I'm a Glee fan, but I'm certainly no Michael Jackson fan. As such, I watched this episode with trepidation. But, to Glee's credit, I was pleasantly surprised with most of the episode.
We followed a 'show-down' between New Directions and the Warblers, with an MJ song shoehorned in every five minutes, and a ridiculous plot involving Blaine in an eyepatch. Why the New Directions would be so keen to re-perform an artist's songs that they used at their last competition was a question neither the writers nor me could decently answer. Surprisingly, most of the music fitted well with the plot, and the songs seemed to be hung on the framework of the plot, as opposed to other tribute episodes in the past.
The scenes involving Kurt and Rachel's NYADA letters were well-done, and heart-wrenching. Burt's speech was actually quite a tearjerker, and Colfer, Michele and O'Malley all batted it out the park on this one. It does not surprise me that both characters are finalists, but I think the true drama will come when the places are revealed - this was only the first hurdle.
What was odd about this episode, and recent ones, is the absence of Sue. She has completely departed the show, and I think we need her back. Sebastian's a good villain, but doesn't have half of Sue's wit. Also, Quinn seemed unnceessarily harsh towards Finn this episode, and had a line of argument towards Rachel which didn't really follow. Her musical number and its staging were bizarre, and I don't know if the writers are meant to be showing her as independent and forward-looking, or whether this is all an act and actually she's going to do something crazy soon. But it seems there is no intention either way; the writers seem to be happy to butcher her character for a little bit of story every week.
In all, a good episode, but not amazing. The Blaine-Sebastian story was over-done, and a couple of numbers (singing to Blaine at his bedside?) were badly selected, but the ongoing 'our futures' story is something done very well by Glee, and with a lot of the characters standing up for themselves this week, I think the audience was reminded how fond we are of them. Note to writers: the fangirls want more Criss crotch shots.