'Glee' recap: Honoring love and Whitney Houston
Yes, the fact that Tuesday night's Valentine's Day episode of "Glee" featured Mercedes (Amber Riley) belting out a beautiful version of Whitney Houston's signature song, "I Will Always Love You," to a tearful Sam was a total coincidence. The episode, which celebrated the "World's Greatest Love Songs" (as Mr. Schu wrote on his classroom white board), was already in the can and ready to go when news broke Saturday of Houston's sad and startling death. In response to the music industry's profound loss, the show's producers decided to dedicate Tuesday night's show to the late singer, honoring her with a title card at the end, reading, simply …
We will always love you
Riley's gorgeous, lush take on Houston's trademark ballad -- a song we've been hearing a lot of these past few days -- was definitely an episode highlight. (She's broken up with Shane, yet still not ready to get together with Sam. And how great did she look backlit, in that ruched red dress?) But that wasn't the only thing that made us sit up and take notice.
Other notable developments in "Glee's" "Heart" episode:
Rachel's dads: At last we meet Rachel's two dads, Hiram and Leroy, played by Jeff Goldblum (weird cadence and all) and Brian Stokes Mitchell. The dads bicker (for example, about a dream one of them had in which he went ice fishing with "Hollywood heartthrob Tony Danza") and claim to throw their full support, as well as a stack of wedding magazines, behind Rachel and Finn's engagement. They invite the Hudson-Hummels over for dinner (or, dinner theater, as they prefer to think of it) and roll out not just the proverbial red carpet, but also the metaphorical bedroom quilt for Finn. If the kids are going to be married, they say, they might as well start shacking up now. Commence the "teenage lovemaking." Apparently, Rachel's dads are trying to use a little reverse-psychology to get the kids to reconsider their marital plans -- a bit of deceptive behavior that goes against the core tenets of the Barry family: "honesty, respect, dance." Finn's family is also in on the plan; his mom has packed his toothbrush. But after a brief dispute over the use of the bathroom (marriage in a nutshell, really), Finn and Rachel make up and resolve to marry even sooner -- in May, they announce to a startled Hiram and Leroy. Backfire!
The return of Dave Karofsky: With Blaine out of the picture on the pretext that he's recovering from his cornea injury (one of those "Glee" head-scratchers you either get hung up on or decide to get over), Kurt keeps getting messages, delivered via gorilla, from a secret admirer he's sure is Blaine. But when Kurt shows up early for Sugar Motta's big party expecting Blaine's big reveal, he is instead greeted by … Dave Karofsky. Kurt's former tormentor tells Kurt he loves him, reaching to hold his hand. But Kurt breaks the big gorilla's heart by telling him he is with Blaine and likes him only as a friend. Unfortunately, on the way out, Karofsky is spotted by a kid we assume is from his new school, where he's not yet "out." His straight cover possibly blown, Karofsky makes a hasty exit, leaving us wondering, as we have before, if he's going to do something rash and unfortunate.
Sugar Motta's big party: Sugar Motta's throwing a big party at Breadstix for Valentine's Day -- and you can't come alone, because single people depress her. But who will be Sugar's date? Artie and Rory are battling for the privilege, but just when it looks like Artie might have gained the upper hand by wooing her with "Let Me Love You," Rory captures her attention by telling New Directions he's been denied an extension on his visa and singing a sad "Home." It's likely that Rory's fibbing, though. So who knows which (if either) guy will ultimately find Sugar's heart under his chair (or in the garbage can or the potted plant in the corner)? It's all a happy excuse to sing that great love song, the B-52s' "Love Shack," and dance with partners and friends in a big, open-hearted, all-embracing party.
Love, baby, that's where it's at …
What did you think of "Glee's" Valentine's Day episode?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Lea Michele, left, as Rachel and guest star Jeff Goldblum as her dad Hiram entertain a "Glee" gathering. Credit: Adam Rose / Fox