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TV Review: Glee – “Rumours”

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FOX’s Glee episode last night, “Rumours,” is heavy on Fleetwood Mac, using the drama among various members of the New Directions to connect to the troubled band’s album by the same title (hence the odd spelling). It is a tightly packed hour, with lots of development among various relationships, including one long-time-coming breakup, major trust issues, and a very tough decision for Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison). It is also perhaps one of the more emotionally moving episodes to date, with several characters dealing with some very real, very difficult things, leaving the cheese, that often accompanies such plots on Glee, at home.

Brittany (Heather Morris) gets things started when she debuts her new internet chat show, “Fondue For Two,” in which she plans on discussing gossip and rumors floating around the school. There is some literal cheese in this scene, but used in a good way. While the elements with her cat, Lord Tubbington, are hilarious, and not at all out of character, Brittany inadvertently somewhat outing Santana (Naya Rivera) is weak. Her justification that referring to Santana playing for the other team meant switching from the Cheerios to the New Directions is dubious at best. Normally, Brittany’s stupidity is convincing. This time, there is room for doubt. Perhaps she just uses it as a cover or excuse.

The effects are far from devastating. While the school newspaper, The Muckraker, newly recommissioned by Sue (Jane Lynch), and with a mantra that involves not concerning themselves with facts, does pick up the story, it is not widely believed. Jacob Ben Israel (Josh Sussman), a reporter for the new FOX News-esque publication, and apparently, now semi-regular bad guy, does question Santana about her sexuality. When she assures him she is having wonderful heterosexual relations, the issue seems to drop. While this easily could have been a much more involved story, there likely just isn’t room for it in the already very busy “Rumours.”

One person does believe it, though, and that’s Brittany’s boyfriend, Artie (Kevin McHale), who assumes that Brittany is fooling around on him. She does admit to her lady kisses time, using Santana’s justification that since they are both girls, they are not cheating. Artie doesn’t buy that reasoning, showing a wholly over reactive, but realistic for a teenager, jealous streak. He calls her “stupid,” the worst insult Brittany can imagine from the man she cares for. Their relationship, which always feels a bit awkward, is over. And good riddance. Plus, this leads to what may have been the best musical performance of the night, “Never Going Back Again,” with Artie leading a group of guitar strummers through the hallways of McKinley.

Brittany goes to Santana for comfort. Obviously, they have made up off screen from the fights they have been having lately over being together. That’s fine. Since there are so many characters, Glee can’t possibly show every relationship development. Instead, we get the highlights, like Santana once again wooing Brittany with song. This time she sings “Songbird,” a beautiful declaration of her love. Brittany agrees to go for it, as Artie has been all that has been holding her back. But when Brittany wants to go public, Santana balks, and reaffirms her “beard” arrangement with Dave Karofsky (Max Adler).

Does this seem odd? For awhile now, Santana has been trying to get Brittany away, and once she has her, Santana refuses to go all in. Yet, they are in the harsh world of high school, where they will very likely not be accepted for who they are. And Santana is taking the prom queen race pretty personally, looking for some affirmation that she is good enough for respect in the eyes of her fellow students. An outing would kill her chances for the tiara. As such, it is reasonable, though regrettable, that Glee will put off the Sapphic pairing just a short while longer. Next season, though, should definitely be the Year of Brittana. Or Santtany. You choose.

The other love triangle, or rather, square, at work in “Rumours” is the one involving Rachel (Lea Michele), Finn (Cory Monteith), Quinn (Dianna Agron), and Sam (Chord Overstreet), the latter having replaced Puck (Mark Salling), who was previously involved in the mess. Glee completes the shape by having Rachel ask Sam to prom, from whom she gets an immediate no. One has to wonder, is he so dismissive because he just isn’t into her, or because of his secret that won’t allow him to afford a formal dance? It is probably a bit of both, though he could have been less blunt about it. Come to think of it, less blunt may not have gotten through to Rachel, so perhaps he couldn’t have been.

