WARNING: Once again? No Rachel or Kurt.Sigh.
We can be Heroes. No matter whom you are, no matter what you’ve done. We all have super-hero powers deep inside of us just waiting to be unlocked. That’s the message of Glee’s Thanksgiving-night episode, “Dynamic Duets.”
The action begins as Blaine, somewhat manically, leads the Secret Society of Super Heroes. And he’s quite serious about it too. Don’t even try to use civilian names in the meeting! Blaine’s (or his super-hero alter ego, Nightbird) obsession with protocol is seemingly tied to his desire to avoid the post-break up pain that came in the wake of his bitter split with Kurt. Tina doesn’t help, asking Blaine via super-sekrit text, whether he’s heard from Kurt. No, Blaine has not.
“Dynamic Duets” features all the winking snark of a 60’s Batman episode, including the old show’s cheeky musical soundtrack, and plenty of cartoon colored WHAM, BLAMS, and POWS! Blaine reminds the group of wanna be do-gooders that they can’t impersonate a REAL superhero, as that would infringe on copyright. Wink. Only on TV kids.
Some of the other Super Hero alter-egos for your entertainment:
Sam – Blond Chameleon – Can impersonate anyone, including George W. Bush
Joe – Tarantula Head – Will lash you with his DREADS
Sugar – Sweet and Spicy – MONEY is her weapon
Brittany – Human BRAIN – There is no discernible super power attached
Tina’s assistant bursts into the room. The Nationals trophy is gone! When the kids rush back to the choir room, they find a laptop in its place. Blaine pushes a button, and a pixilated, voice altered Warbler flashes on the screen. The giant trophy sits in his lap. A great reckoning is at hand, he warns. The New Directions are about to lose their title when the two clubs face off at sectionals.
Meanwhile, Jake and Marly are not up for that lame super hero crap. Just as Jake asks Marly out, Ryder strolls up and starts a little bro battle. Marly will be attending the football game with HIM Friday night. Marly tries to come between the guys as they warm up with a war of words.
“What kind of name is Ryder?” snarks Jake. It sounds like a cowgirl doll who comes with her own pony.”
“You want to know how I know you’re a badass?,” Ryder shoots back, “Because you ride a razor scooter. Nothing says ‘I’m a badass’ like a razor scooter.”
Finn arrives just in time to break the boys up. Becky, dressed as the QUEEN BEE yells “FREEZE BITCHES”. Finn warns, “Glee club in 20 minutes!” But really. Is there anything scarier than Becky on the war path? I think not.
Back in the choir room, Finn has no idea what he’s doing. Proof is the lame theme he’s dreamed up, which involves singing the songs of Foreigner, in different languages, dressed in costumes from other countries. The kids are horrified. “Worse than Funk week,” says Tina. Artie ups the ante, “WORSE THAN NIGHT OF NEGLECT.” Now that’s really bad. Rolling his eyes at Finn’s ineptitude, Blaine takes off to rescue the Nationals trophy from Dalton, which Finn didn’t even notice was missing. CRAP.
Beiste, who has become the Yoda of Glee these days, is the faculty adviser to the Super Hero Club, and as such, has taken on the alter ego, Testostrogen! She can digest any known substance AND cry at the drop of a hat. She advises Finn to don his own costume. “Clark Kent was an awesome guy,” she says, “but it was Superman who inspired.”
“Be their hero, Finn,” suggests the wise old Beiste.
Cut to Dalton Academy where Blaine is making his way down the spiral staircase. He spots Sebastian at the bottom, and blurts out, “Of course it was you!” Nope. Sebastian has stuck to the new leaf he turned in the aftermath of Karovsky’s suicide attempt last spring. He doesn’t even come on to Blaine! “Being nice sucks,” Sebastian jokes.
