Monday, 7 February 2011

Glee - S2 E11 - The Sue Sylvester Shuffle

Hoping to stop the bullying, Will (Matthew Morrison) forces the McKinley Titans football team to join the glee club to perform a Thriller mash-up at half-time of the championship game. Meanwhile Sue (Jane Lynch) is lacking motivation as she pushes towards a championship showdown of her own.

Recap after the jump.

 I noted that some people were bemused that an episode of Glee followed the Super Bowl as football fans may not be so into the concept of the show. In that respect, they're thinking like the McKinley High football team does - they don't know how much fun it can be until they actually experience it. Then again, everyone watches the Super Bowl - why not air your biggest money spinner right after and see if you can trap more people? With the plot of the episode revolving around a big championship game, it makes more sense than you'd initially think.

So despite the name of the episode, it's all about the football team who've somehow made it into their conference championship game but the in-fighting between the glee performers and the bullies is worse than ever. After Artie is attacked, Will and Coach Beast get together and decide to force the football team to join the glee club under the rationale of showing the ignorant bullies what glee club is really all about. The plan is to perform a mash-up of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Heads Will Roll' at half-time of the big game. How exactly they'll find the time to both prepare for this and practice for the game is never adequately explained. OK, it's not explained at all. Let's just assume they all fell into some kind of time vortex.

Sue meanwhile seems to have lost her love of the cheer leading game - not even the elaborate high-energy Katie Perry routine that opens the episode can get her juices flowing, a big problem as the squad prepares to compete for a seventh consecutive national title. She finally finds the ridiculously grandiose prop she has been seeking in the form of a human cannon which she plans on shooting Brittany (Heather Morris) out of. The Cheerios are understandably skeptical about the safety of this and after Quinn (Diana Agron) reports back to Will, he goes to Principal Figgins who vetoes all of Sue's plans.

The expanded glee club begins practicing their routine and the bullies find out how much fun it really can be. Ubermeathead Karofsky is found to have a particular talent according to Will (gee, who ever saw that coming? However, the first cracks start appearing - upon being denied, Sue goes berserk in a way that needs to be seen to be believed, and reschedules the cheerleading championship to the same day as the football championship, leaving the team with no cheerleaders. Forced into a corner, Q, Santana and Brittany resign from the glee club so they can continue with the Cheerios.

Finn (Corey Monteith) steps up, confronting Q about her betrayal and clashes with Sam in a scene Q finds curiously arousing. Then, the glee-ful football players while walking the halls in their zombie make-up after practice are fantastically drowned in Slushie by the heretofore unseen hockey team, causing all of them to quit even despite Coach Beast's threat to throw them all off the team. With students unwilling to cross the picket line, the team is left without enough players to take the field. That is until the remaining girls in the group decide to sign up!

<Insert incredibly random and pointless scene involving Kurt at the other school before the game> So anyway, here comes the game and the first half goes pretty terribly, but what do you expect with Rachel playing right tackle? A fumble allows Tina to scoop and score but she's concussed at the end of the run (leading to a cute scene between her and Mike). It's clear this can't go on. Fortunately, Finn has been hard at work having handed off QB duties to Sam. First he rushes over to the Cheerios bus and convinces Q, Santana and a terrified Brittany to return to glee club, then drafts Puck in to rally the erstwhile football players to rejoin the team and make some memories.

It all comes together, with a typically fantastic dance number, even Karofsky enthusiastically participates. The players are allowed to retake the field and keep their zombie make up on as they launch a comeback. Trailing by 3 with 11 seconds to go and out of possession, McKinley looks out of luck. Thankfully, an impromptu chant of "Brains! Brains! Brains!" perturbs the opposition QB into fumbling the snap (what the fuck were they doing in shotgun formation though?) allowing the Titans to recover and get the winning points.

Game over, the feel good factor is broken by Karofsky's refusal to remain with the glee club - he's content to remain the villain and bask in the temporary glory the conference title has afforded him. Sue meanwhile, devastated at failing in the cheerleading championships, seems set to resume her vendetta against Will who she evidently feels engineered her downfall. Then, a little out of the blue but pleasant all the same, we get this right at the end:

Rachel of course wore #1 on her jersey. She was seriously adorable in this episode, especially when in football gear and even when up to her manipulative tricks trying to make Finn jealous. Mike's number is #22, anyone else notice the awesome crowd sign declaring that "22 IS A NINJA!"? Emma was missing from this episode, long may that continue. I wonder if the rest of the football team will continue in glee? I hope not, it's hard enough already to keep track of everyone. In the larger scheme of things, this felt more like a mini-movie than a true link in a an episodic series, but it works great given the timing - first episode back after the winter break and made for a big event too. This might have been the best of the season so far.

"Glee" airs Tuesdays on FOX at 8:00 pm EST.

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