Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Glee Recap: Season 2, Episode 3

After the froth and fun of last weeks episode, Glee swings the pendulum to the other end of the spectrum, with a deep look at the way the Glee kids see spirituality. Someone's suffering from a crisis, which provokes everyone to have a look at their beliefs as they try and deal with what's happening in their on way.
(Larks, sounds a bit like an angsty teen novel). Some people say they cried. But I think they're a bit lame. Read on to find out more!

So Finn is making a sandwich. If you think that this is not enough to lead onto one of the major themes of the show, then obviously, you do not know the Glee writers.
If we're going to go into specifics, Finn is making a cheese sandwich.
A grilled cheese sandwich.

On which he sees the face of Jesus.

He called it 'Grilled Chessus' (and I hit my head on the desk in front of me).

Although he's not religious, he decides to pray. To the grilled sandwich.
This has no stopped him from eating half of it though.

I'm not a fan of cheese as a general principle, so Finn praying to one hurts me twice as much as the next person. However, he's a very simple person, so somehow, this isn't overly surprising. If had been any one else, they would have got an eyebrow perched on much scepticism.
Finn prays that they win their next American football game because he thinks it would mean a lot to Artie (and he reckons God owes it to him for Artie's disability) and says that if they win, he'll dedicate his next song in Glee to his 'Cheesy Lord'.

Somehow, potentially from sheer coincidence, their team wins the game and, from what I can see, Artie scores the winning touchdown (with Finn's help).

Finn shows his gratitude to 'Grilled Chesus'. I think this means he's a believer.

Elsewhere, in his garage, Burt, Kurt's Dad (remember him?) is having his breakfast delivered to him by his health conscious son, who quotes someone called Suzanne Summers, who claims skipping breakfast is suicide.

Burt isn't too impressed with the offering as Kurt has replaced his father's usual breakfast with a more healthy alternative.
Burt: Where's my usual breakfast?
Kurt: You mean a can of coke and two Slim Jims?

Burt: It's the breakfast of champions

They get into a little bit of an argy-bargy because Kurt has been skipping out on their usual Friday Night Family Meal traditions, since Carol (Finn's Mum) and Finn have been joining them. Which, considering how Kurt is the one that set them up, is a little rude. Kurt claims that his Friday nights, as a teenager, are really important to him (read: 'Dad! I have better things to do than hang with you!'), but Burt points out that the Friday Nights together are sacred, which mean they should take precedence over everything else.

Kurt is underwhelmed and suggests that they re-arrange it for another night, because he doesn't want to miss this Sound of Music event that he's been looking forward to all year for just another meal and takes his exit. Ohhh, that's mean.

For once, Finn is the one to put his hand up and say something in Glee. Puck thinks Finn's coming out (of the closet) and Finn kind of agrees that yeah, actually, a special man has just come into his life.

 Pause moment on Kurt, who is suddenly listening intently.

And when Finn announces that it's Jesus Christ, reactions vary - Rachel looks horrified, Puck declares it's worse than Finn coming out of the closet, Quinn looks pleased and Artie rolls his eyes.
Finn suggests that they pay tribute to Jesus this week in Glee, and unsurprisingly, Kurt objects - pointing out that if he wanted to sing about Jesus, he's go to church, but most churches don't think very much of gay people.
However, he then goes on to say that most churches don't think very much of women, or science *roll my eyes*
Quinn and Mercedes are all for 'getting a little church' up in Glee to give thanks, and Santana asks them give thanks for what? That she didn't give birth to a lizard baby? Brittany says whenever she prays, she falls asleep.
Will points out that the song doesn't necessarily have to be about Jesus - it can be about spirituality.
Puck's all like:
Whatchu talking about, Willis?!
Which personally offends Finn, who asks "You got a problem with Jesus!?" in an overly aggressive tone, suggesting he's ready to fight it out *roll my eyes*.

Puck: No, I don't have problem with Jesus. I'm a Jew for Jesus - I'm his number one Heeb. What I don't like seeing is people using Jay-money to cramp everybody else's style. 'Cos it seems to me that true spirituality, or whatever you wanna call it, is about enjoying the life you've been given. I mean, I see God every time I make out with a new chick.
Rachel retorts that what Puck said doesn't make sense and is actually stupid.

