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Glee-cap: Episode 4x07 "Dynamic Duets"

You know what this season of Glee has been missing (other than storylines and characters that fans seem to care about)?  It's been missing comedy.  You know, that thing that makes you laugh and fills you with glee.  Well, Ian Brennan has heard your cries for humor and answered the call with another one of his cracktastic-themed episodes.  At least that was his intention.  We'll see if the end result meets those expectations.

Glee-cap: Episode 4x07 "Dynamic Duets"

*Note: Screencaps for this episode are courtesy of screencapped and old school screencaps are courtesy of HomeOfTheNutty.com.

If you recall, earlier this season Blaine Warbler, in his quest to be the new Rachel, signed up for nearly every club at McKinley High.  One of those clubs was the Superhero Sidekicks Appreciation Club.  Now, everyone knows that Harry Potter was the hero, not the sidekick, so it appears that Blaine Warbler has upgraded himself to a full fledged superhero and formed the "Secret Society of Superheroes Club."  It also looks like he recruited some members of New Directions.  The first order of business in any superhero club meeting is, of course, role call.

Tina: Asian Persuasion.  Here.  My superpower is being the mistress of manipulation.
Sam: Blonde Chameleon.  Here.  My superpower is I can impersonate anybody.  George W. Bush!  Heh!
Teen Jesus: Tarantula Head.  Here.  My superpower is lashing you with my dreads.
Sugar: Sweet n' Spicy!  Here.  My superpower is money.

Apparently only members of New Directions get to participate in roll call.  It's probably because they need to make time to welcome more members of New Directions as "candidates" into their club.  Blaine Warbler (aka "Nightbird, the nocturnal avenger") takes things very seriously in the club as he chastises Artie for calling him by his "civilian name."  So, who are our new candidates?

Artie: I'm Doctor Y and my superpower is wheelies?
Becky: I'm Queen Bee and I can sting like a bitch!  Bzzz.
Brittany: I'm The Human Brain.

Of course you are, Brittany.  Their meeting gets interrupted when Nightbird receives a text on his "Night Phone."  Sadly, it's only a text from Asian Persuasion asking if he's talked to Kurt.  Nightbird doesn't appreciate the fact that his emergency phone was used as a ploy by Asian Persuasion to coax him into getting back together with his ex, but before Asian Persuasion can address that issue further, "Chai Tea" (aka Dottie Kazatori) runs in stating there's a legit emergency in the choir room.  Because of course that's where the emergency would be.  So everyone (well, the New Directions superheroes and Becky) dashes off to the choir room to discover that their Nationals trophy has been stolen and replaced with a laptop.

Nightbird handles the very important task of pushing play on the laptop, where a blurred out figure wearing a Hogwarts Dalton blazer appears.

Our mystery villain says that New Directions are "living on borrowed time" and that they have their trophy.  Hmmm...I wonder where their trophy could possibly be.

The only members of New Directions who aren't members of the Secret Society of Superheroes Club are the newbies, and neither Jake nor Marley seem inclined to join anytime soon.  Jake thinks that with all their free time, he and Marley can hang out.  The only problem with that idea is Marley promised Ryder she'd hang out with him.  The two boys start arguing over Marley, because that's their thing, and things start getting as physical when Mr. Schue shows up to stop the fight.  No wait.  That isn't Mr. Schue.  It's Finn.

And his transformation into Will 2.0 is now complete.

Finn is clearly freaking out about leading his first glee club meeting, and things go as well as you'd expect.  First, he has trouble getting their attention to start the meeting.  Then he runs into problems when he announces that Kitty and Ryder have officially joined glee club.  You know, because you can't have New Directions 2.0 without your Finn 2.0 and poor man version Quinn 2.0.  Tina doesn't seem pleased about Kitty's presence, but Finn says they need bodies to qualify for Sectionals.  Tina, however, hasn't forgiven Finn for overlooking her for Rizzo, so she says they should bring Santana in.  Oh, Tina.  You have a point, but let it go already.  Anyway, Finn continues to have a rocky start as he breaks the marker, can't find any more markers and then comes up with this brilliant idea for Sectionals:

Finn: The theme is foreigner.  We're gonna sing songs by Foreigner in foreign languages wearing costumes of all the world's nations.
Artie: Wait seriously, that's your idea?
Finn: Yeah.
Brittany: Kiki, what do you think?
Kiki: I think I'm alive and you are the machine.

Blaine Warbler or is he Nightbird because he's still in costume?  I'm confused.  Anyway, he tells Finn that as National champions, they need to up their game and his idea doesn't cut it.  He then takes off to go retrieve the trophy that Finn didn't even know was missing.

Great first meeting, Finn.