In fact, Sebastian is there to take Blaine to the library where the real culprit lies in wait. Sebastian is no longer captain of the Warblers, replaced by Hunter Clarington, who received a full scholarship to attend Dalton after he led his Colorado Springs military school to a regionals win. Hunter is like a tony Dr. Evil, with a raised eyebrow and a white cat sitting in his lap. If Pavarotti hadn’t already bit it, evil kitty cat would consume him in one bite.
Helpfully, Hunter informs Blaine, “I’m not even remotely bi-curious.” As if Blaine would want anything to do with his sorry ass anyway. The real reason Hunter lured Blaine back to Dalton, using the trophy as bait, was to persuade him to rejoin the Warblers. The evil one has done his homework. He knows the only reason Blaine transferred to McKinley was to be with a boy (Kurt) who is no longer in the picture. Hunter gets to work on Blaine’s sense of loss and confusion. Come back to Dalton, my pretty! Where you will be loved and appreciated!
Like a tag team, Sebastian joins in the manipulation. “We all know the real Blaine,” he says, “Ambitious, driven. You are a Dalton boy.” And in a final, attempt at luring Blaine into their spider web, Hunter announces, “PRESENT THE BLAZER.” Blaine tries to resist, but it’s to no avail. As soon as he slips on the red and blue, it’s like he’s signed his soul to the devil. The cat mews, the flames in the fireplace roar. THE BOWELS OF HELL OPEN UPTO SWALLOW BLAINE.
“You know what goes great with a Dalton blazer?” coos Sebastian, “An impromptu song…” Blaine last bit of resolve dissolves. He steps over to the DARK SIDE. And that’s the song the boys croon. By the way, I love this Kelly Clarkson song, but WHISTLING? REALLY? I was hoping the performance would be an angsty pop ballad directed straight at Kurt. But, on second thought, this is fitting. Everything in Blaine’s world is crashing down at the moment. “Will you love me even with my Dark Side?” The question is–can Blaine love himself? And at the moment, the answer is no.
After the song, Blaine takes the jacket off angrily, but Hunter tells him to keep it. “Don’t you think it’s time to come back to where you belong?”
Back at McKinley, Finn arrives at the next choir practice in full super hero get up. The bright blue suit, complete with a cheesy treble clef emblazoned on his chest, is pretty lulzy. It leaves nothing to the imagination either, prompting Brittany to plead with him not to “melt us with your bulge.” Finn’s introduction as “the almighty Treble Clef, uniter of Glee Club” is met with massive eye rolls.
Finn admits that his Foreigner idea was pretty bad. “Worse than funk,” says Tina. “Worse than Night of Neglect!” adds Artie, upping the ante. Finn’s brand new idea is called “Dynamic Duets” and will incorporate the super hero meme the kids seem to be digging these days. Finn uses The Avengers as an example to explain the concept. Individually, the super heroes all had cool powers, but as a team they couldn’t be stopped. Finn pairs up Jake with Ryder, and Marly with Kitty to perform duets. The rest of the group will prepare to fight an epic battle against the forces of evil at sectionals! Clearly uncomfortable, Blaine insists that he’s plotting to get the Nationals trophy back from Dalton.
For her duet with Marly, Kitty immediately takes over, picking a song and super hero pair for the duo. Kitty will be Femme Fatale. “I’m French,” she explains, “and it means ‘Kill Women,’ which is what I’m going to do when we perform.” EEP. Jake confronts Ryder. “I don’t like you, you don’t like me, dressing up in a cape and tights is not going to change that.” Jake is annoyed when he learns that Ryder’s alter ego is “Mega Stud. “So your super hero choice is to be me,” Jake shoots back. “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE,” declares Ryder.
CUE THE MUSIC.
The duo are back in the choir room, dressed in natty Clark Kent suits and glasses, singing, “Superman.” They eye each other as they circle, vying for Marly’s attention. She loves it. They toss off their hats. Their glasses follow. Eventually they reveal their costumes, emblazoned with MS for MEGA STUD . “Isn’t MS a degenerative nerve disease?” asks Artie. Kitty is PISSED. She does not like being ignored. As the boys continue to fight for Marly, things heat up. Jake throws a punch. Ryder fights back. Things start smashing before Finn breaks them up.
