May 19th, 2010 by thetvchick
For the most part, everything I’m hearing about last night’s Glee echoes my own sentiments. I can sum it up in one word: Wow. I realize I have never-ending love for Glee, but if you read my review from last week, you would know that from time to time, I’m not super crazy about an episode. However, “Dream On” completely blew me away. The episode, directed by Joss Whedon, starts with Mr. Schue meeting Brian Ryan (the unstoppable, super talented Neil Patrick Harris). They have been rivals since high school and Brian has basically come back to make Schue’s life a living hell (and shut down the Glee Club but what else is new?) One of the best moments was when Brian is shown participating in a show choir support meeting. Brian decides to ruin the Glee kids dreams by telling them they will never achieve them. What a way to deflate hope, NPH! You redeem yourself later though.
The episode centers around the concept of dreams: Artie dreams that one day he’ll be able to dance, Rachel dreams about meeting her mom and Brian Ryan dreams about being a star again. Tina and Artie have their first of many heart to hearts at the beginning of the episode. She found out Artie’s dream, and he thinks it’s stupid and he’ll never become a dancer. Tina asks Artie to do a project with him (since Schue didn’t assign one) and asks him to dance with her. Tina and Artie rehearse and he gets up on crutches but then falls over and yells at Tina to go away. This scene has gotten a variety of different critiques. Personally, I don’t think the purpose of this scene was to pity Artie. He is a strong character with strong viewpoints who has a great personality. It was a sad moment, but it did show us that Artie had pride in himself and hopes and dreams like the rest of us.
Rachel’s dreams are quite obvious (to be a Broadway star), but she confides in Jesse (Jonathan Groff, so so happy you are back!!) that the thing that is missing in her life is her mom. Jesse wants to help her find her mom, and seems extremely overzealous about this. Rachel thinks her mom is Patti Lupone. She researches her and does the math and it was quite hilarious. Jesse asks why she’s so afraid of finding out the truth. They are going to investigate in her basement, at Jesse’s suggestion. We find out why he is so into this later in the episode.
But back to our favorite high school rivals, Schue and Brian Ryan. We find out that Terri Delmonaco was the one that got away from Ryan, and thus finally finding out Terri’s maiden name! I know she’s back soon, and I am so excited to see what happens. Schue explains to Brian that music gave him the strength to get out of a terrible marriage. Brian admits to being miserable since he stopped performing. He sneaks to NY to see Broadway shows. They sing “Piano Man” which was fantastic. This was one of their two duets on the show and both were amazing. Schue convinces Brian to try out for a local production of Les Mis. It is at the audition where they sing “Dream On.” Can I just stop for a second and praise Neil Patrick Harris. Not only is the guy a brilliant actor, comedian, magician and overall awesome guy, but he can sing his heart out. “Dream On” probably ranks in my top 5 musical performances of the entire season, and that’s saying a lot.
Back to Tina and Artie, who have many great moments in this episode. Tina has done research about Artie’s condition and gives him hope. They share a sweet kiss. Later, Tina and Artie are at the mall. Tina goes up to get them pretzels, while Artie dreams that the therapies are working and he can sing and dance. He sings and dances to The Safety Dance int he middle of the mall. It was clearly a commentary on Glee Flash Mobs/Youtube videos. Nevertheless, I love that Artie danced! I could see little pieces of Whedon’s unparalleled directing skills throughout the entire episode, but in this scene specifically. It just fit so well. Tina comes back with the pretzels she left for, and Artie states “I’m going to dance one day…” I think it’s good to dream and this show is really about dreams coming true. I love that Artie is not giving up, even if Emma Pillsbury says he probably won’t walk again. Oh yes, she was back in this episode too and awesome as usual.
And in Rachel/mom mystery world, Jesse and Rachel investigate, and Jesse sneaks a cassette tape into the box full of Rachel’s baby items. Rachel doesn’t want to listen to the tape, it’s all happening too fast, and she isn’t ready. Jesse goes to Shelby, the rival choir director (Idina Menzel) who implores him to get Rachel to listen to the tape. Big shocker moment! Many Glee fans had been speculating since even before Idina Menzel was announced as a guest start that she could/should play her mom. They have often been compared to each other in the Broadway world. I wasn’t sure what would happen to be honest, but I am so glad the show made the choice that they did. Idina just makes sense as her mom. Apparently, Shelby answered an ad in the paper. Her dads seemed nice, and the money would let her live in NY. She never got to hold her, only saw her for a second. She failed as an actress. She only has one regret: Rachel. This seemed so heartfelt and genuine to me. We all knew something was up with Jesse and Shelby, we just didn’t know what. It also seems like Jesse is actually falling for Rachel. Shelby’s orders were for him to befriend Rachel, but he really likes her.
Meanwhile, Brian Ryan decides to examine all extracurriculars, and The Cheerios budget is way too high. There is a hilarious moment where he hits on Sue, ad Sue states that she has a secret room upstairs like Letterman. Brian took money from the Cheerios and bought the Glee Club jean jackets and dance wear and every sheet music from every Broadway show in the last 50 years. However, Sue quickly ruins their fun when she announces that Schue got the lead in Les Mis and not Brian. He takes back all the items and says he’s cutting the program. I love Glee, but seriously, could they stop threatening to shut down the Glee club? I’m fine with Sue going head to head with Schue, but does everyone have to be out to get the Glee Club. In any case, in order to save the Glee Club, Schue gives the lead part over to Ryan.
Back in Rachel’s world, Jesse kisses her and tells her she is ready to listen to the tape from Shelby. He presses play and leaves. This results in the best duet (next to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Dream On”) that they have ever done on the show. Idina Menzel and Lea Michele sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis and there were so many tears. It is uncanny how perfectly songs fit in with this show, and “I Dreamed A Dream” was perfection. The song may originally be about something completely unrelated to long lost parents but the words resonated. The scene was so simple too. They both appeared on stage, wearing all black and singing to the audience but also to each other. I can’t even express to you how much I loved this scene. And the episode didn’t even end there!
At the end, the Artie sings “Dream A Little Dream” backed up by the Glee Club. Tina dances with Mike Chang (Artie told her to dance with him). And then there were more tears. Not only did Artie dance his heart out, he also sung his heart out. Again, I don’t think this last scene was meant to for us to think “Poor Artie, he can’t dance.” It was very emotional, but we knew he got the girl and he was still dreaming. I think that’s a good message. Everyone has dreams that may be impossible, but it doesn’t stop you from dreaming.
I thought the entire episode from start to finish was great. Joss Whedon’s directing was evident in the way the story lines weaved seamlessly together and it didn’t feel like songs dominated the show. Neil Patrick Harris is just amazing and his story was definitely left open-ended, so I’m really hoping he makes another appearance (in season 2 perhaps?) I loved seeing Jonathan Groff back, as I think he is incredibly talented as well. I would have liked to see him sing another duet with Lea but the Idina/Lea duet more than made up for that. Today marks the one year anniversary since the show premiered. If you remember, they aired the pilot in May before the official season started in the fall. What a great year it has been! Thanks, Glee, for changing the face of television and giving me something great to write about week after week. Next week is the Lady Gaga episode and judging from the previews, it’s going to be pretty great.
Glee airs Tuesday nights at 9 pm on FOX.Tweet