Glee! 4.9 – Swan Song

This is in gross violation of the five second rule.

Before we get into the recap allow me to say a few things: when I was in LA in October, I watched Chris and Lea film the scene in their loft as they talked about the Winter Showcase and as the props department tried to make that record player spin (it wouldn’t).  This is interesting probably to no one but me.  The show is more like fanfic every day (which is fun) and Ryan Murphy laid out a pre-emptive strike against fangirls that are most likely up at arms about a new ‘ship that sailed this episode.

And Chris Colfer delivered – what I think – is in his top 3 performances, ever.

 

We left off with Marley passing out last episode, so it picks up in that super hectic place of people carrying her off and whisking her back to the choir room.  They all try to get her to eat something, and even Kitty wants her to drink some damn apple juice.  Santana immediately calls Kitty out, knowing she’s behind this, and it’s gratifying to see Kitty looking nervous and freaked out.  YEAH. WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN, IDIOT CHILD?

Point: this story arc should be dead, so we’ll skip to how everyone is angry to find out that by leaving the stage mid-performance, they’re disqualified.  Sue is beyond happy to hear this, let’s them know the Warblers won, and Marley bursts into tears.

The “new Rachel” my ass.  Or Tina’s ass.  She is beyond angry that her Glee Club career is over, and Artie is right there with her on the anger wave.  Yikes.  What’s going to happen now?  (Awesome story lines, that’s what! I am glad we’re not following the same formula this year, personally!)

Speaking of Rachel…she and Kurt are settling in for the night after their Kiki, cleaning up the mess.  Kurt (wearing an awesome hoodie in a gorgeous color) tells her that he just got a text from Blaine, and that the New Directions are done.

There are a few important things to take away from the next several minutes of conversation:

  • Kurt and Blaine are talking again, even if it’s just through texts as friends.
  • These two humans are ridiculously attractive
  • Kurt is beginning to worry about his upcoming NYADA audition
  • Rachel is desperate to be invited to NYADA’s “Winter Showcase,” in which 10 students are personally invited by Carmen Tibidieaux to perform, crowning a “winner” at the end.
  • Only one Freshman in the past seven years has ever been invited, it’s mentioned
  • and did I mention how freaking handsome these two kids are? Good lord, stop hogging all of the attractive.

Rachel is, of course, invited.  Carmen even comes into her dance class (I assume they spent the entire weekend cleaning and lounging around handsomely until class on Monday) to hand her the beautiful invite on thick vellum. In your face, Cassandra!

Finn comes back to McKinley after the break to find the choir room being systematically dismantled by eager Cheerios.  The hell?  Oh, see, because the New Directions are exactly that, and the direction they’re headed is Donesville, Sue took it upon herself to exercise eminent domain and mostly because she’ll need an additional rehearsal space for the new Cheerios group, Sue du Soliel.  And everything in that room is hers now, from the wall hangings to the trophies.

Not so fast, Sue.  Finn is way stronger than Will Schuester, and he’s not going to let you rip that Nationals trophy out of his hands.  They carefully have a tug-of-war all the way to Figgins’ office where Finn learns that the budget crisis has meant that all available space is being leased out to various groups in the community, leaving absolutely nowhere in the school for Glee.  Which is over anyway, because they lost, right?

Finn, chagrined, hands over the keys to the choir room.  Immediately a fiery light shines on Sue Sylvester, thunder rolls, an organ plays creepy chords in F Minor, and red-and-white polyester-bedecked demons come flying out of the cracks of the earth.  SUE SYLVESTER IS READY FOR HER THOUSAND YEAR REIGN OF TERROR AND HERKIES!

…except, huh.  She looks into her hand and gosh, this massive victory feels hollow.  For once in her Grinchy life she’s thinking of others.  What will become of these kids now that they no longer have Glee?

