Glee, Season 5, Episode 4, “A Katy or a Gaga”
Written by Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner
Directed by Ian Brennan
Airs Thursdays 9pm ET on Fox
After a month-long World Series induced hiatus, Glee is back pitting the Katys versus the Gagas in an episode which is crazy, fun, and a little bit too much, just as it should be. While the performances in this installment were too much in the best, most ridiculous ways and took us back to that now classic season one episode, “Theatricality”, there are enough awkward and unjust interpersonal moments to make us wish desperately for a song and dance number.
The inappropriate Penny/Sam relationship is still going and going strong. I am waiting for it to backfire, but for some reason that rarely happens to the characters who are in uncouth partnerships, such as Puck and Kitty, whose pairing, based on the dialogue exchanged by the two characters, should have qualified as statutory rape. Sam was a stripper, so we know he’s over 18, but he still shouldn’t be dating a staff member and part of the school’s medical team, even if she is incompetent. And in a slightly tangential rant, Sam needs to cut his hair.
While I absolutely love every outrageous moment of both “Roar” and “Applause” (especially Becky in the audience clad in her ridiculous Gaga getup) the acoustic, stripped down version of “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry is really well executed. The harmonies are fluid and, for the most part, the composition really splits the parts up in a way which gives each cast member and by extension, character, lines that work well in their vocal range.
Speaking of ridiculous, I am a little shocked that Will suspended Marley for not wearing a bikini top to school. After preaching self-identity for the past four and a half seasons, he seems to have forgotten his almost obsessive push for agency amongst the members of his glee club members. Perhaps even more saddening is that everyone else seemed to support her banishment. I’m guessing Blaine was just upset he didn’t think to get out of the horrendous glitter and bleach mess of his own Gaga inspired costume.
I’m not shocked pride-wounded Jake runs to Bree, the new evil and conniving cheerleader, when Marley denies his insistent request for some heavy petting, but I am a little disappointed. How about the guy who backs off and respects his girlfriend, whom he “loves”, instead of running into the open and naked arms of another girl? Instead, Jake is mini-Puck, the pre-reformation version. I’m not impressed, Puckerman Jr. The serious relationship talk between Marley and Jake could be an interesting conversation between two people who want different things. Instead it is a missed opportunity as the writing staff once again falls back on one of Glee‘s many plot crutches, cheating.
Adam Lambert’s appearance as Elliot “Starchild” Gilbert is the highlight this week. His version of “Marry the Night” is true to his unique vocal range, Gaga, Glee, and the fictional musical arts school NYADA. And who doesn’t love a boy who can sing and pull off a top hat? The conversations between Kurt and Rachel in regards to Starchild are sweet and a perfect way to gently expose Kurt’s insecurity about his future. If you let out a breath you didn’t know you were holding when you saw Elliot plunked down in the Studio Diner waiting for Kurt, you weren’t alone. It’s obvious Elliott/Starchild is the perfect addition to Pamela Lansbury.
Simply put, this episode is okay. The musical performances are shining beacons holding together a hodge-podge of honest moments and lackluster plot decisions, although whoever decided to name one of the rival show choirs Throat Explosion gets some tongue in cheek bonus points. A total 180 from the Finn Hudson tribute, this episode is an exhausting string of highs and lows, but it still manages to be fun.