The Fox network promoted last week’s episode of ‘Glee’ like crazy with a huge tease that one of the show’s characters would die. As if that didn’t sound enough like a cheap ratings stunt, ‘Funeral’ turned out to be a blatant filler episode where none of the season’s storylines advanced in the slightest.
Before the episode aired, my guess was that Karofsky would kill himself out of shame for not being able to admit or deal with his homosexuality. Mrs. Z guessed that Kurt’s dad would have another heart attack. Both of those seemed like logical conclusions. Neither one of us was right. In fact, neither of these characters appeared in the episode at all. Instead, the writers killed off an even less significant character, Sue’s sister Jean. The sole purpose of this seems to be to soften up Sue even further. What’s the point? Sue isn’t nearly as interesting a character when she goes sentimental.
On the Glee Club side of things, Will hires Rachel’s ex-boyfriend Jesse St. James as a “show choir consultant.” Pretty much all of his ideas are terrible. Mostly, he just serves to pit all of the students’ fragile egos against one another by suggesting that the team needs to identify a star performer who will lead all of their songs and take the spotlight at Nationals. To do so, he makes all of the candidates audition for the spot.
This is a pretty cheap ploy by the writers to create an excuse for each of the characters to belt out a solo number that fits nicely in each of their wheelhouses. Kurt does a show tune, of course (“Some People” from ‘Gypsy’). Rachel does a Streisand song, of course (“My Man,” the closing number from ‘Funny Girl’). Mercedes does an R&B classic, of course (“Try a Little Tenderness”). The only one who seems to break through at all is Santana, who does a sizzling cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.”
Mr. Schuester is greatly enthusiastic about each of these auditions, but Jesse (who took a college course in Reality show talent judging) lays into each of them with biting sarcasm. Except Rachel, who he immediately declares to be the winner. The whole contest was rigged so that he could get back together with her.
At the same time, Finn finally breaks up with Quinn when he realizes that his feelings for Rachel are stronger than his feelings for her. Just as he’s about to make his move, however, he spots Rachel kissing Jesse.
To prove what good people they are, the Glee Club takes care of all of Jean’s funeral arrangements for Sue. Because it was her favorite movie, they put together a ceremony with a ‘Willy Wonka’ theme, and perform “Pure Imagination.”
Sue gets mushy and apologizes to Will for the way she’s treated him over the years. Then she announces that she’ll be running for Congress. Umm, what?
Will’s ex-wife Terri also apologizes for the way she’s handled things since their divorce. She announces that she’ll be moving to Miami to be the manager at a new Sheets ‘N Things store. She’d be wise to stay away from any plastic surgeons down there. I’m just sayin’…
As the episode closes, Will makes a couple of announcements of his own. First, he fires Jesse and declares that the team will have no solo numbers at Nationals, just original group songs. Also, after Nationals, he’ll be staying in New York to pursue his Broadway dreams.
Quinn also says that she has big plans for New York, but leaves that hanging.
And that’s it. Really, there was no need to make an episode out of this. The couple of small plot points that might be somehow relevant could have easily been folded in to this week’s finale. This was an obvious placeholder to stretch out the season another week. Let’s hope that the producers were saving up their energy to pour it all into the finale.