Glee Episode Recap
And then they won Nationals, as we have all known they would for at least the past year, and lived happily after! Ah, but getting there is half the fun, right? And we've been told that Tina and the other juniors must wait, because it's the Seniors turn to shine, right? Right?!
Uh, sure... if by "Seniors" you mean "Rachel and Finn.". Because in this last great triumph for New Directions, they had almost all of the spoken and sung lines.
YIPPEE! Go Finchel! Go Finchel! Team Finchel! Team Finchel! And it's nice to know, at the end of the day, that the Nationals judging was as weird and arbitrary as it has ever been.
We begin with a little manufactured drama that ends up being entirely meaningless. Mercedes is sick. Really, really sick. She's got a 101.2 fever, caused by a bad burrito. That's what you get for ordering a burrito in Chicago. No, no, Weezy, when you go to Chicago you get the hot dogs, the pizza, or the beefsteak. If you want decent Mexican you need to come to my neck of the woods.
Sue and Will launch into a few minutes of very clearly labeled expository discussion intended to remind us that Sue loses her job if New Directions doesn't win, in a demonstration of meta that is now occurring so often it's become really tiresome. Sue has suddenly become an actual teacher; she wants this win for the kids, by whom she means "Finn and Rachel."
Will sees that Mercedes is out, so he orders Quinn, who has been out of her wheelchair and on her feet for approximately a day and a half, to join the Troubletones numbers. Tina is going to join it as well, because they need both of these girls to fill in for one Mercedes. They do not the need any of the boys for anything, because all the boys of New Directions were completely loyal all year long. No, I'm never getting over how bad that writing was. Mercedes protests missing her last competition, so Nurse Sue goes immediately to work and I just hope she doesn't kill her with her fast-healing intensity.
Emma (who - this is important - is still a virgin) comes up to Will (the most frustrated man in Ohio) who is sitting on the ground, feeling defeated. Will (seems to have decided that all the Glee Club seniors will crumple up and die if they don't win Nationals. It occurs to me that if this were true, most kids would never graduate from High School, and somehow I suspect that everybody in this group would still be alive the next day even if they lost. Heck, some of them have college plans and everything. "They never get to win" says Will, who has forgotten about:
- First year sectionals champs
- First year Cheerios champs, Santana, Brittany, and Kurt
-Second year sectionals champs
- Second year regionals champs(for everybody except Kurt and Blaine)
- Second year football champs (all the boys except Kurt and Blaine)
- Third year sectionals champs
- Third year regionals champs.
- Class President Brittany Pierce
- Homecoming King Finn (What happened with Rachel should not count; with Kurt, it clearly does not)
More after the jump
Yeah, other than these nine triumphs, which have involved every single person in this group at least once except for Sugar and Joe, none of these kids have ever won anything. Aren't they pitiful? But we have to pretend these kids have never accomplished anything so that Will can feel sorry for them, and for himself. Emma counters that they are ready. They actually rehearsed BEFORE they got to Chicago this year. And it will be enough because the really obvious story arc says that it must be. But first, Beiste arrives with our second artificial and short-lived crisis of the episode.
The McKinley No Tolerance Policy against violence is as effective as ever; Will enters the room to find the kids in full bare knuckled fisticuffs. When Will succeeds in pulling them apart, he finds that Sam is angry at Puck because... he's studying for his makeup geography exam. This causes a fistfight so vicious Beiste can't handle it and she has to call in a big wimpy man to break it up for her? Kurt mentions that while ND is trying to beat each other up, Unique is talking to the mayor of Chicago. Artie just thinks the problem is stress. New Directions has been rehearsing for three straight hours, a marathon of epic proportions for them that leaves them all in complete exhaustion over the extended exertion. Sam begins beating Rory up for no good reason that I can see, except for the whole "being Rory" thing. Santana screeches the riot act at anybody who feels they cannot win without Mercedes, which I find confusing because this does not seem to be what they were arguing about, and at any rate, Mercedes is not really featured all that much because she's not Finn or Rachel. Will is happy about the passion he sees in the room, so they all elect to start rehearsing again. Artie will help Puck study. The girls begin to practice "Edge of Glory" and Quinn winces; she is still not really at top shape.
