(Spoilers lurk below.)
This was a surprisingly great episode, which started on a sad note and then proceeded to slowly let the atmosphere fill with tentative happiness. What with the wedding, there are obvious parallels with season two’s “Furt,” and you’d think that someone would have mentioned that. Also, with so many couples retiring to their bedrooms at the same time, there are parallels with season one’s “The Power of Madonna,” in which Finn lost his virginity (to Santana), but neither Rachel (with Jesse) nor Emma (with Will) were able to go through with it. This is an especially interesting comparison to make because “I Do” presents yet another example of Emma failing to go through with a life-changing event with Will. However, what “I Do” reminds me of more than anything else, at least in tone and structure, is season two’s “Duets.” Both episodes present a fairly disjointed story, one about relationships and how they change, remain the same, or take convenient detours.
One may legitimately ask when enough is enough with these character relationship episodes, especially when we continually revisit things like Kurt/Blaine and Rachel/Finn. We’ve had several episodes that centered around such things just this season, most notably “The Break-Up,” with Blaine moping about Kurt nearly all season and Finn doing his share of moping over Rachel. Well, I guess it’s enough when it ceases to be entertaining, and I don’t think that it’s reached that point yet. However, I’m one of those odd Glee fans who also sees season two as the pinnacle of the series.
The first plot thread, which carries us through two acts and then disappears, is Will and Emma’s wedding. Emma is freaking out over it. Like, having serious “I forgot to take my meds” level freakouts. Will, who is back from Washington but still apparently the same dumbass he was in “The Break-Up,” fails to understand the depth of Emma’s issues, despite the fact that he left her (a woman in therapy with very serious OCD) in charge of planning the entire wedding, and the fact that he knows that she has a very bad past when it comes to weddings. And not just with Carl, mentioned several times in this episode, but with Ken, who significantly left her at the altar in season one’s “Sectionals.” Will also admits later that Emma had tried to warn him that she was overwhelmed and he essentially ignored her. Will and Emma’s performance of “Getting Married Today” was one of the best numbers of the season, despite being mostly imaginary. It did more narrative work than just about any other song in the series, as it showed both Emma’s inability to cope with her feelings and go through with the wedding, as well as Will’s complete obliviousness to the fact that his fiancée is having major problems and needs his support more than she needs… him ignoring her. Anyway, Emma runs away in her wedding dress and hails a cab (reminiscent of a famous scene in Rhoda, but in reverse), leaving Will to mope around for a while and then exit the episode to search for her.
Finn’s kiss with Emma at the end of “Diva” was a red herring throughout the episode. Finn had nothing to do with the wedding disaster; it was Will’s fault for failing to respond to Emma’s needs because of his own self-absorption.
Emma’s parents, who hate Will, footed the bill for the reception, so they figure they might as well go through with it. The next two acts, the bulky middle of the episode, are absolutely fantastic and among the best character writing that has been done on Glee, as the kids and graduates hang around the reception, get drunk, and connect and re-connect with each other. Kurt and Blaine are having a friendly fling (“bros helping bros,” as Blaine puts it) while Finn makes a surprisingly smooth pass at Rachel while trying to explain to her that she is his lobster. Artie shows his desperation by doing everything he can to form a relationship with Emma’s bitchy niece Betty. Jake tries to build on his relationship with Marley with the help of Ryder, who knows exactly what needs to be done to impress her. And, out in left field, we have Santana and Quinn’s relationship becoming suddenly sexual. Make no mistake, though, they built up Santana and Quinn’s slowly escalating relationship beautifully and they actually make the most believable couple of the bunch. And now we just need Quinn and Brittany to have sex with each other, and Glee will finally have a fully complete relationship triangle.
