Glee Season 4 Episode 8 Review “Thanksgiving”

After thoroughly hating last week’s superhero filler episode of Glee, a good old, familiar, competition episode has brought me back on side just in time for ‘Thanksgiving’ (wait, wasn’t that last week?). The whole gang are home for the holiday just like they promised and, for the first time this year, that includes Quinn. The only members of the old New Directions not back in Ohio are Kurt and Rachel, who decide to spend the weekend with each other in New York.

First off, it’s absolutely amazing to see the original cast back together, and having Quinn walk the halls of McKinley again was certainly worth the wait. None of us know for sure what the thinking was behind casting this year, but the writers do seem to be preparing us for a whole new Glee. Are the old characters going to be phased out completely at some point? We’ve now had two full New York-less episodes and we’ve only just been given a full-house of originals, so it’s certainly possible. What tonight’s episode reminded me of, however, was how great the show used to be, and how much better I like the old cast than the new.

Pairing up the new members with the graduates, for example, just proved how similar they really are. Quinn is with Kitty, Puck is with little Puck, Wade is with Mercedes, Ryder is with Mike (though he’s more like Finn), and Marley is with Santana (though she’s more like Rachel). This episode does a great job of splitting time between the two different casts, possibly the best since the season premiere, and I’d quite like the show to follow this format for the foreseeable future. While we don’t get any in-depth exploration of the characters or their storylines, we’re treated to bite-size portions of the new cast mixed in with the familiarity of the old.

For the glee club, everything that’s been building over the last few weeks comes to a head here. Kitty’s evil plan to sabotage Marley gets discovered by Santana, but dismissed by Quinn, and the poor girl ends up collapsing during their performance. You just know that any fictional case of bulimia ends with the person collapsing during some public event, and as soon as I heard she was still purging in a sectionals episode, the unfortunate event was inevitable. Whether this issue will be sensitively and intelligently handled depends on next week, but for now we’re left with a pretty affecting cliffhanger.

Finn is still doing his best Will impression, sweater-vest and all, by coaching both his old classmates and new charges onto the stage. What did everyone think of ‘Gangnam Style’? Personally, I hated it, since the phenomenon of the song has faded too much for it to be relevant and a show choir version of the song just sounded off. There’s also the fact that they made Tina sing the bulk of the verses. I don’t remember her being Korean? Being Asian shouldn’t mean that she has to sing all of the foreign language bits, and it’s another case of Glee being more than a little bit racist to the minorities it aims to support.

The New York Thanksgiving was also very, very strange, with Sarah Jessica Parker turning up to her 18-year-old employee’s apartment with a whole party full of drag queens. All breaking out into song with a ‘Let’s Have a Kiki’, ‘Turkey Lurkey Time’ mash-up, it felt like a Ryan Murphy fever-dream rather than an episode of Glee. I know my belief has to be suspended somewhat, but this was just plain crazy. During all the hoopla, though, Klaine fans were given a small respite from the misery when Kurt called home for a heart-to-heart. Intending to forgive his ex and move on properly, the pair actually end up making plans for Christmas. This means all hope is not lost!

Overall, the whole thing was loads of fun and packed full of cosy nostalgia, and probably would have played brilliantly in its intended slot last week. The three threads of New York, old cast and new cast was balanced expertly, and hopefully it paves the way for more like this to come.

What did you think of episode? What will happen to Marley after her collapse? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.