Tina: becomes the decided leader of the Crazy 88s, reigning terror over Lima’s Chinatown

Artie: sells legs to science, sad that he only got four dollars and a half-off coupon for a free order of breadsticks at Breadstix for them.

Blaine: falls off the deep end, stops gelling, stops ironing clothes, and also hits the bathhouse performing circuit. Without shower shoes.

Brittany: becomes a finance major at Brandeis as it turns out that Glee club was holding her back.

Sue just wishes for a sign, something to let her know that she did the right thing here… And in one of the great moments of self-awareness, Brad the Piano Man comes in with a box of his things, beyond elated.  God, he hates those kids.  With the “hit it!” and never telling him what to play?  Now he can finally move on with his life and work at that dueling piano bar in Columbus like he’s always dreamed. Thanks, Sue!

“Those kids smell like desperation and Axe body spray!
…which are the same thing, come to think of it.”

Finn has the awful task of telling the group that Glee no longer has a place to rehearse.  Sugar didn’t bother to show, Tina lights into Marley with Artie on backup vocals, and everyone looks sad.  But there is still a holiday performance to come, right? This last performance of the year will be amazing, and then we can spend the rest of the school year working on next year’s competition cycle.

Uh, check your underclassman privilege, guys, because Sam, Blaine, Brit, Tina and Artie won’t be here next year. Ouch.

Brittany walks down the hall and sees a Cheerio on the ground.  An entire trail of them, actually, and she gets down and eats them oh my god, leading her to Sam, waiting with a glass of milk.  He knows that she forgets to eat sometimes, and aw, isn’t that sweet.  They both like each other, but he like likes her. In the most unbelievable line of dialog in a long time, Sam says that clearly Santana called him Trouty Mouth and was mean to him when they dated two years ago because she could tell that Sam was crazy for Brittany.

Nope.  No way.  You did not earn that, writers, and I am not letting you get away with it.  This year?  Yes.  He clearly has been holding a candle for her, but prior? Not even a little bit.  He was more interested in Kurt than he was in Brittany.  But whatever, I’m never consulted on these things, so we swallow that ridiculous line and move on to them singing “Something Stupid,” and it’s really cute.  They have nice voices together! I actually like their voices better than I liked Sam with Quinn – Heather Morris seems to have really worked on her vocals this year.

They’re cute and flirty but not saccharine.  He tries to kiss her at the end. And she’s all “Nope, with a side of nuh-uh.” Even though his lips look really soft and horizontal.

Look, she thinks he’s the bee’s knees, but she has a responsibility to the lesbian community.  They have written and tweeted about how wonderful it was to have an actual-facts lesbian couple together and out, and she can’t turn her back on them, even though technically she’s bi. They’ll turn on her, and most likely attack Sam.

(Attention violently crazy ‘shipping fangirls: this was directed at you. Stop going after people that get in the way of your ‘ships.  It’s weird and they’re not really dating. It’s a TV show!)

Rachel is in her dance class and stops for a drink of water, which means Cassandra needs to make an example of how awful and lame Rachel is. You know, Rachel has improved a lot, okay?  Oh really?  Cassandra wants to prove her wrong with a five six seven eight! They duel with the opening to Chicago, with “All That Jazz.”

I am a cut and dried villain! If I had a mustache I would twirl it! But girl, I got that threaded off in the Village last week, see? No, look through my fingers to really focus on my upper lip.

Let’s be frank: Kate Hudson is a very good dancer and she makes gorgeous lines with her body. But she has no flavor to her voice. It’s like Gwenyth Paltrow – can she sing? Yes. Should she be a singer? No.  And Lea Michele can stage dance, to be sure. But Lea Michele/Rachel is a singing phenom, and Cassandra knows she couldn’t beat her at that. Cassandra tries to say this was a dancing competition, and Rachel is going to lose the winter showcase, but Rachel can’t be beaten at singing, so we’ll just see about this whole “losing” thing, Cassandra. Why don’t you drink your breakfast and take a liver pill. /Flounce.

Carmen is working on the Winter Showcase when Kurt drops by to make sure she got his second audition tape (an acoustic version of “Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go)” and can we just talk about the hint of emotion for Blaine that we could take from this?  Just me?  Am I reaching again?  Okay, then.) and yes, she got it, and no, she doesn’t care about it.  Where is his emotion? Where’s the vulnerability?  Where is his soul? He’s all props, bells and whistles.  She wants a performer that isn’t going to hide behind that stuff. No more second chances for him.

Naturally, he is devastated.

Now we have the sad (and funny) scene where we learn that everyone has moved on from Glee.  (They want to compete! It’s the senior year for many of them, and what, they just study?) Artie is a “drum leader” whatever that is. (Drum Major.) Tina and Blaine are Cheerios (and a fandom cries out, Hosanna! Tight polyester on Blaine’s perfect bubble butt!) Jake and Ryder are on the basketball team, Wade is inexplicably on the floor hockey team because he can wear a wig under his helmet, and Joe is on the Interfaith Paintball League where Christians  Jews, and Muslims can shoot each other safely. LOL.

Funny moment: Sue saying why she would let Blaine and Tina on the team.  Blaine, because he’s a handsome, non-flammable gay (he gives his “Young Burt Reynolds” smile) and Tina because Sue needs some more color on the team. Specifically Yellow #4. WOW.  Yep, Norman Lear was Ryan Murphy’s writing idol.

Finn is super upset about this because he can’t believe they’d go to Sue of all people. Not to mention that Artie came into the shop to drag Finn out of his emotional hole just to work for Glee! So he has a six minute window for rehearsal on Friday night, and he just hopes they all show up. Tina uses this moment to give Marley more grief about passing out and ruining all of their lives, everyone slowly leaves (Blaine is the last, checking his watch to get to that important Watch Appointment) leaving Finn and Marley sad faced as the lights goes out forever.  Or until tomorrow when the cleaning crew arrives.

Brittany asks Sam out on a date to Breadstix, which means they won’t be able to go to that rehearsal they weren’t planning on going to anyway.  They seal the deal with a kiss, regardless of hate mail she might get.  Her lesbian fans will know that love is love, right?  (Um…so she’s in love with Sam?  Okay?)

BUT NOW WE GET TO THE BEST PART OF THE EPISODE. Its the Winter Showcase, which Carmen says features, ‘Ten students who exemplify the best of what they’re trying to achieve [at NYADA].”

Ecco Cygnus: A Black Swan (a running gag with Rachel and her dance class) steps forth in all of her froth and intrigue to perform a dance.  Rachel waits outside the performance hall, pulling herself together when Brody comes to help buck her up. In an awesome moment that recognizes the huge strides Rachel Barbra Berry has made this season, she smilingly informs him that she doesn’t need bucking up. Oh, she’s terrified but she knows that she can sing.  She can do this. She kisses him, hey-hey! and says that she’s going to start doing things in case she doesn’t get the chance again.

Kurt steps out in his homage to Duckie (Pretty in Pink) outfit and tells her that she’s up. I love that they are each other’s dates to important things. Rachel steps out and simply begins the song, “Being Good Isn’t Good Enough,” which could mean that she won’t win the showcase, or that she’s finally figured out that just being an amazing singer like she is isn’t enough.  She needs more: confidence, no more hubris, and pure dedication to the performance as an emotional experience.

I could literally listen to this woman sing every day of my life and not be unhappy.

The Black Swan looks nervous, and rightfully so.  Rachel sounds unbelievably beautiful here, and Carmen hides a smile behind her hand. Rachel gets a standing ovation and she’s moved, amazed, and unbelievably excited.  The first of many, let’s hope. People actually beg for an encore, which she jumps at.

