Okay, let's get this out of the way first: Yes, they basically threw away any sense of continuity for this one in favor of planting a great big sloppy wet one on The Big Mo's unreasonably taut fiftysomething derriere, and yes, that means that almost none of the various schemes and machinations and whatnot featured in this episode will ever have any kind of lasting effect whatsoever on the characters, and yes, the whole supposed theme of "female empowerment" ended up being pure bullcrap. Got it. Understood. Agree with it entirely. Fine.
That said, this episode is easily one of the most entertaining this show's ever produced.
In plot details that aren't completely stupid, Rachel and Jesse St. James (oh, Jesse! Swoon!) are still an item, but he freaked and flounced after she refused to Do It with him after a Wiggles concert, so she decides that passing him her V Card might be the only way to keep his interest. Meanwhile, my secret TV girlfriend Santana Lopez takes it upon herself to relieve Finn of his V Card because his oafish virginity offends her refined sense of aesthetics. (And because Sue Sylvester has ordered her cheerleaders to emulate Madge and take younger men.) And while all that's going on, Emma decides she's ready to consummate her affair with Will -- mainly because she's goofy-eyed in love with him, naturally, but also because the fabulous Sue Sylvester told "Eileen" she had all the sex appeal of an infertile panda. Of course, when push comes to shove (so to speak), neither Rachel nor Emma can find it in herself to go through with it. Go figure.
In other news, Artie and Single-T Tina are an item again; Kurt and Mercedes join the Cheerios; and Jesse St. James transfers from Carmel to McKinley, officially so Rachel needn't feel conflicted about their dangerous liaisons, but really so he might sabotage New Directions from within. I mean, I'm guessing.
Now, the music: They pretty much blew what would have been a fun surprise with "Vogue" by airing it at the end of last week's episode, but other than that? Wow. "Ray Of Light," courtesy of The Cheerios, on stilts -- STILTS. A delightful rendition of "Express Yourself" featuring all of the Glee girls plus a bunch of 20-year-old costumes from The Blonde Ambition Tour. A mash-up of "Borderline" and "Open Your Heart" that finally puts a little heat into the Rachel-and-Finn relationship situation (with a bonus supporting cast of Every Madonna, Ever, roaming the McKinley halls around them). "Four Minutes" as a pep rally cheer, a pathetic boy-band version of "What It Feels Like For A Girl" that I'm going to pretend never happened, and a rousing chorus of "Like A Prayer" to close the episode, but best of all? "Like A Virgin" sung in a fantasy sequence the night the chastity-afflicted characters mentioned above decide to go all the way. Fantastic. And I've been hating that song for the last 26 years.
Previously on Glee: Nothing, apparently, likely because the impending Madonnathon has little to do with anything that's ever happened before on this show, an assumption quickly proven true by this evening's opening shot: A close-up on Sue's Journal which, since last we saw it, has been dedicated to none other than Lady Vadge herself, if that brand-new and scrupulously scrapbooked cover page is anything to go by. The Fabulous Sue Sylvester (in her power red tracksuit with white stripes, I should note) soon flips past the cover to narrate as she scrawls on the first blank sheet, "'Madonna.' Simply saying the word aloud makes me feel powerful -- even in voiceover." "How I have worshipped her ever since I was a little girl!" Sue's VO continues, and that's news to me, because she sure as hell never gave any of us any indication of said idol worship in the past, but we'll take Sue at her word and carry on, because the alternative involves questioning just about every single assertion she makes for the rest of the episode, and that would chew up far too much time. Besides, Sue gets in a hell of a lot of good lines tonight, and why ruin the fun? Sue goes on to sneer at the supposed influence certain false idols named "Angie Jolie" and "Catherine The Great" have had on the world before declaring, "Madonna is the most powerful woman to ever walk the face of the earth!" And while there's certainly an argument to be made for that particular point of view, Camille Paglia's already been making it for the last twenty years, so let's leap ahead to the office of...
...Maharishi Figgins, where Sue -- green tracksuit with orange stripes this time -- peremptorily announces, "I'm instating a new policy whereby we play Madonna's greatest hits over the PA system quite loudly throughout the entire school day." "But blasting her delicious hooks would make it impossible for the students to concentrate!" Figgins protests. "Who cares?" Sue counters, noting that Madonna never bothered finishing college (true) in favor of hopping a cab to Manhattan with only $35 in her pocket (not true), and adding that they should be encouraging the students of McKinley High to do the same (possibly true). "You say the word," Sue smiles, "and I will provide you with a list of the students I believe should be rounded up and shipped off immediately." I've a feeling that list will consist of nothing more than "Rachel Berry, Gay Kid, Asian, Wheels, and Aretha." I also have a feeling she has that very list tucked into the strap of her steel-belted sports bra as I type this. Figgins: "This is insanity!" Sue: "What you call insanity, I call inspiration!" She leans in close to him and -- with an insanely inspired glint in her eye, natch -- breaks it down for him like so: "It's been the biggest dream of my career to pay homage to Madonna -- the woman most responsible for my take-no-prisoners demeanor and my subconscious tendency to always be desperately looking for someone named Susan -- and now my Cheerios squad finally has the talent to make that dream come true." "You will not take that dream from me," Sue vows before straightening herself and planting her hands on her hips to threaten him with the following: "Do you not understand the blackmail process and how it works?"