As I look for what's left of my enthusiasm for Glee, Jesse St. Awesome Who Must Become a Regular approaches Rachel and says "Looking for what's left of your dignity?" Jesse is pretty certain that Carmen Thibodeux will not be coming to see New Directions perform; of course not. No self-respecting dean of a music school is going to give in to the whining and wheedling of a crazy person who insists that her dream of stardom is more important than the dreams of every other person who ever sang for Carmen... including Kurt, just incidentally, but more on that later. Jesse plays with her head a bit - he'd HATE for her to pull the SAME choke job again, cough, cough, but Rachel has this guy's number and knows exactly what he's doing. Jesse explains that if he doesn't win Nationals this year, he's pretty much screwed, and so is Carmel. Oh, the honest and frankness of these two. Now, there's no reason at all for Rachel to give a crap about his problems, but... she gives him credit for Unique, which was pretty much all Kurt and Mercedes. Jesse implemented it... no, actually, he just didn't physically throw Unique off the stage when she let loose.
Oh, and we should all be very grateful to Jesse St. Awesome for explaining the "Vintage" theme. Basically, the kids have to sing one song that is older than they are. Rachel reminds Jesse that Bohemian Rhapsody was the best performance ever, because it was, and that is one of the many reasons why he is Jesse St. Awesome. They wish each other luck and show more chemistry than Finchel has all year, and Finn knows it so he butts in. Rachel takes off and Finn stares at Jesse like he would like to hurl him across the courtyard. There is a tense moment when Jesse acknowledges the engagement and an even tenser handshake.
Finn has bought Rachel a present - a tacky glass mug that they can smash during their wedding. Is that thing kosher? It's not attractive. Finn wants a piece of Chicago in his wedding, which I guess is kind of cool, but then he reveals that he's kind of stupid. Well, yeah, Finn has always been slightly stupid. He bet Rick the Stick their entire honeymoon budget that New Directions would win Nationals. Well, maybe he read the script. Certainly we all knew this was destined to happen a year ago, so he may have as well. At any rate, he's got quite a crystal ball going here:
- Carmen will show up.
- New Directions will win Nationals
- Rachel and Finn will get married... oops. Well, two out of three ain't bad.
Will has a very tense, Dramatic Moment right before his big pep talk, but Finn stops him. The Leader of New Directions wants to show that he's grown up by doing the pep talk himself, and as he does so, Sam hugs both Quinn and Tina at the same time. Mike glares at Sam. Asian men are possessive? Hee. Tina's loving it. Finn thinks they all want to win this thing for Will, so that he can win the Teacher of the Year award. Now, I could give you quite a list as to why Will deserves no such thing at all, but since Finn is one of the very few people that Will has been consistently supportive of, I can see why he feels this is a priority. I will say this: if Puck, Tina or Kurt had made this speech, I would have thrown something.
Oh look, Mercedes is all better just in time. Artificial crisis averted. Big surprise. Sue is a miracle worker, and I think I still prefer her a little more human. Really, this was the right thing to do for the character and I am glad they made the switch. Quinn thinks that means she can drop out, but she's got another think coming, and Tina will also be involved. Every girl in New Directions gets to be in the second number. Every boy except Finn gets shafted. Sucks to be a male non-Finn senior, huh? Well, there are only three of those, and none of them matter to Will.
In the auditorium, Beiste is so nervous she's resorted to eating chocolate because they won't let her bring in a chicken. Sue calls her out for chewing open-mouthed, and we all thank you, Sue. Will reminds us that First Place is the Death Slot and it would Take A Miracle for the New Directions to Win, and he frets until the lights go down. Now, New Directions starts to sing as Jesse takes his seat. We see that the judges are Lindsay Lohan (playing herself), Perez Hilton, (sloshing grease all over my screen as he plays himself) and a local politician, probably not playing himself. The Unholy Trinity have their own private show circle as the Troubletones begin the last performance they have earned by betraying New Directions. Lord, these boys got hosed. The song is "Edge of Glory", which I guess means they are on the edge of glory as a show choir. This song does not last long, because we have to have Rachel's big unearned diva moment when she gets a second chance that isn't warranted or fair or even slightly realistic.
