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Glee S05E16: "Tested"


Best opening scene ever or BEST opening scene ever? We need to talk about Kurt's face and Artie being all menacing and weirdly attractive when he said "death" and the presence of the dude who played the alpha vampire (Rick Worthy) on Supernatural as their over-enthusiastic Navy doctor. The legitimately hilarious PSA parody set the tone for the episode early, and "Tested" turned out to be one of those Glee episodes that actually manages to be funny and enlightening without being awful or preachy—even with the shows's patented weird anti-sex core at the center of everything. 

Everyone was tested in some way this week, except for Rachel, who wasn't really around at all except to offer moral support to her new BFF-of-the-week, Mercedes, during those painfully after-school-special-esque scenes debating whether or not the Virgin Mercedes should give it up for "handsome idiot" Sam. They added absolutely nothing to the public discourse surrounding virginity and pre-marital sex. But maybe there's nothing that needs adding, as Rachel and Mercedes hit the big points: Don't let yourself be pressured into it. If you want to wait, then wait; there's nothing wrong with waiting. There's also nothing wrong with not waiting. If you can't say the word, you probably shouldn't do it. If you do do it, wrap that shit up. The conversation felt oddly un-organic, like they were reading off a checklist while giving a presentation to the class. It was boring and infomercial-y. In contrast, Blaine and Sam's tongue-in-cheek slut-shaming of Artie was much better at getting an equally public-service-y message out, but without putting us all to sleep in the process. 


Anyway, as I was saying, everyone was tested this week, and everyone was tested both physically and mentally. Artie's physical test for an STD came up positive for chlamydia and forced him to test the strengths of his various film school relationships as well as his studly status by being honest with his three ladyfriends about his potential gift to them. Artie's morality was also tested; he could've just not told them, especially Julie, who he never got around to sleeping with in his pre-diagnosis nookie patrol. 

Of course, in the end, Artie did the right thing. Everyone did, actually. It was a very positive week on Glee.


The aftermath of his gay-bashing has inspired Kurt to take a proactive stance toward his physical state; he's working out regularly and making a point to protect himself. But the change in Kurt's outlook and physical condition inadvertently flipped Blaine and Kurt's usual relationship roles. Blaine's love of cronuts and food trucks has graced him with the dreaded Freshmen 15, only exacerbating his fear that Kurt's outward transformation reflects an internal change of heart concerning their relationship. I have to give Kurt credit where it's due: He was actually the level-headed one here, though admittedly some of Blaine's rationale for the frat boy porn, the blow-up during their stage-fighting class, the binge-eating, and the lack of intimacy between them was just a tad bit possessive and eyebrow-raising. The idea that Kurt being able to fend for himself was somehow a threat to Blaine was kind of messed-up. Those two have a lot of lingering trust issues to work out, but they made some serious progress once Blaine finally came clean about his low self-esteem and Kurt responded with... a surprising amount of maturity. 


Finally, we have Sam and Mercedes. Mismatched though they are in so many ways, those two just keep at it—though they probably came the closest to failing this week's tests. Sam didn't initially take the news very well when Mercedes told him that not only would they be taking it slow, but that she was waiting 'til marriage to get laid—and son, "I'm a 19-year-old guy" is sooooo not an appropriate excuse for getting all bent out of shape about it. 

But then there were the candles—and that was a lot of candles, I mean, I love candles but that many candles would make me very nervous but whatever, because I actually kind of flailed a little at Sam and Mercedes. I also give it maybe one week before Sam starts chompin' at the bit and maybe 'til the end of the season before Mercedes decides she doesn't have to wait after all because when Glee gives a character principles, it's with the understanding that they're meant to be broken. 

Still, Glee in college is a massive improvement over the weekly dose of WTF that it used to be. There are flashes of greatness here and the energy has returned to the musical performances. The focus has shifted back to quality rather than quantity, and the results have done nothing but work in Glee's favor. 



MUSICAL NOTES


– Being all judgey about music: Artie's "Addicted to Love" and Mercedes' "I Want to Know What Love Is" were great. I appreciated the choreography on "Love Is a Battlefield." 

– Mercedes worried that having sex later in life won't be romantic "like back in high school." Oh sweetie, no.  

– Sam is still binge-watching The Facts of Life. The accuracy level Glee has achieved with some parts of college life is kind of scary. 


What'd you think of "Tested"?


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