The Klaine fan base has been reeling since Blaine (Darren Criss) confessed to Kurt (Chris Colfer) that he got lonely and cheated, and the beloved couple split. Blaine has been dealing with a gambit of emotions since then; everything from guilt to desperation. Kurt won’t listen to anything Blaine has to say and he fears he’s lost the love of his life forever.
On Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, “Glee” aired the all-new episode “Dynamic Duets, which finds Blaine continuing to struggle over the breakup and ultimately facing a very difficult choice. Plus, Ryder (Blake Jenner) competes with Jake for Marley’s (Melissa Benoist) affection and finally faces up to a lifelong undiagnosed problem.
Darren Criss and Blake Jenner deliver standout performances in this quirky-but-fun installment that pays tribute to super heroes, framed between cuts in a comic book style format.
All for One and One for All
Blaine calls a meeting of the Secret Society of Super Heroes club to order. Everyone is dressed as some type of super hero and their purpose is to help fight injustice and keep peace in the halls of McKinley High.
Blaine leads the club as Night Bird, and the meeting is interrupted with an emergency in the choir room. The band of heroes race to find the Nationals trophy has been stolen, with a laptop in its place. Blaine plays a video message from an unidentified Warbler, who claims that New Directions is living on borrowed victory time.
Blaine knows what he has to do. He goes to Dalton to confront the thief and get the trophy back. The new Warblers captain, Hunter, tells Blaine he’s heard he’s somewhat of a legend. He strikes a deal – the trophy in exchange for Blaine’s return to Dalton and the Warblers.
We have to smile when Hunter commands, “Present the blazer!” Blaine slips into the blazer and it’s like old times. The Warblers coax him into singing a song for old times’ sake.
Darren Criss rolls into an amazing rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side.” We have to admit we love the Warblers harmonies with Blaine as their ultra-hot and talented front man. However, we don’t love it enough to have Blaine defect to the “dark side.”
Blaine turns them down but then later, has a change of heart. In a very heartfelt scene, Blaine tells Finn (Cory Monteith) that when Kurt was there, they were a dynamic duo and without him, he feels like he’s floating. So, he’s decided to rejoin the Warblers.
On the count of three: One, two, three. Noooo!!
Facing Fear is Never Easy
Ryder and Jake (Jacob Artist) get into more than one scuffle over Marley. Finn intervenes on both occasions and finally orders them to stop fighting and try to understand each other instead. He assigns them the task of sitting down and telling each other their biggest fears.
Jake writes his down instead and hands the note to Ryder. Ryder tells him to be a man and just say it. Jake takes him aside and says he’s never really felt like he fits in anywhere. He’s half-black, half-white and half-Jewish and he’s constantly been teased about it.
Ryder listens and we can tell this information makes an impact. First he resists telling Jake his fear but then he shocks Jake with this statement:
“I made you tell me what your note says because I couldn’t read it.”
He walks away and Jake is stunned, but thankfully, goes to tell Finn what Ryder said.
Finn takes an uneasy Ryder to a special needs director and he does a reading assessment. It’s heartbreaking when he asks her why everything is so hard and says, “Am I stupid?”
Finn is waiting for Ryder in the hall and he tells him he’s dyslexic. It’s impossible not to get choked up as a near-tears Ryder tells Finn:
“Do you know what it’s like to have a real secret identity? Not like Clark Kent or Peter Parker, but to know inside you’re not who everyone thinks you are. My whole life it’s been, Ryder just needs to apply himself. Ryder’s smart, he just needs to work harder, focus, get it together, man up. But inside, Man, I knew they were all wrong. It didn’t matter how hard I focused or how hard I worked – I was stupid. And if anyone ever found that out, if they knew the real me, I was sure it would’ve killed my parents.”
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability and can have devastating effects on people who are undiagnosed. Learninginside-out.com reports the following statistics:
- Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.
- Of people with poor reading skills, 70-80 percent are likely dyslexic.
- One in five students, or 15-20 percent of the population, has a language based learning disability. Dyslexia is probably the most common of the language based learning disabilities.
- Nearly the same percentage of males and females have dyslexia.
- The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)* found that approximately 38 percent of fourth grade students have “below basic” reading skills. These students are below the 40th percentile (performing below the other 60 percent of their peers) and are at greater than 50 percent chance of failing the high-stakes, year-end school achievement tests.
- About three quarters of the children who show primary difficulties with basic reading skill early in reading development can be helped to overcome those difficulties to a large extent. Not all of these children have dyslexia.
- Less than 1/3 of the children with reading disabilities are receiving school services for their reading disability.
Finn fights back his own tears and tells Ryder he can put it all down now and finally get the help he needs. He also lets Ryder know he should thank Jake for stepping up to alert someone to the problem.
This sequence is arguably a “Glee” season 4 standout for newcomer Blake Jenner and series veteran Cory Monteith. It feels as if a mentor/student relationship is building between Finn and Ryder, similar to that of Finn and Mr. Schue and it’s a very touching, evolutionary thing to see.
Ryder is ultimately grateful to Jake and the two boys put down their fight over Marley in the name of the emotional progress they’ve both made.
Can Blaine Forgive Himself for Hurting Kurt?
Sam (Chord Overstreet) finds Blaine clearing out his locker and begs him to reconsider leaving McKinley. We finally learn that Blaine’s hookup was just a random guy he met on Facebook and how deeply he regrets what he did. But most of all, he’s hurt the one person he loves most in the world and because of it, Kurt will probably never trust him again.
Sam tells Blaine that even if Kurt won’t forgive him, he needs to forgive himself and find a way to move on. He also asks Blaine for one more day, before he makes a final decision about rejoining the Warblers.
At this point, Blaine’s pain and regret is still very fresh and it may be a very long time before he can put any of it behind him. Especially since he still believes he and Kurt were supposed to be together forever. Will Kurt ever forgive Blaine for breaking his trust? Is there any chance Kurt and Blaine will get back together? If not, how will Blaine find a way to forgive himself and move on?
Chord Overstreet shines in his duet with Darren Criss, which is an incredible cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes”. It’s really great to see Chord lead off the vocals under a spotlight on the stage, seated with his guitar.
Criss and Overstreet’s vocals blend wonderfully and we’re really glad that Blaine has Sam to lean on during such a dark time. Slaine will never replace Klaine, but their bonding is nice to watch.
“Gleeks” far and wide probably issued a huge collective sigh of relief when Blaine decides, in the end, to stay with New Directions and Sam and Blaine, dressed in their super hero attire steal back the New Directions trophy.
“Glee” airs in Flint on WSMH FOX66 Thursdays at 9 PM EST.