Rachel looks out and sees an empty chair. Somehow she knows that this chair is Carmen's chair, which is stupid since there's no reason for Carmen to have an assigned seat... since there's no legitimate or sane reason for Carmen to be there. Finn and Rachel spend very much too long fussing about how Carmen did not come when Rachel's head should be into just singing well, and then Rachel hits the stage. We can tell it's a Very Important Moment because it's in slow motion. She begins to sing "All Coming Back to Me Now" which will make her the second person in New Directions to win a National trophy by singing Celine Dion. Oh, look. There's Carmen. She arrives in mid-song, and sits in her assigned seat. What a surprise. Carmen, the crazies are going to be stalking you like mad next year after you've set this precedent.
As they give Rachel her obligatory standing ovation, everybody hits the stage so that the weakest male singer in the entire organization can launch into their vintage number, "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." Yes, these kids are going to end their school singing careers with a song about how two horny kids got so caught up in the heat of making out, they decided to get married and ended up living very unhappily ever after. Starring Rachel and Finn. Yep. They really did that. Maybe Finn figured something out while singing this. There's a lot of fairly intricate choreography from the group at large that we totally miss staring at nobody except Finchel. All the straight boys pair up with a female dance partner. The two gay boys get a moment that indicates the level of couplehood we've seen from them all year long; they are side by side, clearly a team, singing together and singing to each other, and never once touching. And that is the big moment that Senior Kurt gets on the National stage after three years with New Directions. Rachel and Finn get to bicker on stage in song, which is really pretty funny, and my favorite part of this entire set. Rachel is actually more interesting and impressive in this number, in my opinion, than she is in the other one. She's showing spark and personality. Carmen likes it, too. Of course. I can't help wondering if Carmen notices that the wonderful boy in the gold lame' pants was given nothing to do here. Hey, if his own choir director thought that weak-voiced Finn was more deserving of attention in this big showcase, maybe Kurt's not so impressive after all? Oh, Kurt, maybe you should have bit the bullet and put on that dress.
On the whole, this is a solid number, but the choreography is not amazing and Finn sounds REALLY strained in places. They are clearly better than they were last year, but this is not a strong enough performance to beat Vocal Adrenaline's intricate choreography - and Unique - from the Death Slot.
After this performance, Kurt and Mercedes, who appear to be more interested in the welfare of fellow oddities than they are in gamesmanship, go to visit Unique. Unfortunately, when they get there, the person they actually see is Wade, and he's feeling pretty whiny. He just CAN'T go ON, darlings! He just CAN'T! He just CAN'T conjure Unique. Kurt is confused, because Unique was so successful, but Wade explains that the pressure is getting to him. Everybody really likes Unique and approves of her, and therefore he must cry and be very stressed.
Sigh. Alex is a pretty special kind of awful actor; he's trying SO HARD to do a good job! He's giving it every single thing he has! This is community theatre performance level at it's finest! Oh, well, he's more interesting and much more intelligible than Brittney. Kurt, who is a really supportive boy who deserves more support, tells Wade to move through the fear, and he gives Unique a flower.
Aren't we supposed to be enemies? Wade, this is Kurt Hummel. He befriended the guy who bullied him out of McKinley High School and chose "the high road" with Sebastian. Giving you a rose because you are very talented and in need of a friend is the lowest hurdle he's had to jump all year. They advise Unique to choose Sugar Rose lipstick, and Wade begins to transform. Break a heel, Unique.
Kurt, I wish you would advocate for yourself as much as you do for other people. Maybe Kurt Hummel needs a Kurt Hummel in his life.
Wade thinks Unique needs to transfer schools next year, but if he's doing it because he's got these two good friends in Lima... well, Mercedes for sure is going to be gone, and Kurt probably will be, too.
And now, here comes Vocal Adrenaline. The first obvious thing I see is that the choreography is very, very much better, very much more difficult. It's just wonderful. Jesse ought to take a bow. The maneuver where they fling the girls, like starships meant to fly, up into the air and into the arms of a groups scheduled to catch them is both extremely difficult and impressive, but it connotes the idea of Starship amazingly well. Mike is dazzled. Rachel is worried. Interestingly enough, the least effective part of this number is Unique, whose singing is actually not as good as Rachel's. She comes across as an overweight, ungainly girl who is not quite as good at the stuff Mercedes can do as Mercedes is. Her voice as a woman is not as rich and her dancing is sloppy. The most impressive thing about Unique's shtick is that it's a boy doing it, and this novelty is going to wear off soon. But the choreography was a-maz-ing.
