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‘Glee’-cap: “Transitioning”

Raina Deerwater ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Matthew Morrison and Alex Newell in the Glee episode "Transitioning." Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/FOX.
Matthew Morrison and Alex Newell in the Glee episode “Transitioning.” Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/FOX.

Good News: This episode goes a lot better than one would expect when Will (Matthew Morrison) writes “Intolerance” on the board within the first five minutes then goes into a soulful rendition of Macklemore’s “Same Love.”

Bad News: Will writes “Intolerance” on the board within the first five minutes then goes into a soulful rendition of Macklemore’s “Same Love.”

There are many other terrible things about the first ten minutes of “Transitioning,” don’t worry. Will is trying to teach Vocal Adrenaline to be more tolerant. It backfires intensely, with Vocal Adrenaline deciding to be offensive toward New Directions, to throw their competitors off their game. Of course, that classic show choir strategy.

In other news, Coach Sheldon Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones) comes back from his gender reassignment surgery, something that should be handled with tact and support. Guess what the show doesn’t do? It’s beyond unfortunate that Beiste’s return coincides with Vocal Adrenaline’s decision to act more offensive. They egg his car. Sue (Jane Lynch) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) come to his defense, but they do this by ignoring Sheldon’s insistence that he just wants to be left alone.

Lea Michele and Darren Criss in the Glee episode "Transitioning." Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/FOX.
Lea Michele and Darren Criss in the Glee episode “Transitioning.” Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/FOX.

It’s cringe-worthy, to say the least.

However, the episode does take a turn after this incredibly offensive opening. Rachel’s (Lea Michele) childhood home is being sold, which sucks for her, but is a non-issue compared to what is happening to the people around her. However, this is what the show chooses to focus on. The good thing about this is that it just leads to a bunch of fun duets in Rachel’s basement a la season two. Unlike most of the music this season, it’s pretty enjoyable. It also isn’t excessively choreographed or auto-tuned, shockingly.

The majority of the episode actually takes place in Rachel’s basement where several things happen:
• Mercedes (Amber Riley) reveals she is all about that bass
• Sam and Rachel bang
• No one cares about Sam and Rachel banging
• Kurt and Blaine (Darren Criss) kiss
• Rachel gets nostalgic about old glee club times
• Audiences get nostalgic about old glee club times when this show was decent.

Matthew Morrison in the Glee episode "Transitioning." Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/FOX.
Matthew Morrison in the Glee episode “Transitioning.” Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/FOX.

After all this, which is the majority of the episode, it comes back to how Beiste is feeling. He feels either attacked or over-coddled about this whole situation, which is more than fair. When the show finally focuses back to this, a very surprising thing happens.

Will leads Vocal Adrenaline to the auditorium to apparently pull a prank but he then reveals that he and Unique (remember Unique?) (Alex Newell) have assembled with a choir of trans individuals three hundred strong. They welcome Coach Beiste into their arms as they sing Hairspray’s “I Know Where I’ve Been.” It is very touching. It takes a musical moment that doesn’t seem excessively processed and combines it with the feeling of acceptance. It’s a powerful and climactic finale to Beiste’s storyline and it feels less manufactured than everything else that came before.

In no way does this make up for the terrible way the beginning of this plot was handled, but at least it shows a happy ending for a trans character. The way Glee handled this issue was heavy-handed and problematic, but at least it was 100% garbage. Oh, how the standards have fallen.

Also, Will quits Vocal Adrenaline and goes back to help Kurt and Rachel with the good ol’ New Directions, but everyone saw that coming a mile away.

Overall Episode Grade: C+

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