Glee: Season 1, Episode 5 “The Rhodes Not Taken” (B)
This episode might as well be titled The Kristin Chenoweth Show. That’s not a bad thing by any means, since the “Pushing Daisies” alum and recent Emmy winner brings unmatchable charm and sparkle to anything she touches, but it’s not a strong vote of confidence for the longevity of the show. If every episode is simply about introducing a standalone obstacle for the glee club to overcome, it’s not going to get very far. When Sue Sylvester ordered the cheerleaders to infiltrate the glee club and bring it down from the inside, that was a legitimate proposal for a long-term, recurring storyline for the series. But the recent temporary setbacks haven’t been inspiring due to their rather unimpressive usage of the television format of weekly installments that can and should be connected to each other. Those concerns are more to do with the show as a whole rather than this individual episode. Chenoweth’s performance is top-notch and a perfect use of her talents, and the scene with her singing edited in with Rachel’s performance of the same song was magnificent. The episode does get carried away by trying to make Chenoweth too crazy and impossible to keep around, and the ultimate decision by Will to dismiss her mid-performance, and the subsequent stepping in of Rachel, was too much. In its first two installments, the show was believable. Now, the glee club has taken on too much of a dominant role at the school, and the improbability of such a last-second replacement actually working, coupled with last week’s football field foolishness, decrease from the sustainable dramatic potential of this show. Fortunately, the show is still strong when it comes to what it does best – the music. The extravagant numbers in this episode are great, and despite the somewhat disturbing fact that they feature one soloist far more than the glee club as a whole, they’re truly fun and the best reason to stick around and watch this show.