After last week’s stellar episode, I have to admit I wasn’t holding up a lot of hope for this week’s. After all, when it comes to consistency, Glee hasn’t really sorted out all its kinks as yet, and they do tend to follow up really strong episodes with those that are more filler than killer and, sadly, I was not mistaken. But the good news is, although Duets is a bit of a filler episode, it isn’t really half bad.
After his injury last week and much to the rest of the club’s delight, new kid Sam finally joins the Glee club and is soon perused by Kurt, who believes him to be gay. This ramps up very quickly when Will decides a little competition is in order and decrees the couple who performs the best duet will win a dinner for two at a local restaurant.
Finn and Rachel think they have it in the bag, but wanting to keep Sam in the club, they decide to rig the vote and perform the most offensive song they can find. However, the rest of the duos want to win and set out to perform the best numbers that they can.
After ditching Brittany after she suggests the two girls perform a Melissa Etheridge song, Santana teams with Mercedes and they perform a diva-filled version of River Deep, Mountain High and Tina and Mike perform Sing! from A Chorus Line.
After having a heart to heart with his recovering father, Kurt realises he can’t keep going after straight guys hoping they are, in fact, gay and he releases Sam from the commitment he made to sing with him and opts to do a duet with himself, performing a stonking version of Le Jazz Hot from Victor/Victoria. After teaming up with a reluctant Quinn, she and Sam perform Lucky and end up winning the competition. Their free dinner turns out to be their first date.
Sensing Kurt’s unhappiness of not being able to find somebody to not just duet with, but to be with, Rachel asks if he would be her duet partner, even though the competition is over, and the two do a lovely mash-up of two classic Judy Garland songs.
Last season my biggest gripe with Glee was the fact it was partial to putting in filler episodes rather than focusing on the ongoing storyline, and whatever happened in that specific episode would wrap up nicely within the hour. Thankfully, although this episode screamed filler, it did actually manage to move along the main plotlines pretty nicely.
Kurt is still coping with being the only gay student in the school (and, as revealed, within the entire town), Sam joined the club and sparked up a romance with Quinn, and Santana and Brittany’s relationship was made a bit clearer, rather than assumed by innuendo. All these little stories nicely linked up to the characters’ progression and make them more rounded and believable.
What I thought was a wasted opportunity this week was the storyline between Brittany and Artie. The writers have really ramped up Brittany’s character this season and her one-liners are getting up there along with Sue Sylvester’s (who was noticeably missing this episode) put downs and, while I have been enjoying getting to know the character more, I felt the writers let both her and Artie down this week when it came to the issue of him losing his virginity to her.
Having a disabled character in a primetime American show is a pretty bold thing to do, but whenever there is an issue to do him and his disability, it seems the writers skirt around it somewhat and I felt they could have done a lot more with the issue than they did. Kevin McHale, who plays Artie, is a great little actor and I hope they give him a bit more screen time to let his character develop further and I hope the Tina-Mike-Artie triangle gets him a bit more screen time than he currently has.
Overall, this was a bit of a take it or leave it episode. Nothing exceptional happened, there were no real big numbers to speak of, and the focus on musical theatre, although perfect for a viewer like me, might have alienated some of its audience a bit.
Next week, the gang will be donning their fishnets and throwing caution to the wind, because just in time for Halloween, they will be putting on The Rocky Horror Glee Show.
Read our review of episode 3, Grilled Cheesus, here.