Glee Recap: Let's Talk About Sectionals

glee sugar sectionalsI think it’s safe to say we’ve all heard Psy’s “Gangnam Style” so many times that the thought of one more rendition would be enough to drive us to the brink of collapse. But this week’s “Thanksgiving”-themed Glee — which found New Directions trying to recapture Sectionals glory, and Kurt and Rachel kikki-ing and carrying on amongst the drag queens and glitterati in Bushwick, Brooklyn — took that idea to shocking extremes.

Yes, folks, we have a real Glee cliffhanger — with wide-eyed Marley Rose, having starved herself into a ridiculous notion of “perfection” for New Directions’ big night, passing out at the end of her show choir’s big dance number, and leaving their dreams of a repeat at Regionals and Nationals in a cloud of uncertainty.

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* New Directions’ alumni Santana, Mercedes, Mike, and Quinn came back to Lima for Turkey Day and pitched in helping Finn prepare the McKinley show choir for Sectionals. Quinn mentored Kitty, but got into a slap-off with Marley’s mentor Santana when the Lady Lopez used her “psychic Mexican third eye” to figure out that it was Kitty who’d gotten Marley hooked on laxatives. I guess the gals’ high-school rivalry hasn’t quite subsided; that scene was tense, intense, and oddly believable. I especially enjoyed the verbal sparring that preceded the physical fight, with Quinn rubbing it in that she’d been to Jodie Foster’s clambake while Santana was stuck shaking her pom-poms in Kentucky, and Santana issuing the Twitter alert that Quinn (¡who’s sleeping with a married professor!) is yet again allowing a guy to define her life and happiness. I’d give the round to Santana — since last time I checked there’s nothing shameful about going to college in Kentucky, but Quinn’s moral compass remains as wonky as ever.

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* The Dalton Academy Warblers pretty much nailed it on “Whistle,” but were less exciting on “Live While We’re Young.” So if someone gets the smelling salts (and a Snickers) for Marley, there’s a door left open for our protagonists to prevail next week.

* Side note: Was it just me, or do you wish the writers had found something vaguely more interesting for Mercedes to do than throw a couple of snappy bon mots in Unique’s direction?

* In related ingenue news, Jake admitted to Ryder that he’d gone on a date with Marley — but said he’d break it off if his new buddy wasn’t okay with it. Ryder took the high road and gave his approval — and in exchange, Jake purposely botched his dance audition, paving the way for Ryder to take the lead opposite Brittany on “Gagnam Style.” Right before the curtain went up, though, Ryder passed the torch back to the younger Puckerman — insisting they all needed to put ego aside to help New Directions win. Of course, Ryder’s noble sacrifice also allowed him to interrupt Jake’s to-the-rescue conversation with Marley, who copped to feeling weak and sweaty but took the stage anyway. We all saw how that worked out, but let’s hope it’s an important first step to Marley developing some spine and taking control of her destiny. I’m still not sure I buy the whole hypnotized-into-bulimia thing the writers have cooked up for Kitty and Marls.

* Meanwhile, back in NYC, Rachel and Kurt planned an orphan’s Thanksgiving in their apartment. Brody stopped in to cook the turkey — which he sensuously stuffed with Rachel (gack!) — while Isabelle and her wild friends crashed the party in fabulous, finger-snapping style. Kurt decided — with a little push from his mentor — to try to forgive Blaine. His phone call to his cheating ex was a touching moment, and the duo agreed to meet up over the Christmas break to discuss their future or their friendship or…well, we’ll see. Rachel, meanwhile, realized she had no claim over Brody and his sex life, and decided to focus on her best self and her career. Those kids look like they’re gonna get busy before the Christmas wrapping goes into the recycling bin, though, no? (Girl, you better play safe is all I’m saying!)

* Oh, Schue was back just in time for New Directions’ set. (On what planet would Sectionals take place on Thanksgiving day? Surely the preceding Wednesday or even Black Friday would’ve been more realistic?)

Best Zingers from “Thanksgiving”
* Quinn mentioning how she hadn’t yet used the train pass Rachel bought for her to come visit NYADA, and thereby responding to Gleeks who’ve complained that the show’s writers let the Faberry friendship inexplicably die off.

* This exchange:
Mercedes: “Sashay!”
Unique: “Shanté!”

* Sam doing his “big tipper” dance move.

* Kitty, following Quinn’s instructions to wink at the Regionals judges to “remind them of youth and what might have been.” Horrible but hilarious.

* “Ina Garten would never cook her turkey in a bag.” –Kurt to Brody

* “When you’re all done using that turkey as a courtship device, could you put it in the oven?” –Kurt to foul/fowl Brody and Rachel (and here I thought Mark Wahlberg and China Chow’s had had the last word on sensual on-screen bird preparation in 1998’s The Big Hit...)

Grades for This Week’s Musical Numbers
* Quinn, Puck, Mike, Santana, Mercedes and Finn, “Homeward Bound”/”Home”: A truly pretty mashup of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic along with American Idol winner Phillip Phillips’ ubiquitous smash. (Nice cross-network synergy, Fox!) Grade: A-

* Quinn, Santana, and Brittany, “Come See About Me”: The unholy trinity was absolutely divine, with sweet harmonies and saucy-retro choreography. I wanted “Thanksgiving” seconds! (Bonus points for Santana’s scorching black and green striped minidress!) Grade: A

* Hunter Clarington and the Warblers, “Whistle”: Grade: A-

* Sebastian Smythe and the Warblers, “Live While We’re Young”: Grade: B-

* Isabelle, Kurt, Rachel and friends, “Let’s Have a Kiki”: Grade: A- (a total slice of delightful NY-centric ridiculata; did Rachel actually say “hunty”?)

* Tina and New Directions, “Gangnam Style”: Oh how I didn’t want to like this number. And oh how I didn’t want to believe Tina would accept this as her big solo. But once they brought out the confetti guns, my resistance proved futile. Grade: A-

What did you think of “Thanksgiving”? What was your favorite musical number? Did all of the week’s story arcs work for you? Do you wanna have a kiki? Sound off in the comments!