Glee – Episode 1-15 Review

I didn’t think it was possible, but Tuesday night’s episode of Glee actually lived up to all the hype. And that’s saying something as I’d been hearing about the famed Madonna episode since last fall, and for the past week it was all I’d heard about.

The episode managed to include several killer performances, solos for all, lots of character development and stellar fashion choices. It was perfectly executed, with details everywhere you turned.

At the beginning of the episode we found out that Sue Sylvester is a major Madonna fan. So much so that she writes about Madonna in her journal, calling her “the most powerful woman ever to walk the face of the earth”. She convinced Figgins to blast Madonna music throughout the halls of McKinley High and ordered her Cheerios to start emulating Madge.

Mr. Schuester was inspired to follow her lead after he overheard the glee club girls discussing their boy troubles and thought everyone could learn a thing or two from Madonna’s message of self-empowerment.

The ladies performed “Express Yourself” wearing colorful corsets and suits. It wasn’t the most memorable performance of the episode, but it was a great Madonna tribute. I loved that girls other than Rachel got solos. After all, they can’t keep busting out Mercedes at the end to wail on the last note – she told us that herself.

Finn and Rachel performed a mash-up of “Borderline” and “Open Your Heart” together, and the duet resulted in the most chemistry we’ve ever seen between them. I loved the surreal scenes where they wandered the halls and students were dressed as different versions of Madonna.

Kurt and Mercedes had a fantastic story line this episode. I’ve been a fan of Kurt’s ever since the episode where he came out to his dad, but it was great to see him get something a little more lighthearted. After Mr. Schuester made fun of Sue’s hair – “By the way, how’s the Florence Henderson look working out for you” – Kurt and Mercedes offered to help her vamp up her look. “Mercedes is black, I’m gay,” Kurt said. “We make culture.”

The result was hilarious. First, we got to find out a little bit about Sue’s past. Or, what Sue has created to be her past. She’s 29, her parents were Nazi hunters and as a child she fried her hair by bleaching it using ammonia and napalm just so she could look like Madonna. Actually, the last bit was believable. The result of Kurt and Mercedes’ Sue makeover and multimedia Madonna project was a remake of the “Vogue” video, starring Sue Sylvester herself. It was sublime. Most people saw this last week, but I avoided it so that I could be surprised. Vocally, it was good. But visually, it was amazing.

The other part of Kurt and Mercedes’ story was that they joined the Cheerios. I thought that would be cheesy, but their version of “4 Minutes” was even better than the Madonna & Timberlake original. I love seeing Kurt and Mercedes in the spotlight, and I can’t wait to see how singing with the Cheerios will affect their places in New Directions.

One of my favorite parts of the episode was the performance of “Like a Virgin”. It was some of the best editing I’ve ever seen on TV. We saw Finn debating losing his virginity to Santana (ick!), Rachel debating losing hers to Jesse St. James (no!) and Emma debating losing hers to Will (yes!). The scenes provided the perfect mix of sex, innocence (or Finnocence?) and discomfort. In the end, sadly, it was Finn who did the deed. Rachel decided she wasn’t ready, and Emma freaked out and ran out of Will’s apartment, leaving her favorite shoes behind.

There were a few highlights of this plot development. Rachel wore a capelet to lose her virginity. Rachel didn’t sleep with Jesse, but lied to Finn and said she did. Finn slept with Santana, but lied to Rachel and said he didn’t. Will filed for divorce from Terri to help progress his relationship with Emma. And, Jesse transferred to McKinley and joined the New Directions glee club.

The one part of the episode that I could have lost was the boys’ performance of “What it Feels Like for a Girl”. It was a great vocal performance, but it was overshadowed by all the other musical numbers in the episode.

The episode closed with a sensational performance of “Like a Prayer”. I hope this replaces “Don’t Stop Believin'” as the go-to Glee song, because I don’t think I can hear that again. Everyone was dead-on, including Kurt and his falsetto.

Other highlights from “The Power of Madonna”:

  • “When I pulled my hamstring, I went to a misogynist.” – Brittany
  • “You’re about as sexy as a cabbage patch doll.” – Santana
  • “Foreplay will begin at 7:30 p.m. sharp.” – Emma
  • “Hey there, Whoopi. Don Knotts.” – Sue
  • Everything about Tina and Artie
  • Cheerios on stilts

I think “The Power of Madonna” may have been my favorite episode of Glee to date. What did you think of the Madge-fest?