Now it's time to be Vintage. OK, Jesse actually came up with a pretty good idea here. Pinball Wizard works, and oh, look, there are pinball machines. They manage to get the "props" in, and the way they do it is interesting and very effective. It also obviously took a LOT of practice. Really, take a bow, Jesse. This is great. You have a wonderful career ahead of you. Would you like Will's job? This song is a little better showcase of Unique's vocals, although I still think Mercedes can take her. More stunning choreography that only Mike and Brittany could do for New Directions. Vocal Adrenaline gets a standing ovation. Finn looks worried, Rachel looks sick, and Kurtcedes look like proud parents. Their enthusiasm makes Will annoyed. Interestingly enough... I think Rachel was actually a better individual performer than Unique was. But then, Rachel is played by Lea Michele and Unique is played by this Alex guy.
Now, in the judge's lounge, Lindsay, Perez and that other guy attempt to explain the travesty they are about to unleash here. I swear, this was as bad as the Celebrity Apprentice result. The Alderman whose name I simply cannot be moved to look up is a show choir junkie, and he's clearly the only one of the three who really wants to be here. Lindsey and Perez bicker about Perez' blog, and he reminds her that whether or not she likes what he's writing, he's getting her publicity. Besides, why is she here if she does not love show choir? Does Perez love show choir?
Lindsay, who is supposed to be a professional actress, gives a very wooden line reading about how she cares about young people following their professional dreams, and she wants to support them. This bores Perez, who probably wishes she was getting drunk or something so he could blog about it, and then the Alderman says they need to name the Top Three. Remember that Top Ten showcase thing that happened last year? It's been scrapped. Clearly each host city gets to decide their own format. Perez was rightfully impressed by a group that did Starlight Express on rollerskates; oh, look, more hard choreography that New Directions can't do.
The Alderman likes New Directions. They had energy... of course, last year they choked and they were horrible and they didn't place in the top ten... yes, the thing he focuses most of them was that they came to New York unprepared, STILL. At least he does not mention the kiss.
Lindsay likes the New Directions. Oh, they weren't the best singers. Or the best dancers. Which... is... the criteria for winning???? Oh, they were likeable and they are making a comeback. That's the reasoning. Hey, kids, you are the Arsenio Hall of Show Choirs!
Perez likes Vocal Adrenaline because they were... uh... better. Also, Perez was more impressed with Unique than I was; I suspect he factors in the fact that she's got a penis more than I do in assessing her. That's OK. She was pretty good, and the whole transgender thing is worth encouraging when it's backed by genuine skill. Besides, wouldn't it be inspiring to the outcast kids of the world to watch Unique on national television, leading her team to victory! Because it is no longer enough inspirational enough to be a gay kid who leads your team to victory. Now you have to be transgender, and gay is passe', unless you can pass for straight. Then you are sexy.
By the way, Lindsay, this competition is not televised in Glee World. Only in our world, but in our world, Lindsay Lohan... is actually just the same as you, except she's reciting a script. This makes Glee Lindsay flip out, and Perez salivates with joy as he blogs, and Alderman asks them to focus, please. He doesn't want their dreams to be disrespected as his once were, and they are all tired of yammering about this mess. Perez has a deadline and Lindsay needs to go someplace near a TV camera and away from Perez' blog. So Lindsay's going to go with New Directions, because they are Arsenio Hall, and Perez is going to go with Vocal Adrenaline, because they were better and more openly LGBT. The Alderman gets to make the final decision. Clearly, he works for Fox television network and knows where the narrative needs to go.
I do have a theory that Perez got to name the Most Valuable Player, since he did not get his way with the choir. Funny, MVPs are usually on the winning team.