The Muckraker stirs the pot when it alludes to a possible affair between Sam and Quinn in a motel room. Finn can be forgiven for immediately believing it, because Quinn has cheated on every boyfriend she has ever had, including him. But that also exposes some serious trust issues between the pair. Their performance of “I Don’t Want to Know” hits the perfect note for the duo, as well as assuring viewers that these two will not be together much longer. With two attempts under their belt, it is time to leave this pairing behind for good.

Quinn is much more suited to Sam, though she has a lot of apologizing to do before they could ever make another go of it. Unlike Finn, however, Sam is capable of accepting the apology, forgiving her, and trusting her again.

Finn, of course, turns to Rachel in his hour of doubt. Which just goes to show that the two should have never broken up in the first place. They had problems, but they will work through them. They don’t need to be apart to do so. They’ve always been Glee‘s inevitable couple, and despite Rachel’s beautiful rendition of “Go Your Own Way,” their ways will be meeting again soon, as they never really completely parted anyway.

The only baffling part about this whole ordeal is that when Finn and Rachel spy on Sam, they see not just Quinn, but also Kurt (Chris Colfer), leave the motel room, and assume that Sam is sleeping with both of them. Sam does wear Kurt’s jacket to school, but Sam has never shown any signs of bi- or homosexuality, Kurt is way too into Blaine (Darren Criss) to cheat on him, and how is Sam juggling two secret relationships? It just defies any realism to think that the secret is sexual. This should have been the major tip off that the original conclusions are wrong. It is for the audience.

Sam’s plot about his father losing his job and moving the family into a one room motel room is as heartbreaking as it is timely. With unemployment high and jobs scarce, Glee brought in a healthy dose of the headlines in an affective story that highlights a character who usually doesn’t get as much screen time as he deserves. Chord Overstreet has been a wonderful addition this season, and while a bit contrived, and the cute kids are not needed, “Don’t Stop” is a fitting, uplifting ending for this episode.

Sue and Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) launch their newest evil plan to destroy the New Directions far more effectively than earlier schemes, though with unneeded, bizarre costumes. Showing that she really does know Will best, Terri calls Will’s old buddy, April Rhodes (returning guest star, who needs another regular TV gig, stat, Kristen Chenoweth). April is writing a Broadway show about herself, and she asks Will for help. He gladly gives it. April’s intentions are pure; she is not part of the League of Doom. Or Legion of Evil. Or whatever it is called. And while April may know some of Terri and Sue’s motivations, she is only offering Will a chance to see a wish realized. But Terri is manipulating April extremely well.

April and Will still have chemistry, though not in the kind that makes for a long-term romance. Friendship. Their “Dreams” duet, while not justified in the plot, is another musical high point in a very strong episode. Of course, anytime that Kristen begins singing is usually a high point in any project she does.

Working together at McKinley, Will and April manage to put together what they think is a decent show. The untitled number they perform from it does not convince, but it is only a small snippet of a much larger effort, so it’s hard to tell. As such, April asks Will to accompany her when she premieres the musical, playing on his life dream of singing on stage. It is a tempting offer, made more so by Emma’s (Jayma Mays) encouragement of the idea, but Will passes, not wanting to leave the New Directions when they are almost to Nationals.

It is clear to see that this decision does not weight easily on Will, though he passes it off like it’s a non-choice to the group. This is something he has always wanted, and he is putting his desires aside to be a great teacher and coach to some kids who have worked very hard for and with him. This may be the first episode that truly shows the sacrifices great educators make for their students. While it is possible Will may spend the upcoming summer with April, which would be a great thing to stick into the season finale, he will stay with the kids through their competition season. It’s very touching.

Glee has just three episodes left this year, though it has already been renewed for a third season. Tune in Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

To catch up on Glee episodes or download music, visit Amazon.com

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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
  • Nancy

    And Jonathan Groff is scheduled to return for all final three episodes. This is getting better and better….

  • http://www.jeromewetzeltv.blogspot.com Jerome Wetzel

    That is very true. Plus the season finale was shot in New York City!