Glee, Season 5, Episode 5, “The End of Twerk“
Written by Michael Hitchcock
Directed by Wendey Stanzler
Airs Thursday 9pm ET on Fox
Glee’s “The End of Twerk” is a mess of story lines all tangled together without poise, a proverbial twerk wreck. The show’s desire to be in tune with the youth that makes up their main demographic and remain (arguably) culturally relevant is understandable, but one can’t help but shudder in Jake’s general direction as he passionately claims Principal Sue is attempting to restrict the McKinley New Directions from exercising their “God given right to twerk”. Unfortunately, on top of being over-the-top in a bad way, unlike last week’s appropriately ridiculous episode, the writers also try to interweave a legitimate politically charged topic, Unique’s transgendered storyline, into the mix but it is drowned by all the booty bumping.
For the very first time in the past four and a quarter seasons, this viewer actually agrees with Sue Sylvester. Will once again leaps over the line of appropriateness with his student relations. Singing “Blurred Lines” with a school full of underage teens who are grinding and more than grinding on each other is… well, it’s not okay. He needs to unblur the lines between teacher and weird older guy trying to relive his youth before he permanently passes into the creeper category. And while we are on the topic of teachers requiring inappropriate actions from their students, does Becky go to class? She’s a Cheerio so we know she’s a student. How is she ever going to graduate if she spends all her time fielding Sue’s phone calls and updating her appointment book? I’m guessing Becky’s lack of educational training is yet another one of Sue’s slightly evil, slightly sweet plans.
Marley’s rendition of “Wrecking Ball” is pretty awful. Between the auto-tune used to add some Miley to Marley’s voice and the hokey set made up of sugar glass and foam bricks, it’s impossible to actually feel bad for her because the entirety of the audience’s mental capacity is attempting to process why anyone thought it was a good idea.
Finally, we see Will stand up with Unique against both peer bullying and institutionalized discrimination, but as we begin to see Kurt finally open himself back up and accept his quirks as strong points, its hard to wonder where this connected and observant Mr. Shuester was when vulnerable, fashionable Kurt was getting slammed into lockers and tossed into the dumpster. From the outside it looks like too little.
Despite the plot holes and lack of propriety, this installment does have some redeeming qualities. Those wondering if, when, and how the creative team would to handle the gaping plot hole Finn’s death get their answer. Glee has historically been a continuity nightmare starting with Burt’s season one 180 from a homophobe using everything in his arsenal to turn Kurt straight to the loving, ever supportive dad who couldn’t care less about catching his son running around in a sparkly leotard (upgrade). In fact, the one thing Glee does consistently is ignore their own previous story lines. It’s nice to see some series memory then this week; the Kurt and Rachel tattoo storyline is amusing and a natural way of addressing the emotional aftermath of Finn’s death.
Will’s speech in the principal’s office about twerking being a form of civil disobedience is awful, but the Sue Sylvester rebellion tantrum that follows is definitely a highlight. There is nothing more satisfying than watching someone maliciously sweep the contents of an office desk onto a floor. Viewers have been waiting for someone to turn her melt-downs around on her since she started pushing people down the stairs. Other shining moments include the bathroom rave and the energetic last number with the conveniently placed merry go round.
This episode develops multiple, uncomplimentary personalities as the plot gets more complicated and is sullied by unabashed twerking. Next time, hopefully the writers are more careful with the story lines they intermix, saving important issues for appropriate episodes. Let’s pray this really is “The End of Twerk”.