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TV Review: Glee – “Feud”

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Glee takes off the gloves this week and focuses on the “Feud” between Will (Matthew Morrison) and Finn (Cory Monteith). Will wants to forgive Finn for kissing Emma (Jayma Mays), but finds himself unable to do so, making the atmosphere of the glee club toxic. The students challenge their two directors to sing out the tension.

It’s a solid idea, I guess, to have Will and Finn battle it out musically. That’s the kind of show Glee is, using music to express and solve everything, so it makes sense. But it does feel awkward, and despite using two great songs for their sing-off, “Bye Bye Bye” and “I Want It That Way,” the plot never quite gets to be cohesive. The mashup doesn’t gel right, especially the cut scenes of Finn and Will physically fighting, and neither does the story.

In the end, though, I’m glad “Feud” doesn’t solve the problem between these two men. Finn did something that can’t be forgiven in a week or two. Eventually, it would be nice to be done with this dumb side trip of an arc and have the two back to being pals, but for now, it feels completely authentic that Will can’t bring himself to let Finn off the hook. The heated words between them are raw and real.

So what’s Finn to do? He can’t stay at McKinley. Marley (Melissa Benoist) suggest he go get a teaching degree. The surprising thing is this clearly hasn’t occurred to Finn, since it’s such a “duh!” suggestion, but he appears to be considering it. Of course, that would keep him away from the show’s action for four years, so I doubt the writers will really commit to it. But from a character stand point, it would be a good decision.

Which begs the question, what will season five look like? Presumably, some of it will take place at McKinley the very next year, as Glee has done a fine job of setting up a new crop this season, which I’ll get to in a minute. But we’ll want more characters to make their way to New York (at least Blaine (Darren Criss)), which limits who can stay in the show. It’s been fun to see lots of the old favorites this year from time to time, but it might be necessary to slim the cast down a bit.

Another idea could be to time jump the series. This way, Finn could be done with his degree, and others could move into other roles as well. Finn is a primary, important character to the show. Unless they’re ready to let him go, which would make sense on their current path, at least for a few years, he needs to find some entirely new story that somehow connects to this, which will be difficult. If he doesn’t, it’s likely going to feel awkward to keep him in focus.

Back to the glee kids, it does feel manufactured that Ryder (Blake Jenner) now has a feud with Unique (Alex Newell) all of the sudden. It springs out of nowhere, as does Ryder’s chat with the girl on the computer (which is definitely someone we know, right?). The results of this plot, including the mystery of who Ryder is chatting with and a heartwarming scene in the choir room among the five newbies is great, but it’s a little weird getting there.

Ryder’s real beef is with Jake (Jacob Artist) and Marley, whom he has wronged. It’s a testament to Jake that he can be the bigger man and give Ryder a second chance, especially when it’s totally unfair of Marley to put Jake in that situation, trust or not. This is nice, to see that the guys’ friendship may not be over.

But why does Unique get involved? I’m not exactly complaining; I love the character. It just feels a bit forced. As does Kitty’s (Becca Tobin) last minute inclusion, even though, again, I really like the chemistry and camaraderie of these five, and hope it sticks.

Unique and Ryder’s sing-off is a mashup of “The Bitch Is Back” and “Dress You Up.” It’s well sung, but not especially memorable, like most of the music in this episode.

If there’s one complaint I have about “Feud,” which has a decent story, is that the musical performances are lackluster. From the opening, “How to Be a Heartbreaker,” to the closer, “Closer,” nothing really stands out. Unfortunately.

The sing-off that comes closest to making an impression is the annual Sue (Jane Lynch) song. This year, she channels Nicki Minaj with “Super Bass,” drowning out Blaine’s attempt of “I Still Believe.” This would be great if Sue didn’t feel so out of place in the role. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t fully commit to the dance moves, which I definitely believe Lynch can handle. While showy, the number still falls flat.

They sing this piece as part of Sue’s attempt to blackmail Blaine back onto the Cheerios. I kind of like this twist because we haven’t gotten much of the Cheerios lately, and it gives Blaine something to do besides pine over Kurt (Chris Colfer). He makes a fine cheerleader, and making the story go a little deeper, that he has a goal of destroying Sue, is at least fun adjacent. I look forward to seeing the two clash.

When Sue calls Blaine “Clark Kent” it occurs to me that Criss needs to play Superman in some form. He has the look, both for the hero and the mild-mannered performer. This is a role that must happen for him at some point.

In New York, Santana (Naya Rivera) creates her own “Feud” with Brody (Dean Geyer) in the name of protecting Rachel (Lea Michele). Rachel’s pregnancy scare is, thankfully, a false alarm, but that doesn’t satisfy Santana, who doesn’t like what Rachel is becoming and blames Brody for the transformation.

I don’t know if Santana is entirely right. I mean, Brody is definitely a bad dude, and all love for him has been lost with the confirmation that he is a male prostitute. But I think Rachel’s problems go deeper than that. Having lost Finn and trying to fit into a world that doesn’t completely connect with her high school persona, she is attempting to figure out who she is in the Big Apple. Santana is right, what Rachel is doing isn’t working, but it’s more about her than the guy she is seeing.

Santana ends up confronting Brody at NYADA when she bursts in and performs “Cold Hearted.” It’s weird that the dancers fall in line behind this girl they don’t know, but that’s Glee and I can forgive that. What’s harder to forgive is that we finally get a Santana performance, and it’s this mediocre. Sad.

For her trouble, Santana is kicked out of the apartment by Rachel and Kurt. I get that they feel she has invaded their school and threatens their place in it, and Santana forces her way into the apartment in the first place. However, I really like having her there, and the three of them together makes for an interesting dynamic. Once Santana is proven right, Kurt and Rachel need to beg her forgiveness and shower her with thanks, bringing her back home.

Santana’s plot doesn’t quite end there, though, when she lures Brody to a hotel room and gives Finn the chance to beat on him. This is a more adult plot than Glee usually treads down, but considering the circumstances, I like it. It’s very satisfying to see Finn sock the slime ball in the face, and it’s very Santana to set up the pins and walk away triumphantly as they fall down behind her. Hopefully, there will be no legal ramifications, as Brody has every right to have the pair arrested for this.

So, in summary, loving Santana in New York, enjoying the new batch of kiddos at McKinley, but the songs are weak this week, and some of the writing really stretches believability. In all, a middling episode, kicked slightly into the good end of the spectrum by the hotel room scene.

Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • JK

    What are you talking about? What has Rachel done that is so bad? She can’t help what Brody did, everyone at a respected school likes him. Rachel is more focused on her goals, winning showcases going to audition than she was last year when she was ready to deffer for Finn. And sorry but Santana had no right to call Finn and she should apologize to Kurt and Rachel first she had no right to rummage through there stuff or go to their school. She also could have come up with real proof and stop calling Brody names. Maybe Rachel would have listen to her if she thought she wasn’t just being a bitch about Brody. Are you going to listen to someone who comes at you so harshly with little proof they found while looking at you stuff and calling you boyfriend names all the time?