Neil Patrick Harris guest-stars and battles Will over New Directions' future

By Tim Stack
May 19, 2010 at 04:00 PM EDT
Michael Yarish/Fox
S1 E19
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With Joss Whedon directing and Neil Patrick Harris guest-starring, last night’s episode of Glee was like a perfect storm of all things that Gleeks (and EW readers) love. If the the smoke monster from Lost showed up, my TV set might have exploded. I was on set for this episode back in March and actually got to witness the fantastic ”Dream On” duet. First of all, Joss Whedon is like one of the nicest guys ever and was so psyched to be directing Glee. And Morrison and Harris, both great guys as well, had fantastic chemistry on stage. Someone should get these two in a Broadway show together stat.

Harris played Bryan Ryan (genius), Will’s former high school rival — we even got a fantastic flashback to a brief moment in their Glee club history, complete with mullets and bad braces. And magic-lover Harris got to pull of a little abracadabra. Harris was just fantastic as Bryan; he was like Barney from How I Met Your Mother‘s even-meaner twin brother (although Bryan seemed to have less enthusiasm for suits and more for a solid motorcycle jacket). I love that Bryan went from King’s Island performer to cruise ship circuit to crack addiction. That’s quite a trajectory.

Also, Bryan’s show choir conversion group reminded me of Harris’ guest-appearance on Will & Grace back in the day in which he played a gay guy who ran a gay conversion group. But still that whole joke made me laugh, especially Molly Shannon. I hope she returns next season.

Will and Bryan did such a great version of Billy Joel’s ”Piano Man” that I wish they would have released that as a downloadable track. Those two harmonize quite well together. Perhaps in lieu of a trip to Broadway, a Harris/Morrison boy band should be in the works? Bryan mentioning Terri made me realize that the Wicked Witch of Glee has been totally MIA for weeks. Where has she been?

Sadly Bryan and Sue only had two brief scenes together, but their major moment was a doozy, culminating in them apparently having hate sex. I think that’s one of the few times we’ve seen Sue exhibit any kind of sexual energy towards someone, and it was hilarious.

Besides Kurt, Artie is definitely the most tragic character on the show. His storylines are just so heart wrenching, especially this week when he was so determined to walk. Tina is still such a mystery to me. I don’t have much of an emotional connection to her so hopefully next season the writers will delve a little deeper into her personal life.

NEXT: A not-so-surprising twist

(Not so) Surprise twist alert: Shelby turned out to be Rachel’s mother! It had been rumored for a while and, personally, I think it’s a great twist. I mean the two of them look like they’re related! When they sang together, it was pretty striking to notice their physical similarities. And this gives Rachel a nice, humanizing storyline. She can seem so robotic and unlikable, and this definitely softens her. Plus, this whole Jesse St. James situation obviously got much more difficult. Rachel thinking that Patti Lupone was her mother was a stroke of genius though. Her gay dads would most certainly have enjoyed that hypothesis. BTW, when are we meeting the gay fathers? And who do you think should play them?

The Music

”Piano Man”

Those fellas harmonize so well together. And I loved the sad drunk man who seemed utterly trashed and also ready to hurl from all of the cheesy singing. There was one point that Will got so close to Bryan that I thought they were gonna start kissing. But maybe that’s just my own little Gleek fantasy. B+

”Dream On”

First of all, Morrison could not have looked cuter in that t-shirt and vest. And it was just so excitingly staged; both dudes clearly left some blood and sweat on that stage (I can certainly vouch for the sweat— in between takes, the make-up team would literally have to towl the two dudes off). A

”Safety Dance”

One of my favorite moments of the entire episode was Artie’s cover of ”Safety Dance” and the ensuing dance fandango. It totally reminded me of that video that went viral this past winter of Glee fans dancing at a shopping mall in Italy. The cutting back and forth between video cameras was a perfect touch. But it was just such a joyous, huge performance — definitely one of the most elaborate numbers the show has done before. And Kevin McHale can move! That fella is a great dancer! A

”I Dreamed a Dream”

This is a Broadway star pairing that would make theater lovers piddle with joy. Menzel and Michele have such strong voices and to collaborate on such an iconic song was really special. Great moment for the two of them and I’m sure it will be even better next week when the two gals tackle Gaga’s ”Poker Face,” which I’ve heard and can promise is pretty amazing. A-

”Dream a Little Dream”

This quiet number was a complete contrast to Artie’s elaborate dance piece, but it was a fittingly melancholy coda for his storyline. It was so sweet when Quinn reached over and patted Artie on the shoulder, and I loved the shot of Artie’s face with Tina and Mike dancing in the background. Nice work, Whedon! B+

The Best Lines

”Then something amazing happened: I was introduced to Jesus… he was my Honduran social worker.” — Bryan Ryan

”I have a secret room upstairs, like Letterman.” — Sue

I think this was definitely one of Glee‘s best episodes of the season. And I cannot wait for next week’s Gaga episode! Harris must return next season.

What did you think, TV Watchers? What was your favorite song? Should NPH return?

Episode Recaps

Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.
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