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Gleeview: Comeback
mjacton

Spoiler Alert!

 Sorry the cut didn't take again!

There was a lot to like, in an abstract way, and to think about in last night's episode.  I'm going to break this episode down by character.  I'll skip Sue because, as usual, she was mostly just a framework for the story.   There were three characters that I'll cover, all of whom to some degree or another made comebacks in this episode (hence its title).  As for other character developments, I'll touch on them mostly in the musical section because that's where they made their presence known.

Sam
Remember, at first we all thought Sam was gay, mostly because Kurt did.  Well, I'm pretty sure that ship has sailed.  He's immature, superficial, and impulsive.  His good points are that he's cute in a 12-year-old girl sort of way, he can sing (hence the gay speculation), and he doesn't seem to be afraid to stick up for his friends (Artie and Kurt especially).  From the first episode he appeared in, he was compared to Justin Bieber, and so it was pretty much inevitable that he would embrace that.  He is that desperate for something to get people to like him, and he apparently thought it would get Quinn to stay with him.  To some extent, it did.  I'll get to that later.

Anyway, I'm liking Sam's development now.  He's dorky, and it's fun to watch him blunder through life and school.  I also, obviously, didn't think he was a good match for Quinn so the fact that he has at least temporarily moved on is a positive development in my opinion.  I think he's getting a reboot so to speak at his new school.  It might have been a mistake for him to run to Santana, but I don't think she really wants him anyway.  So, I think he'll learn that pretty quickly and realize he's been going about things all wrong.

Rachel
Rachel is back!  She is the one who was intentionally trying to make a comeback.  I thought it was hilarious that she went to Brittany for help in helping her with her reputation.  I don't think Brittany really dislikes Rachel at all.  I think she goes along with what she's supposed to think.  Rachel had to pay her to wear something that wasn't in style because she was taking a fashion risk, not because she didn't want to do something for Rachel.  The fact that she didn't do it like Rachel wanted her to just highlighted Rachel's misguided attempt.  She didn't need a social rehabilitation.  She needed to get back to leading the Glee Club.  That's her place.  It's where she belongs, and it's where she excels ("being a part of something special makes you special").

Finn helped Rachel in the safest way possible (as usual) to see that she didn't need to worry about changing who she is in order to get people to like her.  We also saw a lot of the enthusiasm, however misguided it was, of the old Rachel Berry with a gold star.  I'm very excited to see her in next week's episode hosting her (presumably) first house party.  I see epicness in the future.  Plus, a song written by Rachel Berry?  Yes, please.

Also, I loved that even though in general the attempt at making Rachel into a fashion trend setter was an epic fail, everyone started dressing like her.  It was hilarious and vindicating all at once.

Quinn
Finally, Quinn.  Frankly, contrary to popular opinion amongst the group of Glee fans that I associate with, I think Quinn's character has been handled masterfully during the entire series.  Yes, that is a bold statement, and again it's unpopular.  I don't have room to lay out all the evidence of that, but let's review some facts about Quinn Fabray:
  • She was raised for roughly the first 16 years of her life by a strict (probably Catholic) Christian father, one strict enough and concerned enough with appearances that he threw her out of his house when he found out about her pregnancy.
  • Her parents are selfish and hypocritical.  Her mother knew she was pregnant before she told her, and she didn't say anything.  Her father had an affair.
  • Quinn herself picked up many of these qualities.  She didn't entirely embrace her strict upbringing, but she was the president of the Celibacy Club and member of Christ Crusaders before she got pregnant.  She always enjoyed being on top, socially.  She has always wanted to be Homecoming and Prom Queen.
  • The control she loves has extended to her boyfriends.  She has always chosen boyfriends who would both help her stay popular and whom she could control.  She never really loved any of her boyfriends; she didn't even like them all (though I think she likes both Finn and Sam well enough).
  • Because of all of the above, she's repressed.  She cheated on Finn because she felt the pressure of her position, and she thought Puck could make her feel good for awhile.  Plus, she always seems to want to break away from her upbringing even if she doesn't always succeed.
  • Finally, she is brave.  She has been able to loosen (but not break) the ties of her upbringing.  She was brave through her pregnancy, mostly holding her head high.  She didn't tell Finn about Puck, but once it was out in the open, she made the most of the situation.  Sure, she had her desperate moments, but that's to be expected.  She's a teenager.

I personally think there's more going on in her psyche than these facts might make obvious, but I won't go too far down the speculative road.  It's sufficient to point out that all of these facts have been taken into account consistently throughout the series.  Starting with the Back 9 of Season 1, we didn't see Quinn much for awhile, but when we did we saw a brave girl making the most of her difficult situation.  She did the right thing giving her baby up to someone better equipped to raise her.  And, then, when season 2 started, she took the opportunity to regain some of the control that she had lost.  She latched on to Sam as the safest choice, someone she could mold and, hopefully, because he was an athlete, not hurt her popularity.

So, the fact that she cheated on him was not surprising.  She has never really known who she wanted.  She only knows what she wants, and it began to slip from her fingers again with Sam.  So, she went back to Finn to see if he was a viable option for her.  In the end, I think she realized that being with Finn wasn't as easy as she thought it would be because of Rachel, because Finn isn't really over Rachel and that she cares for Rachel more than she wants to admit.  In my opinion, she didn't really fall for Sam's Bieber act, it just made her realize that he wanted to be with her enough to do what he needed to to keep her ("He was so...shameless!").  The fact that that changed once he realized he was being naive was really quite understandable from his perspective.

Overall, the best part of this episode, I think, besides a couple of amazing musical numbers, was that it made me excited for the next episode and beyond.

