Glee S5 E7 – “Puppet Master”

glee puppet master featured image

Sue, post makeover, leads the school board on her evaluation tour. She looks fabulous – sleek hairdo, smart confident outfit. Superintendent Harris apologizes for thinking Sue was a dude, but she demurely continues on. No worries! Sue brings them into the choir room, home of their pride and joy, National Champions New Directions!

Figgins interrupts the tour with a loud accusation. There’s a gas leak in the choir room, showing Sue’s failed leadership and putting the children in danger! Oh no, says Sue – she discovered the gas leak, fixed it, and now she’s cutting his pay in half for neglecting his duties. Curses, foiled again!

The school board has seen it all – they’d like to make Sue the permanent principle! Sue takes this good news as a sign and tries to extend her luck. Would Superintendent Harris like to go out on a date with her? No, as a matter of fact, he wouldn’t.

Whoops.

On a dark stage, Blaine contemplates his sanity. Is he losing it? Unraveling? Is he Mel Gibson in the “The Beaver”? Fortunately Puppet Tina is there (manipulated by Blaine, not alive, so he’s just weird, not hallucinating) to build up his self-esteem. Oh no, he’s fine! He’s dreamy! He’s waxed and dressed in leather in her fantas…

Real Tina enters and breaks up the party. After the initial creepy factor – I would consider the score even, after the vapo-rub incident – she tells him that Glee Club is sorry and feels terrible for ignoring the pressure he’s under. Nationals! Graduation! The engagement! No wonder he tried to assert some control – which, they agree, he deserves since he’s earned it. Sam thinks he should have a lead solo for Nationals and they unanimously agreed. And if he’s done being a puppet master, could he please remove his hand from under Puppet Tina’s skirt?

Blaine’s recovered from his foray into the Puppet World, but he’s going to miss having a Kurt Puppet. It did anything he wanted it to!

Jake stops Marley in the hall. She gives him thirty seconds and he begs for her forgiveness. He desperately wants her back – she’s the only person who can save him. Marley refuses to take him back. Her feelings have changed – he’s a friend. He’s a teammate. Jake is heartbroken as she walks away.

A meeting of Pamela Lansbury (sans Dani) is occurring in the loft. The general consensus is that the band should be disbanded, but Elliot feels they should continue on. And Kurt be allowed to fail. Mutiny, only politely. Kurt enters with donuts and a happy smile. Failure? Oh no. Turns out their one audience member liked their performance so much he made a bootleg and showed it to his nephew, who books acts at a music place in Brooklyn. Looks like Pamela Lansbury lives on!

The gas leak has spread to New York!

The gas leak has spread to New York!

Delivery man! Hey kids, shut your door! This isn’t Ohio! It’s a big package from Blaine, who has sent gifts to apologize for missing the performance. Kurt seems over their fight and Rachel coos how nice it is – even after they open the box and find Puppet Kurt, Puppet Rachel, Puppet Santana, and Puppet Elliot inside. Santana is creeped out, but Rachel’s eyes light up.

Back at McKinley, Blaine apologizes to the Glee Club for being controlling. He hopes to be more of a leader, having cut some strings so to speak. His peace offering? An entire New Directions set of puppets, which are happily received by his friends.

Time for a musical number!

Glee reuses the quirky ear worm, “What Does the Fox Say?” by Ylvis, with New Directions not only commanding their puppet doubles but also wearing animal masks as they inhabit a stage forest and sing. Back in New York, Pamela Lansbury and their puppets join in as well. For all its quirky weirdness, the song actually highlights the communication issues through out the episode. People taking refuge in fantasies when feeling a lack of control in real life signals an inability to express themselves, and this song somehow ties this all together. Excellent use of a stunt song, guys!

For such crackiness, this episode really tuned us into some character dynamics – there are some self-destructive types at McKinley, throwing up masks and personas to hide their fears and vulnerabilities. Even the musical numbers were steeped in fantasy and metaphor, as we’re left to ponder about the inner lives of Blaine, Jake, Sue, and Kurt. They all want control, they all want people to respect them, they all want to feel power in their lives. To varying degrees, they’re managing those needs with living in the real world, though Jake seems worse for the wear at the end of the episode.

Much like last year’s “Dynamic Duets”, “Puppet Master” gave us insight mixed with humor, which is when Glee is at its best. It makes me look forward to these storylines being continued when we return in February.

Glee S5 E7 "Puppet Master"Tere’s Episode Round-up:

What made me laugh: Blaine was at the top of his wonderfully silly game. Add to that some vintage Flashback!Sue? Great stuff.

What made me sniffle: No tears shed!

What made me side-eye: Why is Demi Lovato on the show? What is the potential success rate of a Madonna cover band? I don’t understand this plot.

What I’m listening to on repeat: It was an eclectic week but I’m going with “Cheek to Cheek”!

What I’m looking forward to next week: Looking on the bright side – one more episode before the big break!

 

You can watch “Puppet Master” on Amazon Instant Video.

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