He drags the boys to the auditorium to bitch them out. If the group can’t get their act together, they will lose sectionals. Finn assigns them a new task. “You two think you hate each other? I don’t think you understand each other.” He instructs them to sit in a room and tell each other their deepest fears—their Kryptonite, so to speak. “Only by admitting your weaknesses can you realize your strengths,” insists Finn. “You sound like Yoda dude,” says Ryder. “Deal do we have?” asks Finn. They do.
Blaine drops by the choir room to deliver some bad news to Finn. Blaine lets slip that he sang with the Warblers again. Finn is alarmed. “They embraced me like I was a long lost brother,” confesses Blaine. “It just felt right, like maybe I belonged there.” Blaine cheated on Kurt, and now on New Directions? Is this what Blaine thinks he deserves now? “Everything in this room reminds me of Kurt,” says Blaine. “We were a dynamic duo in here. Kurt was my anchor, Finn. And now that he’s gone, I feel like I’m floating.”
“You need a team that’s going to gel,” insists Blaine. “Yes we need a lot of gel, and you’re part of that,” replies Finn. Hee.
“I’m sorry,” says Blaine as he leaves the room, “The Warblers are my destiny.” The Dark Side, INDEED.
Back in the hall, Marly has second thoughts. She tells Kitty she’s too self conscious to duet with her. There’s no way she can wear a clingy body suit in front of people. Kitty wants to know if Marly is still “driving the bus to puke town.” And as it turns out, Marly has been making herself barf every day. Yikes. The evil Kitty tries to gain Marly’s trust by pretending to confide in her. “I’ve had body issues too,” says Kitty. She owes her trim figure to the two finger salute. Kitty coaxes Marly into trying on her costume.
Meanwhile, in the boys’ locker room, Jake hands a note to Ryder that contains his hand-written fear. Ryder angrily insists that Jake be a man and tell him to his face. Jake admits that his Kryptonite is his mixed race heritage. The white kids tease him about being black and the black kids dog him about being a Jewish white boy. Cut to a hilarious montage of insults. Jake fits in nowhere. It’s Ryder’s turn, but he chickens out. “Are YOU going to be a man or just walk away?” asks Jake. Ryder finally admits that he could not read Jake’s note.
Cut to the girl’s room. Kitty exits a bathroom stall literally poured into a black latex body suit with black kitty ears to match. Marly refuses to leave her stall until Kitty coaxes her out. Marly’s clingy outfit is a Wonder Woman deal with a WF emblazoned on her belt. It stands for wall flower, which is how she feels at the moment. Kitty declares that Marly looks H-O-T-T and that from now on, instead of wearing her mom’s handmade clothes, Kitty will be choosing outfits for her that show off Marly’s “bitchin bod.” Oh THIS is going to come to no good.
Before they launch into song, Kitty dubs Marly “WOMAN FIERCE.” “We are going to KILL this song,” she says. As the pair sing “Holding Out for a Hero” with Kitty cracking her whip, Marly does indeed transform into Woman Fierce! I’m pretty sure that’s NOT what Kitty had in mind.
After the performance, Brittany notices the lack of raspberry hair gel in the air.. Where is Blaine Warbler? “Blaine is going through a bit of a rough time,” says Finn, “Oh boo hoo,” Tina fake-sobs, “It’s like a bad lifetime movie.” Finn drops the bombshell that Blaine is headed back to Dalton. The club freaks out. “He’s been taken by the Dark Side,” cries Artie.
Jake decides to stick his neck out. “There’s something I need to tell you about Ryder,” he confesses to Finn. In the next shot, Finn and Ryder enter a class room where a special ed teacher is preparing a test. Ryder is apprehensive. “I don’t need any help, I’ve made it this far on my own,” Ryder insists. Finn convinces him that learning the reason why he struggles in school will be a good thing. Next, a montage depicts Ryder as he goes through the testing process. He has trouble reading and spelling some words, particularly when they are backwards or out of order.
