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

* 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!