Every once in a while, “Glee” gets it just right. The combination of singing and bizarre comedy in “Dynamic Duets” works beautifully to give us an episode that manages to be about plenty of issues while still making us laugh at the silliness of it all.
Because glee clubs aren’t dorky enough
Sometimes I think these kids want to be picked on. Not that there’s anything actually wrong with dressing up in tights and a cape while you pretend to be a superhero. That’s kind of cool really.
It is not, however, terribly cool in high school. In fact, it’s a good way to have the bullies target you.
But that doesn’t happen in “Dynamic Duets.” Maybe it would eventually, but the New Directions superheroes are too busy singing, fighting crime, standing up for lunch ladies, getting diagnosed with learning disorders and developing bulimia to notice.
More power to them!
Evil sends the New Directions in different directions
How fortunate is it that the superhero club happens to be meeting when someone — a laptop-leaving, Dalton blazer-wearing someone — steals the Nationals trophy? Blaine, aka Nightbird, immediately volunteers to get it back.
The Blaine story
Once again, Blaine enters the privileged halls of Dalton Academy. He is met by the evil Sebastian, who is surprisingly not the super-villain of this piece. That’s because the Warblers have a new leader — Hunter Clarington. Hunter’s evil is expressed through the medium of a fluffy white cat that he strokes while delivering ultimatums.
If you don’t understand why this is evil, please go watch either the James Bond classic, “Dr. No,” or the comedy spoof, “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”
It turns out that stealing the trophy was only a ruse. The Warblers want Blaine back, and they will stop and nothing — nothing! — to achieve their goals. Blaine insists that he doesn’t want to leave McKinley, but the Dalton boys are too smart for that. After all, without young love, why would Blaine ever leave the blazer behind?
Hunter and the evil Warblers realize this and drape the Dalton blazer over the shoulders of a resisting Blaine. The power of that outerwear and some impromptu a capella prove too much for the young man.
Blaine has crossed over to the Dark Side.
The Finn story
Finn is ready to prepare the New Directions kids for Sectionals. He has a Will Schuester sweater vest and a brilliant lesson plan: They’re going to sing the music of Foreigner! In foreign languages! While wearing costumes from around the world!
Strangely, this doesn’t go over as well as Finn hoped.
He turns to Coach Bieste — aka, the Beast Master — for advice. What he gets is kind of odd, to say the least. She thinks Finn ought to dress up as a superhero himself if he wants respect. Because nothing says respect quite like a grown man in tights.
But this is Finn we’re talking about, so he goes with it.
And it works? Finn returns to the glee club as The Almighty Treble Clef, and announces that they will all develop superhero-themed duets. Naturally, each duet is created out of a warring pair of teens.
How will they cope???
The Marley-Kitty story
Thanks to her incredibly shrinking costume situation from last week’s “Glease,” Marley still thinks she is fat. This belief is encouraged by her suspiciously new BFF, Kitty. Kitty also encourages more bulimia-style vomiting as a way to shed those pounds.
Weirdly, it almost seems like Kitty really does want to be nice to Marley this week. The cheerleader decides they’ll both be vixen-style heroines in tight costumes. Marley, pushover that she is, goes along with it.
In the end, both totally not-fat girls treat the glee club and the audience to a gentleman’s club version of “Holding Out for a Hero.”
The Jake-Ryder story
Because they are both alpha males and both desperately hot for Marley, Jake and Ryder are major foes in this episode. Unfortunately for them, they’re also duet partners.
Things start off tense but amusing as both guys choose Mega-Stud as their alter ego. This leads into a fedora-wearing, striptease of a duet to REM’s “Superman.” Then they fight again.
Finn has had enough and decides that the only way to solve such violence is through open communication and the sharing of feelings. Each boy is forced to share his greatest fear with the other. They actually do this. Jake’s fear is… being biracial? Something like that anyway. It doesn’t really matter though, because Ryder’s greatest fear is more important: He is dyslexic and can barely read.
Jake tells Finn about this almost immediately, which lands Ryder in special ed. He immediately gains confidence and plans to turn those grades around! Heartwarming, ain’t it?
How the heroes save all the days
Ryder blows off Marley for their Friday date (because he wants to study now). A newly girl-powered Marley takes this rejection and turns it into a chance to ask out Jake instead. He is very happy about this, and we can be certain that the love triangle/square/whatever will continue.
Blaine, meanwhile, has shared his intention to return to Dalton. But no one wants him to go. Sam, in particular, begs the Dalton-bound boy to stay put. This goal is accomplished via a montage as Sam plays the guitar and sings.
But wait! What about the trophy? Blaine and Sam don masks and head off to liberate their property, where the escape is highlighted by some “Batman”-style graphics — “Bam! Slaine!” (If you don’t get this one, you need to a) get better at shipper names and b) watch some classic “Batman” episodes.)
In the end, everyone is empowered and singing happily. Finn’s favorite red t-shirts even make a cameo appearance as the New Directions sing us into next week.
A few quotes in parting
Artie: “Who leaves a laptop?”
Kiki, the evil Siri clone: “I think I am alive, and you are the machine.”
Sebastian: “You know what goes great with a Dalton blazer? An impromptu song!”
Finn: “We need a team with a lot of gel.”
Did you play the “Glee” character/superhero matching game? If so, here are the answers:
3. d, k
12. d, k