Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Glee Review - Dream On
Now this is the one I've been waiting for. This episode was directed by the legendary Joss Whedon, creator of such classic series as Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. More than that though, he created the completely awesome Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, so the guy isn't new to musicals.
Joss Whedon is a legend. Those who aren't quite as geeky as me should still know that name. He co-wrote the screenplay for Toy Story. The guy is amazing.
It may seem odd, to some people, to attempt to pull off what Whedon did with this episode. I mean, to take the main character of your beloved internet musical, and to feature him violently taking over the school? It seems like an odd direction to go. I'll admit, before the episode aired, I found myself doubting if it would work well. I was so wrong. The episode is brilliant, and he makes connections that, although I won't spoil them here, make me wonder how I didn't make the connection to realize that Doctor Horrible and Glee have been set in the same universe THE ENTIRE TIME. It's amazing how something can be staring you right in the face, and yet completely go over your head.
I'll tell you what though, Mr. Whedon clearly isn't afraid to pull a plot twist. I mean, he's always been known for (spoilers past the links) killing off fan favorite characters. But to pull off such a bold move as offing a character that's not even from your own show? That takes nerve. But Joss did in fact do it, in a tragic scene that left me stunned, and I'll admit it, crying, in which Artie, the character in a wheelchair, meets his grisly fate to a flight of stairs.
But without a doubt, what shocked me most was the way he connected ALL OF HIS SERIES within this one hour long episode. I mean, it would have been enough to simply connect Glee and Doctor Horrible together, but he didn't stop there. No, he manages to connect every one of his series, in a scene where a scorned Sue goes to the Dollhouse, to rent out a Doll that's imprinted with the personality of Buffy, in order to assist Captain Hammer defeat Doctor Horrible. I thought it would be completely impossible to connect the space western Firefly in with the other series, I mean, Firefly is set in the year 2517! But he even manages to hint at connections with that in a scene where Captain Hammer (Played by Nathan Fillion) reveals his true identity, and his last name is Reynolds, suggesting that he is an ancestor of Mal Reynolds (Played by Nathan Fillion), the captain of Serenity.
This episode really grabbed me in a way Glee never has. I found that, in that brief hour, I went from being completely indifferent about all of the characters, to melting in a pool of tears during the scene in which Tina cries over Artie's dead body. I went from wishing the love triangle (rectangle?) between Rachael, Finn, Puck, and Jessie would end, to being on the edge of my seat to see who Rachael would choose to save from the death trap Dr. Horrible had them all caught in.
My personal favorite part though had to be Felicia Day playing a zombified version of Penny, risen from the grave by Doctor Horrible. She managed to give a performance worthy of an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, and every other award they make, without ever uttering a word that wasn't "Brains..." I hope she won't be overlooked from the award she actually deserved.
Glee is nothing without musical numbers of course though, and this episode was not without those. The numbers were all covers of the music from the phenomenal Dr. Horrible musical. Dr. Horrible himself had taken over the school, and it appears he had been in Glee club himself as a child. He took special interest in the Glee club, and in a very vain move, had them perform songs he had "written himself" which were actually scenes from the musical itself. These amazing performances were knocked out of the park by the kids covering them, unfortunately it seems Fox has been guarding the music for this episode very closely, and as such I am unable to post any of it simply because it appears to have disappeared from youtube.
If I had to criticize the episode for anything, the way the worked in the cover of "The Hero of Canton" from the Firefly episode "Jaynestown" seemed to be a bit contrived to me. The song won't actually be written for 507 years, according to the timeline Whedon has established. Although I'm willing to forgive that, considering the sheer quality of the cover Kurt did. Phenomenal.
All in all, this episode of Glee stands head and shoulders above all the others. It went beyond heartwarming. It went beyond touching. It was truly life changing. In fact, this episode may be- No, it IS, the greatest thing ever to be aired on television. I'm not even kidding here when I say that I think in a hundred years, this episode will be looked back upon as the turning point for our worlds society that led to not only universal health care, and the destruction of all the worlds weapons, not just nuclear, but ALL of them, but in fact it will be viewed as the turning point for improved public education, the cure for cancer, world peace and unification, an improved space program, and ultimately true enlightenment.
Thank you Joss Whedon. Thank you for such a wonderful contribution to humanity. You've truly touched my life with this hour of television sir. You've truly changed the course of human history. Thank you.