After last week's emotional and controversial "Grilled Cheesus" episode, "Glee" slipped into (gasp!) sorta lackluster territory (perhaps it was the lack of Sue Sylvester that did it) this week with "Duets." The show has had so many of its characters sing together for memorable numbers (Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris' epic "Dream On," anyone?) that it was a bit of a letdown that an episode with so many collaborations felt a little one-note. None of them were bad at all, mind you, in fact, some were pretty great. They just didn't have the same oomph the best "Glee" moments are made of.
That said, the theme of duets was fitting as the focus was on the couples of New Directions (including some surprising pairings we didn't see coming from a mile away.) It all started when Mr. Schuester decided to make this week's assignment a competition and upped the ante with a free meal at what is apparently the greatest restaurant in the history of restaurants, Breadsticks.
First up, Kurt, who has been taking care of his recovering father (thanks for pulling through, Burt!), had his eyes set on newbie Sam (Chord Overstreet). It's been speculated amongst Gleeks that Sam would be the other half of Kurt's "power couple," and when Kurt's gaydar went in to overdrive, it seemed things were headed in that direction. Turns out, Kurt (who was as impressive as ever during his solo number, "Le Hot Jazz" from the musical "Victor/Victoria," as well as a duet with Rachel of Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand's "Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy") was only right about Sam's altered hair color (psst...it's lemon juice!) and not his sexual orientation (or Ryan Murphy could just be throwing us for a loop right now...).
In fact, Sam had his sights set on...you know what...more on that later because we must talk about Brittany and Santana! Feeling frisky sans Puck (yes, our beloved troublemaker found himself in juvie for undisclosed reasons) Santana locked lips (and, from the sounds of it, a heck of a lot more) with Brittany, who seems to have feelings for her friend. But, Santana had a different kind of union in mind this week when she teamed up with sworn enemy Mercedes for their rousing version of Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High." I must say, I dug this dueling duo's number more than when they did Brandy and Monica's "The Boy Is Mine," but it was still my least favorite number of the evening.
In turn, Brittany nursed her feelings for Santana by being with, brace yourselves, Artie. In the most surprising pairing on "Glee" yet, Brittany made her move on Artie (despite thinking he was a robot) and the results were just as unexpected. Before the two even had a chance to get to their duet, they decided to, erm, do it (which, as we learned, was Artie's first time.) While I agree with everyone that Chris Colfer absolutely deserves an Emmy nomination, and ultimately, win, his co-star Kevin McHale is just as deserving. My heart aches for Artie on a weekly basis, and with his longing looks at Tina and his heartbreaking confession to Brittany that he wanted losing his virginity to be special, Kevin proved his undeniable acting chops once again.
Elsewhere, struggling couple Mike and Tina didn't need Asian couples therapy, they just needed to perform the lightning fast "Sing!" from the show "A Chorus Line" (I vote for this as the strongest duet in the ep). Meanwhile, New Directions' longest-running couple (so far), Rachel and Finn, decided to throw the competition, thanks to their take on the easy listening classic "With You I'm Born Again" by Billy Preston and Syreeta Wright—a version that would make Finn's "Cheesy Lord" smite him. While Finn worried a too-interested Kurt (Is Finn really homophobic? Talk amongst yourselves) would scare Sam off, Rachel simply wanted to ensure the newbie would stay since his impressive pipes would help them at Nationals.
Turns out their strategy, as well as Sam's crush on singing partner Quinn, worked. Despite some mixed signals and apprehension on Quinn's part, the two turned out a cute little rendition of Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat's "Lucky." It was so cute, in fact, Mr. Schue awarded them the winners of the challenge and sent them off on what would ultimately turn out to be their first date.
What did you think of this week's episode, Gleeks? Did it feel a little flat to you or did you find the pairings to be perfect? Did Brittany's "Lady in the Tramp" moment have you in stitches? Do you think Sam and Quinn will make for a good couple? How AH-MAY-ZING does the "Rocky Horror" episode look? Let us know below!