In a hallway, something that makes me officially ship St. Berry... HARD. Jesse St. James, choir director who just congratulated the doofus who is about to marry the woman Jesse still loves, runs up to catch Carmen Thibodeux. Oh, I should hate this scene, but hell, she's already here and at least Jesse has some credentials for talking to her. We learn that Jesse auditioned for Carmen two years ago and showed promise... that gives us a good idea of just how high the standards for NYADA are. Since even I will not pretend Kurt sings or dances as well as Jesse does, that was probably a big clue as to how this would turn out. Jesse tells Carmen, with all the passion in his heart, that Rachel is the most talented person he's ever known. He's informing us as well, because we've all gotten off track and we've been running around thinking that other people beside Rachel deserve things. Well, we are wrong. Just her. Only her. Jesse's selflessness prompts Carmen to remember his song: Giants in the Sky. She explains to him kindly why he did not get chosen for NYADA, and in retrospect we can see why this might be kind of important. His mistakes were small and technical. He had a little trouble with diction and breath work. It was not about desire, passion or talent. So it is possible to give a really good, impressive audition to NYADA that shows clear talent... and not get in because you were not technically quite perfect.
OK, good to know. Thanks, Carmen, for what must pass as the nearest thing we will get to an understanding of your mental processes. I have a headcanon to run with now. Rachel, with her years of formal training, is a Broadway level, Lea Michele level technician.
And now we are back on the stage, and the top three choirs have been assembled, and I am confused. Clearly they must have been brought up because they are the top three, which makes me think we should have seen the moment New Directions found out they were in the top three. That should have been huge for them. Either that, or they don't actually know, but for some strange reason the top three were the only choirs allowed to be on the stage and it's all a big surprise for very stupid people. The first thing they do is mollify Perez by giving the MVP award to Unique. New Directions is holding their collective breath as this happens, so they look really defeated as Unique takes her trophy.
Then they get third place out of the way... it goes to the people on rollerskates, who at least have the good sense this year to know they should not be jumping up and down with joy within this particular grouping. And then... and then... and then... three years in the making. Here it comes. The moment we all knew was inevitable from the moment they lost their first Regionals...
McKinley High New Directions has won Nationals.
And there is confetti. And there is screaming. And there are tears. And there is slo-mo. And there are hugs. And there is jumping up and down. And there is a tender piano lick in the background. And there is a BIG mamma ass trophy. And... uh... I got something in my eye. Gosh, that stings. Oh, the dust! The dust! Damn, now it's in my throat. So annoying at this big, sappy, undeserved moment when they totally weren't the best, but... I need a kleenex and a glass of water. Sue just takes it all in, matter of fact, a woman who has completed her mission and made her peace with Will Schuster. A long friendship to you both.
And Jesse takes his second place trophy with great sadness. Oh, Jesse, go back to school. I bet you could find some way to get to New York by next fall. Come on, I am counting on you, buddy.
The rest of the episode is really just icing on the cake, some parts of which I like more than others. New Directions returns to the halls of McKinley, and they all look really nervous. They do not know what to expect. Of course, the big banner that says "Congratulations New Directions" should tell them as they open the door, but they see this huge crowd of people just lying in wait for them, in complete, eerie silence. Two hockey players come forward. They have slushie cups in their hands, ready to throw... and they throw... and it is confetti. I am happy to see that the very first person it hits is Kurt. He stares at it like it's gold dust from heaven.
There is a montage of celebration scenes as the song "Tongue-Tied plays in the background.
- As they walk further down the hall, everybody throws more and more confetti. The janitor probably burned New Directions in effigy that night.
- Tina and Mike kiss.
- Two girls kiss Rory over and over.
- The choir room is decorated for them, and there is a cake.
- They've made the front page of the Lima News, which is good because it means nothing bad that actually matters happened that news day. Yeah for happy fluff news being the most important thing!
- A hockey player hugs Kurt!
- Finn gets his money from Rick, with Puck standing there to keep it honest; it's two victories over Rick in one!
- Figgins gets the check for $10,000!
- Sue gets job security!
- Roz gets a sour attitude! Loooooooooser!
- Cheerios celebrate! Becky gives thumbs up!
- Sugar gives everybody fake champagne in red solo cups! Then she drenches Rory!
- Brittany and Santana get to kiss, using up the gay PDA allotment for the episode!
- Finchel and Rachel kiss for an hour! Open mouthed!
- Santana is so happy, she even kisses Artie!
- Mike and Tina cuddle and roughhouse with the fake champagne!
- Kurt and Blaine do not interact in the slightest!
- Rachel signs her very first autograph! Maybe the girl reminds her of herself...
