In 'Grilled Cheesus,' Finn catches the spirit, but it's Kurt, Burt, and Mercedes who steal the show
It all comes down to a battle between God and Madonna. Brutes, right? Yes, on my personal “Best of Glee list,” it’s a neck-and-neck fight to the finish between tonight’s ridiculously amazing episode, “Grilled Cheesus,” and last spring’s “The Power of Madonna.” I may just have to call it a tie. But in the wake of Finn’s religious experience, here’s my own revelation: I worship Glee. And I especially want to give praise to the show’s latest telecast, which was not only funny and moving, but incredibly important. Can anyone think of a recent show that tackled religion so tastefully and sensitively in the 8 p.m. hour? And yet at the same time, the episode didn’t skimp on that trademark Glee snark, with the plot revolving around a religious vision on a toasted cheese sandwich. As Ryan Murphy told me last week, “Grilled Cheesus” has even more poignancy in light of the recent gay youth suicides that have dominated the news cycle. At this very moment, the social importance of a show that promotes a message of tolerance and support — and of characters who drive that message home as powerfully as Kurt and Burt Hummel — cannot be underestimated. On that note, let’s take a moment to pray:
Dear Grilled Cheesus, Chris Colfer deserves an Emmy. As does Mike O’Malley. As does everyone involved in this episode. This. Is. Great. Television. Colfer doing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was just heartbreaking. Utterly. Completely. Heartbreaking. Same for his performance in this episode. I can’t believe this kid is so young and has such tremendous range. Thanks for listening. Love, Tim.
Who else was loving the cute flashbacks of Kurt and his dad, too? I especially delighted in the fact that little Kurt wore a bowtie and a Members Only jacket. I wish I had such inherent style as a kid. I used to wear peach shorts, hiked up above my bellybutton—it was not a good look. Anyway, from what Michael Ausiello reported the other day, it seems as if we should brace for additional flashbacks to younger versions of New Directions members as the season progresses.
Better still, this week’s script provided opportunities for the entire cast to shine, especially Amber Riley as Mercedes. Mercedes and Kurt had such lovely scenes together, and she provided a great counter to Kurt’s own skepticism about religion. I especially liked the moment in the hall when she admitted to Kurt that she didn’t know how to talk to him. The awkwardness between the pair felt real, but it also made sense that Kurt wouldn’t allow his own anger and sadness to get in the way of their friendship.
Finn was basically the instigator for all the episode’s emphasis on God, and his plotline managed to infuse the heavy, emotionally intense proceedings with much-needed moments of humor and light. But I also liked seeing Finn get so upset when he found out that Burt was in the hospital. Finn so often seems out of it, so focused on, well, boobs and such, that it was nice to see some deeper emotions come to the surface.
I also loved finding out that Rachel thinks she’ll have won a bunch of Tonys by the time she’s 25, which is also the magic age of when she’ll have sex. On a related note, did Finn’s room shrink? It was so tiny. I’m surprised they both could fit in there at the same time. Her pond-side Yentl performance with Finn was one of my highlights of the night (more on that in a moment).
NEXT: Rating this week’s musical performances; compiling the episode’s best lines.
Sue was totally OOC (that’s “out of control” for you who are not familiar with one of my favorite Mariah Carey tunes). And how great to finally see Emma stand up to someone?!? Their scene together was just another great piece of the puzzle that is Sue Sylvester. She rejects any discussion of religion because she prayed as a child to help fix her sister, and nothing changed. Speaking of, Sue and her sister then had that one tiny scene together playing checkers, but it just spoke so much about their relationship. Sue is full of such anger over her sister’s condition, but Jeannie is at peace. Such a lovely scene, and Lynch played it perfectly, in particular that pained look on her face when her sister asked if she needed her to pray for Sue, as well as that moment at the end when Sue cheated. But what made it different was that she couldn’t lie to her sister.
- I’m still a little unclear about the whole Artie playing football thing. Is that possible? That just seems dangerous for all involved.
- Sue calling Santana “Jugs the Clown” made me laugh out loud.
- Brittany’s book report had a big heart decal along with what appeared to be bees.
And finally, let’s talk musical numbers…
“Only the Good Die Young”
I love that Mike Chang did a chest shimmy during this performance, as did Quinn. Made me giggle. But I would have totally listened to an even longer version of it, even though the rest of New Directions looked like they took dancing lessons from Charlie Brown and his classmates. A-
“I Look to You”
I’m never one to put the kibosh on Mercedes singing, but I’m not sure we needed TWO scenes with her singing her feelings to Kurt instead of talking. This song just didn’t have as much oomph for me as her other solo. B
“Papa Can You Hear Me”
FABULOUS. The way it was filmed. The vocals by Lea Michele. It all just felt so beautiful and cinematic. It’s hard to equal Barbra Streisand, but I thought Michele came as close as possible. A+
“I Want to Hold Your Hand”
Totally beautiful. It’s hard to listen to the song without thinking of the emotions behind it, but it was such a surprising song choice. A+
“Losing My Religion”
It’s been a while since Finn had a solo that was so emotional and strong. I’m not the biggest fan of this song—I sorta think it’s overplayed. But it worked for him. B+
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”
I sort of predicted that this song would be in the mix tonight, especially if there was a scene set at church. But Riley’s voice is so strong and it was such a charged moment that I don’t really care if it was an obvious choice. A-
“One of Us”
Oh Joan Osborne, where are you? Anyone? Bueller? Well, I think she would have appreciated this cover, which felt like an appropriate capper to the episode. A
THE EPISODE’S BEST LINES
“Whenever I pray I fall asleep.” –Brittany
“I mean, I see God every time I make out with a new chick.” –Puck
“Her boobs aren’t that great, but they’re still girl boobs, and I’d like to touch them.” –Finn on Rachel’s breasts.
“I did a book report on heart attacks if you wanna give it to the doctors. I got knocked down an entire letter grade because it was written in crayon.” –Brittany
“I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy—and I guess I wouldn’t have to. I think Mary Lou Retton is like an orphan or something.” –Sue
“Is God an evil dwarf?” –Brittany
“If your kids wanna praise Jesus in class, I suggest they enroll in Sweet Mother of God Academy on I Love Jesus Street.” –Sue
“Now I know what Miley feels like.” –Brittany on fighting between being too sexy and too religious
DON’T MISS: Embedded below, listen to the first edition of EW.com’s TV Insiders podcast. Dalton Ross, Michael Slezak, Michael Ausiello (who also gives his picks for best and worst new show of the new season), Jeff “Doc” Jensen, and Annie Barrett break down the week in television—including our picks for DWTS frontrunners—and present it to you in an easily digestible audio format. Or click here to download TV Insiders to your MP3 player!