She – strangely – sings “O Holy Night,” a song that I can’t hear without thinking of Cartman singing it, because that’s how my brain functions.  It’s a lovely song and she sounds wonderful, but she’s Jewish and it’s strange to have Christmas songs already. Just me?

There’s a montage as she sings of Finn packing up the remaining Glee trophies and sundries, Sue gloating on a poster as the Cheerios work on their Cirque du Soliel moves, and the Winter Showcase audience mouthing along with Rachel as she sings, moved again by her voice. And yep, Miss Rachel mopped the floor with the competition.  Cut to Finn leaving with bubble-wrapped trophies, devastated.

His dreams are over just as Rachel realizes hers. :(

Carmen looks over at Kurt before calling Rachel superb.  She announces the intermission and that when they return, Kurt Hummel will perform a number for them all.  SHOCKED BOY SAYS WHAT?!

He freaks out on the outside walkway with Rachel, scared and thinking that this will be an automatic failure.  You better stop that stinkin’ thinkin’, Mr. Hummel and go back to your best performances, the ones with pure emotion and no hubris.  No cages, swirling swords, no candles and capes.  Go back to “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” Kurt. GO BACK TO “I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND. ” Draw from your emotions and dedicate this to yourself!

I cannot deal with how adorable this human creature is. And I want that velvet coat.

He comes out looking terrified (I love when Chris Colfer gets to be a funny physical actor) and while he’s loved the song he’s about to sing since he was a little boy, he only now understands fundamentally what the song is about. And he sings the song that simply cannot be performed without deeply expressed emotions, “Being Alive” from Company.

This song isn’t technical. It isn’t a huge vehicle to showcase a vocalist’s range.  This song is purely about expressing the loneliness inside you, the desperate ache to have someone, and how they’ve pretended that they don’t need that, but it’s a lie.  They do.  They need someone. If this didn’t make an ache in your Klaine-heart, then you might actually literally be dead.

Chris’s voice is amazing here, using his lower register and staying there (not a huge vocal range in this number) and he emotes beautifully.  “Somebody hold me too close,” and “make me aware of being alive!”  The audience is in the palm of his hand and so am I as he chokes out (beautifully) “Alone is alone, not alive,” and “I’ll always be there, frightened as you.”

YOU HAVE KILLED ME DEAD, SIR. (I have a real love for this song in the first place. You add in the “Oh, Blaine you have broken my heart, Sir, and I need you” feels and I am a sobbing mess of woe.)  He finishes, the audience gives him Kurt Hummel’s very first New York City standing ovation, and a single perfect tear rolls down his cheek as he tries to take that in.

If this didn’t give you chills (or at least a smile) then you might actually be a monster.

Finn, sad, in the dark, and horribly alone, gets a call from Rachel. He has to look at his phone to decide if he’s going to take it, it seems like.  It’s…not been a good day for Finn Hudson. She insists it wasn’t a butt dial, but that she just wanted to talk to him.  He chokes down his misery to ask her about her performance, and she tells him that she won.

Let’s give it up to Cory Monteith for looking both incredibly proud of her and completely sad for himself.  They talk about Glee disbanding, but she reminds him that it wasn’t all about the competitions for her.  It was about the friends she made, singing for the joy of singing, and meeting the most important people of her life.  Don’t give up, Finn.  Don’t give up your dreams.

He takes a deep breath and the moment cuts to him in the auditorium for his six minutes.  No one but Marley shows up, but she tells him that she found a rehearsal place for them that they can’t be kicked out of.  Finn has his Breakfast Club moment as “Don’t You Forget About Me” plays while he emails everyone that there’s a little bit of a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal in all of them. (Hahaha, this is totally true.) And show up at the new place, please?

The most despondent hula hooping you’ll ever see in your life. Also, hello Mr. Anderson’s swiveling hips. Nice work of fishing out your phone and reading while hula-hooping, too.

Cut to Blaine and Tina at practice as they get the email. Finn ended the email with a mention that Rachel won first place in a competition where no freshman has ever won.  Don’t give up on their dreams!

