This episode was all about duets, and started with the Glee club, rather bizarrely, in a meeting for superheroes. My favourite of the rather eclectic bunch was Tina's guise as Asian Persuasian, naming her great power as Manipulation. Superheroes goes on to be a theme for the episode, as the singers don superhero attire in their performances. As Coach Bieste explains, when you don a cape, you become another person, not dissimilar to the effect of what happens when performing on stage. To that end, then, it seems an apt motif for the Glee club to take on this week.
The love-triangle of Marley-Jake-Ryder gets going too, with the two boys getting up into each other's face. "You wanna know how I know you're a badass? Cos you ride a razor-scooter. Nothing says badass like a razor-scooter." (For the record, I am Team Ryder. Everyone likes a bad boy but his straightforward charm shats all over Jake's ~tortured soul. As Ryder argued, no one likes guys who lead girls on, only to blow them off.)
Later in the episode, Jake gets diagnosed with dyslexia, something he suspects he has had all his life but was too scared to act about, and it’s actually Jake’s helping hand that gets him the help he needs – a rare display of people showing genuine fraternity in Glee.
Quite light on the song front this episode, with just 5 songs.
The Dark Side - I didn't care for the cheesy way it started, but the message that Glee was trying to illustrate - how well Blaine fits in musically with The Warblers - was clearly made. He definitely has natural rapport with them and the choreography was simple but effective. The song itself didn't particularly grab me - regulation pop - the kind of stuff that serves Blaine so well - but it was a good performance. B+
I Am Happening - Ryder and Jake, who patently despise each other team up for this 60s classic. They are both serenading Marley, wearing suits (lucky girl), and in the build-up to their performance have some amusing trash talk, with Ryder saying his superhero alter ego is Mega-Stud, to which Jake retorts, “oh, so your superhero choice is to be me.” #banter.
The choice of “Mega-Stud” is amusing because Artie and Finn don't know what the MS on their shirt stands for. The performance escalates into a fight which kind of detracts from the performance, which had energy but vocally nothing special. C
Holding out for a Hero – now this was fun! Kitty is a nasty piece of work and an all-round pain the backside but she is a top performer, with a great voice and in her cat suit outfit she also has a whip as a prop, which she is very adept at using (knowing her streak of Machiavelli, I was terrified she might use it to accidentally on purpose injure Marley, but she didn’t. Surely whatever evil plan she has planned for Marley will be much more concealed than that).
Anyway, Marley lacks the sparkle that Kitty has, but vocally she is sound, as well as gorgeous to look out. A popular ditty (it was immortalized, for me, in Shrek), sung very well. A-
Heroes - chilled, mellow acoustic version of David Bowie starting with Sam (who supplied much of the mirth of this episode with his impressions of George W Bush and Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, showing the show's writers are keeping their fingers on the pop culture pulses!) also playing the guitar, with Blaine belting out the power notes.
The contrast between Sam’s dulcet tones and Blaine’s more show-choir voice is exactly the sort of quality one looks for in a good duet. My favourite rendition of this song remains that in Moulin Rouge!, however. (After this rendition they go to Dalton to steal their Nationals trophy back, and as they're running off the letters BAM and SLAINE hit the screen. Classic ship names! Glee is quick to give the fans what they want, I’ll give them that.) A-
Some Nights - Another Fun. cover from the Glee club, except whereas Rachel took centre stage in their cover of We Are Young, Blaine, the new leader in her abscence (despite his flirtation with the Warblers in this episode) leads this one. The performance features some really lovely harmonization between Marley and Kitty's voices, which is undercut by Kitty rolling her eyes after.
But the best bit is Joe Hart delivering the refrain, a singer who rarely gets to display his vocal talent. Overall, the kind of high-energy "Don't Stop Believin"-type performance that Glee are famous for but haven't given in quite a well, finishing with Finn looking on proudly just like Mr Schue used to.
The music video for this song is set during the American War of Independence, whilst it was a very powerful, sombre setting, I’m more of a fan of New Direction’s ~rainbows and butterflies~ slant on the song. A.