Since Mr. Schue is no longer around for Finn to go to for advice, he turns to Coach Beiste, aka "The Beiste Master."  It appears that Coach Beiste is the faculty advisor for the Secret Society of Superheroes Club and Blaine is requiring that she dress up at least once a week if she wants to keep that position.  Finn recaps the disaster that was his first glee club session and thinks the problem is that no one sees him as an adult.  He's not wrong with that theory.  Coach Beiste tells Finn to "be their hero" and she means that in a literal sense.  And just like his predecessor, Finn suddenly has an "original" idea for glee club.

Elsewhere, Blaine has traveled to Hogwarts, where he runs into Draco Malfoy Sebastian and assumes that he stole their Nationals trophy.  "Please," replies Draco.  "I'm too vain to blur out my pretty little face in a video.  If I took it, you'd know."  Seriously, Draco says he's ditched his bullying ways and now answers to a new Warbler captain.  It's a little funny that since Blaine left, the Warblers have disbanded their council and always have a captain.  Anyway, their new captain is Hunter Clarington (played by Broadway performer Nolan Gerard Funk), or as I like to call him Dr. Claw.

Hunter is "not even remotely bi-curious" and recently moved from Colorado where he led his military academy to a Regionals victory "with Presidential honors."  Hmmm...okay, maybe Hunter is really Victor Krum.  Hunter confesses that stealing New Directions' Nationals trophy was merely bait to get Blaine to rejoin the Warblers.  Why would Blaine do such a thing?  Well, he went to McKinley for Kurt, who's no longer there, and everyone calls him Blaine Warbler.  They present Blaine with a blazer and even though he says their tactics aren't going to work, that blazer and the sounds of some a Capella tunes are clearly his kryptonite, as he immediately starts singing Kelly Clarkson's "Dark Side".

If the Warblers are the "dark side" does that make the new New Directions the Jedi?  If it does, I'm seriously concerned about the future of the galaxy Glee-verse.

The following day, Finn announces his new idea to the glee club: "Dynamic Duets."  He has adopted the role of "the Almighty Treble Clef, uniter of glee clubs."

No one seems to be buying his act, except Finn 2.0, of course.  Finn does make a point though when he says they have a bunch of talented individuals but they aren't working as a team.  In fact, there are members of the glee club who are "mortal enemies" like Jake and Ryder and Kitty and Marley.  As such, Finn pairs those two groups up to sing a duet together.  Apparently everyone else gets to skip out on this assignment.  At least we won't have to hear the four of them sing solos.

Later in the hallway, Kitty tells Marley she's already chosen the song they are going to perform as well as her superhero name: "Femme Fatale."  Meanwhile, Jake approaches Ryder stating they both know Finn's assignment isn't going to change things between them.  Ryder think that if Jake fails to do the assignment he'll be booted out of glee club.  Oh, Finn 2.0, you silly rabbit.  Given that Finn just accepted Kitty into glee club because they need 12 bodies to qualify for Sectionals, I'm sure Jake has a carte blanche to do what he wants.  What really gets Jake's attention though is when Ryder says his superhero name is "Mega Stud" because apparently that's the superhero name Jake chose for himself.  How will these two decide who the real Mega Stud is?  With a sing-off to R.E.M.'s "Superman" of course.

The best part of this entire performance was Sugar.  And Artie when he asked, "Isn't MS a degenerative nerve disease?"  Other than that, it was pretty boring watching Jake and Ryder prance around trying to impress Marley.  They don't get to finish the performance because they end up in a fight, which Finn can't seem to break up because apparently yelling "Stop it!" doesn't work.  Sam has to put Ryder into a full nelson and drag him away to stop the fight.

Since Finn's first idea didn't work, he decides to give the boys a new assignment.

Jake: Will it also be lame?

We'll have to see, Jake.  We'll have to see.  Finn's latest idea - a "kryptonite lesson" - is for the boys to tell each other their deepest fears in the hopes that they'll end up understanding each other.  Ummm...I'm no superhero, but I'm pretty sure that revealing your greatest weakness to your enemy is the best way to get yourself killed.  You might want to work on your metaphors, Finn.  Just sayin'.  Later, Finn is working on choreography, which is beyond disturbing, when Blaine walks in and shares that during "Operation: Rescue Recovery" he sang a song with the Warblers and he really enjoyed it.  To Finn's horror, Blaine says that he tried living in the muggle world but he just doesn't fit in.  Looks like Harry Potter is heading back to Hogwarts.

Marley tells Kitty they can't do a duet together, because Marley is too self-conscious to wear a head-to-toe body suit.  Kitty asks Marley if she's been maintaining her new bulimia addiction and Marley says yes.  Marley, you are incredibly gullible and I am losing respect and interest in you with every passing second that this storyline continues.