Puck: Are you calling Billy Joel stupid?
He decides to continue his Jewish-Artists-Only streak and breaks into a rendition of 'Only The Good Die Young' by Billy Joel. It's a surprisingly faithful rendition that Puck carries off with charm getting everyone in the Glee club leaping out of their seats.

Well, everyone except for Kurt, who just sits in a corner and texts.

You can almost hear the cogs in the minds of the writer's whirring - what they need now is a crisis, to highlight the spiritual differences of the Glee members and possibly contrast them...What to do? What to do?

At which point, Burt Hummel is struck down by a heart attack whilst at work and falls into a coma. The doctor is extremely unhelpful, not allowing Kurt to see his father and then using long words such as 'arrhythmia'  and talking in terms we do not understand which simply serves to worsen the situation.

In his father's room, Kurt implores him to squeeze his hand if he can hear Kurt. 

Unfortunately, there's no response.

And after that heart wrenching aspect of the episode, it's back to Finn and his 'Grilled Cheesus'. Forgive me while I place a pillow over my head to muffle my screams.

Ignorant of Kurt's dilemma, Finn places another request - to be able to touch Rachel's boobs.
That rattling sound was my eyes rolling around in my head.

Back at Gleekers Headquarters the next day, the other Gleekers are giving Kurt their sympathy.
But Finn gives Kurt his RAGE. Because nobody told Finn and he feels like an ass (what for not knowing but not about asking a supreme being for some bosom?!) because he had to find out from somebody else. Kurt doesn't seen overly remorseful at this fact, pointing out that Burt isn't Finn's father, to which Finn replies that it's the closest he's going to get.
It's actually quite sweet, considering that we've seen Burt and Finn connect in previous episode and that Finn's main motivation for joining Glee was a odd pseudo-father figure. He's that guy who seem to be constantly looking for a man to guide and 'father' him.
Mercedes pips up, asking if she can sing what she wants to say to Kurt. 
She starts with a squished and short version of Whitney Houston's I Look to You
Kurt points out that although he loved her voice, he doesn't believe in God. He thinks that if God exist, he's is a jerk for making him gay and then telling his followers that it's wrong for him to be the way he is. 

Kurt: I appreciate your thoughts. But I don't want your prayers.

Can they give them to your dad, then?

Not only is there the issue of spirituality in Glee, but in the staff room too - Sue has found out the theme for the Gleekers and thinks it highly inappropriate in a public school, and that secularism should be present in every aspect of a public school, including extra curricular activities.

Figgins: But Sue, children should be allowed to profess in whichever faith they choose!
Sue: Maybe at the BET awards, but not in a public school.

Elsewhere, Rachel and Finn are having a 'discussion' (which mainly consists of her talking at him and expecting his agreement).

Rachel: Let's discuss your new found love for Jesus - and how it's affecting me. I want this relationship to go the distance. But I need to know that when I'm 25 and I've won a bunch of Tonys, and I'm ready to have intercourse and babies, that those babies will be raised in a certain way.
Finn: You're not going to have sex until you're 25?
I like to call this piece: Mildly Horrified.

Focus, Finn, focus!

Rachel: I want my children to be raised in the Jewish faith. Both of my dad's peoples were slaves once - I need to know that my children will be free to worship in the way that I decide is right.

Yes, that was a contradiction (or an oxymoron) that you just read. But it's what she said! Finn agrees, thinking it'd be cool if they went to Jew church and wore the hats and ate the salty orange stuff with their bagels. 
What a schmuck.
In return for Finn's blithe agreement, Rachel gives him something else: The answer to his prayers.

That's right. 
Finn get to cop a feel of Rachel's bosoms.

In an office that's hopefully far away from all this, Sue gets info from Santana and Brittany regarding the happenings in Gleekerland.

Which is how she finds out that Kurt isn't really into the spiritual stuff and find her way in, persuading Kurt to file a complaint about the Glee topic.

The best thing about this is the furious reaction this provokes. But not from Will as per usual - but from the eternally cardiganned one, Emma.

