Is anyone else sad that season four is over? I kind of am. It dragged a bit at the end but overall I enjoyed the season. Plus I think it will hold a special place in my heart because I started my job and this blog during the course of the season.
I know. I know. I’m such a sentimental person. Sorry.
I know I promised to talk about Ryder and Kitty with a new “Glee and Social Issues”. Yeah with my finals coming up that is not happening right now. I need my logic and rhetoric for finals.
So with the season four at an end, I decided to do a list of my Top Ten Episodes of Glee Season Four. Now unlike my Top Ten Glee Episodes of 2012, I will be focusing on just season four instead of the episodes I saw in that year. So yes there will possibility be some repeats there.
Right! With that in mind let’s talk about my favorite episodes of the season.
SPOILER ALERT FOR ALL OF SEASON FOUR! I should start stating that this is my opinion. I only know what I like. So if you guys agree that’s great but if not then that’s fine as well.
10) “Glee, Actually” (season four episode ten)
This was an episode that was a series of vignettes over a cohesive whole. Actually I think that glee should do stuff like this more often. Little moments that are actually cohesive rather than a jumbled mess of a story. I liked it because of those moments. Artie’s surreal It’s A Wonderful Life experience with his wheelchair was strange but kind of interesting? (The Quinn thing confused the fuck out of me.) The Puckerman brothers bonding with their moms and in California was a blast to watch. I loved Sue with Marley and her mother. Not learning the spirit of Christmas…it was more like a reminder about what’s important in life. Kurt with Burt was just so nice to see and the scene still has me in utter tears. It was a fun episode that kind of captured the over all essence of the holidays. It was a very sweet, fun episode that has many parts that worked and stayed with me.
9) “Naked” (season four episode twelve)
God bless this episode. This was just pure, wonderful fanservice. I loved every minute of it. Maybe this wasn’t the deepest or most sentimental episode of this season. It definitely wasn’t. It was just an hour of fun. I had fun watching this. Plus legitimate character development: Sam learning his worth, Rachel accepting her comfort level as an actress, Artie confronting his issues on his body image, and Finn getting one over on Sue. Oh! There was some adorable moments with Jarley (who may have rushed into the “I love you” bit but eh I can forgive it). There was a lot of good stuff there character wise. It was just an hour of fun and character development, which is exactly what I wanted. I was a little grossed out about Brody sitting bare ass naked on furniture. Real of being nude and living with multiple people: sit down on a damn towel. That’s just hygienic. Plus you know shirtless guys in silly costumes and Rachel hallucinating back to days when I liked her. It was just a fun, solid episode.
8) “Thanksgiving” (season four episode eight)/ “Swan Song” (season four episode nine)
This episode was…overstuffed for lack of a better word. (Get it? Overstuffed…Thanksgiving? THANK YOU! I’m here all week!) There were a lot of things going on here. There were a lot of GOOD things going on here. It had the graduates. It had Sectionals. It had the newbies bonding with the graduates. It had New York with Sarah Jessica Parker and drag queens. It had a really nice phone call with Blaine and Kurt which just kind of got destroyed as the season progressed. (I kind of wished we had more Kurt and Blaine moments like that versus the whole marriage thing.) The songs were good. Yes even “Gangnam Style”. Jenna Ushkowitz had to learn that whole song! Korean is not an easy language to learn! Even phonetically! It had some nice bromantic moments between Ryder and Jake. It brought Marley’s eating disorder storyline to a head versus dragging it out the rest of the season. It had a lot of good things in there. There was just so much of them.
These episodes kind of go hand in hand with me. I have a hard time of thinking of one separate from the other. “Swan Song” is good. I don’t hate it. It does pose an interesting question. “How would New Directions move on if they lost so early in their season?” I admit that the choir room being dismantled was really sad. I wanted to punch something when Sue defamed Ms. Adler’s picture. Finn broke my heart and made me cheer by his resolve to try to keep New Directions together. Plus how Marley seemed to blame herself. Melissa Benoist made a lot of great little choices her that made her performance heart wrenching. The New York side was okay too. Kurt’s storyline was strong. I wanted him to stand his ground. Rachel did what Rachel does best. She stood there and sang pretty songs. I do wish they could work with her emotional faces while singing. Some of them are…odd. It was good. It should have been the height of her story arc. It just, however, only serve to show how under-developed the New York plots were in comparison with McKinley. I’m blaming the writers here. Again I just wished to see a little more struggle at NYADA with Rachel finding her footing. Again it was the writing and not the characters on that side. It was a solid, sold episode thought that I enjoyed.
