'Glee': 'Beautiful' and 'A House is Not a Home' spotlight Mercedes and Kurt

Thumbnail image for Glee-Fox-Cast-320.jpgAfter the jubilant Madonna extravaganza, this episode of "Glee" seemed comparatively drama-heavy -- it took my brain a second to shift gears. And man, I definitely teared up once or twice. Plus, we got a break from The Rachel Show (love you honey, but a little breather will only help our relationship) and instead focused on Kurt and Mercedes. Okay, and Finn, but in a context other than his dating life.

Kristin Chenoweth!: Kristin Chenoweth is back! And she sings three songs! The Kristin/Idina sing-off is still but a dream, sadly. April MCs at a roller rink these days, and apparently thought better of sobriety. After a "Fire" duet that makes me want to run my hands through Will's hair (as much as the Dep will allow) as we watch "Chicago" together on my couch (I'll cut the fantasy off there), April confesses that she's a strip mall tycoon's mistress, and needs a place to stay.

And hey, Will needs a subletter! April guilts him into letting her take the place for a spin that night, and though he dashes off to bed immediately, they each separately contemplate their loneliness with a beautiful "One Less Bell to Answer." When they segue into "A House is not a Home," (Barbra tribute!), April climbs into bed with Will. They lie there, miles apart, until Will reaches out his arm as the song ends and they both say goodnight. Great scene.

Since Sue has booked the auditorium for the week, Will brings New Directions to the roller rink to practiceWhich brings me to my biggest problem with this episode: How do you have a scene at a roller rink without a "Xanadu" tribute??? Olivia Newton-John totally should've guest starred in this episode! Sigh... 

Will passes on a repeat sleepover (and apparently that's all it was), since he's getting divorced and she should probably work on not being a drunken mistress. I dunno ... running a roller rink is a pretty sweet gig. April tries to break up with her sugar granddaddy, but he croaks before she has a chance! His wife gives her $2 million in hush money, so it's off to "the Broadway," where she'll mount the first-ever all-white production of "The Wiz." That's quite the dream.

In the auditorium, which is now the "April Rhodes Civic Pavilion," she's backed up by the glee kids on "Home." Not really the most memorable song from "The Wiz," but the lyrics certainly work, and I don't have to tell you that Kristin sung the heck out of it.

It ain't easy being Kurt: Finn's mother is dating Kurt's father! Firstly, Kurt and Burt? Really? Secondly, OMG! Seems Kurt forcibly introduced them a month ago at parent-teacher conference night in hopes of eventually living with Finn. Finn, though, is horrified that his mother is moving on from his dad's death. In what's clearly meant to be a tribute to his feelings for Finn, Kurt sings a very emotional "A House is Not a Home" at rehearsal. Finn is instead inspired to sing the same song to the artifacts he has left from his father.

I know Kurt has some haters, so I'm glad we're getting a glimpse of the poor, confused kid under all that snarky self-confidence. He's even more shaken when Finn and his dad immediately hit it off, bonding over sports talk. The scene in which he confronts his dad, asking him to appreciate how hard it must be for Kurt to watch him bond with "the son [he's] always wanted," was heart wrenching. His dad tries to smooth things over, but also questions Kurt's motives in setting him up with Finn's mom in the first place. Kurt tearfully dismisses him, and I gain a whole new respect for Chris Colfer's acting.

Recognizing that his plan is backfiring, Kurt enlists Finn in an effort to break up their parents. But when Finn selfishly accuses his mom of cheating on his dad -- on their family -- after fifteen years have passed since his dad's death, she sets him straight. All she wants is to move past the memories and ghosts so that they can become their own family with their own home. I completely understand where Finn is coming from, which makes it all the more impressive that he's able to maturely accept Kurt's dad into the family once he explains to Finn how much he loves Finn's mom. 

Unfortunately, seeing Finn and his dad watching basketball together only leaves Kurt more upset -- he's literally and figuratively on the outside looking in. Thinking back to Kurt's sacrifice when he threw the "Defying Gravity" tryout to protect his dad, I can especially see why Kurt feels so betrayed. Finn, Mercedes and Quinn all did a lot of growing up in this episode, but Kurt's not quite there yet.

Coach of the milleneum: With a big-time magazine reporter flying in next week to interview Sue for a cover story, she demands that all her Cheerios be in ship-shape, including Mercedes (and, to a lesser degree, Kurt). Brittany and Santana recommend the Sue Sylvester Master Cleanse, which is both really gross and distressingly similar to something people actually do. After a few days of starvation Mercedes begins to hallucinate classmates dressed as food, and then faints. Quinn, of all people, gives her a pep talk in the nurse's office about the importance of eating healthily, which she didn't realize until she was pregnant.

Quinn: "You are so lucky. You've always been at home in your body. Don't let Ms. Sylvester take that away from you." She calls an embarrassed Mercedes beautiful, and stays with her after force-feeding her a granola bar. Aww! Our little Quinn is developing maternal instincts!

Turns out Sue's cover story fluff piece is more of a hard-hitting investigation ... and the reporter, I'm pretty sure, is played by the same guy who was Tracy's son on "30 Rock." Instead of the planned performance at the pep rally, Mercedes hijacks the microphone to say that Cheerios shouldn't be about being hot and popular. She asks the crowd who feels fat, or ugly, or not worth very much, and confesses to feeling the same things sometimes. She doesn't think it's right, and she invites everyone to come down and join her as she sings "Beautiful," backed up by the Cheerios. Even Puck gets up to join in! It's great, seriously.

The reporter's reaction is a shock to Sue: "Sue, when I met you I instantly disliked you. You're bossy, insulting, and the fact that twice you called me 'Rerun' makes me think you're a little racist." His article was going to be scathing, but after seeing cheerleaders of every shape and size singing about empowerment and inclusion, he recognizes her as a visionary who could change the face of cheerleading. Um ... maybe she could take credit for the empowerment through Madonna? She rolls with it after a beat, telling him it's the inside that counts. Visionary, indeed.

Quotes:

  • Sue, to Kurt and Mercedes: "How do you two not have a show on Bravo?"
  • Brittany: "I'm pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary."
  • April: "So you're free to date? And by date, I mean sleep with people, and by sleep with, I mean have sex with people. People like me!"
  • Mercedes: "Stop getting all up in my face telling me what I can and cannot do. And I'm really hungry, so stop trying to get me to eat you!"
  • Will: "I don't think we should make a habit of spending the night together." April: "All we did was sleep!" Will: "No, all you did was sleep. I was up all night with you kicking me!" April: "Sorry. Them's the night terrors."
  • Reporter: "Quite a turnout for a pep rally." Sue: "On assembly days I arrange for the rest of the school to be fumigated, leaving the gymnasium the only place with breathable air."

 

Songs:

  • "Fire" by Bruce Springsteen, performed by Will and April
  • "A House is Not a Home" by Burt Bacharach, performed by Kurt
  • "One Less Bell to Answer/A House is Not a Home" by Burt Bacharach, performed by Will and April
  • "Home" from "The Wiz," performed by April
  • "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera, performed by Mercedes and the Cheerios (and everyone else)

 

Did you enjoy the drama, or did you think the episode was too heavy? How are you feeling about Kurt these days?  

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