Happy New Year’s everyone!
My resolution for 2014 is to be more awesome. Because I know I can accomplish that.
Also to try to update this thing more often. I feel bad leaving y’all hanging.
So let me clarify the rules for my Top Ten 2013 list. I will be looking at the episodes that were aired in 2013, only. So that means that from “Sadie Hawkins” (season four episode eleven) to “Previously Unaired Christmas” (season five episode eight) is fair game for this list.
Now this list is entirely subjective. So if your favorite episode from 2013 isn’t on here I’m sorry.
10) “A Katy Or A Gaga” (season five episode four)
One of my favorite characters of season five is Adam Lambert’s Elliott Gilbert. Seriously I love Elliott Gilbert. He’s Starchild. He is adorkable. He’s cute and sweet. He really wants Pamela Lansbury to succeed. He’s my favorite new character of the season. His introduction was great.
Not only did he represent the more outlandish, avant-garde side of Kurt Hummel. He also showed some interesting insight into Kurt’s mental well-being. After years of being tormented at McKinley, being told he wasn’t good enough for NYADA, being cheated on by Blaine, having his best friend get the lead in a Broadway show at nineteen and his other friend gets a national television spot. This is also in addition to his stepbrother dying a few weeks ago. (I’m going to assume that happened a few weeks ago.)
Naturally Kurt is feeling kind of down on himself. What Elliott does is exacerbate that in an interesting way. Kurt lashes out at Elliott, who represents how he thinks people see him, by a need to be “mainstream.” Why? Because for once in his life Kurt doesn’t want to have to fight for something. He keeps on having to fight for something in his life and he is worn down by it. It’s totally legitimate.
So that totally makes up for any bullshit with the whole “Applause” idiocy at McKinley.
Why? Because Adam Lambert is totally flawless.
9) “Tina In The Sky With Diamonds” (season five episode two)
I love character introductions. Especially for characters I really enjoy. Dani, despite not being seen much, is really sweet and fun. I think she’s a good match for Santana. Plus the two of them are adorable together when they get screen time. So a major reason this episode worked so well for me is because it’s a great introduction to Dani. We learn a bit about her backstory. We get to see Santana get all flustered around her. We never see Santana flustered!
Another good thing about the episode is Kitty. I know the episode is called “Tina In The Sky With Diamonds.” Honestly though? Kitty steals the McKinley scenes. While Tina is being well bitchy!Tina that we’ve gotten since season four, Kitty shows real growth as a character. When nominated for Prom Queen, Kitty stepped back. She would have rather Tina to have the spotlight because it was her senior year. She insisted standing back and letting others have the stage. It’s Bree who sets into mention the power play and the Carrie incident.
Months ago, Kitty wouldn’t have cared that this would have happened. In fact, she probably would have loved the spotlight. She also wouldn’t have given Tina her dress after the Carrie incident.
So great character development and great character introduction.
8) “Diva” (season four episode thirteen)
This episode is all about the fabulousness of one Santana Lopez. We all bow before her fierceness and hope that we too can grow up to be like her. Mainly in being kickass and awesome.
This episode is about diva attitudes. It also has to do with being daring and bold, taking a leap of faith when it scares you. Santana comes back to give everyone a lesson being a diva. She also comes back to Lima to break-up Sam and Brittany. Why? Because Tina slowly started turning evil in season four and told her in the bitchiest way possible. Back in Lima, we learn that Santana has dropped out of Louisville and doesn’t know what to do with her life. It’s Brittany that tells her to go where she belongs. Santana moves to New York. What sells this is Naya Rivera’s performance. It’s clear that she’s trying to convey Santana’s own confusion and anger at her situation by fixating on something else, i.e.: Sam and Brittany’s relationship. When she finally moves on (complete with song sequence) it’s awesome.
