Pass the tissues! Coming right after last week’s Britney homage, this episode packed an emotional wallop when we least expected it. “Grilled Cheesus” was all about religion, or — more accurately — all about Jesus, sandwiches, and checkers. (Come to think of it, “Jesus, sandwiches, and checkers” sounds like the answer to the question, “What are George W. Bush’s three favorite things?”)
Kurt begins the episode by telling his dad, Burt, that he doesn’t want to spend time with him (foreshadowing alert!), and that he’d rather skip a family dinner for a Sound of Music singalong. Meanwhile, Finn has become a Man of Faith because he wants something to believe in that’s bigger than himself. No, wait — that reason actually makes sense, so it can’t be right. Instead, Finn apparently becomes religious because he sees a picture of the Lord... on his grilled cheese sandwich. Isn’t that also why Mother Teresa became religious?
Finn imparts his new attitude on the club, inspiring Puck to break out into a smile-inducing version of “Only the Good Die Young.” The one person who wasn’t smiling was Kurt, whose lack of faith kept him from enjoying the song. That’s when we see Burt, back at the shop, dropping to the ground as he has a heart attack, rendering him comatose. Noooo, not Burt!
Emma and Will deliver the awful news to Kurt, and they rush to the hospital. It’s there that we watch what might be the most moving scene of the season, as Kurt implores his unconscious dad to squeeze his hand.
Finn, meanwhile, has never had it better. He’s convinced that his grilled cheese savior is granting his wishes, like when he asks the sandwich to allow Rachel to let him touch her boobs. As Finn reasons, Rachel’s boobs might not be the best-case scenario, but Rachel’s boobs are better than no boobs, like how watching a Kevin James movie is better than watching no movie at all. (Actually, we might choose “no movie at all.”)
Sue somehow finds out that the glee club is singing religious songs, since she apparently does more spying than a protagonist of the average Robert Ludlum novel. Sue convinces anti-faith Kurt to help her in her cause to keep church out of school. But that doesn’t stop Kurt’s friends from praying for Burt, considering that at one point, there seem to be more people at Burt’s bedside than watched the moon landing.
This episode may lean toward the maudlin side, but at least it gives us the opportunity to see Kurt’s spellbinding performance of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” spliced together with flashbacks to happier times between Burt and a younger Kurt. Bring on the waterworks.
The situation with Burt also leads Rachel to sing “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” outside on the grass, next to Finn and a candle. (We were scratching our heads, too.)
We then catch Finn back at the locker room, where Puck sees him praying to his sandwich. (And by the way, “praying to a sandwich” actually sounds like something Kevin James would do in a movie.) Finn prays to be a football hero and promptly gets his quarterback slot back — at newbie Sam’s expense.
Later, as Sue and her sister Jean play checkers, we discover that Sue used to be religious but now harbors resentment toward the mistreatment of Jean. But Jean manages to convince Sue not to hold a grudge against God.
Finally, after a truly taxing 60 minutes, we’re given a glimmer of hope: Kurt feels Burt’s hand move. Phew. For now, let’s keep our fingers crossed that the next few episodes of Glee aren’t quite as tough to sit through. There aren’t enough tissues!