Glee Recap: The Best, or Nothing at All

glee rachel swan songI’m going to start this recap by admitting — without any shame whatsoever — that this week’s Glee moved me to tears not once, but twice. And one of those times may have been when the Jewish girl was inexplicably belting “O Holy Night.”

Okay, so we’ve got that out of the way. Whew. And while “Swan Song” was a deeply heartfelt hour that — at times — felt more like a spectacular televised concert than a regularly scheduled episode of Fox’s hit dramedy, it also contained a moment of pure meta hilarity. I speak, of course, of Brittany S. Pierce’s explanation to Sam Evans about why she wouldn’t be able to date him: “It’s like all lesbians of the nation — I don’t know how they found out about Santana and I dating, but once they did, they started sending me Tweets and Facebook messages on Lord Tubbington’s wall. I think it means a lot to them to see two super hot, popular girls in love, and I worry if they find out about you and I dating, that they’ll turn on you and get really violent and hurt your beautiful face and mouth.”

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Even if you’ve got Brittana 4Eva tattooed on your abdomen, that’s some cheeky-good writing, yes? (I know, I know, some of you are all “hell to the no,” but I just can’t root for any teenage relationship to be a series “endgame,” or get upset when it doesn’t work out the way my imagination intended. Then again, I didn’t even want Carrie and Big to end up together on SATC.)

Anyhow, if you were too busy Googling whether or not The Walking Dead is based on a true story, here’s what you missed on Glee.

* Rachel scored one of 10 verrrrry exclusive invites to perform at the Winter Showcase, and naturally, this rankled Cassandra July, who challenged her least favorite pupil to a dance off. And while the nasty professor won the battle, she didn’t win the war: Rachel realized she’d need to focus entirely on her vocals to win, and with a flawless, jaw-dropping one-two punch of “Being Good Isn’t Good Enough” and “O Holy Night,” that’s exactly what she did. (All in favor of Lea Michele performing in the NYADA Round Room at least once an episode for the rest of Season 4 say “aye!”)

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* The drama of the event was far from over, though, when Whoopi Goldberg’s Madame Tibideaux put Rachel’s roommate Kurt on the spot and asked him to give a spontanous audition in front of NYADA’s faculty and best students. Let’s just say his transcendent rendition of “Being Alive” landed him in the exact place he wanted to be: As an incoming NYADA freshman starting with second semester! (But what will this mean for his internship at Vogue.com?)

* Back at McKinley, New Directions got DQ’d from Sectionals for leaving the stage after Marley’s collapse, and the end of their competitive season left them without a choir room in which to practice. Yep, Sue co-opted the high-ceilinged space for the Cheerios’ new aerialist offshoot. (There was that chick with the neck brace again!) And while the power play was far fetched, let’s all just go with it for now… With their club in collapse, the glee-club members dispersed to various other extracurricular activities (Tina and Blaine as Cheerios!) but interim advisor Finn — with a lovely pep talk over the phone from ex Rachel — rallied the troops with a strongly worded email. By the end of the episode, the kids were practicing in a dark and snowy McKinley courtyard (I had guessed their new rehearsal space was going to be the cafeteria kitchen) — looking happier and sounding as good as ever. Awwww…warm fuzzies in the winter time!

* Oh, and Brittany and Sam are dating. Rachel planted a kiss on (gah!) Brody. And that’s pretty much the whole ball of wax.

Episode’s Best Lines
“I died a slow, horrible death choking on my own fluids.” –Sue’s rewrite of the plaque honoring former McKinley glee-club advisor Lillian Adler

“That’s what I felt when I saw Prometheus.” –Becky, responding to Sue’s description of being “left with a strange, empty feeling” after vanquishing New Directions

“Finance major at Brandeis: Turns out glee club was really holding me back.” –Brittany, in a fantasy sequence examining what happened to the glee club kids after Sue shut ‘em down for the season

“Look, those kids, they respect you so much and they look up to you. So don’t let them give up on their dreams, okay? And promise me one thing: Don’t give up on yours.” –Rachel, finishing up her awesome pep talk

Letter Grades for This Week’s Musical Performances
Sam and Brittany, “Something Stupid”: B+ (loved Brittany’s harmonies on this one!)

Cassandra and Rachel, “All That Jazz”: A- (Cassandra’s move where she got lifted in a half split by two guys and then somehow flipped over without breaking her neck made her the hands-down winner…plus, this is one of my favorite show-tunes of all time ever.)

Rachel, “Being Good Isn’t Good Enough”: A+ (Holy hell…this goes down in history right alongside “Don’t Rain on My Parade”)

Rachel, “O Holy Night”: A+ (And this…now, pass the Kleenex)

Kurt, “Being Alive”: A+ (Yep, here’s where the waterworks started up again. Stellar work, Mr. Hummel!)

Finn and New Directions, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”: A (What an absolutely gorgeous choice…someone ought to sagely scoop this one up on The Voice or X Factor)

What did you think of “Swan Song”? How did you feel about the week’s musical performances? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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381 Comments
  1. Ruby says:

    Lea Michele’s voice is a gift she gives us every time she opens her mouth to sing.

