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Glee 5.16 "Tested" Review: Love Means Never Having to Say...

     This week’s episode of Glee, “Tested,” was written by the team of Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner and directed by Paul McCrane. Friend and Russel’s last episode was “A Katy or a Gaga” while McCrane last directed “Puppet Master.” McCrane again adds a different dimension to the episode by directing the first scene in black and white. It’s a throwback Tuesday to the 1940s for the opening sequence which is filmed like a newsreel service announcement, warning about being tested for STDs. Of course, this leads into the plot surrounding Artie (Kevin McHale) contracting Chlamydia.

    The episode actually plays on the title – “Tested.” Artie is literally tested for STDs – and Sam (Chord Overstreet), Blaine (Darren Criss), and Kurt (Chris Colfer), all decide to get tested. I loved that all the guys are shocked that Artie has been having unprotected sex and give him grief for it. The doctor who sees them is played by Rick Worthy in both the newsreel footage and present day. Worthy is probably better known for his dramatic roles, but does a great job with the comedy in these scenes.

    Blaine and Kurt’s relationship is tested in the episode, as is Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Sam’s. Blaine turns to food for comfort throughout the episode until he finally confronts Kurt with what is truly troubling him. Blaine is troubled by all the changes that Kurt has gone through and feels like they’re in a race, which he is losing. This competition between them is seen in literal battle in fight class. Kurt reassures him that they are equals, and Blaine commits to a diet by the end of the episode.

    The episode reveals that Mercedes is still a virgin. Mercedes does some literal soul searching as we see her attend church and ask for guidance on whether she should save herself for marriage. Mercedes’ soul searching leads to a poignant scene with Rachel (Lea Michele) over her first time with Finn (Cory Montieth). Mercedes under estimates Sam, and in the end, he tells her that he can live without sex but he can’t live without her.

    I was saddened to learn that Artie had broken up with Kitty (Becca Tobin). I thought their relationship was something fresh on the show and that McHale and Tobin had good chemistry. It makes sense for them not to try to maintain the long distance relationship – especially in light of them moving completely away from the Lima storylines. We learn that at film school, Artie had become a “player” and is even dating two girls. Humor results in Artie attempting to tell the girls. One is surprisingly calm about the announcement while the other is definitely not. Artie’s shame manifesting in him wearing a giant STD costume was pretty hilarious. In the end, however, Artie loses Julie (Stephanie Hunt) – the one girl he was actually interested in. He fails her test.

    The episode features only four songs – and each one is from the 80s. While I loved the homage to Robert Palmer’s "Addicted to Love" video, I wasn’t thrilled with McHale’s version of it. I thought the dance sequence to "Love is a Battlefield" was really good and quite unique. Fight class did a great job of highlighting some of Colfer’s own special talents. I thought this was another solid episode which nicely wove similar thematic threads through all three storylines. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts and don’t forget to vote for your favorite song in the poll below!

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