After a long hiatus, FOX's Glee returned last night with a post-Super Bowl, stunt laden, extravaganza! It may have been just me, but while I rate this a solidly good episode, it did not make the top few of the season or anything. In truth, certain parts felt like they were warring between being crowd pleasing for a football watching audience and fan pleasing for longtime viewers. As such, the episode as a whole came out a bit uneven.
By uneven, I mean that not every story meshed together the way it should, and a few scenes would have been better left on the editing room floor to make way for an expansion of stuff we did see. I think most of the episode would have made sense for non-fans staying up after the game, and the hour mostly did a fine job of walking the line between the two groups of viewers. However, where there were holes, they were mostly obvious ones, and it makes me sad, because Glee has been doing so much better this year. This episode was a good as most of season one, but not quite the level of many of the season two entries.
A weak element was musical numbers. Or, at least one in particular. Instead of a big opening, we got as bored as Sue (Jane Lynch) watching the Cheerios suffer through "California Gurls". What should have been a spectacular hook was fairly lousy. The cheerleaders didn't try to sing, which, I guess, makes sense, but also the fireworks and flips were less than thrilling. I think this was a conscious decision, but that doesn't make it any better. For fans missing the show and new comers tuning in for the first time, I feel like a great opportunity was missed here.
Luckily, there was some recovery. "Need You Now" was sweet, making me wish for more Puckleberry story. "She's Not There" was fun, and the "Thriller" / "Heads Will Roll" mashup did not disappoint, other than it seemed a tad short. However, that can be forgiven, as the best bits always leave you wanting more. I also enjoyed "Bills Bills Bills", but that praise comes with a caveat, as it didn't really fit with the episode, and first time viewers hanging on from the Super Bowl would have been confused as to what exactly was going on in that scene. I know the staff didn't want to make Kurt (Chris Colfer) sit out such a big event episode, but as much as I love him, I don't think his presence served much purpose.