Note: The following review contains spoilers for all aired episodes of Glee, including the most recent, “Funk.”
“Funk” may very well be the most disappointing episode of Glee to date. Sure, it has its moments, such as the peek at Sue’s trophy-ridden apartment, the sweet scene between Quinn and Mercedes, and the hilarious news footage of Sue winning the championship, but overall, the episode is oddly paced, strangely mean-spirited, and features the most uninspiring collection of music the writers have ever assembled in a single episode–almost all poorly chosen and, with the exception of the “Give Up the Funk” finale (and the back-up pregnant teens in “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”), uninterestingly presented. Much of it doesn’t make much sense, either. ”Good Vibrations” isn’t funk, but it’s included, regardless. Just because they point out in the script that it isn’t funk doesn’t justify its inclusion in a funk episode. Furthermore, at the end, the Vocal Adrenaliners worry about not being able to pull off a funk number themselves, but isn’t “Another One Bites the Dust,” with which they open the episode, funk? Also, the pun on the various meanings of funk, well, it just doesn’t quite work.
Really, the episode’s most egregious issue is in character motivation. Firstly, there is of course Will’s attempt to seduce Sue, in order to humiliate her, which seems uncharacteristically cruel for him. Then, there is her reaction to being hurt by him, which, thankfully, they explain as being a result of her feeling lonely, not due to actual feelings for him, but which nonetheless feels poorly handled. The character who suffers most, however, is Jesse St. James, who now makes absolutely no sense. When he first joined the story, it was difficult to tell if he was simply using Rachel for Vocal Adrenaline’s nefarious purposes or truly falling for her. Then, when Rachel hurt him, he broke up with her, with his potentially evil plan not carried out. Two episodes later, he reunited with her in order to bring her closer to her mother. In this same episode, he told Shelby that he truly does like Rachel. And then two episodes later, he has now betrayed Rachel and rejoined Vocal Adrenaline. I realize that Glee can be an overstuffed show at times, causing scenes to end up on the cutting room floor, but when scenes that explain crucial character motivations are cut, we are left with an incomplete plot. Now, I don’t know for sure that scenes were cut, but I have to imagine that they were, because if not, there is a serious flaw in the writing here.
I have heard rumors that this episode was actually aired out of order and was meant to appear before “Theatricality.” This might address a few of the issues, explaining such things as why Jesse didn’t appear in the previous episode, but it also doesn’t fix this episode’s numerous flaws. Oh, well. Here’s hoping this brief dip in quality, like a bad dress rehearsal, indicates that the finale will be a true showstopper.