Review of Glee ‘The Role You Were Born To Play’

Sophie Warnes

glee 5 300x225 Review of Glee The Role You Were Born To PlaySPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 5 series 4 of ‘Glee’

The Role You Were Born To Play highlights the need for people to find their place or their ‘role’ in life. It’s in this episode we see more of Wade ‘Unique’ Adams (Alex Newell) and her struggle to fit in. I said a few weeks back that this would be one character worth watching and I wasn’t wrong.

Unique confesses to Finn (Cory Monteith) that she doesn’t feel right in the mens’ bathroom but can’t go into the girls’. She doesn’t feel right in mens’ clothes but she can’t wear dresses every day. I’m so glad Glee are doing justice to this storyline – transexuality and gender dysphoria are topics rarely tackled in mainstream news or television. It’s important that we are aware of these things not least because youngsters who watch it might feel like they can identify with Unique – and I think Glee is portraying Unique’s battle for recognition sensitively and accurately.

In other news, Finn has really grown into himself. Over the course of a single episode, he goes from whiney teenager to firm leader and shockingly, it suits him. I’ve never been a big fan of Finn, as in the past he’s always been fairly dependent on Rachel (Lea Michele) to be interesting, so I like this newfound adulthood and sense of spirit that the writers have given him this week. And luckily, Rachel is nowhere to be seen. More empowered Finn please!

Finn and Sue (Jane Lynch) have an argument over Unique’s casting in the school musical. Sue is back on scathing form, telling Unique: “You are smuggling more kielbasa under those gowns than a homesick Polish lady trying to sneak through customs”. She turns on Finn later, demanding he doesn’t cast Unique in Grease: “I will not allow you to unleash a teenage maelstrom of gender bent sexual confusion at this school”.

Having not had a lot of screen time for the last few weeks, Jane Lynch is again perfect in this role – whenever she is on screen she has an undeniably demanding presence and attitude. It’s so hard to not pay attention or to not be amused by her. Their war of words is hilarious until Finn mentions her ‘retarded’ baby while Will (Matthew Morrison) watches with shock.

Elsewhere, Finn talent scouts a kid called Ryder (Blake Jenner), encouraging him to try out for the school musical. It’s funny that Glee keeps going back over old material – though this time it’s fairly self-conscious, as Coach Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones) even mentions that Will set out to find Finn specifically as he knew he’d be good. It’s nice for older fans of the show but recycling and rehashing previous plots gets a little tiring. Is Ryder going to be a character in his own right or just a carbon copy of other male characters in the show?

It seems like Coach Beiste is dishing out advice all over the place – as well as speaking to Finn about his new role, she talks to Emma (Jayma Mays) and Will about their relationship and the possibility of moving. She realises that Emma was lying, so pays her a visit and utters one of my favourite lines from this episode: “You know what they say about reservations? They won’t seat you till the whole party’s there”.

Song-wise, this week was pretty good – Marley (Melissa Benoist) and Unique’s Blow Me One Last Kiss, and Ryder and Finn’s Jukebox Hero were stand-outs. The performances had so much infectious energy. However, for me, the group rendition Born To Hand Jive stole the show. I love how it clearly demonstrated the personality clashes and dynamics within the group of Grease hopefuls. The near-fight between Kitty (Becca Tobin) and Marley and the way that Jake (Jacob Artist) pulls Kitty away kicking and screaming? Excellent. And Marley is totally oblivious! This scene is great and says a lot about each of their characters.

Everybody Talks, performed by Jake and Kitty fell a bit flat. Visually, the performance was good and it’s clear they can both dance but I don’t feel that their voices complemented each other. Though I think this may have been a deliberate move to show that really, they aren’t very well suited as a couple. And Blaine’s (Darren Criss) version of Hopelessly Devoted is hopefully not representative of the kind of songs we’ll see in the Glee Grease episode.

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