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Review of Glee ‘Dynamic Duets’

Sophie Warnes

Glee s4e7 superherocharge 300x175 Review of Glee Dynamic DuetsSPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 7 series 4 of ‘Glee’

This series blog is following the Sky 1 broadcast schedule of ‘Glee’ in the UK.

Dynamic Duets follows the pattern of previous seasons – it’s the 7th episode and the songs are all duets. Past seasons have seen some knock-out duets between characters and this episode – while not the best – is no exception.

Those naughty kids at Dalton Academy have stolen the New Directions’ trophy, meaning it’s up to the boys to don their capes and rescue it. Amusingly there’s a reference to the Saw series in here too; I wonder if this is lost on some of the audience? – As I assumed Glee was aimed at young teenagers. Would they have seen Saw? Regardless, everyone loves superheroes!

It transpires that actually the Warblers really just wanted Blaine (Darren Criss) to come and get the trophy so they could try and win him back to Dalton. Since Kurt (Chris Colfer) moved to New York, we’ve not really seen Blaine feel himself – I had wondered whether he might want to move back to somewhere that’s less threatening than McKinley High.

However, it turns out that since Blaine left, the Warblers have become quite mean now. After singing Dark Side together (beautifully cheesy, typical Warblers style), Blaine is left wondering which side to choose. He solemnly declares at one point “the Warblers are my birthright, and my destiny”. But he doesn’t join them, partly because they are now really horrible but mainly because he realises he actually has friends in New Directions and he belongs there.

I’ve talked before about Finn (Cory Monteith) growing up a lot and that’s still true, but in this episode we see him struggle to maintain his authority over people who used to be his peers. But perhaps this is in partly due to his choice of superhero – as the Mighty Treble Clef, Finn cuts a pretty sorry figure. Luckily, though by the end of the episode equilibrium is restored – the group buy him a superhero kit and he gives them a short pep talk. He’s definitely filling Will’s (Matthew Morrison) shoes adequately.

A great choice of duet here was between Ryder (Blake Jenner) and Jake (Jacob Artist) – both vying for Marley’s (Melissa Benoist) affections. Ryder and Marley already kissed in the last episode but Jake just won’t give up, even though Marley is still ‘driving the bus to pukeside’ as Kitty (Becca Tobin) says. They sing REM’s Superman together and the competition is so fierce it ends in a punch up. This reminds me a lot of the ‘old’ Glee when Finn and Puck (Mark Salling) fought over girls in the group. Even though it’s a bit more exciting than just standing around singing songs, this constant recycling of old plots and old character traits is pretty strange to people who have seen the series from the very beginning. It’s just not what it used to be.

Finn makes the two of them sit in a room and ‘tell each other your deepest fears’ and weaknesses. Jake’s ‘Kryptonite’ as he refers to it, is that he’s “half black, half white, half Jew” and never seems to fit in anywhere. This racial tension has been hinted at in past episodes but not really drawn upon and even now, it’s not really explored that deeply. We see a few instances where kids of different races have insulted him because he’s neither one nor the other – I am just waiting for Glee to tackle the racism topic hands-on, so perhaps this is a set-up for a later plot. For now, it’s another thing we know about Jake that explains why he is the way he is – he has never felt like he fits in and feels like he has to justify himself to people.

Later, it’s interesting that Jake should be the one to be the ‘bigger man’ and try and help Ryder when he finds out Ryder’s weakness is that he can’t read. That’s a pretty generous thing for him to do considering he was ready to punch him in the face a few hours previous. Ryder is eventually diagnosed as dyslexic, and Finn’s leadership skills show through here as he’s the one who not only arranges for his diagnosis, but also helps organise special one-to-one tuition for Ryder so he can catch up on his work.

Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Blaine’s rendition of Bowie’s Heroes is actually not as terrible as one might think. They make a great team, and there’s hints of Bromance here which means there’s quite a different dynamic between them compared to other characters. Given that Blaine is gay (or at least into men – who knows, he could be bisexual) I wonder if he has a crush on Sam. They seem to be getting closer each episode.

Holding Out For A Hero wins the prize for most hilarious music scene this week – what with Kitty cracking that whip all over the place (health and safety anyone?) and Marley doing her best to keep up, it’s an impossible duet that perfectly illustrates the characters’ relationship. Kitty is still encouraging Marley to make herself ill and yet in pretending to be her friend, she convinces Marley that she is not ‘wall flower’ but ‘woman fierce’. For Kitty, it’s all about control and being the centre of attention and Marley just keeps falling a little behind. It’s a brilliant version of the song, though, even if Becca Tobin’s voice isn’t the easiest to listen to.

The episode ends with an ‘old Glee’ style dance in the auditorium. It has echoes of the very first episode’s end, when the very small Glee club all sang Don’t Stop Believin’. They’re all in red T-shirts instead of costumes – just like Don’t Stop Believin’ – and the choreography isn’t overly complicated. It’s one of those really great, feel-good musical endings that we haven’t really seen of late – and a great way to end a Glee episode which already has a lot of references to previous seasons.

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