Dec. 1, 2010 at 10:32 AM ET
Ryan McGee of HitFix.com writes: I realize that what I expect from most shows is not what I should expect from “Glee.” That doesn’t mean that I will stop trying to expect it, but I understand on a rational level that I set myself up for disappointment for expecting things like “general cohesion” and “relatively consistent characterization” to enter into my nightly television entertainment. In no way do I think (or want) the show to operate under the principles of “Terriers” or “Sons of Anarchy,” two shows that I love but operate under separate rules (even from each other). But not expecting those in particular doesn’t mean I expect nothing from the show at all, either.
“Special Education” occurred in the same basic space as most “Glee” episodes: in a narrative vacuum from which only a few strains of previous events had yet to be removed. The show once again reminded us of the Finn/Santana hook-up last year, and also found John Stamos and his plot sitting under a pile of papers in the writing room. And yes, to the show’s credit, they didn’t try to re-enroll Kurt back from Tolerance Hogwarts in between episodes and pretend like “Furt” was only a fever dream.
At times, having “Glee” just do its “Glee” thing for an hour without much connective tissue between what came before or what will follow isn’t ideal but perhaps expected, and something that can be enjoyed for what it is. But “Special Education” featured one of the two events that, no matter what else, should be signposts for the show throughout the course of the year. The show can veer off into whatever world it wants to on a weekly basis, but should always keep Sectionals and Regionals as two ready-made points along the road. Each week could be tonally in its own universe if built around the central conceit of constructing the best possible setlist/performance at these two events.