‘Glee’, Season 4, Ep. 21 Review: “By the way, you look cute today. And I mean like dirty cute.”

The latest installment of ‘Glee’, entitled “Wonder-ful”, was another “theme” episode, in the sense that all the music was from one musician’s catalog; in this case, the multi-talented genius that is Stevie Wonder. That said, none of the songs seemed to be particularly tailored to moving the story along. In fact, the only reason we’re hearing these wonderful songs is that several current and former glee clubbers have wonderful news to share, and Mr. Schue’s never one to pass up an opportunity to turn any damn thing into an object lesson.

We open with Rachel actually remembering how to “dance with who brung her”, in the form of a phone call to Mr. Schue to tell him about her “Funny Girl” callback. She tells him that she auditioned with “Don’t Stop Believin’”, and expresses her gratitude for believing in her back in the day. (Never mind that Schue had decided to giving up teaching at the time, and the glee kids were the ones who did that song on their own, thereby inspiring him to stay. But I digress….)

Schue spills more wonderful news in the choir room, explaining that Brit-Brit has been accepted to MIT and is touring their campus, he’s re-proposed to Emma and she re-said yes, and Tina’s been waited-listed at the Columbus College of Veterinary Medicine. Thus will the glee club be belting out the wonderful back catalog of an aging Motown veteran. He also announces that Mercedes and Mike will be back to help whip the New Directions into fighting form for Regionals. It ends up being old-home week again in Lima, since Kurt is back as well, to hear about his dad’s medical progress.

After the week’s lesson is announced, everybody scatters to wherever it is they go when they’re not singing their faces off, and Kitty calls Artie out for seeming depressed. After some pointed banter, he admits that he is depressed but it’s none of her business and shut up, OK? She walks away, but we all know this isn’t over.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Kurt is crossing the days off his “Men of McKinley” calendar and packing for a trip back to Ohio to hear how his dad’s prostate cancer treatments have gone. He says in his voiceover that he’s gotten a little OCD, to the point of only wearing light blue socks (to symbolize the clear skies he’s hoping for) and touching his nose at 14 and 28 past the hour. Hopefully he’ll be able to talk to Emma soon; she’s bound to have a pamphlet or two for all of this!

Back in Ohio, our (old) New Directions members have returned for Regionals, and there is much goo-goo eying going on between Kurt and Blaine. They go to the Lima Bean (best fake coffee shop name ever!) with Mike and Mercedes, where more wonderful news is revealed — Mercedes has a record deal! Kurt is just a little too distracted to be hearing this much, since he hasn’t gotten his dad’s news yet.

At McKinley, Mike and Mercedes start schooling the kids about how to kill it at Regionals, and Kitty finally weasels out of Artie what’s eating him – he’s been accepted to Brooklyn Film Academy. She then spills this wonderful piece of news to the rest of the glee club. He tells her it was pointless to announce it, since he’s not going (his mom is freaking out about him leaving) and asks her why she cares anyway. She tells him she likes to be unpredictable: “Sometimes I’m sweet, sometimes I’m sour. Keeps things interesting.”

Back at NYADA, the two bitchy queens that Rachel was sucking up to before the Winter Showcase swoop down to inform her of her competition for the role of Fanny. They also mention that she better hope her dance teacher doesn’t hear about the audition, since NYADA students need a teacher’s formal approval to take outside roles and Cassie July is a talentless harpy who’d love nothing better than to kill Rachel’s career in its cradle. (Of course, Cassie does find out, thanks to this awful pair of walking stereotypes…)

Finally, we get to what we’ve been waiting to hear in Ohio, aside from Mercedes and the kids killing it to all the Stevie Wonder songs your mom can sing along with – Kurt’s dad is officially cancer-free! He’s gonna live to see kids getting married and grandbabies and old-people sex with Carole…bless you, Burt Hummel. Never change. Kurt takes this excuse to invite him to the choir room for a serenade of “You Are The Sunshine of My Life”, and I may have sniffled just a little bit.

But it’s not all sunshine and lollipops just yet, kids – Cassie finds Rachel running her lines in a dance studio mirror and decides to take her apart. She says she heard about the callback from Babs herself, points out that it conflicts with Rachel’s dance midterm, and then reschedules said midterm for 6 am the next morning. Oh, and the piece she has to dance is notoriously difficult. Ugh, I just hate mean girls. (In fairness, Cassie does end up giving Rachel her blessing and a really nice serenade, but I still don’t have to like her.)

Speaking of mean girls, Artie comes home from school one afternoon to find Kitty kicking it on his couch with his mom! She’s ratted him out to her too, bringing the film school story to a head. Mama Abrams is predictably awesome, telling Artie that it’s her job to make sure he’s able to fly the nest. She also threatens to tip him over if he ever again implies that she’s getting old, hee!

And lest we forget Mercedes’ record deal, she gets a call from her producer while she’s at McKinley, telling her that she needs to get on board with the label’s ideas of what the cover art should be, or they’ll go all Martha Wash on her and use a different model. Never mind that all they want is her in some spaghetti straps; she says “hell to the no” and her friends are supportive enough to back her up. So she takes back her album and tells the New Directions that she’ll be selling it out of the trunk of her car, but she’s doing it on her own terms.

Our last bit of wonderful news comes courtesy of Blaine, who is determined to make a grand gesture to win Kurt back. He asks Burt’s permission to ask for Kurt’s hand in marriage. Burt, amazing dad that he is, tells Blaine that he’s crazy and that he’s absolutely not OK with this. Not because he doesn’t support marriage equality, but because getting hitched is a big damn deal. I love that Blaine gets the same talk that any straight teenager would get in the same circumstances. Blaine doesn’t appear convinced, and goes to ask Kurt a really big question right there in the crowded McKinley hallways. Of course, he’s a teenage boy, so he blows it and just ends up asking Kurt to stay for Regionals instead. (Spoiler alert – he says yes!) We end with a wonderful group number, and the promise of answers to many of our lingering questions in next week’s cliffhanger season finale. Stay tuned kids; this is just getting good!

About Jennifer

I’m a wife and a mother and a geek and girl, and I enjoy all those things immensely. If I had to boil myself down to a particular phrase, the one I’d use would be “rational romantic mystic cynical idealist”. (All credit for that to Neil Peart of Rush….)