The latest installment of FOX's Glee is titled "Michael." To serve that title, the episode's various plots are threaded with songs from the late King of Pop. And what plots they are!
Blaine (Darren Criss) is injured when Sebastian (Grant Gustin) tampers with a slushie thrown in his face. Everyone is upset, especially Santana (Naya Rivera), who wants revenge. Kurt (Chris Colfer) is accepted into NYADA, while Rachel (Lea Michele) assumes she's been cut when she doesn't get a letter. Which leads to her accepting Finn's (Cory Monteith) marriage proposal, only to later regret it when she does get her notification.
Where to begin? Oh so much to discuss! How about letting the music be the guide? Unlike in other tribute-heavy episodes, "Michael" feels like the story drives the songs, rather than great music forcing plot to bend around it. It's a marked improvement over earlier efforts, and will make the episode a fan favorite for a long time to come. "Michael" isn't perfect, of course, but some fantastic numbers from the Michael Jackson song book, featuring both popular choices and some less so, really build a solid episode.
"Michael" opens with an awesome, Blaine-fronted "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." The choreography is fantastic, including some heavy leaning, and the entire cast gets involved. It's good to see Blaine featured again. He hasn't exactly disappeared into McKinley's larger group, but many miss his frequent Warbler solos. Thus, any chance to let Blaine take center stage is more than welcome, especially when done as well as in this instance.
Soon after, "Bad" is just as good, highlighting a showdown between the New Directions and the Warblers. Much of it echoes the original music video, and it culminates in the fateful moment where the slushie is thrown. Finally, there's a villain to really hate! Sure, the mean jocks have been tossing slushies at the glee clubbers forever, but only someone truly evil would add rock salt to the mix. Blaine's injury is regrettable, but will provide a good excuse when Criss disappears for a couple of episodes to sing on Broadway.
The other full group number is "Black and White," which is when Santana, Kurt, and the others expose Sebastian as a slimy devil to the rest of the Warblers. As the Dalton Academy students, one by one, begin taking to the stage to join the main cast in another great song, Sebastian sits there and stews, before storming out after being totally exposed. Will the Warblers kick him out? Will they forgive him? Or will they just decide they need him to compete? And why is Glee considering making Sebastian a main character next year? Sure, he's intriguingly bad, but that doesn't mean he needs to stick around for multiple seasons.