FOX’s Glee this week focuses on “Heart.” Rachel’s dads, Hiram (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) and Leroy (Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell) learn of Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn’s (Cory Monteith) plans to marry. They act very supportive, but secretly plot with Burt (Mike O’Malley) and Carole (Romy Rosemont) to derail the ceremony. Unfortunately for them, their machinations backfire, and the young couple decides they will tie the knot this coming May.
Rachel and Finn are too young to marry. They haven’t known each other, or been together, long enough to take this step. They are both going into it for the wrong reasons, which have been expounded upon in depth in previous Glee episode reviews. So it’s a little disheartening (hehe) that “Heart” chooses to overlook any of these elements, at least in the minds of the central couple, and instead, focuses on how they get along. Which is splendidly, for now. There is a little bit of a rocky start to a night spent together, but they come through it stronger than ever. Unfortunately.
When are parents going to learn that kids will do what they are going to do? Rachel and Finn are making a mistake, true, but it’s far too late for their mom and dads to do anything about it. Hiram drops a few passive-aggressive comments, but other than that, both couples seem set on reverse psychology to undo the impending union. This fails, as all such plans do. How will Hiram, Leroy, Carole, and Burt cope with this, and what is their next move? Or will they just get on board, and do what Rachel and Finn want?
“Heart” introduces Hiram and Leroy to Glee viewers (apparently someone forgot that a picture of Rachel’s dads was featured in the pilot, though with different actors). It’s hard to think of two better men to play these pivotal roles than Goldblum and Stokes Mitchell. Both are fantastically flamboyant, in a way that fits the situation. As they croon “Chapel of Love” and “You’re the Top,” it’s immediately obvious why Rachel is who she is. The two guys also have delightful chemistry, and it feels like a great home setting for Rachel’s character.
Love is in the air at school, too. Artie (Kevin McHale) continues to hate being alone, and sets his sights on Sugar (Vanessa Lengies) as his next possible boo, thinking her Valentine’s party is the perfect time to hook up. Unfortunately for Artie, Rory (Damian McGinty) has the same idea, and two end up competing over the girl, who doesn’t really seem right for either one of them.
Rory wins Sugar, for now, but does so by lying about his upcoming deportation. Rory has had little to no plot all season, and so it’s nice to finally get a little story for him, as well as a song when he uses “Home” to woo Sugar. But this plot seems to come out of nowhere, and his sneakiness doesn’t exactly gel with the Rory first introduced all those months ago. While, perhaps, his character has changed from the time spent in Ohio, viewers not having been privy to such a change, or the reason for it, are left confused. This is a very weird plot.
The second Glee Project winner finally makes his debut in “Heart.” Joe Hart (hehe again) is played by Samuel Larsen. Joe is an odd character, introduced as uber-religious, but also a bit of a live-and-let-live hippy. It’s fun to hear him perform “Stereo Hearts” and a mash up of two songs, both titled “Cherish.” Yet, it’s totally bizarre when he decides not to judge Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany’s (Heather Morris) relationship, given his character’s introduction. Not only does Joe come out of nowhere, but his odd behavior makes him hard to pinpoint. Sadly, it’s not in a complicated, deep manner, but rather, it feels like the writer’s just aren’t sure what to do with him.
Santana is hauled into Figgins’s (Iqbal Theba) office for kissing Brittany in the hall. The broken rule isn’t a PDA issue, which would be understandable, but rather, because the girls are lesbians. This kind of bigotry is completely intolerable, and thankfully Glee continues to highlight that. In 2012, homophobia is the new racism, and it’s pretty darn ugly. Given what happened in New Jersey this week, this is incredibly relevant to the current news cycle.
Kurt (Chris Colfer) gets a surprise secret admirer in “Heart” when Karofsky (Max Adler) returns. Dressed as a gorilla at first, Karofsky makes a play for his former tormentee. Kurt is flattered, but gently lets him down. It’s not surprising that Dave latches onto Kurt, given that Kurt is the only out gay teen Karosky knows while dealing with his internal conflict. It’s only surprising that it’s taken this long for Dave to act on those feelings. But Kurt is very happy with Blaine (Darren Criss), and Kurt and Karofsky just don’t seem like a matching pair, anyway. However, hopefully Karosky will find a reason to return to Glee again soon, because his character arc has been neat, and any screen time for him is welcome.
The assignment Will (Matthew Morrison) gives his kids this week is to study the best love songs of all time. Yet, only two are featured in “Heart,” which is pretty disappointing. Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.) kick things off with “L-O-V-E,” a great number, if not really being relevant to any of the episode’s stories. Then it’s not until Mercedes (Amber Riley) delivers a coincidentally timely (given Whitney Houston’s recent passing) rendition of “I Will Always Love You” while pining over Sam (Chord Overstreet), that another example of this theme comes along. This is a truly powerful performance, and well appreciated. But that’s it. Other songs, such as the guys’ “Let Me Love You,” are fun, but nothing deserves the “best” title other than those two numbers.
“Love Shack” is a strong ending for the episode, with Blaine returning in top form, to lead the group in a remarkably enjoyable version of the old pop hit. It surely shouldn’t be on a “best love songs” list, but Glee turns it into something really fun with great choreography and tongue-in-cheek jokes. The best moment may be Finn’s face as he cheesily pops up into frame near the end. The performance is an appropriate ending, even if it’s mainly fluff.
Which is kind of what “Heart” is: fluff. The plots glosses over anything serious or real. The episode is amusing and entertaining. It’s not bad, but there is so much missed opportunity here for it to be better.
With the impending end of many characters’ runs on Glee, things will probably take a more dramatic turn soon. Maybe even next week, which is the winter finale, and features Regionals. Until then, this is a serviceable, if not overly impressive, entry.
Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.