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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday’s “Dynamic Duets” episode of Glee.]
Sectionals is just a week away and the repopulated New Directions finally started to come together under new leader Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) during Thursday’s “Dynamic Duets” episode.
With Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) in Washington, the McKinley grad faces his first time in front of his former group and comes into his own in a superhero-themed episode of Fox’s Glee. Here are 10 things to be thankful for from the episode, which aired on Thanksgiving.
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1. Blaine (Darren Criss) is staying put at McKinley High. After the Warblers return and attempt to lure their star performer back by stealing New Directions’ Nationals trophy, McKinley’s student body president struggles with leaving the school where everything reminds him of Kurt. Ultimately, he gets a timely reminder of the hero he really is from his vice president, Sam (Chord Overstreet).
2. Awesome Marley (Melissa Benoist) is awesome. The insecure rising star realizes, thanks to frenemy Kitty (Becca Tobin) no less, that her inner hero is not a “Wall Flower” but instead “Woman Fierce.” Kitty, who has Marley overly conscious about her figure, tells her rival that she, too, is bulimic and takes her under her wing with an empowered cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” Remember when Quinn and Rachel were finally on the same page? Yep, it’s that good. It’s about time Marley listened to the words of encouragement she’s been getting from her peers, even if she got there under Kitty’s false friendship.
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3. “Slaine” for the win. After learning that Blaine was on the verge of leaving McKinley for Dalton, Sam helps Blaine snap out of punishing himself for cheating on Kurt. In a flashback, Blaine reveals that he slept with a guy (Eli) he met on Facebook when he worried he and Kurt weren’t meant to be. However, after doing the deed, he realized how wrong he was. Sam tells him he needs to forgive himself and given a day to prove it, shows Blaine that he’s not a bad guy. Cut to their duet of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” which sees New Directions cleaning up graffiti and helping with the school’s Thanksgiving clothing drive.
4. Speaking of bromances, Ryder and Jake are the new Finn and Puck, officially. After coming to blows over Marley’s affection during their stellar duet to REM’s “I Am Superman,” they follow Finn’s assignment to reveal their inner kryptonite. Jake (Jacob Artist) shares he never feels like he fits in since he’s half white, half black and half Jewish. Ryder (Blake Jenner), meanwhile, shares he has a hard time reading. After Jake takes the news to Finn, Ryder is diagnosed as being dyslexic — with the football star confiding in Finn that it’s a huge weight off his shoulders. Finn, being the leader he truly is, blows Jake’s cover and tells the newest New Directions member that he really owes Jake for helping him. Ryder winds up coming to Jake’s defense when he lands in hot water with the rest of the football team for his friendship with Mrs. Rose.
5. “Jarley” (finally) has liftoff. Just as we’d jump ‘ships from Jake and Marley to Team “Ryley” (or is it “Marder”?), a newly emboldened Marley Rose decides she isn’t going to wait around for Ryder and asks Jake out on a date. The development comes after Ryder cancels their date when he puts himself first and opts to come home after football to study and prepare for an important session with a dyslexia specialist early the following morning. Convinced (again!) by Kitty that Ryder isn’t into her — because she “looks bloated” — Marley’s move on Jake ultimately winds up biting Kitty in the ass.
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6. The Finn we’ve come to know and love is back. After stumbling trying to find himself in the Army and in New York, Mr. Hud truly comes into his own as leader of New Directions, adding Ryder and Kitty into the group’s fold and uniting the club with a speech that forces frenemies Kitty and Marley as well as Ryder and Jake together.
7. Artie has purpose! After co-directing “Grease” and bringing Finn into the fold, prompting Mr. Schue to see who could fill-in for him while he’s in Washington, Artie (Kevin McHale) helps keep Finn on point as the head of New Directions. We loved the banter between Artie and Finn when describing Ryder and Jake’s “MS” (for Mega Stud). If Emma is the Robin to Mr. Schue’s Batman, Artie is the Sam to Finn’s Frodo.
8. Dot Marie Jones’ the Beiste Master. After providing a sounding board for Emma and she struggled with following Will to Washington, she again inspires Finn to be the hero New Directions needs and to lead by example.
STORY: ‘Glee’s’ Blake Jenner Previews Ryder’s Dyslexia and Finn as His ‘Role Model’
9. The return of the Warblers and Grant Gustin‘s Sebastian. We’re glad to see them back, even if it’s with Dr. Evil 2.0 in Hunter (Nolan Gerard Funk). It turns out that the new captain of the all-boy band was brought to Dalton from Colorado Springs after leading his military academy choir to a Regionals victory. The Blaine-fueled cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side” made us miss the boys in blazers — and want to see Pitch Perfect‘s Skyler Astin pop in.
10. New Directions, all for one and one for all. Covering .fun’s “Some Nights,” the new New Directions finally (finally!) comes together as the club goes back to the red shirts and jeans basics that have come to mark some of its best performances. Marley and Kitty’s breakout — with Kitty’s eye rolling! — paired with Ryder and Jake’s bromance, Sam’s leadership as well as Tina as the vocal heart and conscience of the group and Joe’s semi-solo show they’re truly ready for Sectionals. This is the New Directions we’ve been waiting for — especially when you realize that you didn’t really miss any of the New York-centered story lines.
What did you think of “Dynamic Duets”? Did you like New Directions’ “Some Nights”? Should Marley be worried about Kitty? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit
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