There's been a self-congratulatory quality to the first few episodes of Glee since the Great Hiatus. In some ways, that's okay: the creators have certainly earned a victory lap or two. But I prefer Glee when it finds a way to work emotionally messiness and high-concept weirdness in with all the big-hearted balladeering.
A Madonna episode? Sure, fun stuff. But an episode that combines a mystery, a mega-meta riff on modern celebrity, a purposefully-awful series of songs, not one but two high-concept retro music videos, and some realistic forward motion on various romantic plotlines? Now we're talking! Last night, you could actually hear the psychic nuclear explosion sweeping the nation as Run Joey Run suddenly became the awesomest song ever. Now this is the Glee I fell in tormented love with.
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