What happens next is the most disturbing scene of this episode.  Sam is imitating Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, but that's not the disturbing part.  His imitation is actually a pretty good one.  The disturbing part is he's wearing his jock strap on his face when he does it.  Sometimes I forget how disgusting guys can be.  Jake seems to have taken Finn's latest assignment seriously and hands Ryder a note with his kryptonite.  Ryder tells him to "be a man" and say it out loud.

Jake: My whole life, I've never felt like I fit in.  Not anywhere.  I'm half-White, half-Black, half-Jewish.  And just in case I forget, someone always reminds me.

Ryder refuses to reciprocate and share his kryptonite until Jake pursues him and pushes the issue.

Ryder: I made you tell me what your note said 'cause I couldn't read it.

Okay then.  In the bathroom that used to be reserved for Quinn and Rachel convos, Kitty and Marley have put on their costumes and Marley reveals that her superhero is "Wall Flower."  In the only nice moment Kitty has had on this show, she tells Marley that she's hot and renames her "Woman Fierce."  Together they make their way to choir room to perform Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For a Hero".

I still think Kitty's more of a super villain than a superhero, but that was quite an impressive performance.  Also, Kitty sure knows how to handle a whip.  Brittany notices that Blaine is missing (although everyone fails to notice Unique's absence throughout this episode) and Finn breaks the news to them that Blaine has decided to go back to Dalton.

Jake tells Finn about Ryder's problem, so Finn takes Ryder to a special education director to get tested.  Ryder is reluctant at first but eventually agrees to take the test and for some reason we have to watch him take the entire test.  It turns out Ryder is dyslexic.  You know who else is dyslexic?  Sam, but clearly Ryan Murphy & Co. forgot about that (thanks to gleezone tumblr).  Also, to recap, Ryder has a singing voice nearly identical to Finn's, has dyslexia like Sam, and looks a bit like the both of them.  Are we sure Ryder isn't Finn and Sam's lovechild from the future?  Getting back to the show, Ryder waxes poetic about how he's always felt stupid and thinks his PhD dad won't love him because he's stupid and didn't know how to read when he was six.  You'd think someone with a PhD would consider getting his kid tested to see if they have any developmental problems.  Anyway, Ryder thanks Finn for his help and Finn says he should really be thanking Jake.

In the cafeteria, Jake is complimenting Mama Rose because he knows that's the way to Marley's heart, when Karofsky and Azimio 2.0 stop by with their weekly insults.  Jake stands up for Mama Rose, as per usu, and it looks like a fight is going to break up until Ryder (and Doctor Y, Tarantula Head and Queen Bee) comes to Jake's defense.  The guys back off, but I suspect it had more to do with Queen Bee threatening them with a spork than Ryder sticking up for Jake.  At least, that's how I'm going to see it.  I think this is the start of the Finn and Puck 2.0 bromance.

Speaking of Puck 2.0, the original version is hanging out in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood dressed as "The Pucker Man" and charging "suckers" tourists for pictures.

He gets a call from baby Puck asking him for advice about Marley.  Puck basically tells him not to be a douche, but rather, bide his time and let their Puckerman pheromones bring Marley to him.

Elsewhere, Sam is trying to stop Blaine from returning to Dalton.  It seems Sam is on to the fact that Blaine is punishing himself.  The truth is, Blaine is punishing himself.  We learn that he slept with faceless!Eli C. from Facebook thinking that maybe he and Kurt didn't have a future together and regretted it immediately afterward.  Of course, Blaine can't tell Kurt any of this because Kurt won't talk to him.  Sam tries to get Blaine to understand that while he made a mistake, he's not a bad guy.  He pleads with Blaine to give him a chance to prove to him that he is a hero who belongs at McKinley, and together they perform David Bowie's "Heroes".

This was my favorite scene of the episode and not just because Chord and Darren sounded really good together.  Seeing the Gleeks play around while helping out the community is the first time IMO that the new New Directions has felt and acted like a group.

The best part, though, is what happens afterward.  Blaine agrees to stay at McKinley but they have one mission to complete first.

That's right.  Blonde Chameleon and Nightbird retrieved the Nationals trophy from the Warblers.  I love that when Blaine left the blazer his note said "No Thanks."

That Nightbird is always so polite when fighting crime.

Ryder cancels his date with Marley so that he can study and improve his grades.  She seems more bummed and less understanding that this is important to him, which makes me lose even more respect for Marley.  Kitty comes along to tell Marley that Ryder is probably blowing her off because she's fat and instead of using her brain to realize that Ryder was just diagnosed with dyslexia and takes that shit seriously, gullible!Marley buys into Kitty's bullshit.  She also becomes douchebag!Marley when she says she's not going to sit at home alone on a Friday night and proceeds to ask Jake out on a date.  Seriously Marley?!