Oh, yeah, and Emma creates a pamphlet that says NOW she's ready to have intercourse with Will. Then she greets him in a sexy little nightie. Then she strips off his shirt, because we have to see Matthew Morrison torso at least once a season, and then... ah, the curtains waft in the breeze. I'd be more grossed out by this if I wasn't so relieved they finally retired that extremely contrived and stupid situation with almost as little fanfare as possible.
Will opens the trophy case, and Rachel and Finn put their prize within. This REALLY feels like a Series Finale moment. And they all went off to the colleges of their dreams and lived happily ever after. It's going to be very hard to have that classroom be interesting anymore. They've climbed the mountaintop and solved the great conflict of the entire series, and now anybody in this group that has really had a strong, powerful presence without significant help from another character (cough, Blaine, cough) is leaving. There really isn't that much story left to tell.
Of course, Figgins has a few things to wrap up. New Directions, led by Finn and Rachel, earned $10,000 for the school; the least he can do is give them a five dollar wedding present. Oh, and he's got bumper stickers and little bitty pom poms for them, too. Score. Oh, and he's got another gig for them. Whatever could it possibly be?
Will thanks Emma for letting him pop her cherry, and she actually tells us that she did it because her man's a winner and he should be treated as such. SERIOUSLY??????????? I would have felt so much better if she'd stopped at "My pleasure, literally. It was as much for me as it was for you." THAT'S the right thing to say here. Making it in any way about Will being a winner is just... caveman. Ugh. Wemma share a tender moment that would have been better if it had been just about their love and not about a Nationals trophy, and then Sue interrupts to remind them that they need to come and watch her be named Teacher of the Year for leading New Directions to a National Title without committing any horrible acts of physical violence that I can remember all year. And yes, Sue Sylvester led New Directions to their win. Let there be no mistake about it at all. It is no coincidence that they were prepared and professional this year. Will agrees fully that Sue deseves to be Teacher of the Year, and I think she at least deserves it more than Will does.
Shouldn't she be showing yet?
A doddering old fool kicks off the assembly by announcing her retirement and her upcoming appearances on Hoarders and Intervention. New Directions is backstage in competition dress. Oh, whatever for? Ah, we are about to announce Teacher of the Year, and this will be announced by the Portmanteau of the Year. They got through an entire season without breaking up! Yeah, them! Ah, I hope I have not spoken too soon! Here comes Finchel. What, they are giving an award to Sue? Would that not be the Unholy Trinity instead? Whatever could have happened here?
No, no, no. Will Schuster is the Teacher of the Year. That's right, boys and girls. This prize goes to the guy who:
- Was so incompetent at his chosen subject matter, he had to take remedial night classes.
- Is so intent on blatant favoritism, he rigged a Saturday Night Fever dancing contest so that the kids he thought needed an intervention would get help. None of those three he chose to help included Puck, who ended up having a complete breakdown, Brittany, who has flunked out, or Kurt, who has no future of any kind at the moment.
- Allowed the Traitortones to be rewarded for their divide-and-conquer behavior by snatching special attention at both Regionals and Nationals, at the expense of the loyal boys of New Directions.
- Lost tenure to Emma... after being extremely rude to her about her pamphlets.
- Only won Nationals because Sue helped him.
Excuse me, but in no way, shape or form does Will deserve anything of the sort here.
Finn is the person to give the speech praising Will, which kind of makes sense since he's the only kid in New Directions Will really cares about. Of course Finn mentions all the great teachers at McKinley, none of whom the audience has ever actually encountered. They teach these kids important stuff like how to drive, how to do fractions, how to write a resume, how to apply to more than one college. Will teaches his students how to dream, as long as they are hetrosexual, conventional kids who remind him of how he used to be when he was young. Well, he taught Finn how to dream. Then Rachel gives her tribute, and says she could not have done it without him. Then the entire group starts to sing We Are the Champions. Finn gets the first two lines, and Puck immediately follows. This is when I am reminded that Mark sings much better than Cory does and got terribly shafted. Each of the seniors gets to sing a line or two - EVEN KURT! It really IS a party! Woo hoo! And Finn strains his way through on lead vocal the whole time. Will comes on stage to hug all these kids individually whether he led them well or not, and he gets that stupid, undeserved plaque. It is, incidentally, the second time he's been named Teacher of the Year.
And then they all got into the school of their choices and lived happily ever after, the end.
What, I've got to recap ANOTHER ONE????