Something was missing from last night’s episode of Glee, “Duets.” I don't mean Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch); while her one-liners are always welcome, she wouldn’t have added anything to the plot. I don't mean Puck (Mark Salling), either; as much as I love his voice, sending him off to juvie (presumably) gave Salling some time to promote his new solo album. So what was it?
In a word, everything. The episode lacked the flashy guest-stars, forced themes, and crazy costumes of the previous three. It focused on character development, it gave (almost) everyone a chance to sing, and it was a true pleasure to watch. It was about the glee club, through and through. Imagine that!
What’s sad is that, because this episode was stripped of the show’s typical bells and whistles, I basically saw it as a filler until I realized how much had actually happened. Glee is at its best (or “most believable”) when its stars are actually the stars, and in the span of last night’s 44-ish minutes, we gained a ton of insight into the psyches of several characters. Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) is frustrated by her chaperoned relationship with Mike Chang (Harry Shum, Jr.), Brittany (Heather Morris) is sexually free but emotionally attached to Santana (Naya Rivera), Artie (Kevin McHale) is still harboring feelings for Tina even though he lost his virginity to Brittany, Kurt (Chris Colfer) doesn’t know how to take “no” for an answer, and Quinn (Dianna Agron) doesn’t know how to say “yes” for herself. I’d rather watch a show that tackes those issues over a Britney-fest any day.
Finally, how awesome were those duets? Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Santana stole a piece of my Tina Turner-loving heart when they sang “River Deep, Mountain High,” and theirs wasn’t even the best performance of the night. Quinn and Sam’s (Chord Overstreet) chemistry-filled “Lucky” and Kurt’s fabulous “Le Jazz Hot” were spectacular, but nothing beats the choreography and comedy of Tina and Mike’s “Sing!”
What did you think of “Duets”?
Follow TV.com writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom