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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Glee: Choke Review (4.5/5)

Change is in the air in another great episode!
America's musical comedy-drama Glee seems to be on something of a comeback run, with last week's Whitney tribute Dance With Somebody earning a hefty 5/5 here and now Choke coming along to change things up for the New Directions. Rachel and Kurt's NYADA confirmation through their big auditions always seemed like a given what with the show's upbeat attitude, but as the writers of this season have so refreshingly reminded us with Quinn's accident, Dave's attempted suicide and now Rachel's titular fluff-up, life doesn't always go the way we expect it to. The cameo from Whoopi Goldberg as a no-holds barred dramatic judge who dismisses Rachel after two attempts at Rain On Your Parade might seem a little excessive even for a programme which has shoehorned in Madonna just to gain laughs, yet the audition itself and the major problems that come with it are pitched perfectly, making for hugely compelling viewing. On top of that, as seems to be a pleasing recurring trend with Glee nowadays, the episode lays on another crucial plotline when we see Coach Beiste fall prey to domestic abuse from her supposedly ideal soulmate, once again allowing Sue (and surprisingly the new Cheerios coach) to step into a great sympathetic light the likes of which could not have been imagined from the wonderful Jane Lynch in the first season. Already this year, we've had storylines involving racism, homophobia and car accidents integrated successfully throughout, but this huge twist in Beiste's character arc is so unprecedented and totally unexpected that we can really begin to feel that the show is learning from its recent mistakes. Puckerman's arc also seems to be heading into intriguing directions too with the return of his money-scavenging father onto the scene and his own failure to pass his final exam. though this sub-plot gets perhaps less attention than it might have had it been placed later in the run. Indeed, the episode seems to suffer from being a little over-crowded, with the great renditions of Music Of The Night and Not The Boy Next Door counter-balanced with dire versions of Cell Block Tango, School's Out and Shake It Out that feel wholly out of place in their narrative context. Nevertheless, Choke is another stellar instalment in this final run of Glee Season Three, building more tension and excitement towards the inevitably game-changing series finale Goodbye.

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