'Glee': Diva Moments From Gwyneth, Charice, and Mercedes

This week's episode—the first after a six-week hiatus—showcased the series' female singing talent



Glee returned last night after a (much too long) six-week break. When we last left New Directions, they just won Regionals, defeating Kurt, Blaine, and The Warblers in the singing competition. Gwyneth Paltrow, Charice, and the various members Sue's "Legion of Doom" all returned this week, as the glee club began its preparations for Nationals in New York City.

To help make sense of the episode, we have musical theater and pop culture buffs Patrick Burns and Kevin Fallon to provide their takes on how realistic the show feels, how well the romances develop, and of course, how good the musical numbers are.

Here's what they had to say:

Kevin Fallon (writer and producer for The Atlantic's Entertainment channel): Well Glee went on a long break, and on the way back it found a few of its long-lost (lazily dropped) characters and plot points. Disgraced former New Directions coach Sandy the Walking Stereotype, returned, along with the leader of Vocal Adrenaline, and, finally, Will's ex-wife, Terri. Played by actors Stephen Tobolowsky, Cheyenne Jackson, and Jessalyn Gilsig, the trio—united by Sue to help her destroy the glee club—shined in their short scenes as the League of Doom. I remember when Gilsig, a TV veteran of Boston Public, Nip/Tuck, and Friday Night Lights, was cast in the pilot of Glee. I was excited for the talented actress to finally land a role in a hit series, only to find her character completely abused by the writers, turned into a grating shrew so despicable that she had to be written out of the show. But back again in a small dose—and invoking the infamous honey badger as her spirit animal, no less—she made a splash in her brief return ("What kind of meeting doesn't have bagels, or something?").

Sunshine Corazon returned this week as well, along with her nonexistent acting skills, to sing an out-of-nowhere rendition of "All By Myself." The foreign exchange student debuted in a similar capacity during the season premiere: popping up randomly, torching a power ballad with her power belt, and then running off, never to be heard from again. Unlike Gwyneth Paltrow, who showed up again for the last of her sporadic (and ever-welcome) guest spots, Charice, the singer who plays Sunshine, is not an Oscar-winning, A-list actress. It's confusing why the show-runners would siphon air time from one of the existing characters—we wait six weeks and get no number performed by Lea Michele?—in order to feature a little-known artist playing a character who is almost completely irrelevant to the plot.

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