No clothes stealing this time - I can't wear neutrals *shudders*
Emma is mad that Sue has interfered with the Gleekers attempts to comfort Kurt in his time of need, and asks what exactly happened to Sue to make her the way she is.
In reply, Sue narrates the fact that she has always adored her older sister, and that as a young girl, she noted how people always laughed at and mocked and basically disrespected her sister due to her condition. So she prayed for her sister to get better, harder and harder, but nothing happened. 

Sue: And after I while I realised, it's wasn't that I wasn't praying hard enough. It's that no one was listening. Asking someone to believe in a fantasy, however comforting, isn't a moral thing to do. It's cruel.
Emma: Don't you think that's just a little bit arrogant?
Sue: It's just as as arrogant as telling someone how to believe in God and if they don't accept it, no matter how open minded or honest their dissent, that they're going to hell? Well, that doesn't sound very Christian now, does it?
Emma: Well, if that's what you believe, that's fine. But please keep it to yourself.
Sue: As long as you do the same. That kid could lose his father at any moment. You need to start preparing him for that. Now get the hell out of my office - I realize you're only half orangutan but I'm still very allergic to your lustrous ginger mane.  
But isn't a declaration that no expression of spirituality be allowed due to secular beliefs a declaration of a sort of spirituality/belief as well?!
The Gleekers aren't impressed at this clamping down on their freedom of expression:

Tina: Last week we were too sexy, this week we're too religious - we can't win!
Brittany: Now I know what Miley feels like.

Mercedes tells Kurt that siding with Sue isn't going to help much, but he says that it is, because he doesn't have to listen to them talking about a God he knows doesn't exist.
My eyes actually hurt right now from rolling them, and I'm also doubly offended that he called them mental patients for having their beliefs. None of them have come out and called him crazy for not believing in God ¬_¬

Oh, look. Finn is talking to his favourite cling film wrapped deity, who he seems be hoarding in his gym locker (EW!). Perhaps he'll ask for world peace? Oh, no, wait, obviously he's going to pray for Burt's miraculous recovery!

Nope. He asks to be quarterback in Sam's stead. At this rate, I'm going to end up doing an Oedipus.

This time, he is interrupted by someone - Puck, who is wondering why Finn is kneeling in front of his sandwich.

Finn: So now I pray before eating, what's the big deal?

Puck says he won't tell anyone and admits that he went to the temple with his grandma to pray for Kurt's dad's recovery. YEAH. REMEMBER HIM FINN?!

You know to feel ashamed that you forgot about Kurt's Dad.
Puck asks Finn what he prayed for and Finn lies and says he prayed for the same thing as Puck.

Later that evening, Rachel drags Finn to the middle of nowhere for a moment between the two of them and God, in order to pray together that Burt Hummel recovers.

 Rachel breaks into her version of Barbra Streisand's 'Papa, Can You Hear Me?' which carries on, even until she's at Burt's bedside with Finn, Finn's Mum, Mercedes and Quinn. I get a bit unsettled that it now sounds like she's singing the song to someone else's Dad and is touching his face like she knows him O.o

Kurt comes in and wants to know what exactly is going on - the girls are praying for Kurt's dad as a kind of insurance - different dominations and religions, one of them's got to be the right one! Finn's Mum pipes in that friend's help out, even if you don't ask them to.
Kurt has gotten an acupuncturist to come in (who Finn mistakes for a Muslim - she's actually Sikh) as "needles pierce the skin better than songs" and asks them all to leave.

During the game, Finn persuades Sam to change the play (ooh, I sound like I know what I'm talking about), which results in Sam getting seriously injured and Finn becoming quarterback again.

That feeling's called guilt.
At Gleeker headquarters, in order to express the way he's feeling about his current situation, Kurt sings an amazingly heart wrenching version of The Beatles' 'I Want To Hold Your Hand.' During the song, they show a montage of Kurt when he was younger and his dad, and it features a kid that looks so much like Kurt, I thought they just used fancy camera angles to make him look smaller.

Of course it's not camera angles - it's a shrink ray machine! It all makes sense now!
Mercedes invites Kurt to her church, saying she wants to dedicate the service to Kurt and his Dad and adding that he can wear a fabulous hat.
Kurt: Mercedes, you had me at fabulous hat.
Finn goes to confess to Emma (who is wearing a really sweet bee cardigan) about how all his prayers have come true, thus making him responsible for Sam's injury.

