Glee Season 1, Episode 7: "Throwdown" Review - Featured

It is five minutes after the end of "Throwdown" as I'm writing this. I am crying like a little girl (and I didn't even cry all that much back when I was a little girl).

I think most people who have been watching Glee up until now were aware that it was good, entertaining, and deeper than it first appears. I don't think anyone realized that it was that kind of great. Plenty of things make me laugh, plenty make me angry, but it takes real gravity and intensity for a television show to make me cry. And I cried twice.

My expectation going into this episode was that the showdown between Sue Sylvester and Will Schuester was going to be both the chief focus and the highlight of this episode. And it was, indeed, phenomenal. Punctuated with operatic music that screams evil, Sue Sylvester rained destruction down on the foundation of Glee club. And Will, who I was honestly not expecting to be able to match up, got down in the mud and put up a hell of a fight. Apart, the two of them are phenomenal. vocabulary just isn't enough to explain how amazing that was. During their shouting match in Figgins' office, I literally got on my knees and bowed down to the nature force that is Jane Lynch. She is nothing short of comic genius. Proof in point: a good portion of all that was ad libbed.

But monumental a force as Jane Lynch and an outraged Matthew Morrison are, they were like sprinkles on top of the gut-wrenching wedding cake of this episode. (That was a terrible metaphor and I apologize.) I've heard/read a lot of people's concerns about Glee's inclusion of so many minorities and the way they are presented on the show. After "Throwdown," I have just one question for those people: Are you satisfied now? Sue Sylvester may be an extreme measure, but I think Glee has successfully confronted the issue of preference to some types of people over others. Rachel and Finn were still the leads on the final number. But if who was singing what was what you were paying attention to during "Keep Holding On," you have some serious issues. (No, really. Like you're a sociopath, issues.)

And that serves as an excellent segue into talking about the music. Oh. My. God. The music. In this episode. Omg. Not only is Glee finally reaching what I think is the best per-episode quota of music, but the music itself is getting better and better. Message and context aside, "Hate On Me" was nothing short of magnificent. "No Air" was the weakest number - Lea Michele has a hell of a voice but she just can't carry off the R&B beat as well as she can vocal chord bursting showstoppers, but watching Dianna Agron's face through the whole thing made it all worth it. And speaking of Dianna Agron, SOLO! I have no doubt that every member of the cast is ridiculously talented and I'm hoping it won't be too long before they all get a chance in the spotlight. My favorite musical number in the entire episode was the Glee club's hush-hush jam session. Because they weren't lip syncing to a recording of their voices. They were singing. Right on camera. And there is no greater proof than that of exactly how good they all truly are.

I'll get back to the closing number, "Keep Holding On," in a moment. But first, the Schuesters. Everything is getting closer to coming to a head. And I am more than ready to see Teri Schuester get hers. Teri (and her sister Kendra, to a lesser but more hilarious extent) make me so angry I want to puke. The fake OB exam and the doctor made for one of the funniest non-Sue scenes in the entirety of Glee. But the pinnacle of this part of the episode? Will Schuester breaking down and crying with happiness. Matthew Morrison should not be allowed to cry. He is immensely convincing and had me tearing up right along with him in under thirty seconds. My hat off to you, sir. I said after the very first episode that you were a great performer. You really, really are.

And speaking of crying, that brings me back neatly to close up my thoughts with "Keep Holding On" and all related elements. One of the most masterful parts of Glee is that it manages to give a balanced view of its characters. Quinn is written as sympathetic and horrible in equal parts. Dianna Agron performs both to colossal effect. And the result is a true emotional rollercoaster. The Finn and Rachel hijinks across most of the episode were infuriating and excellent, but the best part of the entire situation was when, after Sue Sylvester really does the unthinkable, all the heart and soul of Glee plants itself firmly in support of Quinn Fabray. Rachel and Finn may have been singing lead in "Keep Holding On," but Quinn was the emotional and visual center through it all. Her face was enough to make my eyes sting, but it was the way that Finn, Rachel, and Kurt all sang directly to her that made that final number the heartwrenching finale that it was.

This may be the best Glee episode to date. It has the musical and comic brilliance I loved so much in last week's "Vitamin D." And it also fully realizes the beautiful emotional depth at the core of Glee. In the aftermath, I feel impressed in the fullest, deepest way possible. And it is a beautiful thing.

I'm saying it now so I can "I told you so" later. I'm seeing years of devotion. And I'm seeing Emmys.

(This review is also posted on my blog at



Default avatar cat
Oct 15, 2009 3:00AM EDT

Gosh, I love love love glee.
I cried so hard when Will was all teary and emotional and once again in the finale song.
It's just keeps getting better.
Another quick thing...where was Emma?

