Let's be honest - Glee's tribute episodes don't have a great reputation. Whether it was Britney or Rocky Horror, the show seemed to abandon all sense of plot and focus on the music (and a bit of putting Sam in gold hot pants).
But this Michael Jackson tribute, overall, worked really well - we got real developments in the plot (and some seriously emotional moments).
The glee club want to sing Jackson at Regionals because the Troubletones missed out, so we're treated straight away to Blaine thrusting his hand in the air and leading everyone in 'Wanna Be Starting Something'. It was cheesy as hell, but just about tolerable.
Of course, Evil Villain Sebastian turns up to spoil their fun. Blabbermouth Blaine had mentioned that they were planning to sing the King of Pop, and since the Warblers are performing first, they have first dibs.
Time for some self-pity, but when Will tells them to live by "What Would Michael Jackson Do?" they decide to fight back... with a sing-off of 'Bad' in the parking lot. My main concern was that there were no judges, so how could anyone win? But it's irrelevant because it ends when Sebastian slushees Blaine...
Again, my initial thought - what the hell is Blaine doing falling over and whining on the floor? - was explained when it turns out there was something in the slushee, and Blaine's eye has been so broken he has to have surgery (and wear an eyepatch. Amazing.)
Will's all for being boring and taking the high road, but in a great moment, Artie gets angry - they always do that, and nothing changes. And don't say "it gets better", because he wants it to be better now.
Kevin McHale was great, and I'm glad one of the glee kids has finally admitted that always being the good guys is tiring. I could have done without Artie's fantasy of getting out of his wheelchair and recreating the 'Scream' video with Mike, though. It wasn't the best musical number we've seen.
While Kurt, Rachel and Finn comfort an ailing Blaine (weirdly, by singing 'Ben' to him - yes, a song about a pet rat, and no, no-one finds this strange) - Santana arranges a meeting with the Warblers. She wants to know what Sebastian put in the slushee, but he's not playing.
There's only one thing for it - a 'Smooth Criminal' sing-off! It's full of aggressive cello and glarey looks (and it's wonderful). Afterwards, Sebastian admits that he put rock salt in the slushee, but it was meant for Kurt (the swine!) Then he rounds things off by slushee-ing Santana.
Perhaps he shouldn't be too smug, though - Santana's taped their chat and she's going to the police. It takes Kurt to stop her - they must take the high road! So they call the Warblers to the auditorium and announce they're not going to do Jackson at Regionals.
The thing is, the Warblers don't understand Michael - and to prove it, New Directions sing 'Black And White'. Obviously, the other Warblers join in, except for Sebastian, who sits there slow clapping. But now the other Warblers know what he's like (a bad, bad man).
That storyline was fine, and we got both Sebastian (I love Grant Gustin), and also Artie's outburst. But the best bit of the episode was, as it has been all season, when the glee clubbers began considering life post-high school.
Confused about Finn's proposal, Rachel turns to Quinn for advice, which is an immediate win as I love Lea Michele and Dianna Agron together.
But she might wish she hadn't - Quinn, who's been accepted to Yale, tells Rachel that if she wants everything she's ever dreamed of, she'll have to break up with Finn eventually. How can she know now what she'll want in 15 years? She'll have to say goodbye.
This leads into Quinn performing 'Never Can Say Goodbye'. I know Quinn's had a ridiculous season, but I like her in this stable place, and when she thanks the glee club for standing by her, it's genuinely moving.
Meanwhile, Kurt is thrilled to hear he's a NYADA finalist (and Burt is so proud of his triumph over adversity, my heart burst a little bit). But when he rushes to tell Rachel, she admits that she hasn't got a letter. Seeing her burst into tears as she realises that her plans are coming to nothing while everyone else has somewhere to go is stunning. There are real, character-driven emotions there.
So when Finn sings 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You', it's not a surprise that Rachel agrees to marry him - she's searching for stability. The real conflict comes at the end of the episode - Rachel rushes up to Kurt, thrilled. She's got her NYADA letter, and she's a finalist. When Kurt asks if she's told Finn, her face just drops.
I was initially slightly disappointed Rachel got the letter, thinking it was a bit of an easy way out. But actually it's got so much potential, as she weighs up her future career with her future with Finn. Glee's best when it gives its characters genuine dilemmas and, to my surprise, 'Michael' did just that - with a lot of emotion thrown in. Phew!
- There were far too many Jackson-esque "he-he"s in this episode.
- I really liked the fact that Rachel said she didn't "get" Jackson - it's nice for not all of the glee club to agree for once. (Plus we got Kurt's amazing: "He was best friends with Liza Minelli and Liz Taylor!" and Santana's: "I'd throw milk on your face but it's not nearly scalding enough.")
- If I never see Kurt and Blaine thrusting again, I'll be happy. (I should clarify that I'm talking about their dancing, nothing more. This is family TV.)
- Sebastian continues to be wonderful in all ways. More please.
- It was really bugging me that the Warblers were supposed to be nice and inclusive and, um, best friends with Blaine, so I'm glad Santana brought that up and that they mostly ended up being nice at the end (minus Sinister Sebastian, of course).
- "I want them to feel my pain, because frankly it's all I have left to give." Wow.
- We should, of course, mention Sam and Mercedes's kiss after their rendition of 'Human Nature'. I like both Chord and Amber, but we haven't really seen enough of Shane for this love triangle to really be something we're invested in. There's no jeopardy there, really. But it's rumbling along nicely enough, and Sam putting Mercedes's name up in lights was cute.
- It's always nice to be reminded that Will is actually a Spanish teacher, even if this reminder consists solely of him underlining a word on the whiteboard.
- As well as Sebastian, let's have some celebration of Santana 'Underboob' Lopes. "Auntie Snakes just arrived on the bitch town express." (I did love the entire "underboob" scene as well, especially when she grumped: "If Kurt taped this to his junk, we'd never hear the end of it. We'd have a whole week of songs about it.")
- Finn and Rachel telling Blaine about successful performers with one eye was a bit adorable. "Stevie Wonder did pretty good with no eyes at all!"
- "Brittany, lock the door." "Yeah, but I don't know how to do that."
- "Oh crap, are you pregnant?"
- Rachel agrees to marry Finn and all the musicians in the room sit there quietly. Awkward.