Favorite Quotes:

Emma's Pamphlet TitleI Am Too Depressed to Even Open This Pamphlet

Rachel:  Okay, the only way to proceed is for you to come to school dressed exactly like me.
Brittany:  What is that look called?
Rachel:  Sexy, school girl, librarian chic.  All right, you better get a move on, okay?  Kids R Us closes at 6pm sharp!  Go Brittany!

Rachel:  Well, I'll say this.  Being a diva is all about emotion.  In fact, you feel so much emotion that it cannot be physically contained.  Sometimes, you have to close your eyes and turn your head and push, push your feelings away they're that big!

Rachel:  You look amazing!
Brittany:  I really do.
Rachel:  This look has to go viral.  Is there any way you can cut class for the rest of the day just so you can walk down the halls?
Brittany:  Totally.  Most teachers think by cutting class I might improve my grades.
Rachel (fist pump):  Great!

Musical Rundown:

The best part of the episode, in my opinion, was the music.  Even though I'm not a fan of Justin Bieber, I thought the episode integrated the theme of Justin Bieber perfectly.  And, the rest of the music made up for the superficiality that was the Bieber music.

"Baby" by Justin Bieber (feat. Ludacris)--This song was very appropriate.  Chord Overstreet (Sam) sang it well, and the lyrics actually applied to the situation.  As Tina implied, he made it a better song than anyone thought it was.

"Somebody to Love" by Justin Bieber--This is the song that made Quinn really decide she wanted to stay with Sam, and frankly that was the only real substantive part of this performance.  It was pleasant enough, but it was just cotton candy pop.

"Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent--Once again, Lea Michele (with some help from Amber Riley [Mercedes]) has rendered me inarticulate.  This has to be watched and listened to be appreciated fully.  I can't do it justice...seriously, listen to it on repeat!  The fact that in this duet, Rachel (mostly) sings the part made famous by Idina Menzel, who also played her mother in Glee, adds some kind of weird irony to the performance.

"I Know What Boys Like" by The Waitresses--Lauren Zizes makes her solo debut, and it was exactly what you might have expected.  Musically, it was more like shouting, but that wasn't the point.  Lauren is only a substitute for Kurt, and this was just her attempt at being more than just a placeholder.  She's there to stare at Puckerman, but I think she's starting to like being a part of the club.  So, this was her (mostly successful) attempt at injecting her personality into the club dynamic.

"Sing" by My Chemical Romance--This was amazing on many levels, not all musical.  I'm not an expert on such things, but I thought it was amazingly filmed.  Sue was hilarious in her plaid track suit to go with the other costumes.  And, the performance was powerful.  The choreography fit with the power of the song, and the singing was amazing!  Once again, this was a performance that would have been my favorite, if not for an even more amazing performance by Lea Michele.


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So I was able to watch a replay this afternoon. Yay!

And I'd have to say, I agree with everything that you wrote.

Good! I'm glad I'm not way off base.

I don't think Sam is really a good match for any of the girls on Glee-- he's a geek and none of the girls seem like they'd be that tolerant of his nerdish pursuits for that long.

Rachel is TOTALLY back and I loved it! But once again, Finn was shown to be the used enema bag he is. I hate people who won't defend their friends in public and used that "it wouldn't have made a difference" excuse. He's a coward and he is not deserving of the precious gift Rachel is.

I am TOTALLY with you on Quinn. She seems more Protestant than Catholic to me, but this is mostly because her family seems so WASPy. Her dad is totally the kind who would look down on Catholics and their rituals. And I think Quinn is kind of a shitty teenager, but the keyword is teenager. I was a Santana in high school (less with the bullying, but more with the bitch) and I'd like to believe this was more due to the naivete of youth than character flaw.

It's definitely one of the reasons why I tend to give these characters a free pass in terms of their shitty behavior-- because they really are just kids and I just assume all teenagers are douchenozzles until they hit their mid 20.

Emma's pamphlet made me choke on this disgusting chinese herbal medication my grandmother sent me from Korea. Do you know how disgusting that shit is? It's super super super disgusting. That's how much it made me laugh.

Lea Michele was AMAZING in this.

One of the things that sort of bugs me about Lauren is how she said she wanted to be at least as good as Rachel in her song debut. Like? Really? Fucking for real? She has nowhere near the training or dedication Rachel's has had/exhibited, what would make her think she'd show up Rachel? Actually, in general, she hasn't won me over yet.

And I think Puckerman is creepy for his pursuit of her. Like, I HATE those kinds of games. She's shot him down and he just keeps pursuing her! This was one of my big complaints about that old TV Show, Family Matters with Urkel. Any woman whose ever had a stalker does not find that kind of unwanted persistence to be charming or funny.

And if Lauren likes him (and she clearly does), she needs to stop playing games, fucking with his head and just give him some kind of resolution.

But that's my big rant. Sorry for taking up space in your journal!

Don't be sorry at all! Come back any time to rant and rave! I don't even mind if you disagree with me!

I agree with you about Lauren. I think I was just saying this is what she was doing now, not trying to give an overall character analysis. And, OF COURSE, she's not ever going to be as good as Rachel. I think she's just jealous.

And, your're right, I always thought Quinn was Protestant. I also think they leave it ambiguous on purpose, but the only reason I've been swayed to a different opinion on that is the icongraphy that appears in her house (plus the "c word" comment way back in the "Showmance" episode at the Celibacy Club meeting. As I said, it's ambiguous, and I think it's meant to be.

Again, thanks for your comment! Come back anytime. I write a review the day after every ep so if you're bored (haha), come visit.

And, also, lj has been malfunctioning. I've fixed the cut at least 3 times, and it obviously got messed up again. Hopefully, that didn't mess up your friends list thingy.

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