Outside in the courtyard, Finn and Marley wait with a very angry Brad. (Hahaha) They start to sing a stripped down version of “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and I love it.  Cory sounds so wonderful – all season long his voice has just surprised me with how much he’s grown as a performer – and Marley is actually overshadowed by him.  And then Blaine and Tina show up and join in! And Brit and Sam! And then everyone and there is smiling and joy and merriment, except for Brad because now his dreams of taking Boca Raton by storm with his showtune medleys are over.  Thanks a lot, Gleeks.

Kurt stands shell shocked in his apartment as Rachel comes in.  He has his NYADA letter: and they’ve accepted him. YAY!

Don’t dream it’s over!  I AM TAKING THAT TO MY KLAINE HEART, SHOW!

(Something to think about: this episode picked up when it focused on the NYC folks and the other core members of the cast. Ahem.)

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16 Responses to Glee! 4.9 – Swan Song

  1. Becky: How does it feel, coach?
    Sue: I’ve gotta be honest, Becky. I’ve looked forward to this very moment for a long time and now that it’s finally here, I’m left with a strange…empty feeling.
    Becky: That’s what I felt when I saw ‘Prometheus’.

    I burst out laughing at that. That may be the best Glee comedic moment ever…except for every Brittany line cause I loves me some Brittany. She’s the whole reason I started watching the show.

    • AHAHAHA!! My husband almost did a spit-take at that line, too.

      I love Brittany so much. I still think her “No, I prefer a landing strip” comment (“I’ll be the Cheney to your Bush.”) stands as my all-time favorite. I have seriously missed her one-liners.

  2. Being Alive still has me in its thrall. That was wonderful.

    I think Rachel should have done something else as an encore. I had some of the same dissonance you did about her singing Christmas music too early (and being Jewish to boot) — plus no one ever remembers that the second verse has a slightly different tune which irritates me. *sigh* Everything else about Rachel was wonderful, though.

    I wish they’d spun-off New York. I think I’d be more comfortable with the new characters if we weren’t flashing back and forth to Rachel and Kurt, if that makes sense.

    • It was FABULOUS. That’s a song that is near and dear to my heart, and knowing that it was Chris’ suggestion to Ryan makes it EVEN BETTER.

      I don’t think the song Rachel did worked for the montage, either. It was just…strange, to be sure. She sounded WONDERFUL, but I was scratching my head wondering why that song the entire performance.

      You do make sense – I would have loved a spin-off, but I just don’t think we’re ever going to get our wish. :(

      • I didn’t know it was Chris’ suggestion to Ryan! YOU ARE RIGHT! It was already fabulous, but now it’s super mofoing spectacular!

        This show needs a lot more Chris Colfer. I’m so SO happy he sang a solo [and WHAT a solo!], but I just miss him so much! Oh and yes, that was a gorgeous hoodie, and he really is just ridiculously beautiful.

        I love Brad. I love Sue. I love Becky [omg that Becky comment re Prometheus!].

        Mr. Anderson’s swiveling hips may be one of the top highlights of this ep for me. And I’m very, VERY impressed w/ the super-smooth phone move. What else can you do with those hips, good sir?

        I love all Blaine-Tina interaction [even if S4 Tina is kinda odd. But Blaine-Tina gives me delicious Near Misses fuzziness]. I love the little Blaine-Sam moment at the end. Okay, it was just a tiny moment, but I love me some SLAINE/BLAM!.

        I’m not a big Finn fan, but I think Cory Monteith’s singing & acting has REALLY improved this season. Pleasantly pleasantly surprised.

        I love Blaine’s reaction to the interfaith paintball club [little jaw drop] / to Unique’s club choice / and the adorable Burt Reynolds smile.

        Lea Michele’s singing = spectacular.

        I love everything Chris Colfer & Kurt Hummel.

        I wish Whoopi’s character was funny on Glee. sigh.