  2. Shar says:

    how come no one is concern about the erasing of Mercedes? and Samcedes? I find it offensive that Sam said he was always into Britt? Really when was that? Because I didn’t see NONE of that when he was chasing after Mercedes and trying to get her away from her big and bad boy friend. Was it when he was singing to her in another language or maybe it was when he use to stare longingly at her in the choir room. Maybe I missed it when he joined the synchronized swim team or cried when she told him they couldn’t be together until she got herself together? Did I missed something? Did I and millions of people saw something different? Glee is no longer welcome in my household

    • E says:

      Mercedes and Sam were never an official couple – Mercedes was dating Shane & wouldn’t cheat on him. Sam wanted something he couldn’t have & didn’t get – of course he’s forgotten it & moved on.

      • Vanessa says:

        From FOX.com

        Later in the year, Will grew concerned about Mercedes’ lack of ambition; she replied that she hoped to some day record a hit song. Sam posted a video of her singing on YouTube, telling her that he was sure she was going to be a star. The two finally got back together and attended prom as a couple. The video Sam had posted caught the attention of some music industry power players, and just in time for graduation, the couple celebrated her signing a recording contract and the start of her career as a professional singer.

        Yes they were an official couple

      • Vanessa says:

        From FOX.com Sam’s bio:
        Sam vowed to win her back, and the pair eventually kissed. Although Mercedes confessed the kiss to Shane and broke up with him, she did not agree to date Sam again. Sam later recorded Mercedes singing “Disco Inferno” and posted it on YouTube, hoping to show the world how talented she is. When he revealed what he had done, she finally realized how much he still cared for her. They kissed and began dating again.

        As the seniors prepared to leave McKinley High, Sam and Mercedes celebrated the recording contract she was offered as a result of Sam’s video. He then joined the other students in a musical tribute to their graduating friends.

        Again official couple…..so stop…

  3. Maggie says:

    I like Glee but I have to say the way they told or rather didn’t tell , that Marley eating disorder storyline in the episode is appalling, a girls faints because she thinks she has to be skinny for people to like her so much so that she faints during a concert and all anyone does is complain that she got them knocked out of the competition. No offer of help or serious concern for her safety. Suddenly she just gets over it. People struggle with eating disorders and I think this was a terrible and very insensitive use of such a story line.

    With that said it was one of the better episodes this season, great songs and performances I think they would have done better this season if they just moved onto college with all the seniors.

    • Rai says:

      Totally agree. I can’t believe all this fuss over Brittany moving on to someone else when there’s an important issue like Marley’s eating disorder essentially being ignored. Santana was supposed to be her mentor & she does what? Bitch at Kitty & that’s it?

      • Quinci says:

        Rai, I agree with you! I really didn’t like the way the handle the whole Marley eating dissordre issue. I didn’t like how they handled it last week, with Santana telling Quinn, and she NOT following up on it or anything like that, instead they made it where Quinn accused Santana of being jealous of her. I wish they had addressed the issue more, I mean, they didn’t even have Will step in, instead he was more worried about them being DQ’d! Kitty didn’t apologize or anything. Santana did what she does best, and that’s put people on blast, which needed to be done! HOPEFULLY, the writer’s address it later in the season, and don’t just let it be a story line that falls to the wayside.

        I think they could have done so much more with the whole Ryder being Dyslexic issue too. They could have used Sam in that episode, that’s who Ryder should have been talking to, or who Finn should have taken Ryder to see when he finished his testing with the specialist. It’s alot of things this season that I feel the writer’s are not taking seriously, and making too much out of the LITTLE issues #IMO

        • A says:

          I don’t think they left it. Read this weeks Ask Ausiello. But yes, there has to be some repercussions for Kitty for what she’s done.

      • Vanessa says:

        I can’t even bother to care because they handled it so poorly….I just want to mark it from record cause I hope no girl having an eating disorder is even watching this show to relate. This is why serious issues should never have been something they did. They handle it too carelessly….soooo….

  4. Gleek says:

    Nobody said nothing about Ellis from the Glee Project first season. She’s the girl who see Rachel to sing.

  5. cote says:

    So we are all angry lesbians? Thanks Glee, I didn’t know I was a lesbian until last night… And Glee writers are the ones who have “issues” with girl on girl PDA. Remember House? Thirteen got some steamy make out scenes with girls. So I don’t really understand why they refuse to let Brittana have real kisses like the “straight” couples, not those pecks they always do. What about Samcedes? They shoved it down our throats last season and now they don’t even acknowledge each others existence… ok…

    • mani says:

      You seem to forget, Thirteen was always conveniently making out with a guy come sweeps, under Fox’s orders. Same thing going on here (Fox is the one who also insisted Murphy hire a couple of the old House writers).

  6. Fay says:

    Re: Best lines
    I absolutely loved when in Sue’s dream sequence when Brittany said she went to Brandeis. That’s my Alma mater and it was a cool and unexpected shout out to my old school.

  7. SCN - Once watched Glee for Finn's story, know better now... says:

    I wonder why Murphy hates Finn so much, or what CM did to piss him off so much…

  8. CAM says:

    “O Holy Night” – Wow, just wow!

