‘Glee’ Recap: ‘Michael’

A “Glee” tribute episode always has the ability to elicit a special type of groan from the audience, but for all its questionable decisions and wall-to-wall song list, the Michael Jackson hour, at the very least, answered the cliffhanger from two weeks ago. That’s right: We got the answer to the question that mildly annoyed us for two whole weeks, but that’s for later. Right now, we’ve got to talk MJ.

The episode opened with a brief discussion of the competition at sectionals that happened “weeks ago,” but that’s the only natural segue to this week’s main topic of conversation, Michael. Blaine fixed the issue, suggesting, “Guys, fear not. The world tour of the Cirque du Soleil tribute show, “Immortal,” to Michael Jackson is coming to Columbus in June, and we should all go.” Because that’s how high school kids talk. (The show will, in fact, be in Columbus in June, for everyone wondering. I wonder if Fox made money off of that.)

Blaine then jumped right into a rendition of “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” that worked because of the sheer awesomeness of Darren Criss, who was later sidelined because of an eye injury and a three-week Broadway commitment. The group decided that Michael was the deciding factor at sectionals, so in order to repeat the magic at regionals, they planned an all-Jackson routine.

That was not good enough for Rachel though, who pouted all over everyone, explaining that she never “got him,” referring to Michael. Thankfully, the even more detestable Sebastian showed up to inform everyone that he knew of their plans for a tribute show at regionals and planned on doing the same routine with the Warblers.

Totally not fair, right? It didn’t matter to Will, who made a brief cameo this episode to say he was more concerned with “mind set.” It’s not about the routine. It’s about asking, “What would Michael Jackson do?” which casts a considerable amount of doubt on his ability to form young minds.

The pep talk didn’t work, and naturally the New Directions found themselves in a parking-garage dance fight with the Warblers, finally letting the world know what “Bad” sounds like after it’s drained of every ounce of danger. The playful street tango turned ugly—as they tend to do—when Blaine took a slushie meant for Kurt.

Artie didn’t take the incident well and went on about pain being “all he has left to give.” For the second time in the show’s history, he got up from his chair for a fantasy dance sequence to “Scream” with Mike Chang, who also inhabited Artie’s consciousness, I guess.

In the week’s second most unlikely pairing for a storyline, Kurt and Santana teamed up to get back at Sebastian. They went with the most obvious answer, so Santana dressed up and confronted Sebastian for a “Smooth Criminal” cello battle. Sebastian admitted to adding rock salt to the slushie, but it’s too bad Santana will never be able to prove it with audio evidence or something of that nature.

A special aside must be made to address Finn’s movie choices for Blaine. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Valkyrie” and “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”? He must really dislike Blaine.

Kurt didn’t want to use Santana’s tape recording of their conversation to turn Sebastian into the police. Instead, he wanted to “teach them a lesson” with a song, something that always works. The answer to the dispute was “Black or White,” face blending and all. Damian McGinty appeared for all of .7 seconds, setting off the DAMIAN MCGINTY EYE BROW ALERTS I have set up all over my apartment. Thankfully, they don’t go off that often.

So “Glee” did us the “favor” of continuing the Rachel-Finn proposal story after making us wait two weeks. The answer at first was a “maybe,” with Rachel explaining she “wants to marry Finn someday.” Torn, she turned to the best person for situations like this…Quinn?

They only talk when the plot demands it, and their collaboration this time resulted in perhaps the world’s largest simultaneous spit-take when Quinn revealed she got into Yale early decision. This was insulting not only to Yale students and graduates, but anyone who ever attended or plans to attend college. She might as well have been accepted to Hogswarts early decision. This led to a Quinn song, which led us to question her current role on the show.

While Quinn was busy getting accepted to Super College, Kurt and Rachel obsessed over NYADA admissions again. Both eventually moved on as finalists, but Rachel’s letter came later. This caused her to question her entire life and accept Finn’s proposal out of desperation. “You’re the love of my life,” she told him.

The episode also dedicated all of three minutes to Sam and Mercedes, but had too many Michael Jackson songs to get through to focus on them and their kiss. When all was said and done, it was another tribute episode, something that can’t be uttered by a “Glee” fan without a sigh and an eye roll.

Download or Ditch

“Wanna Be Startin’ Something” – Download
Darren Criss puts his signature spin on the song, and the result is a tribute that’s more respectful than any other in the episode.

“Bad” – Ditch
The a cappella takes all the power out of the original version and leaves it, in favor of blandless.

“Scream” – Ditch
It’s never a good thing to waste the rare Harry Shum Jr. performance, but this isn’t one of Michael’s better songs.

“Never Can Say Goodbye” – Ditch
The song had no right being in the show, much less your iPod.

“Human Nature” – Download
Two of “Glee”’s better singers gave the classic a nice stripped down version that worked.

“Ben” – Ditch
It’s about a rat.

“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” – Ditch
In an effort to forget the storyline ever existed, avoid relistening.

“Black Or White” – Ditch
The episode capper didn’t do enough to make it any different from the better original.

What did you think of last night’s Michael Jackson tribute? Do you think Quinn is leaving Lima for good? Will Rachel keep her engagement promise to Finn? Did you want more Mercedes-Sam action? Tell us everything in the comments and on Twitter!