Oct 15, 2009 1:12PM EDT

What an amazing episode, and an amazing review as well, Kouou!! I was also very touched by this episode - you know you're watching a ground-breaking show when you're tackling the hardships of teen pregnancy one moment and the insane hilarity of a slow-motion teacher fight the next!
The comedy was over-the-top great with so much Sue time like I've been craving, and I agree with you that Will stepped up like I hoped, but hadn't been sure he could deliver. I did miss Emma this episode, but I think it was good to give more focus to the Will and Teri baby drama for this week. I keep wondering how, step-by-step of the fake pregnancy, Teri's going to pull it off, but that keeps the tension going just right.
The only other thing I wish they'd play up more is Puck being Quinn's baby daddy, but I guess that's hard to play with without everyone just finding out. I did love the Finn-Quinn troubles, and actually felt bad for Quinn when they allowed us to focus on her struggle, making us see her as more than the bratty cheerleader tricking and cheating on Finn and hating Rachel.
Can't wait for what's next, but until then, I'll certainly be watching this episode a few more times!

Oct 15, 2009 2:31PM EDT

i love glee which is strange as most of the songs really really suck bring back the rock songs but apart from that i think it's time Teri got hers and will and Emma got together i am glad that sue did the right thing in the end it's also time for everyone to find out that puck is the real dad but saying all that if we get what we want now what is there for the rest of the season and maybe into another season
on another note i see that the glee clan are not wanted for macy's day parade well that's the organiser's fault i think they would be great as the half time entertainment at the superbowl

Default avatar cat
Oct 15, 2009 4:13PM EDT

Yes, a truly great episode, but I was a little bit thrown by Puck's complete lack of involvement with Quinn yet again. The early episodes set it up nicely that Finn finding out about not being the baby-daddy will be a big issue and although I don't think it should be revealed until maybe the xmas break, having absolutely no character interaction about the subject gives a dis-jointed feel to the overall storyline. Even Quinn was welling up with tears about it being hard for her getting kicked off the Cheerios was the biggest problem in her life was underwhelming for me that she is still lying about who the real father of the baby is. Are we supposed to think that Puck just doesn't care and Quinn can happily live a lie to save face? If it is going to be public knowledge now that Quinn is pregnant and she won't be Head-Cheerio bringing her bond closer with the Glee club as they will be the only ones there for her, then I can understand her not wanting to mess that up, but at least bring some relevance to Puck during the whole situatiuon.
Having a break from Emma was good as it did give more time to focus on the Terri situation but to be honest, as there was so much Jane Lynch in the episode I actually forgot she wasn't in it till reading this review!lol.
Sometime during the week I am going to have to use my favourite Sylvester bit of terminology from this week; "with such a conviction that can only be described as religious". Wonderful line and a great episode and agree was probably my favourite so far. I'm glued to this show.
Good review Kouou!

Oct 15, 2009 5:19PM EDT

Thanks for the great review! You express my feelings 100%. While I started watching Glee solely for the comedic elments and the music, I am very much impressed with the depth of the characters.
The development Quinn has gone through is great, she actually has me liking her and feeling for her. I am glad that the other characters are starting to step out of the shadows and can't wait what the future has in store for them.
Now to the music: absolutely, raving fabulous. I have this week's songs running non-stop. The final song was truly gut-wrenching and Quinn's solo was superb.
I love Glee, am getting more and more obsessed about it and can't wait for next week.

Default avatar cat
Oct 16, 2009 7:04PM EDT

"Apart, the two of them are phenomenal. vocabulary just isn't enough to explain how amazing that was."
Great review koukou. Those words perfectly expressed what I was thinking when watching this was just jam-packed with goodness...I'm not surprised that Jane Lynch ad-libbed those lines b/c that's the kind of awesomeness that she is. This show keeps getting better and better...Glee4 Life!

Oct 17, 2009 1:21AM EDT

There is nothing I love more than an ending that leaves me gasping for air. Following such a powerful song and performance - Kurt's smiles melted my heart, and I wanted to jump in and give Quinn a hug myself - with the sad, quiet moment of Quinn still crying but calming down.......ahhh, wonderful.
I agree with everything else in this review, which was excellently written. I didn't know that office scene was ad-libbed, but it was spectacular! And I have to admit that the break from Emma was needed and appreciated. That story line will be much less frustrating after the faby drama has played out, so I can wait.
Speaking of fabies, I have to say that Teri's sister, Kendra, is actually the more evil one. After watching this episode, I genuinely believe that Teri is just an idiot. Look at Sue's Cheerios - most are functionally illiterate and draw sombreros on their Spanish tests. Teri used to be head cheerleader, so perhaps she, too, skated by in high school and life and is now the result of preferential treatment of pretty people (aaahh!!!! alliterative P!!!) When the OBGYN asked her if Kendra was on any psychotropic drugs, Teri was oblivious that the question was an insult. I'm not saying that she isn't manipulative and deserves comeuppance, but I actually feel sorry for her. Either way, I hope this nonsense is resolved before Quinn signs anything....Teri should NOT be raising a child. Oh dear lord. Also, as soon as she is out of the picture, I hope she stays gone for awhile. Maybe she could come back a season or two later for drama, but by the time this Faby Drama is finished I know I'll be on the brink of Teri-overload.
Anyways, love the show, and I agree COMPLETELY that Matthew Morrison shouldn't be allowed to cry. Oh MAN, from the freaking pilot, as soon as the chorus of that blessed Journey song starts up and his eyes start to overflow, I am GONE. As they say on the interweb, le sigh.

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