After the test, the teacher assures Ryder that he is actually very smart—but dyslexic. Out in the hall with Finn, the young boy’s emotions are a mixture of sadness and relief as he recounts his struggles. All of his life, Ryder has had a real secret identity, feeling inside that he was really stupid, rather than lazy or unfocused as everyone around him insisted. It felt like a secret he had to keep from everyone. Overwhelmed, Ryder tears up. It’s a really powerful scene. Blake Jenner’s acting is fantastic– a really moving moment. Ryder thanks Finn for helping him. “Actually, you owe Jake,” Finn admits.
Meanwhile, Jake makes small talk with Marly’s lunch lady mom in the cafeteria. She confesses that she’s lost 6 pounds. And that Marly talks about Jake all of the time. “I had my chance, and I blew it,” Jake says glumly. “It’s never too late to change,” replies mom. When the football bullies come behind him to mock Mom, Jake sticks up for her. But, just as the guys are about to kick Jake’s ass, Ryder interrupts, the super heroes of glee club in tow, to break it up. “Jake’s my boy,” warns Ryder, “If you mess with him, you mess with me!” When Jake asks why Ryder protected him, he answers, “You had my back, now I have yours.
Cut to Los Angeles, and the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, where big brother Puck is doing his own caped crusader thing as PUCKERMAN. His super power is parting gullible tourists from their money. His ringing cell phone interrupts the racket he’s got going on–offering to pose for photos with foreign visitors for a fee. It’s little brother Jake looking for some advice on how to go after a girl he blew it with, who is now interested in a dude who totally has his back–and how to do it all without looking like a D-bag. Really? He’s asking PUCK for advice on this? Big bro advises Jake to just play it cool. Cause he’s got that special brand of Puckerman testosterone. All he has to do is sit back and wait. She’ll be begging for it soon enough. That’s how he bagged Terri Hatcher! Uhm. OK. Puck’s parting words? “Don’t be a dick..and don’t give up.” For whatever reason, Jacob feels emboldened by his brother advice. Alrighty then.
Back at McKinley, Blaine is cleaning out his locker. Sam arrives to intervene. “Dude…this is just part of your master plan. You’re going back to the Warblers gather intel so we can kick their ass at sectionals.” Sadly, it is not. Blaine is leaving for real. Frustrated, Sam tells Blaine to quit beating himself up. Blaine going back to the Warblers is just another way to punish himself for what he did to Kurt. “And for what? What did you do exactly?” Sam wants to know. And finally, we are about to find out what happened between Blaine and Eli C. Hold on to your hats, kids.
Flashback. Blaine, looking absolutely stricken, is sitting on the edge of a strange bed pulling a shirt over his head. In the background, in blurred relief, is a boy wearing an unbuttoned shirt. “Are you OK?” the boy asks. “No” answers Blaine, devastated. “Is it because I don’t look at all like my profile picture?” The boy, who we now know is the mysterious Eli C, chuckles. “I’m sorry,” says Blaine, near tears, “I have to go.” End flashback.
“It was a guy that friended me on Facebook,” confesses Blaine. “I went over to his place, because it felt like Kurt was moving on with his life, and I wasn’t a part of it. I got to thinking, that maybe Kurt and I weren’t meant for each other–that we weren’t supposed to spend the rest of our lives together. But the horrible thing is, right after I did it, I knew that we were. “
“You’ve got to tell Kurt that,” says Sam. Blaine becomes upset. “You don’t think I’ve told him that, you don’t think I’ve tried…”
“It’s OK,” says Sam.
“No, it’s not OK Sam. Because I cheated on the one person I love more than anything in this world. I hurt him. So of course he’s not going to trust me. He’s never going to forgive me.”