7) “Girls (and Boys) On Film” (season four episode fifteen)
Besides this being the episode with glee’s 500th musical number, this episode was a great ride. It was tribute to music in the movies.First off, the New York plotline got soooo much more interesting with the addition of one Santana Lopez. I just loved watching her ruffle feathers, made snarky comments, the drug dealer stuff was gold. She just showed that it was such a good idea to bring her in. They needed her there. Once Santana was there, the New York stuff got a lot better to me. On the McKinley side, it brought back the fan favorite mash-up competition. One of the two most homoerotic mash-up song I’ve ever heard (“Danger Zone/Old Time Rock N Roll”) with pants-less dancing and uniforms. It started to show Kitty’s softer side. It had that nice Wemma reconciliation. Matthew Morrison sang twice in an episode which is always a treat (at least to me). It was a good tribute to music in movies. I could have done with less movie puns/analogies, but I know this is asking much.
6) “Guilty Pleasure” (season four episode seventeen)
This episode is about musical guilty pleasures and celebrating them. (Unless you like Chris Brown songs then GO TO HELL!) It does a lot of fun things. Mainly though, I just loved how it celebrated guilty pleasures. We all have them. Hell even I can say that glee is a guilty pleasure. It was just a pure fun episode that did not rehab songs but rather celebrate the music. It’s pretty much glee’s way of saving that your guilty pleasures are what make you happy. The only problem is that I still don’t get how “Creep” by Radiohead is a guilty pleasure. It just doesn’t fit with the theme of the episode. So I wished that was changed. I still loved, however, everything else. It was a fun episode that I truly enjoyed before one very dramatic one and four ones that were on a sliding scale of okay. Plus it was the only episode with a cohesive ending song between New York and McKinley.
5) “The New Rachel” (season four episode one)
This was a really, really good opening episode. It wasn’t as good as the “Pilot” (season one episode one). It was, however, better than “Audition” (season two episode one) and “The Purple Piano Project” (season three episode one). It did what it needed to do. It introduced characters. It introduced conflicts. It had a good story. It had good music. This was great from start to finish. Looking at it, I wish most of the season would have followed what was set up in this episode. I wanted to see Rachel struggle to adjust more in New York. She was clearly having some problems adjusting. I would have loved a real honest exploration of her standing on her own two feet. Instead of the city welcoming her with open arms, an honest struggle as she experiences how New York can kind of suck sometimes. I love the city but you all know its true. That would have made a much more interesting story for the New York side to keep us all interested until Santana showed up. Also watching this episode you see how the newbies have changed over the course of the season. I do think exploring Jake’s anger in more depth could have been interesting. Plus the fact that it read like Marley didn’t make friends easily could have been another good place to start. I was glad the popularity thing was done with but I do wish the older members of New Directions learned something from it. I think that this episode could have been a strong start to a fantastic season. Don’t get me wrong, I really did enjoy season four. Just..rewatching “The New Rachel” reminded me of how much better it could have been.
4) “Feud” (season four episode sixteen)
This one was a great episode for mash-ups. I am not lying. Some of my favorite mash-ups from Glee as a whole came from this episode. It also again was just a great story. We had the revelation of Brody’s job and Santana’s suspicions. This was coupled with Finn coming in and just whaling on Brody at the end. (Which was just fucking hot. You all know it was. The “future wife” line was creepy but damn that beat down was AWESOME.) You had Ryder reacting to Unique being transgender in a normal, realistic way as a teenage jock from Ohio. That whole plot of the episode was just amazingly acted. You had the silliness of the Sue verssu Blaine feud. Will and Finn truth be told their song (the other most homoerotic mash-up I have ever heard) was awesome. Their feud was odd (understandable but odd). It worked because Matthew Morrison and Cory Monteith are really good actors who don’t get enough credit. This episode was funny, dramatic, heartfelt with kickass music and great story. It also introduced the Katie plot in a good way as well.
