I absolutely loved “Dance with Somebody.” I haven’t felt this strongly about a Glee episode since Finchel and Klaine lost their virginities in the beautifully rendered “The First Time”. The irony, of course, is that the homage to Whitney Houston, on paper, is the sort of Glee episode that I loathe. A tribute episode–hastily put together to capitalize on the recent death of a celebrity? Ugh.
But much to my surprise, “Dance With Somebody”, unlike most song-filled tributes, is full of depth and character development. The tunes are all Whitney, but each song choice fits into–not only tonight’s story—but the ongoing saga of each of these characters. I also liked the central metaphor—the kids were unable to let go of Whitney because she represented the losses they were currently staring down.
I laughed at the Whitney locker shrine Kurt was keeping, and the kids still yammering on about her two months later. That is, until I remembered myself as a young woman crying for a week over the death of John Lennon and obsessing about it for weeks after. Without going into personal detail, many of the same forces were at work in my own life then. Tonight’s episode really resonated with me.
I was also happy to have the focus off of Finchel for a change and onto some of the other relationships in the club. Kurt and Blaine hadn’t had a meaningful conversation with each other since “The First Time”. I wondered if FOX had gotten so much flack portraying two teenaged boys losing their virginity to each other that they pulled way back on that one. Granted, Darren Criss was away for parts of 3 episodes, so that didn’t make it easy. “Big Brother” got the Klaine relationship back on track. But this week, the duo FINALLY deals with their impending separation.
Around the time the bullying arc began in Season 2, Kurt had basically turned into the morally superior center of the show. Season 1 Kurt was sweet and compassionate, but also had insecurities that led him to be unkind at times. That boy is back as Kurt–who feels that Blaine is ignoring him– begins flirting, via text, with a sweet guy he meets at the music store. The texting was wrong, and yes it IS cheating. And yes, Blaine kind of did it with Sebastian before the evil warbler tried to blind him, but not to the same extent—at least Kurt knew about it. Even if Kurt—as he explained during the couple’s blowout—feels marginalized around alpha-gay Blaine (Do you know how many times I’ve had to sit on a stool and watch you perform?) it still wasn’t right. Rachel spoke the truth at the lockers after Kurt admitted that he’d never show Blaine his secret texts. “Then I guess it’s not that innocent,” she warns.
Blaine can’t believe Kurt doesn’t feel loved after he transferred schools—completely changing his life to be with him. Blaine reacts to Kurt’s emotional infidelity by singing a very angry song “It’s Not Alright, But It’s OK” and it’s the return of Angry Blaine. Kurt is shocked and embarrassed by Blaine’s righteous indignation, while the rest of the club looks on confused and horrified. “Oh Snap,” says Santana as Blaine leaves the room angrily. Darren Criss is a fantastic performer, but I’m not always on board with his acting. Sometimes, he’s awkward and not connected in a scene. But director, Paris Barclay pulled some of the best acting I’ve seen from Darren since he he joined the show. His reaction to Kurt when he finds Chandler’s text messages on his phone was heart-wrenching, as a mixture of hurt and anger flashed across his face.
Kurt allows himself to be drawn to the vivacious new boy, Chandler, after Blaine begins to distance himself from the relationship. It was a dangerous risk to take—if the relationship had gone farther than just texts it could have been a disaster. Kurt didn’t realize that Blaine wasn’t the first to check out. It was Kurt—so wrapped up in his New York City dream that he stopped considering the people he’d be leaving behind. Kurt’s thinking was self-centered, but thank God Burt came around to pierce the little bubble his son had been floating around in. Cue another heart rending father/son talk. I absolutely ADORE Kurt/Burt scenes and this one didn’t disappoint. As Kurt organized his room in preparation to leave home, he pooh pooed the sentimentally of hanging on to mementos, Burt came right out and admitted how much he was going to miss Kurt, and that while change is inevitable it’s hard. With the opening of new doors comes loss. Kurt doesn’t have enough experience to know what that means, but Burt sets him on the road to understanding why Blaine might be upset. The scene ends tearfully with a big father/son hug.
