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Glee: Season 1 - Hell-O (Review)


Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

What’s the story? Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn (Cory Monteith) have a rocky start to their relationship at the same time that Will (Matthew Morrison) and Emma (Jayma Mays) try to find a way to be together. After sectionals, New Directions focuses on Vocal Adrenaline, their new competition that may offer new love interests as well.

Our verdict: After such a phenomenally successful first 13 episodes, all eyes were on Glee following its mid-season return to see whether it could maintain such high standards.

The answer, mostly, would appear to be a resounding “yes” if comeback episode Hell-O was anything to go by.

Boasting new relationships, new starts and a new, more edgy attitude, Hell-O set up some intriguing new scenarios for its students and teachers.

Perhaps the most obvious of the new relationships was the burgeoning one between Will and Emma… although it seemed doomed to failure from the start (and not least because the “will they/won’t they” scenario is how it works best).

A strain had been placed on their happiness by the halfway stage, while their heartfelt decision to split and wait for a better moment in time, though obvious, was well played by both performers (and more than a little touching).

Less obvious, however, was the on/off relationship between Rachel and Finn… beginning with the latter’s cold feet and culminating with the former’s interest in the lead vocalist of New Directions’ biggest rivals.

Lea Michele’s Rachel remains a distracting enigma: self-centred and really quite annoying one minute, humble and inspirational the next… it should be interesting to see where this potential new love triangle takes her.

Likewise, Will’s own emerging tug of affection… between the aforementioned Emma and Idina Menzel’s incoming rival Shelby Corcoran (Wicked-ly played with just the right ambiguity by the stage superstar).

As usual, however, some of the episode’s best moments belonged to Jane Lynch’s queen bitch Sue Sylvester (pictured above), whose renewed campaign (following reinstatement) against all things Glee served to deliver some of the episode’s funniest lines.

Sylvester’s drug-induced ‘seduction’ of school principal Figgins (the hapless Iqbal Theba) was a priceless comedic highlight, as was her dismissive rants against Will’s hairstyle, unpretty past school nerds and air-headed chearleading accomplices. She’s clearly revelling in the opportunity to play hell.

The only danger in Glee remains its rigid structure, with the first 13 episode’s road to sectionals now replaced by an even harder path to regionals.

Week in, week out, it’s essentially the same mix of teenage angst and attempted glee sabotage with three of four dance routines thrown into the mix.

But so long as the creators can continue to throw in some surprises, and continue to inspire viewers with the quality of its song and dance routines, there shouldn’t be too much danger of burn-out just yet.

For now, Glee continues to bring much-needed cheer to Monday night’s viewing schedule! Now roll on that Madonna episode!

Glee is on E4 on Monday nights from 9pm and on Channel 4 on Friday nights from 8pm.