Editors’ Note: episode reactions at Deconstructing Glee come from a rotating panel of contributors from all around the globe. Seriously, let us know if you’d like to be part of our Secret Society of Superheroes, here! We could use more contributors as we move toward the final episodes of the season. This week’s post is written by TheBadassMuppet!
For me, the strangest part of “Feud” is how often the lines become blurry on who’s feuding with whom, and about what.
Feud #1: Finn vs. Will.
- Will is upset with Finn for kissing Emma, but all Finn seems to want is to be forgiven. He’s shown no desire to keep pursuing Emma and seems aware that he screwed up. Is it even a feud if there’s no argument?
- The epic music at the episode’s opening is ironic, as Will is not confronting Finn or even trying to get him to leave; Will’s only being passive-aggressive, treating Finn like a gofer. He makes Finn his subordinate when, in theory, they are supposed to be partners.
- As with all storylines in this episode, femininity is disparaged; Marley tells Finn to “grow a pair” and become his own person/character. Inexplicably, he plans to stop letting Will control him by *also* getting a non-specific high school teaching credential.
Feud #2: Rachel vs. Santana over Brody, OR Santana vs. Brody, OR Rachel and Kurt (???) vs. Santana over Brody, OR Brody vs. Finn.
- All of these people are fighting over whom Rachel should be romantically involved with, and the most complacent person here, sadly, is Rachel.
- If Rachel’s false alarm pregnancy – at least it wasn’t a miscarriage – is supposed to make her examine her “choices,” which choice does the show want her to regret: multiple partners, inadequate contraceptives, or just Brody? I’m inclined to think it’s just Brody, as his sex work is treated by all as a shameful secret that automatically makes him unworthy of Rachel. (If singing together = sex, what equals sex work?) This is Glee’s third foray into sex work (after Puck and Sam) but the first time it’s been more than a joke or a plot device.
- Before discovering his secret, Santana threatens Brody’s masculinity by saying he has an STI; afterward, she simply arranges for him to be beaten up by another man. I’ll admit, I found it gross that the storyline devolved into Finn once again invading Rachel’s life and asserting ownership of her.
Feud #3: Blaine vs. Sue and Becky
- Their apparent feud is over whether Blaine will be a “sexually non-threatening” cheerleader, performing at Sue’s will.
- The gendering here is especially interesting: Sue wants a gay male Cheerio (who can pass as straight) because she wants a guy on the team who won’t ogle the girls. Ironically, Sue and Becky are the ones being sexually inappropriate with Blaine: groping, kissing, objectifying, and spreading rumors about his sex life.
- The “Blaine is on the bottom” sign is especially upsetting to him; is this because he doesn’t want people speculating about his sex life or because he doesn’t want to be feminized? (“It’s not true. Not really.”) Not for nothing, this comes back when Sue commands Blaine to be the “bottom of my Cheerios pyramid.”
- “I Still Believe” seems to have been chosen with Kurt in mind, but despite Mariah Carey’s diva status, it’s not theatrical. Blaine is relying solely on his voice, which contrasts with Sue’s over-the-top Nicki Minaj theatricality. His red and blue outfit in this number harkens back to his Dalton uniform, but this time, he is alone. Blaine does not want to be on a group-think team anymore (Warblers, Cheerios); he wants instead to be taken seriously as an individual, or, at most, as one-half of a couple.
- At the end, we learn that Blaine and Sam plan to destroy Sue and/or the Cheerios from the inside. Is Blaine using the guise of femininity as camouflage?
- Blaine’s middle name, Devon, can mean “poet” (or “citizen of Devon, England,” which is less interesting).
Feud #4: Ryder vs. Unique.
- Ryder is transphobic toward Unique to deflect the conversation away from coming between Jake and Marley(!).
- Jake vs. Ryder would have been the obvious choice for a feud; what does it mean that first Unique stands in for Marley (and, by extension, Jake) in confronting Ryder, and then that Ryder is able to make the whole thing about Unique’s identity? The bizarre conflation is reinforced when Jake steps back in, bringing their conflicts full-circle: “It doesn’t matter what you [Ryder] see. You don’t get to decide.”
- The (problematic) song is “The Bitch Is Back,” as if Unique is fighting for the right to be a “bitch,” a sexist slur, and rather than competing, Ryder’s goal is to suppress her “bitchiness” (or, actually, her right to be the woman she knows herself to be). Unique gives tiaras to the girls (minus Brit and Sugar, who did not appear in this ep for some reason), plus Artie (???).
- Why is katiexoxo the voice of reason? Online, you can be whomever you want with the usual outside interference (eg., transphobia) removed. Do you expect katiexoxo to come back?
- On a lighter note, are Jake’s and Ryder’s scenes, like Marley’s and Kitty’s, intentionally homoerotic? “I’ve got good hands. You know if you give me the ball again, I won’t let you down.
This week’s post written by Deborah Jannerson/TheBadassMuppet, Secret Society of Superheroes
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, UA
Primary Glee interests: QUILTBAG characters and issues, musical theater homages, Quinn
What else: Novelist, feminist, lesbian, bookworm, Leo, Woody Allenite, and all-around badass muppet
Also lives here: http://twitter.com/TheBadassMuppet, http://bitchmagazine.org/profile/deb-jannerson