GLEE 1.16: Home is where the singing is…

Will and April duet right.

Each episode of GLEE since its return has been better than the one before, and this week’s installment, called “Home,” was no exception. A treatise on the concept of finding someplace to belong, the story also saw the welcome return of Kristen Chenoweth as April Rhodes. This was one of those episodes that had viewers laughing, singing along and then crying – sometimes practically all at once.

The storyline saw Sue (Jane Lynch) boot the glee club from the auditorium, sending Will (Matthew Morrison) in search of rehearsal space. That quest brought him into contact with April, who was running a roller rink because she got sidetracked on her journey to Branson. April, too, was searching for someplace to belong – was she really happy playing the mistress of a local strip-mall king? When she and Will dueted on “Fire,” it felt like she rediscovered where she belongs: by his side. Morrison’s and Cheno’s voices mesh perfectly, and they look good together, so it was no wonder April wanted to move in with him immediately. (I’m sure Emma would have something to say about that…) Their duet on “One Less Bell to Answer” was heartbreaking.

The subplots saw Sue prepping for a visit from a reporter representing a magazine that had named Sue “Cheerleader coach of the last 2000 years.” To that end, she pressured Mercedes (Amber Riley) to lose 10 pounds in seven days. And, more importantly, Kurt engineered a love match between his father, Burt, and Finn’s mother, Carole. Kurt’s (Chris Colfer) motivation turned out to be a little less than pure: He was trying to maneuver Finn (Cory Monteith) into moving in with him as a package deal with Carole. (Of course Finn remained fiercely loyal to the father he never knew, which made his mother sit him down and explain her secret pain of talking to her late husband’s ashes.) But when Finn and Burt (Mike O’Malley) instantly bonded over sports, Kurt was stricken, and felt like he was losing his place in his own father’s heart. When he gasped, “I’m a guy” to Burt, there was hardly a dry eye in the audience.

It was similar to Mercedes’ struggle with her weight. Her plight actually touched Quinn’s (Dianna Agron) heart. The perky blonde confided that she used to starve herself, and hated herself for eating a cookie. But her pregnancy changed her relationship with food. She realized that if she was willing to eat healthy for somebody else (her baby), then why not do it for herself?

Mercedes turned a pep rally designed to showcase Sue into an affirmation of self-worth by singing Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” in yet another of GLEE’s patented tear-jerking moment. That was followed up by Burt confessing to Finn that he loves Carole. “I can’t be your dad, but I will be her hero for as long as she’ll take me.” How could Finn argue with that? He moved his father’s ashes out of his dad’s easy chair to make room for Burt. But that broke Kurt’s heart on two scores: He didn’t want Burt bonding with a more macho “son,” and it felt like Burt was the one hooking up with Finn.

There was a happy ending when April got $2 million in hush money when her sugar daddy croaked, and she headed to New York to mount the first-ever all-white production of The Wiz. But first, she bought the auditorium (and renamed it “The April Rhodes Civic Pavilion”), giving the Gleeks a home at last.

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