Nope, you’re not suffering from a pie-and-cranberry-sauce-induced hallucination: Glee aired a spankin’ new episode on Thanksgiving night. And in the same, “Wait! Did that just happen?” spirit, the action included puppets, animal-snout-masks, a faithful recreation of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” video and a Sue Sylvester makeover courtesy of Wade “Unique” Adams.
In the spirit of the holiday — and because I’m halfway to a food coma — I’m gonna keep this recap pithy. So let’s cut right to the action, shall we?
PUPPET SHOW | Blaine had a tantrum when his ideas for Nationals weren’t immediately embraced by New Directions, but as he sulked in the corner, a gas leak caused him to hallucinate that he was living in a world of pliable puppet pals who supported his whims unconditionally. This led to his creation of a Kurt puppet — which Blaine inexplicably expected should be apologizing to him (“For WHAT?” asked everyone who’s ever watched Glee). Eventually, Blaine received an olive branch from his glee-club pals, who agreed he deserved a solo (with creative control) for his final high-school competition. In return, he gave them all puppets — and mailed additional plush doppelgangers to Kurt, Rachel, Santana and Elliott. (What, no Dani?)
THE PLEASURE PRINCIPAL | Sue sealed up her spot as permanent principal at McKinley by wowing the superintendent (Breaking Bad‘s Christopher Cousins) with increased attendance numbers and rising test scores, but was alarmed to discover he thought she was a man. After hallucinating a dance sequence starring herself and Schue, Sue sought Unique’s help in feminizing her look, but the plan backfired when Superintendent Harris shot down her invite to go on a date. (We also learned Sue began wearing her signature tracksuits back in 1986 — after realizing they were the only look that immediately caused the student population to fear and respect her.) Side note: No me gusta this insecure Sue. Let the woman have her pantsuits and her sexy administrator, too!
THE LEADER OF THE BAND | Kurt also got a tiny bit control-freaky regarding the details of Pamela Lansbury’s first gig. Only one person wound up attending, but that sole audience member’s bootleg video caught the attention of a booker at Williamsburg Music Hall. Cue gig No. 2! And let’s cue some real plot development for Elliott and Dani. Oh, and also Santana, already! And yes, Rachel, too! Those NYC scenes always have a certain electricity, but they’re always so brief, too, no?
MORE JAKE-MARLEY-BREE STUFF | Bree briefly thought she was with child and sought out Jake to accompany her to her abortion. When the pregnancy turned out to just be a scare, Bree lashed out at the younger Puckerman, basically calling him a manwhore destined to be nothing more than a baby daddy. This sent Jake running back to Marley, but she told him that after his betrayal, she could only think of him as a friend. (Ryder barely reared his floppy hair this week, so no love rhombus action, merely a triangle.)
EPISODE’S BEST QUOTES
“Looks like somebody’s man-struating.” –Kitty, mocking Blaine’s bitchy mood
“Babyfaced, mocha teen boy, arise!” –Figgins, waking up Jake from a choir-room nap
“Well, well, well…if it isn’t Miss Sally Field in Not Without My Puppet. Did you really think I was too stupid to suspect that you would come back here under the cloak of darkness to claim your monsterous puppet bride, you strange, tiny doe-eyed pervert. Kindly remove your fist from Puppet Hummel’s butt and place him gingerly on the desk.” –Sue, catching Blaine stealing his Kurt puppet from her safe
GRADES FOR THE NIGHT’S MUSICAL PERFORMANCES
Pamela Lansbury, “Into the Groove” — Grade: B | In theory, I loved the idea of the NYC kids rocking out to this seminal Madonna dance jam. But while Kurt’s fantasy performance debut looked great with its candy colored hues, I thought the actor’s individual voices were mixed in a way that none of them really had a chance to stand out or show their individual brilliance. Bummer!
Blaine + New Directions Puppets, “You’re My Best Friend” — Grade: B | Wouldn’t Blaine have sung this to bestie Sam? Whatevs, though, it was kinda cute and colorful.
Jake (featuring Marley, Bree, New Directions and writhing Cheerios), “Nasty”/”Rhythm Nation” — Grade: A- | I’m not sure Jacob Artist’s vocal was that distinctive, but damn these Janet Jackson tracks have stood the test of time, haven’t they? And the choreography was pretty fantastic, too.
Sue & Schue, “Cheek to Cheek” — Grade: B- | Surprisingly nice harmonies from Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch, but this black-and-white throwback vibe felt a little been-there-done-that after Will & Emma’s “You’re All the World to Me,” no?
Entire Cast, “What Does the Fox Say?” — Grade: N/A | I couldn’t get past those creepy snout/beak/nose masks and ears on the New Directions kids. Srsly, they freaked me out big-time. Tell me I am not alone!
OK, your turn. What did you think of Blaine’s peculiar story arc? Are you still feeling like the NYC gang needs more time and focus from the writers? Hit the comments with your thoughts on “Puppet Master”!