If you were looking for an episode of “Glee” that could top last week’s Joss Whedon-helmed “Dream On,” or rival the grandeur that was “The Power of Madonna,” look no further than Tuesday night’s “Theatricality.” Both written and directed by creator Ryan Murphy, the episode managed to combine Lady Gaga, “Twilight,” Idina Menzel and issues of sexuality in a way that only “Glee” can. The only thing it was missing was an appearance from Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester.
The episode opened with Tina and Mr. Schuester in Principal Figgins’ office. He announced that Tina needs to change her goth-y clothing habits because “American teens are coming down with a serious case of “Twilight” fever. Turns out, some Edward Cullen-happy William McKinley students had attacked one of the school’s nerds in an attempt to get Robert Pattinson’s attention. But Tina wasn’t to be dressed in a gray sweatshirt and jeans for long.
Once the group discovered that rivals Vocal Adrenaline were working on a Lady Gaga routine , Mr. Schue decided to make that his group’s weekly assignment as well. Rachel, Quinn and Mercedes decided to sneak into a Vocal Adrenaline practice, where Rachel saw Shelby perform a soulful version of Barbra Streisand’s “Funny Girl.” It was enough for her to realize that the rival glee coach is her mother. The two had an awkward conversation, as Shelby realized this reunion wasn’t what she had hoped it would be.
Back at New Directions’ practice, Kurt and the girls performed a fabulous rendition of “Bad Romance” that would do Gaga proud. Then the boys covered Kiss’ “Shout It Out Loud.” Doing research on Kiss inspired Puck to come up with a name for his and Quinn’s daughter, so he sang “Beth” for her in front of everyone. That was enough to convince her.
But warm hearts weren’t a trend in this episode, and one of the most intense moments came after Burt, Kurt’s father, invited Finn and his mother Carol to move in with them. Finn reached his breaking point about the sudden life change, taking his anger out on Kurt, using a derogatory slur to describe their redesigned home. Burt walked in on them and confronted Finn about using the word. “When you use that word, you’re referring to him,” Burt said, and kicked Finn out of their home.
To prove to Kurt that he was different, Finn came to school dressed in a full-fledged Gaga outfit to defend Kurt in the bathroom from the jocks, who had been harassing the glee club about their costumes for the majority of the episode. The rest of the club came to back them up and, though we know there is still a lot to be repaired between Kurt and Finn, it was a good start.
Rachel and Shelby didn’t have as happy an ending lined up. The club coach announced that she was Rachel’s mother, “but not your mom.” In a heartbreaking moment, Shelby said they should “just be grateful to each other from afar for a while,” and Rachel asked to sing a duet with her to fulfill one of her lifelong dreams. They sang an almost unrecognizably slow version of Gaga’s “Poker Face,” and the look of despair on Rachel’s face as she sought to hold herself together was enough to bring tears to anyone’s eyes. Shelby walked out with the promise that they would see each other again at regionals.
As for Tina’s wardrobe change, she threatened the terrified Principal Figgins with the promise that “Asian vampires are the most vicious of all the vampires.” Needless to say, she was back to expressing herself through her clothing by the end of the episode.
What did you think of the Lady Gaga covers on this week’s “Glee”? Share your reviews in the comments.