The episode of FOX’s Glee entitled “Home” is about various characters trying to find a place where they fit in. In other words, a home. Mercedes (Amber Riley) thinks she might find one on the Cheerios squad, but learns it’s hard to meet Sue’s (Jane Lynch) high demands. Will (Matthew Morrison) helps a relapsed April Rhodes (Kristin Chenoweth) find her self-worth, so she can move on to an appropriate home. With Kurt’s (Chris Colfer) father, Burt (Mike O’Malley), dating Finn’s (Cory Monteith) mom, Carole (Romy Rosemont), all four try to figure out what kind of home they want.
Sue is shown to be crueler in “Home” than in just about any other episode of Glee. It has already been known that she pushes her Cheerios to perfection, but now she is also telling them they must lose weight in an unhealthy manner. Kurt is by no means fat, and Mercedes just has a different body type than the typical cheerleader. The emotional distress Sue puts these kids through is appalling, and it makes her more of a villain than ever. It only slightly helps that when Sue tells Becky (Lauren Potter) she now has the same stupid obsession with weight that every other teenage girl has, it feels like Sue is helping a student fit in. But only slightly, and only that once.
Kurt wavers here in a way that is usual for him, but Mercedes finds the strength to stand up to Sue, and in a non-confrontational way that will not get her in trouble. It’s a very compelling scene as Mercedes leads the study body in “Beautiful,” and one that showcases Riley in a way she is usually not. Thank goodness Glee lets “Home” focus on her, as she surely can handle much more story than she gets. Though it is odd that Sue doesn’t check with Mercedes beforehand about the performance, considering how closely she watches the scales, and Mercedes doesn’t appear to have lost the weight.
Also interesting is the friendship suddenly striking up between Mercedes and Quinn (Dianna Agron). They find a way to bond over their horrible treatment at the hands of Sue. With Quinn now worrying about her baby, she is no longer a slave to Sue’s unrealistic diet expectations. Perhaps, not being on the squad anymore, it is easier for Quinn to rebel. But going out of her way to offer Mercedes emotional support shows Quinn’s maturation as a character, and their friendship seems a natural growth, considering the plot elements leading to it.
Chenoweth is always fantastic, and it’s a joy for her to return to Glee in “Home.” It’s great that she sings with the New Directions once more in “Home,” the song that shares the episode’s title, and her two duets with Morrison, “Fire” and “One Less Bell to Answer / A House is Not a Home,” are both incredibly well performed. Their two characters have such palpable chemistry! But only as friends. Will’s denial of April’s sexual overtures probably makes April respect him more, as she seems to take his no answer with acceptance, and is still willing to listen to his advice. An addict needs someone who genuinely cares about them, with no ulterior motive, and April has that in Will.
It’s not surprising that April, an alcoholic, is shown relapsing in “Home.” Many addicts do go back to their old habits. Even though Will helps her find the straight and narrow in a previous episode, kudos to Glee for not giving her an easy happy ever after… yet.
Kurt is less likable in “Home” than in any other episode that springs to memory. He’s not exactly out of character, but his personality flaws are magnified. For example, he shows extreme selfishness in getting Burt and Carole together just so he can snuggle up to Finn. As soon as Burt shows Finn some attention, Kurt grows jealous of that, and wants to split up the couple. He also encourages Mercedes to diet so they can fit in, which actually does stray across a line Kurt would typically not cross. At least not for popularity’s sake. As such, it’s hard to root for him in this episode.