Now this is the show I fell in love with last year! Glee has all the right moves this week: entertaining performances that fit nicely into the story, the kids getting up to typical (OK, slightly exaggerated) teen mischief, and Mr. Schuester showing that he's only human (without steering too far into creepyville).
The latest "epidemic" to sweep McKinley High is underage drinking, which prompts Principal Figgins to declare Alcohol Awareness week. To help scare the students into sobriety, he enlists Mr. Schue to get his glee club to perform a song about the dangers of drinking. Rather than take the assignment to heart, the gleeks decide to explore the benefits of drinking instead. It kept me laughing and entertained from Principal Figgins's first mention of "the wet devil" to Santana asking Mr. Schuester what he'll live for if he can't drink. More of my favorite highlights and one-liners when you read more.
- Rachel moves forward with her songwriting plans and invites Finn to have the first listen. They share a genuinely sweet moment — their first in awhile that doesn't end with Rachel trying to make a move on her ex — and it reminded me that these two had some pretty good chemistry at one point. I was half expecting Rachel's song to be a thinly veiled ballad about losing the quarterback, but the result is even better. I cracked up when Rachel gets to the chorus of "My Headband," and though we all know that she'll come up with something profound in time for nationals, for now I'll take the ode to accessories.
- Finn convinces Rachel that she needs to let loose and live a little more so she can tap into her emotions as a composer. With her dads away on a Rosie O'Donnell cruise, Rachel throws a party for the glee club (plus Kurt and Blaine), complete with drink tickets and wine coolers. Of course, the restrictions are lifted after about 10 minutes, giving us good gleeks gone bad.
- The party scene is absolutely hilarious, chock-full of slurred one-liners like Blaine commenting on how tall Finn is, and Rachel's first response to wine coolers: "It tastes like pink!" Finn points out that each member of the glee club embodies a different drunken cliche (stripper Brittany is kind of expected, but who would've thought Santana would be the weepy drunk?). When Rachel cozies up to Finn, he accuses her of being the needy drunk (wet blanket alert!), so she sets out to prove him wrong.
- I somehow never thought about what a duet featuring Blaine and Rachel would be like, but this week we get our answer: amazing. After a spin the bottle smooch, they drunkenly take on "Don't You Want Me," which proves to be poignant for Quinn and Kurt as they eye their oblivious crushes with pangs of unrequited love. I'm hoping to see two of Glee's best vocalists paired up again, but their couplehood is fleeting, as Blaine realizes after a bit of introspection (and a kiss at the coffee shop) that he's definitely gay. There's still hope, Kurt!
- The kids aren't the only ones experimenting with booze this week: Mr. Schuester's been feeling lost without Emma and Teri, so Coach Beiste suggests that he unwind with her at her favorite Western-themed joint. It doesn't take more than a couple of drinks to get the teachers on stage belting out "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," and one night of harmless fun quickly turns into bad behavior for Will. First he gets buzzed while grading papers (sadly I have a feeling he's not the only teacher who's ever done this), but things really get out of control when he drunk dials Emma — or so he thinks.
- All of the drunken good times come to a breaking point when the kids perform at the assembly. (Principal Figgins gets in some quality screen time, but introducing New Directions performing "Tik and also Tok by rapper Key-dollar-sign-a" is priceless). Rachel passes out some homemade giggle juice to calm the nerves, and all goes according to the plan. That is, until Brittany's killer dance moves get to be a bit too much, and she starts spewing gray vomit all over the stage, and her fellow club members. The rest of the kids follow suit, leaving their classmates stupefied.
- Sue mostly stays in the background of this episode, which is exactly how I like her. She delivers a few good lines, explains how she pushed her way to the top of Aural Intensity, and then disappears. However, she comes back for a grand finale at the end of the episode, revealing that Will had actually left her the drunk voice mail, and plays it over the loudspeaker. (Did anyone else catch the Grease reference as Becky plays the xylophone?) The message made me cringe more with each sentence, and it seemed like Emma feels a similar pain.
- The episode ends on a moral note, as Mr. Schuester vows not to drink before nationals and asks the kids to pledge to join him. They're reluctant at first but are touched when Will offers to give them a ride any time when one of them has a relapse. Bonus points for no gooey closing number.
Did you love this week's episode as much as I did? Which performance was your favorite? Did you like hearing Coach Beiste show off her pipes? Leave your comments below, or take them over to the Glee Club group.
Photo courtesy of Fox