Later in the choir room, Sam and Blaine are debriefing the Gleeks on their mission and giving a pep talk that somehow ends with them saying Finn is their leader and everyone cheering for him.  Really?!  Well, if Mr. Schue could get away with take credit for doing nothing, I suppose Finn can too.  The Gleeks present Finn with a fanny pack utility belt full of things to help him out, including markers, antacid for "the show choir squirts," a treble clef pin and, my favorite, a doll's head courtesy of one Ms. Brittany S. Pierce.

Brittany: That's from me.  You're welcome.

So far this episode hasn't been great, but it hasn't been horrific either.  That is, until Finn commits the greatest sin in the Glee-verse.

Finn: Next week at Sectionals, we are going to kick some Warblers' sorry asses.  Then it's Regionals, and then it's Nationals, and then this year is going to go down in the McKinley High record books as the greatest year New Directions has ever seen!

How dare you, Finn Hudson!  That is Glee blasphemy!  Unless you can find a way that allows Rachel Berry to be a part of this new New Directions, that is never going to happen.  Things get even worse when the new New Directions decide to end the episode with a performance of fun.'s "Some Nights".

Although it sounded alright and I like fun., there are several reasons why I didn't like this performance.  First and foremost, I'm still pissed about Finn's comment.  Secondly, are we ever going to get to hear Kevin McHale sing this year?  Or poor Jenna Ushkowitz for that matter (I don't count that teeny tiny bit she got to sing with Kitty)?  Yeah, I know Artie did a duet with Blaine in the "Britney 2.0" episode but that was five episodes ago.  Ryder has sung lead on five songs and he's only been in three episodes.  I mean, even Teen Jesus got a solo part in this performance.  On a separate note, I still can't stand to watch Teen Jesus because Samuel Larson has the worst facial expressions.  He either looks mad or he looks confused and mad.  Or maybe he's angry because he's confused.  Regardless, whenever I look at him I want to say, "Chill out, dude!  You're supposed to be a Jesus-loving hippie.  Crack a smile every once in a while."  Finally, you cannot place the new New Directions into red t-shirt and jeans and expect me not to think of the OGs performance of "Don't Stop Believein'".  Seriously, it is not a good idea to continuously remind your audience that these newbies are poor knock-offs.  It just makes us miss the OGs and dislike the newbies more than we already do.  This...

...has a very long way to go before it can even come close to becoming this...

Parting Thoughts: The ratings for this episode were atrocious.  I mean, it was their worst ever.  A part of that may have to do with the fact that this episode aired on Thanksgiving Day and if viewers weren't watching the football game, they were either passed out from food coma or waiting in line for Black Thursday Friday.  Personally, I believe another reason that this episode failed to garner viewers was because of how disappointing it was.  The fact that HummelBerry were absent from this episode didn't help either.  As I stated at the beginning, most of the time you can count on Ian Brennan to provide you with a cracktastic-themed episode.  It might have little to no plot, but it will probably make you laugh a lot.  Thus, this episode was disappointing because it failed to accomplish that one goal that it had.  I mean, when your comic-themed transitions are one of the few things that were actually good about this episode...

...you have clearly failed.

I will admit that the idea of Blaine returning to Dalton is something that's probably been brewing for a while and I did appreciate that they're continuing to show Sam's friendship with Blaine, but everything else was a complete letdown.  Sure, they found a way to get Jake and Ryder to bond, but they also completely overlooked the fact that they already had a character with dyslexia.  If you want to further explore Ryder's dyslexia, fine.  But why not integrate Sam into that storyline because he can actually relate?  And don't even get me started on Marley and Kitty because I was already over that storyline before it began.

In the last Glee-cap, I stated that there were several problems plaguing the show this season.  This episode pointed out another one: they aren't a group.  There's no sense of camaraderie.  For the most part, the newbies interact with the newbies (and Finn) and (when they get any screentime), the OGs interact with the OGs.  Amber may have been a supporting character during her three years on the show, but at least we got to see her form friendships with Kurt and Rachel (and Quinn if that little plot point hasn't been sucked into the Glee-hole of continuity).  And even when they weren't speaking, we saw characters like Mike, Tina and Sugar hanging out in the background interacting with all of the Gleeks.  This season, there is such a clear separation between the OGs and the newbies that's it's extremely difficult to buy into the idea that this group is a team, let alone the fact that they can win a competition.  At this point, the only thing I can think of is thank God we'll see the return of the graduated OGs in the next episode, because I'm seriously running out of excuses for why I should still be in love with this show.


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