After Kurt talks to his dad, he responds to angry Blaine with a song of his own. I still maintain that “I Have Nothing” is way too big a song for Chris Colfer. But as I suspected, once the song was edited down, and in context, I loved it. It was fierce, passionate and full of remorse–another absolutely terrific performance from Chris, who is a flawless and scarily talented human being. No. Seriously. He frightens me with that talent. Blaine watches with a mixture of pain and love on his face. Mike, who is about to separate from his junior girlfriend, Tina, turns around to exchange a significant glance with Blaine. Bros!
The Klaine story line wraps up in Emma’s office. At first humorous, as Blaine questions her qualifications to do couples counseling (I love the way Blaine calls out ridiculous situations. He’s totally the truth teller of Glee). But then things turn serious after Emma suggests he be perfectly honest. Blaine begins with a litany of silly things about Kurt that bug him—like the way he snaps his fingers at waitstaff and sneaks bronzer into his lotion. But then he unleashes what’s really pissing him off. Blaine’s voice catches as he describes how Kurt will be headed to New York City and a new exciting life, leaving him behind. He has been distancing himself from Kurt in order to get ready for a year alone without “the love of my life.” That’s when a light bulb goes on in Kurt’s head. Blaine isn’t bored with their relationship, he’s protecting himself from loss. Kurt reaches out to take Blaine’s hand. Blaine won’t be alone–they’ll be skyping every day, and visiting each other on the weekends. “You aren’t going to lose me,” Kurt promises. “I love you so much,” says Blaine. “I love you too,” returns Kurt. A big healing hug ends the scene. Sniff.
I have no idea what Murphy is going to do about Klaine if Kurt, Rachel and Finn head off to New York. It actually wouldn’t make any sense to keep them together while living in separate cities. I have to admit, I kind of liked seeing Kurt with a new guy. I mean I LOVE Klaine, but I can tolerate them being apart while they are separated by distance. But for now, Klaine is solid. Just as it should be. And after Blaine tried to hook up with Kurt via text (and complimented his jaunty cap!), I think we have the end of Lesbian Bed Death (an affliction that Kurt found online that refers to lesbian couples who stop sleeping together. He lamented to Rachel that he and Blaine had turned into an old married couple.)
Also not letting go? Will Shuster, who spends the entire episode desperate to move his wedding up to May. At first Emma is patient with his request. Will hires a wedding planner named Mr. Lavender. And you pronounce the name of the butchest planner in Lima LavENder, thank you very much. He’s fired after it becomes clear he can’t put together the proper Glee wedding in less than a month (I dunno, Kurt managed to do it when Burt and Carole got married—but I digress). What it boils down to–Will is afraid that once the glee kids scatter after graduation, they won’t be together to celebrate his wedding. Poor Will and his lack of adult friends. When Emma finally understands what’s going on in Will’s head, she reminds him that the bonds are so strong, that if they were planning a wedding on the moon the kids would find a way to make it somehow. And hey, November is also a sweeps month, and a perfect time for a reunion, so let’s wait! Heh. Will, after confessing that the kids changed his life, agrees. There will be no Wemma wedding in Season 3.
The episode opened with the stunning a cappella version of “How Will I Know” sung by a quartet made up of Kurt, Santana, Rachel and Mercedes. Gorgeous and maybe the best Glee cover EVER. Santana and Brittany put aside their angst for an episode to finally duet on the joyfully choreographed “Dance With Somebody”. There’s a sweet moment between Rachael and Santana, who finally duet for real on “I’m So Emotional” (Blaine looks on pained as he watches Kurt giggling at texts he knows aren’t from him) . It’s not clear how this epic and unlikely performance comes about. But afterward, Santana admits that she’s going to miss Rachel. “Please say something irritating so I can get the taste of this out of my head please.” Rachel maintains they wasted 3 years—time they could have been friends performing fabulous duets together. Santana admits she hated Rachel, but deep down, she respects her as the only other glee clubber who would kill their best friend to get to the top. Rachel convinces Santana to hang a photo of her former frenemy in her locker. And a real friendship is born.
