Glee, Glee, Glee! I admit, most of my Glee reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. I believe that this is a wonderful show that has been having a stellar season so far. However, this week's entry, "The Substitute", will surely rank among the best of the best when this season is over and done with. An A-list guest star, spectacular musical numbers, moving emotional moments, and an advancement of several large story arcs.
Perhaps the most anticipated part of this week was the Gwyneth Paltrow arriving at McKinley High as substitute teacher Holly Holliday. She took over Mr. Schuester's (Matthew Morrison) Spanish class while he was out sick. Later, at the urging of Kurt (Chris Colfer), who was fed up with bossy Rachel (Lea Michele) trying to run the show, she took on the Glee Club as well. (Side note: how hilarious was Will's hallucination of the Glee members as toddlers?) Besides the cutsie name, Holliday was every students' dream sub. She made the classroom fun, and wasn't afraid to break the rules. Her personal mission was to keep kids in school, and to do that, she looked to please them. For awhile, I believed Holliday could take Schuester's place, and there would be no negative impact on the show. Until it was revealed how bad she is under pressure from authority, especially in protecting her students.
The biggest change to the series was cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) being promoted to principal of McKinley. Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba) was sort of an unnecessary character, with Sue often blackmailing him into doing what she wanted anyway. He was sometimes fun, but I doubt he'll be missed that much. While Figgins was home sick, Sue took over, and later in the episode, it was revealed that Figgins had been fired and Sue was here to stay. She can create far more trouble in her new job, so it was an excellent move for the series. The drama started almost immediately when Sue befriended Holliday, then fired Will and gave Holly the job.
Obviously, this did not last. At the end of the day, though Sue is sometimes cruel to Will, she does respect him. The begrudging friendship they seemed to form earlier this year was a nod to that, although Sue can't bring it in herself to be nice to him for too long, as exhibited by her response to him last night that being friends "got boring" for her. Yet, she does genuinely care about her students (when she stops to think about it), and Will is much better for the kids than Holly any day. Hence, Sue relented and allowed Will to return to the school.