.  I can only imagine how difficult it was and perhaps maybe he shouldn't have written it.  I think everyone was too close to it.  Too raw from the loss.  Because what we got was not very well written.  The dialogue was cliche to the point of eye-rolling.  I felt like someone had grabbed a stack of grief pamphlets and just turned it all into dialogue.

Still, as it is with Glee, there was some greatness.  Tina's visiting Emma for counseling on when she can stop wearing black was quite funny.  Most everything else just felt so...over done.

The biggest misstep?  The songs.  If I Die Young?  Really?  That's a bit of hitting the nail square on the head isn't it?  Seasons of Love?  Fire and Rain?  These are lazy.  I'm sorry but it's true.   I think that is the problem.  This is an episode no one wanted to make, obviously, so the easiest, fastest way to get it done and in the past was probably taken.  A path which neglected to include a story at all.  No answers no real plot.  It's just people reacting to something that according to the barely serviceable dialogue happened weeks previous.

Lea Michele is absent for the nearly entire episode, showing up only to (beautifully) belt out a song  and present a plaque for the choir room.  She's a plot point.  It's not natural at all.

Kurt, Finn's step-brother, has about 10 lines of dialogue (including a terrible opening monologue) and no song.  There is little to no interaction with Blaine (who has no lines or song), his fiancee.

And perhaps worst of all, no Quinn.  Diana Agron, Finn's girlfriend his first love, was not even asked to return.

For a character as loved as Finn was, every past cast member should have been there.  They didn't need a song or even a line.  To see them would have been enough.  To acknowledge their connection to Finn and to the show would have been enough.  Where was BEcky?  Where was Idina Menzel?  She's Rachel's mother!  Brittney?  Jacob?  Lauren Zizes?

I know time was constricted.  It's an hour episode, everyone can't be represented and that's fine but such a glaring omission of Quinn?

Like I said, there are great moments.  Rachel singing To Make You Feel My Live, Santana going after Sue, the final shots of Will.  These don't add up to a great episode though.  A few shinning moments don't make up for a missed opportunity.  An opportunity to say something important, to  honor a character so many people love.

In the end, The Quarterback felt hollow.  It felt by the numbers.  It felt like an obligation.  And honestly, it was and maybe that just can't be helped.  The show didn't just lose Finn Hudson.  They lost Cory and having to acknowledge that and turn it into what should have been a beautiful hour of television, perhaps just proved too  much.

If you ask me, the entire episode should have revolved around Finn's letterman jacket instead of it being relegated to a third act after thought as if someone finally said, "ooooh we have something here."

I just wish Finn and Cory would have gotten a memorial episode that didn't feel so shallow and hastened.   He deserved more.  He deserved something substantial.  What he got was what we've grown to expect from Glee, something just okay.

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