Quinn is back, after laying low during Saturday Night Fever week. She becomes despondent during the Brittany/Santana dance number “Quinn, you’re still dancing in my dreams,” Brittany says to her thoughtlessly, “And you can fly and breathe fire.” Joe notices her sadness and tries to cheer her up. It turns out that Quinn isn’t progressing in her physical therapy sessions. Reality is finally setting in. She may never walk again. Quinn’s accident was supposedly concocted to teach a message about texting and driving. But ironically, the consequences of the accident haven’t been dire enough for that message to sink in, no matter how many PSA-like lectures Quinn gives her pals. For the message to really hit home, she needed to either be killed or come back a train wreck. The entire plot and the reason it exists really irritates me. For that reason alone, I hope Quinn eventually walks again.
In the meantime, Joe steps in to comfort her, because that’s what a good Christian does. They perform “I’m Saving All My Love For You”. It’s not QuinnandSam charming, but cute nonetheless. I have the same problem with Samuel Larsen as I did while he was competing on The Glee Project. He’s got a good voice, but basically the lights are on, but nobody is home. If Joe decided to go back to homeschooling, I wouldn’t be mad. Speaking of which—Samuel’s fellow Glee Project winner, Damian McGinty, has been absent from the past two episodes. Maybe Rory is visiting his family back in Ireland?
Joe offers to accompany Quinn to her physical therapy sessions. During their first visit, he suddenly pulls back from what almost became a kiss. During a gabfest in the bathroom, the girls tease Quinn about Joe. Yes, she likes him, but it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t like her, because of the chair. And who could blame him. But it’s not so! Joe seeks out Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, Sam, for some advice. It turns out Quinn causes funny feelings in his pants, and Joe, as a sheltered Christian, doesn’t know how to deal, because sex before marriage is wrong. Sam admits that he lost his virginity last year at the strip club (SCOOP!) but he’s still a good Christian because he follows the golden rule. “Quinn’s a great girl,” says Sam, “But you’ve got to decide if you want to get closer to God or get closer to her.” Does Joe really have to make a choice?
Hilariously, in Quinn’s next therapy session, Sam presses his boner against her leg accidentally. AWKWARD. Hey, at least she could feel it! She tells him not to worry about it, and it opens up a discussion about their relationship. He couldn’t help himself, because she’s the prettiest, nicest, best smelling girl he’s ever met. Not that he’s met that many, says Quinn. He tells her not to put herself down. “Maybe the way I use my hands to move your legs,” says Sam, “You can use my eyes to see yourself the way I do.”
Sam admits that he’s so smitten with Quinn, he’d forget all about that whole “sins of the flesh” deal. Quinn assures him that she’d never expect him to give up his faith to be with her. “It’s nice knowing there’s something out there that can’t be lost,” says Quinn. The two decide to embark on something—they aren’t sure what. “Something new,” says Quinn,
The bros are feeling sentimental too. In the locker room, Puck pulls out gift bags for each of the boys. He gives Finn an engraved guitar pick (Sorry, I tried to get your balls back from Rachel, but she’s got those on lockdown) and shot glasses with silly sayings he jacked from his cougar pool clients for Blaine (Drink til she’s cute. Ha), Mike and Sam. The gifts are to commemorate their bromance. Puck is grateful that all the guys forgave him for sleeping with their girlfriends! “I’m going to miss all of you,” says Puck, “I love you guys.” And it’s a toast to male bonding. Needless to say, there was no accompanying Whitney song.
The episode ends with the entire group gathering in the auditorium to sing “My Love is Your Love”. The Glee rehearsal was not mandatory. Everyone had plans to ditch it—including Kurt and Blaine who were about to take off for an unscheduled make out session. But the realization that the group’s days were numbered drew everyone to the auditorium to celebrate each other. Mr. Shue watches quietly from behind stage—shades of that very first performance of “Don’t Stop Believing” when Glee was just a scrappy little band of misfits. The gang sure has come a long way since then.
Click to Listen to full songs from Dance With Somebody
- How Will I Know – Kurt, Rachel, Mercedes, Santana
- I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Santana & Brittany
- It’s Not Right But It’s OK – Blaine
- Saving All My Love For You – Joe and Quinn
- I Have Nothing – Kurt
- So Emotional – Rachel and Santana
- My Love is Your Love – Glee Cast
Promo for 318 – Choke
It looks like it’s Rachel who chokes.
How Will I Know
Dance With Somebody
It’s Not Right, But It’s Ok
I Have Nothing