Glee recap: An 'Off the Wall' Tribute to MJ

With its tribute to the late King of Pop, 'Glee' hits a season high point
Ep. 11 | Aired Jan 31, 2012

ACTION JACKSONS New Directions, showin' how funky strong is their fight

Justin Lubin/FOX

Last night was Glee’s tribute episode to Michael Jackson, which you probably already knew unless you’ve been traveling around outer space with Captain EO. But who could have known its homage to the late King of Pop would be one of the best episodes of season three? After all, Glee’s Gaga tribute was bloated and the Madonna episode was mostly just a fun diversion, but "Michael" contained some of this season's best dramatic and musical performances.

Regarding last episode’s cliffhanger marriage-proposal, Rachel eventually said "yes" to Finn. Whether you’re happy about that answer or not, you gotta hand it to the show for acknowledging the naivety of two super-sentimental high schoolers agreeing to spend the rest of their lives together before they’ve even entered the real world. Kudos to Quinn for her tough-but-fair assessment of Rachel’s future with Finn (real talk!) and kudos to the writers for making it clear that Rachel's uncertainty about her college prospects influenced her decision.

Even with that storyline in play, the main drama of the episode had less to do with cold reality and more to do with a cold slushy. After New Directions faced off against the suddenly hardcore Warblers in a “Bad”-styled dancing gang fight, Sebastian threw a slushy in Blaine’s face, which caused the crooner to collapse and start groaning like the infamous Grape Lady.

At first I thought Blaine was overreacting, but it turns out the dastardly Sebastian put some rock salt in that slushy which scratched Blaine’s cornea badly enough to justify surgery. Not cool, Sebastian! (Why Blaine's temporary eyepatch precluded him from singing in MJ Week evaded me, though.)

It was clear from the venerable commenters on EW's live blog that a lot of people hate Sebastian, which is certainly understandable. But I’d argue that Glee absolutely needs him now that Sue has gone soft. At this point, her meanness is more like “brutal honesty” and her craziness contains nuggets of truth. Glee needs a villain and Sebastian’s weasly face fits the bill, plus his interest in Blaine makes him a threat to the idealistic equilibrium of the show. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to shake things up. (As for the ridiculousness of a deadly slushy, let's just allow that to slide....)

After news of Blaine’s upcoming eye surgery reached New Directions, the kids sort of blew up and told Schuester they were tired of tired of turning the other cheek to the cold slap of a slushy.

Artie was especially on fire, dressing down the mild-mannered Mr. Schue and indulging in a high-production-value daydream where he and Mike Chang reenacted Michael and Janet’s “Scream” music video. Yep, that meant we got to see Kevin McHale bust out some of his sick former boy band dance moves because it was a fantasy sequence. Not to mention that we were treated to a thrilling vision of what Mike Chang would look like if he were a Gothy anime character from the future.

NEXT: Santana takes on Sebastian and two Croatian cellists steal the show

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