  9. Rhu says:

    I’m not surprised that Sugar was the first to bail though.

  10. MyReligionIsWhovian says:

    Right. Straight to the point. Aye! :)

  11. RedJohn says:

    Shouldn’t Kate Hudson be able to dance just a little big if she’s going to play a dance teacher? Basically, the actual other dancers just pushed, lifted or carried her.

  12. SH says:

    I find it so strange that a show that once prided itself on LGBT representation and progressiveness has gone out of its way to repeatedly insult a marginalized section of society that so happens to be an important section of its fan base.

    The breaking of the fourth wall to promote a heterosexual, white, couple in place of what was once a groundbreaking portrayal of a female same sex relationship that had three seasons of development (however sketchy at times) is strange for Glee to do, given that its ratings have decreased massively in Season 4.

    It is interesting to note that Glee anticipated outcry from its lesbian fan base and rather than deal with this in a mature manner using consistent story development it decided to ‘force’ upon said fan base the idea that it was wrong and violent for supporting their show and their characters so strongly.

    Under the guise of Brittany being a bisexual, they are accusing the lesbian online community of refusing to recognize and accept her sexuality when in fact the outcry comes from the lack of coverage given to Brittany’s bisexuality during her relationship with Santana. During this relationship Brittany found herself muted by the writers and was notably missing during Santana’s forced outing by Finn. She was not a vocal participant of this relationship and Brittana itself received little to no meaningful interaction during the third Season and Brittany was almost demoted to being an extra. Yet once she finds herself paired with a man (after no real closure on her relationship with Santana) she finds herself in a starring role of the show once more.

    I think that Glee underestimated two things;

    The first being that Brittana fans are not just lesbians but are a diverse group of people who supported the relationship for various different reasons. But yes, many bisexual/lesbian girls and women found solace in the pairing who encouraged them to come out in a world where people are still murdered and violently attacked for their sexuality. They wrote to actresses, producers and writers to tell them how Brittana changed and saved their lives and now their stories are being entirely disregarded and spat upon by the very show that once provided them with the strength they needed to be open about themselves. The writers have told these people that their support is worth nothing and is, rather strangely, discouraged. The fans who petitioned for years and fought for lesbian/bisexual visibility on the show were shunned in favor of another, frankly unnecessary, heterosexual pairing.

    The second thing it underestimated was how upset these fans would become and how even media outside of the LGBT focused websites are wondering why Glee decided to be so hurtful and rude to its fan base. They’re a little perplexed as to how a show could downright insult the people who support it. So am I. And I am not a lesbian but am actually a bisexual who is appalled that they are hiding behind Brittany’s bisexuality to promote this storyline.

    But also, in all the frustration and hurt, it has to be noted how Klaine received so much more than Brittana. They received meaningful storylines and conversations and they will continue to do so. They’ve had a stable relationship for a long time and yes, Blaine’s cheating is completely out of character and a silly plot device, but it will lead to mature conversations between him and Kurt and will most likely be sorted out by season’s end.

    Klaine fans have never received the general disrespect that Brittana fans have because they never had to fight for basic recognition. Kurt’s coming out story was respectful, heartbreaking and hugely significant. It was everything that Santana’s wasn’t.

    When Santana fans were outraged at the episode in which she is outed by Finn, punished by Finn, told to be ok with it by Finn and who eventualy accepts that what Finn did was a positive thing, they were disregarded again. This is not just a television show, this is a show that hoisted upon itself the responsibility to act as an extended PSA and yet, in a country where a woman’s life could be seriously at risk for being a lesbian, they thought it was ok and acceptable to out a teenage girl of color and have a white privelidged jock tell her that it was ok (even if he was the one who outed her).

    The girl who was angry and scared for the first two seasons of the show because (we are told to believe) of her attraction to girls (most notably her best friend) was suddenly ok with her sexuality and we were awarded with one scene with her grandmother (only ever to be mentioned in passing ever since) and no scenes with her parents/girlfriend. Her outing was soon forgotten and cast aside instead to focus on Dave Karofsky’s (former homophobic bully, gay man and background character) struggle with his sexuality which was poignant and treated with more respect.

    I know that there is no hierarchy of struggles with sexual identity, everyone experiences it differently, but Santana’s story was badly written. I have since seen many YouTube comments from Gleeks who think that Finn was right to out Santana as he showed her that it was ok to be herself.

    Yeah, it’s true. She did realize this. But what if she didn’t? What her parents had disowned her? What if she was violently assaulted? What if this was real life and she was at risk becase someone else decided that it was her time to be outed?

    Amazingly, the lesbian fans seemed to have forgiven the show and continued to watch it, only to be horribly singled out in Swan Song for that reason. Glee would not have done the same with black fans (because of Samcedes) or gay men (because of Klaine) because it believes lesbians are beneath these in their struggle for equality. They are not as important. They are irrelevant. They are angry and violent and nonsensicle.

    This show has a self imposed responsibility and it has failed its fans. It was failed the lesbian and bisexual fan base and it can no longer hide behind a veil of “we’re good for the LGBT community” because I am a member of that community and Glee has gone too far this time.

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