While watching the surprisingly enjoyable escapades of Jake, Marley, and Ryder, I started wondering why this relationship is working for me while Sam and Mercedes in season three never did. It isn’t because the characters are better developed because, while they’re getting better, they really aren’t. A lot of it is that we got to witness the entire relationship from the beginning. A lot of it is that Melissa Benoist and Jacob Artist have more chemistry together than Chord Overstreed and Amber Riley did. And a lot of it is that Ryder’s involvement actually makes it more interesting rather than just another triangle. Ryder is a rare breed in this episode: he is a complete innocent with nary a deceptive bone in his body. He genuinely likes Jake and feels close to him, and we wants to help Jake get closer to Marley because he wants him to be happy. At the same time, he likes Marley a lot, and he’s clearly put a lot of thought into what he would do to win her over if he had the potential for betrayal within him. He wants her to be happy too, and that plays into his attempts to turn Jake into a better boyfriend. And through it all, as he plays Cyrano (“Who?”), he wants nothing more than to trade places with Jake. This may be another love triangle, but it’s unusual for being one with almost no negativity underlying it.
Finn and Rachel may have had sex, and Finn may truly believe that Rachel is “the one,” but I got the idea that Rachel doesn’t really buy it. She did break up with him, after all. All this may mean that Finn is just setting himself up for another big fall. And imagine if Rachel really is pregnant. Back to season one! Fourth verse, same as the first! I must admit, I never saw Rachel taking on Quinn’s role, though.
I’m not sure what to make of Kurt and Blaine. Blaine starts to sound kind of needy and whiny again near the end, and even makes a “You’re my lobster” speech to Kurt similar to the one that Finn delivered to Rachel. Are we supposed to believe it, or is he fooling himself? For his part, Kurt still doesn’t seem to see anything in the future with Blaine. What was really entertaining, though, was Tina’s involvement, as she went back to rage mode to rag on Kurt for how he treated Blaine, and then apologizes and goes out as friends with both Kurt and Blaine. I’m relieved to see everything between Blaine and Tina out in the open now, and we can put the unpleasantness of “Diva” behind us now (“Did you vapor rape my ex-boyfriend?!”).
I can’t emphasize enough how much fun it was to watch Santana and Quinn hang out together and be bitchy. Fuck Kurt and Rachel; give these two their own show. Their going from friendly, to flirty, to slow dancing, to going up to a hotel room was all 100% believable and handled very well. I don’t think that “Quinntana” is going to become a thing, but it was a blast to watch it happen in this episode.
Unfortunately, Artie and Betty’s relationship was mostly disappointing. Betty didn’t really have any characterization beyond “bitch,” and we weren’t given much of a reason why Artie kept pursuing her, unless it was just her huge… tracts of land.
The episode ends with the hint that Rachel might be pregnant (and who’s the father!? — the episode establishes that Finn and Brody are both candidates) and Finn trying to cheer Will up while worming his way into a permanent glee coaching position. Is he even being paid yet? Also, Ryder kisses Marley, but she kinda cornered him.
So, yeah. This was a really good episode and strangely happy and positive, not something I would have expected from Will’s shattered wedding.
The musical highlight by a mile was “Getting Married Today,” which I talked about above. Kurt and Blaine’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” was also very good, and I like the way that they kept some action going underneath the song. Love songs “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “We’ve Got Tonight” did their work, but weren’t spectacular. The final “Anything Could Happen” was pretty good, and suggested a hint of a theme for the episode.
The episode alludes to the egotism of both Rachel and Finn, as Rachel thinks that Finn’s loss of control with Emma was about his feelings to Rachel, and Finn thinks that his kiss could have single-handedly broken up Will and Emma.
Is it sad that “impromptu” musical numbers are so commonplace in the Glee universe that I questioned how impressed Marley should have been with Jake’s number? I will say that Jake and company went the extra mile with the lighting. How did they manage that in a classroom?
At least Will has a moment of self-reflection in which he realizes how much he is to blame.
It was kinda fun seeing rage-filled Tina again after a couple of episodes of lovesick Tina.
It’s interesting how an episode that began being about Will’s wedding ended up being all about the glee kids and graduates. It’s almost like a metaphor for the show itself.
Anyone else notice that the number of petals on Finn’s daisy wasn’t completely consistent between shots? You’d think they’d be careful of that, because I doubt I was the only one counting petals to see if he was going to end up on “she loves me” or “she loves me not.”
The scene leading up to and after the “hotel sex” was very artfully shot.
Are four people really living in the loft in New York City now? Sounds pretty awkward.