The other part of the episode is dealing with season four Rachel’s own attitude problem. Now I like season five Rachel for a variety of reasons. Season four Rachel? Season four Rachel can be deleted from my memory. Forever. Thanks. So “Diva” was a great cathartic episode on someone, namely Kurt, confronting her over her increasingly bratty attitude that I noticed from “Britney 2.0.” Plus it shows what can happen when someone gets too much fame placed on them and surrounds themselves with the wrong kind of people. Now I do wish she could have stewed from losing to Kurt a little while longer after losing the sing-off. But it was still something humbling that she needed. Also it provided closure from the thrown Diva-Off in “Wheels” (season one episode nine).
The other awesome thing from the episode is “Hung-Up.” That song and performance was awesome. I may not like Tina in season four. I may not like her in this episode very much (the infamous Vapo-Rub scene). I do, however, like good performances and this delivered.
7) “Naked” (season four episode twelve)
It’s still a really good episode. Does it provide fanservice? Oh yes. Is it a bit cracky? Oh yes.
But it’s also really heartfelt. I do wish the lesson about Sam being more than his body stuck. (It seems to have slipped his mind in season five, episode six “Movin’ Out”.) Still the episode did have something to say about it. Sam couldn’t really on being half-naked physically. Rather he had to become emotionally naked and reveal his very genuine fears about not being more than what people see.
This was also a great episode for Finn. In it, he starts to figure out who he wants to be as a teacher. He and Artie have a wonderful discussion about Artie setting his own boundaries in terms of what he is and is not comfortable showing. (Again this was retcon in regards to Marley in “A Katy Or A Gaga.”) Still it showed the kind of teacher Finn could have been which allowed for character development as he becomes more encouraging to those around him in a leader role.
Rachel also had a good episode here. The whole thing about her setting her own limitations in regards to nudity really does show her thinking as an artist. Her body is also the tool of her trade. She has to figure out how she will be comfortable using it.
Plus you know, the fanservice. I’m really bummed we never got that calendar guys.
6) “I Do” (season four episode fourteen)
Glee does good Valentine’s Day episodes. It helps that there is an abundance of music in regards to love for them to choose from. So their Valentine’s Day episode last year was a good one. Not only did it have good music but it also focused on the oft-ignored issues of the Emma/Will relationship. Or the fact of Will going away would strain their relationship. It’s hard to be separated from someone for a time, even months, and then suddenly you two have to get married.
Emma’s running away from the church made perfect sense given her need for control and order. She felt like her life was spiraling without it so she ran. You have to give props to Jayma Mays for this performance, especially the quick time delivery on “Getting Married Today.” I have no clue how she did it without running out of breath and enunciating.
It also was really sweet to see Finn as Will’s best man. I mean yeah in “Diva” he kissed Emma. But I liked their brotherly/close friendship over the course of the show. I always found it really sweet.
This episode was all about the little moments honestly. Marley and Jake singing “You’re All I Need To Get By,” Kurt and Tina’s fight, Quinn and Santana (all of it), and the last duet of Finn and Rachel. Which is really sad in retrospect and I didn’t like it much when I first listened to it but it’s grown on me.
5) “Sweet Dreams” (season four episode nineteen)
Yeah. You all know that Finn’s final episode was probably going to appear on this list somewhere.
So do I like it? Actually I do like it. Ish. The episode is a really good look at Finn finally settling. He’s lost New Directions. He’s lost his way. So going to college is a chance for him to settle himself. What does happen is that Finn falls back into old habits. For the most part, he was a bit of a go along to get along type of character. His whole story was about him struggling to do what was right over what was easy. Sometimes? He didn’t necessarily make the correct choice.
So again he, like a lot of college freshman, doesn’t make the right choice here. And you know what? It happens. It’s only when his dream starts to suffer that everything has to go back on track. A really nice moment is when Puck gets Finn to start studying after he misses a test. He wanted his best friend to succeed and get his dreams. It showed the softer side of Puck and was definitely a scene I thought of later.