What with the guilt, and the picture of Jesus and the confession, it looks like Finn may be going Catholic.
However, Emma easily explains the phenomenons away - they're winning because Coach Beiste is a good coach, Rachel felt close to him after the emotional talk, thus the inappropriate touching and Sam getting hurt?

Emma: You didn't hurt Sam, it was a 300 lb left tackle who got expelled because he's on steroids and he's 23.

Surprisingly, Finn is disappointed - the thought of having a direct line to the Creator of the universe had been sorta cool. But now, he just feels like any other schmuck person.

If I were Emma, I would suggest a viewing of Bruce Almighty to get him out of his pit of teenage angst, but I'm merciless like that.

This sets Finn off on a rendition of REM's 'Losing My Religion'.
Some of the Gleekers point out the injustice in not being able to sing about faith, but Finn can sing about losing it. Will asks Finn why he seems to have changed his attitude do much from earlier that week and Finn just mutters something about doubt. Surely, his name should be Thomas by now. I think Finn's just bitter that his dairy and wheat based faith was shaken by common sense. What would he have done if the sandwich began to go mouldy, huh?!

It must be Sunday, because Kurt and Mercedes are at church.

Kurt: I'm very impressed with everyone's Sunday best. It's so...Christ-chic.

Mercedes asks her church to pray for Kurt and although she's accepting of the fact he doesn't believe in God, she says he has to put his faith in something, because life is too hard to go through it alone.
Preach, Mercedes, PREACH!

She and her choir then start singing a stunning version of Aretha Franklin's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. Ooohhhh, the hairs on the back of my arm leapt towards the sky! I loved it, loved it, loved it (Can you tell I'm a fan of gospel music?).

Kurt seems touched by Mercedes' message, the outreach of the other church members (despite Mercedes 'outing' him as an atheist) and the amazingness of his own hat in general.

Sue is letting her sister Jeanie thrash her at Checkers, which Jeanie is acutely aware of. 

Sue asks Jeanie if she believes in God, and Jeanie rebounds the question back at Sue. Sue says she doesn't, prompting Jeanie to ask why not. Sue explains why and Jeanie simply replies with "God never makes mistakes."

Jeanie: God never makes mistakes. That's what I believe.....You want me to pray for you, Sue?
Sue:  *tearing up* Yeah, that would be nice.

Kurt goes to see his Dad and tells him about Sunday, and reminisces about their first Friday Night Family Meal after Kurt's mum had died. He apologises for kicking his Gleeker friends out of the hospital room, 
realizing now that it wasn't about him - it was about his dad. And it had been a nice gesture on their part.
And then we realise that Kurt has taken Mercedes' advice - although he still doesn't believe in God, he confesses to his father that he believes in him, and that he believes in them (is this getting confusing with all the pronouns yet?) and that their relationship is what's sacred to him, echoing what his dad has last said to him before suffering the heart attack and falling into his present state.

Whoa. Did you see that? No?

Okay, maybe it's hard to see in stills, but Kurt's dad's fingers moved.

The Gleekers (finally!) come together for an ensemble piece: Joan Osbourne's 'One of Us'. And there's a Tina solo!  Yes! During the performance, they also show Finn -

No, wait, he's not going to -


Surely that thing is older than Methuselah by now in bread years?!

So, all in all, the way the writers handled the main plot? Considering the topic title and the way Glee usually functions? I couldn't actually fault it - the views were unique and exclusive to each person, just like in real life. It was so well done, I actually sat there in shock after I watched it - the moments between Kurt and his dad were so sweet and Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt? Wow. Just....WOW. And I adore Jane Lynch, who plays Sue. She's amazing. She can be the cockiest, evillest coach when it needs to be, but then she's as tender as a lamb and I truly, truly believe it.
However, the Grilled Cheesus plot? Got a MASSIVE SIDE-EYE. I guess it helped against the levity of the main plot, but at the end, when Finn at ate that stupid sandwich, I damn well fell off my stupid chair.
He gives us Simple folk a bad name!

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