Even to those who haven’t always easily understood the unquestionable appeal of everything about Michael Jackson, last night’s episode of Glee provided an in-your-face style answer for why an episode entirely about Jackson was such a good idea.

The Jackson-inspired episode was fun, upbeat, moved stories along, and managed to keep afloat with more music than what we in the industry refer to as the “talky talk” bits. (Okay, no one says that but me.) By giving beat after beat of what the show does best (unique musical numbers being key) Glee gave one of its best episodes of its current season.

I just had to stop this Glee review to get up and see if the cats had caught the trail of a very elusive mouse taking up residence in my same shared space, so you might think my threshold for being entertained is low. But it’s not. If anything, I’m too critical. And sure, I found some reasons to roll my eyes at Glee last night. But there were plenty of reasons to cheer, just the same.

To get the pesky annoyances out of the way, I have to cite that the moral of deciding to win Regionals by beating the Warblers with Blaine instead of reporting him to his headmaster and the police was a bad call. If someone physically hurts someone and crosses that line, then it’s important to get the authorities involved. There’s no free pass for that. After the hard line that Glee has taken about bullying before, this was kind of a shock. In real life, a kid who has to have eye surgery is a huge deal. The bills would likely be astronomical and there would be a lawsuit. Even to shrug this off for the good of the storyline seems somehow irresponsible of the series. (Hey, I never said they had to be a role model, but they kind of took up that position. And they do it so well in many other instances!)

One of the instances where I will applaud Glee is in taking  Quinn (Dianna Agron), giving her some time to spaz, and then deliver her as a smart, logical female character. What she said to Rachel (Lea Michele) in the bathroom was very powerful. You can’t let your past be an anchor, and you can’t see into your future.

Rachel made a horrible choice in accepting Finn’s (Cory Monteith) proposal of marriage only has a knee-jerk reaction to thinking she would not be accepted into NYADA (she should have sang “Hey Finn, you’re my backup-plan!”) and have no hope of a future. As we saw, once she realized that she did get in, she immediately regretted her acceptance of the proposal. This is a good message to send. While not romantic, it’s practical and helps combat what outdated fairytales have taught young children. You don’t find your happily ever after by marrying the first person you fall in love with – at least not before you graduate high school and give your future a chance. (Marrying your high school sweetheart isn’t a bad thing, but doing it while you’re still a teenagers, and they’re your first love, seems to be a very poor and ill-informed choice.)

Despite the plot, even someone who doesn’t worship Michael Jackson (that’s me) could appreciate the musical numbers. The standout’s were:

  • Smooth Criminal. Sung by Santana and Sebastian.
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’. Sung by Blaine and The New Directions.
  • Never Can Say Goodbye by The Jackson 5. Sung by Quinn.
  • Scream by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. Sung by Artie and Mike.

It was wonderful to see Dianna Agron get a solo, especially one so perfect for her character. And while not on my favorite’s list, Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Mercedes (Amber Riley) getting a duet (Human Nature) was really sweet. Probably the best of song choice/vocals/direction/everything was “Smooth Criminal” by Santana (Naya Rivera) and Sebastian. And shout-out must also go to Lea Michele who reminded me during “Ben” that her voice is simply … amazing. And Heather Morris proved that Brittany only needs one line to make her memorable. Oh! And how amazing were the vocals and dance moves by both Harry Shum Jr. and Kevin McHale? Their performance of “Scream” wasn’t just good, it was super-amazing-fantastic. (And I know I’m gusting a lot, but Darren Criss is a showstopper in the sense that he makes me pause and go “yea, I just can’t stop loving what he’s doing!” He has a double dose of CHARISMA.)

So, now that I’ve been all positive tell me the one thing you didn’t like about this episode. Then three things you loved.