Two Glees for the price of one
Well, two episodes. And you’re not really paying for anything. Whatever. The point is, this week featured two episodes in one night: “Props” and “Nationals.”
“Props” was good, but I feel like its main purpose was to build up to “Nationals.” It starts with a recap that includes a not-so-subtle nod to the fact that Tina has been basically ignored all season. And Tina apparently realizes this as well — while they’re discussing the upcoming challenge they’re facing at Nationals, she blows up at everyone because the solo is going to Rachel (who is still trying to impress Carmen Tibideaux to make up for her poor NYADA audition). And while she does have a point, you can’t help but want to smack her. I mean, Rachel getting a solo could determine her whole future, whereas Tina, a junior, will have plenty more chances next year. Mike tries to talk some sense into her, but still she storms off, telling Rachel that all she wants is to be like her.
Later at the mall, as she texts Mike in a rage, she walks straight into a fountain and smashes her head on the bottom. Once she gets out, she is in an apparent head trauma-induced fantasy that comes straight out of my nightmares. In it, all the Glee members have switched. For example, Tina is now Rachel, and vice versa, Kurt switches with Finn, Blaine switches with Puck, Artie switches with Santana, Will switches with Sue; like I said, it is the stuff of nightmares. Anyways, in this fantasy Tina finally gets the solo she so desperately craved (Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” – barf), and she realizes that she should instead by trying to help Rachel win over Tibideaux. So they do just that, driving down to a school where Tibideaux is watching auditions, and explaining why Rachel deserves a second chance. And, because Tibideaux is apparently heartless, she basically tells them to get out. But before the two leave, they beg Tibideaux to come see them perform at Nationals.
Meanwhile, Puck is still feeling down about not being able to graduate. This is made even worse when the hockey jocks corner him in the hallway and start mocking him for being in glee, for not graduating, for his father — everything. This leads to a fist fight by the dumpster which reaches a whole ‘nother level when Puck whips out a switchblade. (It turns out to be fake, but it was still absolutely menacing.) At this point Beiste steps in and she and Puck have a little talk; he tells her how he feels like nothing and he has turned out just like his dad. And then they hug it out.
This apparently inspires Beiste to finally leave Cooter. He apologizes and promises never to “lose his cool” again, but she just stares him down. Then she casually mentions that she has been sleeping with a gigantic knife under her pillow — again with the knife violence! — and tells him she’s out. In a rage, Cooter asks Beiste who is ever going to love her, to which she replies “Me.” Have I mentioned before just how much I adore everything about Beiste? Anywho, then she and Puck sing Taylor Swift’s “Mean,” and it heals all the heartbreak that I have been accumulating over the episode.
Some other unimportant stuff happens after this, but we all know that all anyone really cares about is “Nationals.” And, as I suspected, that episode is where all the real action happens.
Now, I am going to tell you right now that New Directions wins. They act all uncertain about how they will do, and I think the audience is supposed to be worried too, but come on. They’re seniors, this is their last Nationals, they’re going to win. Sure, they throw in some obstacles along the way: Mercedes gets sick, Quinn is still shaky on her feet, and Vocal Adrenaline is fantastic, but ultimately they do fantastic, and their moment of victory is what makes the episode — in fact, the entire series up to this point — so worth it. It’s the moment they’ve been building up for three years, and it was awesome.
Now I guess I should mention what songs they perform. First, the Treble Tones perform Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.” Next, Rachel gets her solo with the song “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (oh and surprise — Carmen Tibideaux is there, and she looks incredibly pleased). Then they all do a crazy-energetic “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” They are all lovely, but I’d say that Rachel’s power ballad was their best performance. It makes you realize just how ridiculously talented Lea Michele is.
And of course Vocal Adrenaline does a couple songs too. Wade “Unique” Adams is basically the sole featured singer in both songs: “Starships” and “Pinball Wizard.” I hate to admit it, but “Starships” is my guilty pleasure, and I was slightly displeased with Glee’s renditions. It sounded like Kids Bop, and they took some interesting liberties with cleaning up the lyrics, especially in the full album version (“Muck who you want and muck who you like?” EW). But their choreography was impressive; I never realized how acrobatic it was. “Pinball Wizard,” on the other hand, featured 4 giant rolling pinball machines, and it was super lame.
They have Lindsay Lohan and Perez Hilton as guest judges, and they exchange some embarrassingly bad dialogue for a few minutes before they come out and announce New Directions as the winner. Obviously. Then they have a victory montage set to “Tongue Tied.” It’s really really sweet, especially the fake slushying part. But then there’s the awkward, unnecessary Will-Emma sex scene which kind of seemed out of place… See for yourself:
Then finally, the time comes to announce the teacher of the year award, and it obviously goes to Will. New Directions comes out and sings “We Are the Champions,” then they pull Will onto the stage to hug him, and then I just implode with joy.
Whew! That was a lot. But we’re almost through — next week is the finale. “Graduation.” I am going to be a total mess, I am sure. I’ll probably cry. But this is definitely one episode you’re going to want to see, so make sure to watch! As always, it airs Tuesday at 8 p.m., on Fox. Bring tissues!