Last night, “Glee” hit us with a smooth Michael Jackson tribute episode. Previously the New Directions paid tribute to both Britney and Madonna in ways that didn’t resonate well with the series, mostly because there was too much show and not enough story. But “Michael” wasn’t just about honoring the King of Pop with song and dance, it was also about the ongoing storylines and characters. Rachel finally gives Finn an answer to his marriage proposal, and a few of the seniors find out where they’ll be next fall. Let’s see what set this tribute episode apart from the rest…

The Players:

  • Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
  • Writer: Ryan Murphy
  • Cast: Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Heather Morris, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Jenna Ushkowitz, Mark Salling, Matthew Morrison, Ashley Fink, Chord Overstreet, Harry Shum, Jr., Cheyenne, Darren Criss, Jayma Mays, Jane Lynch, and Mike O’Malley

Episode Title: “Michael”

The New Directions-Warblers rivalry heats up (with Michael Jackson music on the soundtrack) as Regionals near; Kurt and Rachel hear about their applications to the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts; and things between Sam and Mercedes get hotter.

The Good:

  • There’s A New Villain In Town: Who would have expected the next villain to be dressed in a Warblers suit? Didn’t see that one coming. We got to give it to Sebastian, he’s one slick and handsome devil – definitely the best villain since Jesse St. James. Can’t wait to see more of him.
  • Dance off:  The Warblers and the New Directions meet in a lonely parking lot and dance off to Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” It’s an overall good performance, but what made it really good was the grand finale. Sebastian, attempts to hurt Kurt by throwing a slushie with pop rocks on his face, only to miss and hit Blaine instead. All we see is Blaine covered in bright red chunks of ice, rolling on the floor because he’s in so much pain.
  • Kurt And Rachel Get Good News (SPOILERS!): After all Kurt has been through, it’s only right that he get into NYATA. Sure, his dad didn’t have to travel all the way to school to give Kurt the envelope, but we’ll let that slide. Sadly, at the time Kurt got his ‘finalist’ letter, Rachel still hadn’t gotten hers, so she couldn’t share the enthusiasm, but once she got her letter, it was all joyful tears. These are two kids that definitely deserve to get into the school of their dreams.
  • Rachel’s Answer (SPOILERS!): And her answer is, one shocking ‘yes.’ In Rachel’s defense, this was a desperate moment. It wasn’t so much a ‘yes’ more of an ‘okay, i guess.’ These kids are going through tough times. They don’t know what lies outside of McKinley and they are scared. Like the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures, and these seniors are desperate for answers.

The Bad:

  • Quinn Hears From Yale (SPOILERS!): As someone who knows someone who got into Yale, I say, Quinn doesn’t qualify! It takes a lot more than a high GPA. Yale is one of the top universities in the whole world, and Quinn just happened to get in? Nope. This doesn’t make sense.

The Music:

  • “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” Michael Jackson – Blaine takes on the King of Pop. By now, Blaine has replaced Finn as out favorite new male vocalist. Sure Finn can sing, but Blaine has the smooth moves.
  • “Bad,” Michael Jackson – The Warblers and New Directions take their competition to the streets in a dance-off.
  • “Scream,” Michael Jackson – Arty’s dream sequence in black and white. The one performance that doesn’t make any sense.
  • “Never Can Say Goodbye,” The Jackson 5 – Quinn sings about never being able to say goodbye.
  • “Human Nature,” Michael Jackson – Wait, here’s another number that doesn’t make much sense – Mercedes and Sam performing a duet that ends in a kiss…?
  • “Ben,” Michael Jackson – Rachel, Finn and Kurt bring Michael to a sick Blaine.
  • “Smooth Criminal,” Michael Jackson – Santana seeks revenge, and gets tangled in a messy sing-off with Sebastian.
  • “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” Michael Jackson – Instead of telling Rachel how he feels, Finn sings to her, which is more adequate since this is a show based on singing.
  • “Black or White,” Michael Jackson – The New Directions take the high road and instead of getting even with The Warblers, they teach them a lesson a la Michael.


“Michael” wasn’t just about paying tribute to another pop icon. The writers were able to do an episode where they paid tribute, yes, but also incorporated the MJ covers into the storylines, and that’s why this episode worked. There were a few misses, like Arty’s dream sequence where he gets up off his chair and starts dancing, but overall, all the covers coincided with the plot of the story.

Rating: 8.5/10

“Glee” airs Tuesday nights at 8pm on FOX.

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What did you think of last night’s episode?