Maybe Kurt won’t forgive him, Sam admits. What Blaine did to Kurt was not cool, but Blaine has got to learn to forgive himself. “Exiling yourself to Dalton won’t fix anything.”
“I just want to stop feeling like I’m a bad person,” Blaine tearfully confesses.
“You’re not. You’re one of the good guys,” insists Sam. And I’ve got a whole Glee club that agrees with me.” Sam promises that if Blaine just gives him ONE DAY to prove to him that he’s “the hero we all know you are” Blaine can decide where it is he really belongs.
Cut to the auditorium as Sam, backlit in gold, strums an acoustic guitar. He breaks into a plaintive rendition of David Bowe’s “Heroes.”
“We can be heroes, just for one day,” Sam sings. The full band breaks out and Blaine joins him on stage. The scene cuts to a montage of the club painting over a graffiti covered wall at school. They collect food for a Thanksgiving drive. Eventually, the graffiti party devolves into a giant, loving, paint battle. Sugar kisses Artie! It’s a little corny, to be sure. But the song is awesome.
Blaine has one last mission before he makes his decision. Is Sam in? The action cuts to Dalton, where the boys in blue discover that the trophy has been sprung. In its place is Blaine’s blazer, with a note that reads, “No Thanks.” The Warblers watch from the balcony as the masked duo takes off with their prize! The screen fills with a blast of cartoony color: BLAM! SLAINE! Ha.
Back at McKinley, Ryder regretfully breaks his date with Marly because he’s got an early special ed class on Saturday. He’s determined to bring his first A home to his parents. Of course, Marly understands, right? “I was really looking forward to hanging out,” she pouts. Oh, so the perfect little girl isn’t so perfect after all? I’m beginning to like Marly. After Ryder leaves, Kitty appears right on time to warn, “That sounded like the beginning of the end.” She continues, “it sounded an awful lot like ‘I’m not that into you.’”
“I don’t care what anybody says, you don’t look that bloated.” Psycho Kitty is a piece of work, isn’t she? “If you really want his attention, you should hit the elliptical.”
But we aren’t talking about the old Marly. This is the NEWLY EMPOWERED MARLY. Who says SCREW THAT. The new SUPER HERO Marly is not going to wait around. And much to Kitty’s horror, Woman Fierce marches right up to Jake and asks him out for Friday. Uh oh. Kitty Kat’s scheme has backfired!
Back in the choir room, after Sam and Blaine regale the group with tales of their epic battle against the forces of evil at Dalton, Blake speaks up to apologize, “for doubting that McKinley is my home.” Blaine continues, “You guys are my home. We’ve got a real fight ahead of his with the Warblers at sectionals, but I am not worried at all. Because we’ve got the team, we’ve got the talent and we have…most importantly–The leader. “ The room claps as Finn returns the trophy to the case.
But there is one more thing. In a move that is PURE GLEE, Tina awards their new director with a super hero utility belt–cleverly disguised as a fanny pack==filled with magic markers (because he breaks them), antacid, and a creepy dolls head. That last thing was from Brittany. Enough said. The final gift– a little treble clef pin to remind him that he will always be “the almighty treble clef. The uniter of Glee clubs and the uniter of friends.”
“I’ll never let you down,” promises Finn as they huddle up. This year is going to go down in McKinley high history as the best year New Directions has ever seen. ONWARDS AND UPWARDS! The super hero cry!
The episode ends in the auditorium, in song, as the club performs “Some Nights”
“What do I stand for? What Do I stand for…This is it boy, this is war.” Finn watches like a proud poppa. Next week, it’s on to sectionals to kick some Warbler ass!
What did we learn kids? Finn is the new Mr. Shue. Marly has an inner bitch, and she kinda likes it. Jake doesn’t always have to be a bad ass. Ryder is not only smart, but he can ask for help. And Blaine is, indeed, one of the good guys.
Next week, Rachel and Kurt return HOORAY for the big Thanksgiviving/Sectionals episode. Stay tuned!
Preview Promo – Thanksgiving – 4×08