See, when Glee does an episode like this I remember why I loved it in the first place. Episodes like this one used to be the norm, and not so exceptional. But this season, this episode is an exceptional one, which kind of makes me sad. I guess I should really just be grateful for it.
Now I’ll admit, when I heard they were doing a Whitney Houston themed episode, I was kinda bummed. A) They promised only one themed episode this year, this is the third. B) Whitney is the second person who died of a drug overdose that they’ve done a tribute to this year. Sorry, I can’t forget that. C) Tribute episodes tend to be pretty out of context and unimportant on this show. So though the music may be fun, the story usually doesn’t really matter, and when we’re so close to the end of the year that could be very frustrating. That was of course until I realized they were using Ms. Houston’s music to finally get the seniors to start dealing with the reality of what leaving high school actually means. Sure, they’ve had a few looking at schools, and trying to figure out where they went next, but there’s four couples graduating where one is staying and one is leaving (assuming Brittany fails, which looks all but confirmed), and just the overall idea of leaving your childhood, and those friends behind, and all that entails. There’s a huge part of the story that the show hasn’t been dealing with. Until now.
How Will I Know? We start off with an absolutely amazing acapella version of “How Will I Know” sung by Mercedes, Santana, Rachel and Kurt. The fact that this locker has become a shrine to Houston, 2 months after her death, is a little disturbing. And whose locker is it anyway? We assume Mercedes, because she’s the one standing there with it open at the beginning of the episode. But then it seems to be Kurt’s when he’s talking to Rachel, and later the three of them are decorating the locker at the very end of the ep. It must be Kurt’s, but why the heck did Mercedes have it open in the first place? I’m so confused. Anyway, the song itself is amazing, though I’ll admit to wishing you could hear Chris Colfer’s voice better, and possibly being a little annoyed with the over-dramatic empty spotlight at the end.
Will is a creeper. As the quartet sing their way down the hallway, Will is watching creepily from the background. Worried that the kids really should have been over Whitney’s death by now, he seeks Emma’s counsel. Emma decides that the kids are using Whitney’s death instead of dealing with what’s really worrying them, their impending departures from childhood and all the loss that goes with it . . . because she did the same thing with Princess Diana, apparently. See, I was 18 when Diana died, had just graduated high school, and it’s one of those days I can remember in stunning detail for some odd reason. I was a mess because it was incredibly tragic and I felt horrible for her kids. I honestly don’t remember it being about the fact that I started college in two days, but maybe that’s just me. Then again, Santana thinks Will’s full of bullshit as well, so maybe it’s not. Still, Will makes Whitney’s music, and the thought of getting ready to say goodbye, this week’s assignment. In the end I’m okay with that, because we got some beautiful music and story out of it.
Brittany just really wants to dance. A Brittana duet that’s mostly Brittany, with Santana adding some backing vocals, to Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Now I have to say I have a special place in my heart because I remember sitting in the living room with a tape recorder and recording the audio as the video for the song played on MTV. Ah, the memories. Anyway, the whole number is adorable, with Brittany pulling some of the boys out onto the choir room floor to dance with her (and oh my god, Kurt pushes Sam in front of him in order to fend off Brittany), before finally pulling Santana out. Apparently the original choreography didn’t have Brittany dancing quite so much, but Heather Morris insisted, and the number really is made better for it.