I follow a lot of TV critics/writers on Twitter, so as the episode aired last night, I kept getting up-to-the-minute reactions. Most of the responses I saw where ambivalent to overwhelmingly negative; essentially none was positive. Of course, that evidence is purely anecdotal, and doesn’t necessarily represent a broad spectrum of opinions, but I have found my takes on Glee have largely lined up with those of the critics I follow in the past. I braced myself for a return to mediocrity, after last week’s “Silly Love Songs” proved Glee can play to its strengths when it actually tries.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised by “Comeback.” It is far from the best episode Glee has done, and there were plenty of problematic story elements, but overall I was entertained and didn’t keep nodding my head in disbelief or annoyance.
The relationship drama continued between Quinn, Finn, and Sam. For a while (I guess it’s just a few days, but still) Quinn can’t decide between the two, but when she finally picks Sam after his heartfelt Justin Bieber tribute to her, Santana lets him in on the truth about Quinn’s “lifesaving” kiss. Most of this actually made sense: Sam understandably doesn’t want to lose Quinn, since she looks like Dianna Agron and also helps him hide his nerdiness, so he rationalized her unbelievable story. Quinn is caught up in her old attraction to Finn, but realizes it was more a momentary flashback than true feelings. And Santana is being Santana, wreaking havoc and trying to get her next guy. It all moved a little fast, and having Sam and Quinn make their opposite decisions at the exact same time was more than a little convenient, but the world of high school relationships often defies logic, and it made sense in the heightened universe of McKinley High.
Puck continued to make progress with Lauren, giving her tips for her first solo performance (picture everyone in their underwear! At least he acknowledged it was “the oldest trick in the book,” but that doesn’t make the trope any less tired). I like the slow buildup the writers are giving them. The push-back from Lauren only makes Puck want her more, and it’s nice to see their relationship be taken seriously and not just played as a big joke. And it doesn’t hurt that Mark Salling and Ashley Fink actually have great chemistry.
The worst subplot (surprise!) involved Sue and Will and some strange depression scam for Sue to infiltrate the glee club before becoming coach of Aural Intensity, New Directions’ big rival at regionals. Emma made a throwaway appearance to bring Sue’s apparent “Sue-icide” to Will’s attention, but from there out Will went back and forth on trusting Sue and, just as he thought he had won her over, she revealed her betrayal. Sue is a firm antagonist at this point, so the fact that they keep trying to do these Will/Sue friendship episodes makes no sense. Sue can’t go from physically throwing students into lockers to nearly crying in a pediatric cancer ward, to leading the glee club take on My Chemical Romance’s “SING” to becoming coach of the rival glee club all in one episode with any semblance of realism, and it just shows how little grasp the three writers/co-creators have on her character at this point. Sue’s antics completely derailed the Super Bowl episode and were only saved last night by not being completely over-the-top. At least she had some key one-liners (“I will not date a curly”), which at this point is about all they can guarantee.
So I don’t know if I’m offbase on this one, or if I’m just more of a sucker for J.Biebs than I thought (I have to agree with Tina — “Baby” is actually a good, or at least really catchy, song), but I didn’t find “Comeback” half bad. Not a lot really happened, and there weren’t any huge memorable moments, but aside from the Sue/Will subplot, the glee club stuff mostly worked for me. Sure, the Rachel/Mercedes diva-off was little more than an excuse for them to duet on “Take Me or Leave Me,” and the post-Valentine’s slump was just an excuse to throw in a few Bieber songs, but the songs at least made sense story-wise and were well-performed, which can’t always be said.
Bits & Pieces
- Glad they got in that shot of Santana in her candy striper outfit from last week in the “here’s what you missed” montage. Very essential to this week’s plot.
- “The old Will Schuester is back.” Just the words we never want to hear…
- “Leg-warmers are more likely to catch on than reindeer sweaters.” Obviously, Rachel underestimated Britanny’s trend-setting skills.
- Of course, Rachel’s outfit was “sexy schoolgirl librarian chic.” And it was from Kids ‘R Us.
- Why did everyone wear plaid for the “SING” anthem?
- Some good jabs at Chord Overstreet’s mouth: “That haircut makes your mouth look even bigger.” “Mouth to face ratio is way off.”
Obviously, people probably have different opinions about “Comeback.” Share yours in the comments section below!