Glee: Season 2, Episode 9 “Special Education” (C+)
The actual performance content of this episode is pretty spot-on, but I definitely found the plotting lacking in a problematic enough way so as to disrupt the episode. We see Emma so rarely these days (and her presence seems to mean that Sue can’t appear), and it feels odd that she would exert such influence over Will when we haven’t even heard from her in weeks. I do, however, like the idea of mixing it up and giving solos to the less featured players rather than Rachel, Finn, and Mercedes, thought it seems an extraordinary and unnecessary untested risk for a competition as important as Sectionals. Kurt’s struggles at his new school aren’t surprising considering it has less to do with him not fitting in than him trying to stand out when he’s supposed to be part of a team. The performances at Sectionals were fun, though cuts to angry-looking New Directions members like Will and Puck seemed odd to me. Quinn and Sam did a terrific job with their duet, and Mike and Brittany did some incredibly awesome dancing. A tie is quite a letdown, especially because New Directions already has enough competition waiting for them later in the game in the form of Vocal Adrenaline. Brittany and Artie did have some nice scenes together though, putting them infinitely closer to being a believable couple than ever before. For the majority of the episode, Rachel continued to be an entirely obnoxious, detestable presence, spewing negativity even with her mouth taped shut, and her bonding with Kurt only helps her a little bit. I’m not sure about the idea of proceeding along with the focus on two different glee clubs, especially when Kurt and Blaine are the only ones we know by name at this point. Of course, creator Ryan Murphy has recently announced a plan to introduce new characters and cycle out again ones throughout the series’ run, so maybe this is the first plan of that plan. Oh well, we’ll see.