Even though I didn’t like Rachel singing it solo. (Lea Michele has a gorgeous voice. I just don’t care for the flourishes she put in it.) I did like seeing the original New Directions there in her mind. It did show that Rachel does remember her roots. She just tends to forget sometimes too.
4) “Shooting Star” (season four episode eighteen)
It was solidly written. It was amazingly acted. The fifteen minutes in the choir room felt claustrophobic and tense. I literally lost my breath watching the sequence. The episode did start out silly. HOWEVER when the tonal shift occurred, it stayed. The rest of the episode wasn’t fun or silly, it was tense and did show an aftermath. It had consequences that lasted into the following episode. There was continuity from this episode. It was not a bad episode. It was a very good episode.
I’ve pretty much exhausted anything I have to say about it.
3) “Girls (And Boys) On Film” (season four episode fifteen)
This was just a very fun episode.
Let’s not forget that this episode started to make the New York plotline sooo much more interesting with the addition of Santana Lopez in it. Also it showed how your roommates can get on your nerves especially when there is no way out. She also referenced “Doctor Who.” I love this episode for that.
So what else was great about the episode? The whole vibe of the episode was awesome. Once you start referencing movies, things feel a little grander. The black and white dream sequence with Will and Kurt’s own Moulin Rogue fantasy made the episode feel really big in scope. They were also gorgeous numbers to watch. Then you bring back the mash-up competition. I really do have a weakness for mash-ups. So it was fun to see a favorite from Moulin Rogue and what I still think is one of the most homoerotic mash-ups to date. (It’s the Top Gun part that brings it over.) Plus it was fun watching everyone be silly.
Fun episodes are good episodes. They help you breathe.
Plus everyone wants their own boombox moment from Say Anything.
2) “Feud” (season four episode sixteen)
There was a Backstreet Boys and N*Sync mash-up in this episode. This makes it pretty damn amazing.
Okay. So in addition to that awesome, this episode was very strong musically. Even songs I didn’t like vocally such as “How To Be A Heartbreaker” still had things I enjoyed (the dancing and the way it was shot). That is a strong point to a good episode when things you don’t really like still had some good points.
So outside of finding out Brody’s career as an escort, we have Santana clearly trying to protect her friends. She knows his shady and tries to get him to back-up. This shows that Santana does love others even if she has a roundabout way of expressing it. Plus musical confrontations are the best kinds.
My favorite part about this episode though is the Ryder and Unique feud. Ryder acted in regards to New York as a normal, jock, teenage boy would react. (At least how I would see one reacting.) He didn’t understand what Unique was going through. It made him uncomfortable. Yet people rightly called him out that it wasn’t about him. That Unique needed a place where she can be herself. At the end, maybe he didn’t get it a hundred percent but he understood enough. That was such a great message to see. Period. Blake Jenner and Alex Newell acted the hell out of their roles here. I have to give it major props.
1) “The Quarterback” (season five episode three)
Was I honestly going to put any other episode as my number one pick?
Finn Hudson was my favorite character on the show. I really liked what I knew about Cory Monteith. It’s markedly different without him or his character there.
The episode didn’t have a plot. It just was. It just was some honest catharsis for both the fans and the cast mourning someone who died way too soon. We were united in grieving. It allowed us to grieve.
It also was a beautiful celebration of the life of someone that we cared about. People may have not liked Finn as a character. I have yet to find a fan who didn’t like Cory Monteith. The episode was gut-wrenching and beautiful. It was a send-off that should not have happened. Yet I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting tribute for the character and for the actor in the show that will define him.
I really don’t have more to say. Like “Shooting Star,” I feel I have talked about this way too much. It was a beautiful episode. It was definitely the best of season five. It was a fitting send-off.
Sorry the list ended on depressing note.
Hopefully next few posts will be a bit happier.
NEXT ON THE GLEE REWATCH PROJECT: I start celebrating the 100th episode of the show in small increments. First up is a list of the Best Glee Villains.
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