3) “Shooting Star” (season four episode eighteen)
Now “Shooting Star” was the most controversial episode of glee of the season and possibly the entire series. Critics, at least the majority of the critics I read, didn’t like it. The fans that I talk to as well as myself loved the episode. I really, really did. I understand the sensitive subject matter. No one was hurt. It was an accident. The episode started off silly. Then when that tonal shift occurred that tonal shift STAYED! It’s my main problem with “Lights Out” (season four episode twenty). Seriously watch both of those episodes side by side and you will see that “Shooting Star” is the better episode about a relevant social issue. The tonal shift happened. It stayed. There were consequences based on what happened in “Shooting Star”. The molestation issue in “Lights Out” was just something shoved into an already overstuffed episode in a way that I hadn’t seen since “On My Way” (season three episode fourteen). The fact that they only had three songs in “Shooting Star” was brilliant. They got two out of the way early and the last song was just a quiet ending. The whole episode felt claustrophobic. The sequence in the choir room and relevant locations was long, uncomfortable and heart pounding. It was brilliant from a story standpoint, from a technical standpoint and the acting was just perfection. All the actors involved in this sequence nailed it. Blake Jenner gets a shout out for the choir room scene and the Katie-Catfish thing beforehand. When we got the “all clear” I could breathe again. The revelation of Becky was…odd. I think she confessed in “Lights Out” as well. I can’t confirm it though. If you want more on my feelings for this episode then I suggest you check out the post I wrote after the episode aired. All in all it was a great episode. I have no misgivings about putting it in my top three.
2) “The Break-Up” (season four episode four)
This was the best episode of just character driven emotion that I have seen in a long time. “Shooting Star” was great in the way it tackled a issue. “The Break Up” was just great in how it tackled the characters inner turmoil and emotions. It showed how couples grow apart and face that reality. Long distance relationships are not easy. Relationships, in general, take a lot of work. Sometimes teenagers and adults do not put the necessary effort into it. It makes sense for glee to tackle it in this way. Will and Emma take the more adult root (kind of) by trying to work on their problems (kind of). Finn and Rachel acknowledge that this…this may work someday but they need to be their own people now. Plus you know they finalized what was pretty much on the wall in “Goodbye” (season three episode twenty-two). Need I also remind you that Finn hasn’t talked to Rachel, who straight up kissed another guy?! They formalized what we all saw coming. Blaine just flat out cheated on Kurt. The breach of trust was severe and harsh and sudden. Even the most rock solid couples can still be rocked by cheating like this. It shows no one is infallible. Santana and Brittany took the most mature approach. Santana admitted that she felt them growing apart. She loves Brittany but she doesn’t want to hurt Brittany. Santana also doesn’t want Brittany to hurt her. So a break-up, as much as it sucks and as much as they love each other, was a good thing for both of them. That was the most sensible of the break-up and the one that mirrored what I saw in my friends lives also. It was a mature, adult decision. The whole episode though was just perfect in the music, in the story and in the direction. “The Scientist”? Goddamn that song STILL gets me even months later.
1) “Dynamic Duets” (season four episode seven)
So I choose two emotional, very deep episodes that just left me and others as utter wrecks. Why is a comedic episode at number one? Simple. It’s months later. I’m still laughing my ass off at it. This was just funny. Glee, at its core, is a comedy. That’s the category that everyone keeps putting it in. Glee is supposed to be funny. It’s supposed to be weird and a little bit off center. I wish my high school had a superheroes club. Hell I wish my college had a superhero club. It channeled that old school Adam West Batman kind of vibe. It also channeled season one of glee. Plus Ian Brennan writes some really strange and funny episodes. (Granted he also writes some episodes that piss me off but the good outweighs the bad here.) The superhero thing was over the top, ludicrous and awesome. You can tell that everyone was just having so much fun here. The duets were fantastic. The superhero puns and metaphors were awesome. How Finn used superheroes to try to reach the club was great. The main conflict with the Warblers as the villains was perfect. Everyone was hamming it up in the best way. This is glee at some of its best comedy, in my opinion. I like drama just as much as the next person. Still I come to glee to laugh. This episode? It still gets me laughing every time. It embodies the glee in glee.
And that’s it! My Top Ten Episodes Of Glee Season Four!
NEXT ON THE GLEE REWATCH PROJECT: My Top Ten Songs of Glee Season Four Completed!
Notes: What were your top ten episodes of season four?
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Credits: Glee Wikia
Glee Season 4 on Hulu