        KURT AND BLAINE ARE TEXTING/TALKING!!!

        By the way, I told a friend ‘Laura says you might actually be dead inside’, and should probably get yourself checked immediately’ when she didn’t have any reaction to one of these Klaine moments [I think it was Glease/the last Klaine scene]. She has no idea who Laura/Stoney is. It doesn’t matter. I appreciate you pointing out moments that people can use to check if their souls have left their bodies or not.

        BIG HUG, LAURA! HAVE A GREAT DAY!

  3. I loved this episode! I really hope, however, that in a future episode, Kitty gets called out/has to account for herself in causing Marley to pass out. because right now everyone is blaming Marley, and while yeah, she didn;t HAVE to take Kitty’s advice, she so wanted to be accepted, and Kitty took advantage of that by screwing Marley up.
    And I loved everything going on with Rachel and Kurt. I really REALLY wish they had done a spinoff with them, because they so deserve their own show to give them their own time to really shine.

    • I have no idea if they’ll ever call Kitty out beyond Santana’s outburst in the beginning. I’m sure they’ll address it again since everyone’s blaming Marley (as you mentioned) but whether or not Kitty gets her comeuppance… I have no idea.

      OH HOW I LONG FOR A NYC SPIN OFF. It would just be amazing. A modern day Laverne & Shirley! WANT.

  4. Chris Colfer owns my soul.

    (Excuse me while I go over in the corner and weep for the perfection that was his song.)

    And while I did have a bit of a why that song? moment with Rachel’s encore, I loved her delivery of it. O Holy Night is my favorite carol and I judge a performance by if the singer can hit that note (you probably know which one) and give me goosebumps. Lea Michelle did just that.

    As for the rest, glad the club is back together, glad Sam and Brittany are dating (even if it’s just for the rest of the year), and really do hope that Kitty gets hers back for the manipulation of Marley.

    • Is his voice not SUBLIME? <3 <3 <3

      There is no question about Rachel/Lea’s ability to knock a song out of the park, not with me at any rate. I looooove listening to her sing. Most of the songs all had a narrative point, that’s why I was all confuzzled.

      Oh, let’s keep our fingers crossed re: Kitty. That would be awesome.

  5. This show does self-aware camp just about as well as an hour-long “drama” can, and there are so many little treasures buried in each episode (Brad! Sue du Soleil! Interfaith paintball!). Combine that with the fact that the writers are giving us real and true character development of my favorite characters…and Kurt and Blaine communicating again (I can’t possibly explain to just about anyone else how that little fact lifts my heart)…and Rachel and Kurt solos… And well, that’s all enough to make me forget about the stuff that isn’t working as well for me (I’ll join you in calling bullshit on the Sam-pining-for-Brittany or eating disorder storylines).

    I don’t know why, but it cracks me up that the turntable wouldn’t work (and, I just realized, how appropriately hipster that Rachel and Kurt have a frickin’ turntable in their loft). What an awesome scene for you to be able to watch unfold.

    And I would have then, and still would know, go for Duckie. Despite my ’80s-era Andrew McCarthy crush.

    • (Our comment notification went kablooey, I’m sorry!)

      How wonderful was it to know that Klaine are friends again?! If nothing else, that is satisfying as a shipper, to be sure.

      I imagine that Kurt and Rachel’s record player simply came from the Daddies Berry because there is nothing like listening to Streisand or Liza on vinyl. It would be the ONLY way for their little girl to sing along, if not at the piano with them. :D

  6. This was a super entertaining episode. Lea and Chris were phenomenal. Their musical performances were stellar (though I’m with you on the oddity of selecting “Oh Holy Night” as the Rachel’s encore). I miss these two on my TV screen.

    In my head canon, Kurt and Rachel spent the entire weekend trading winter skin care tips and giving each other mani-pedis. I don’t just know these things about Marley or Jake or the other newbies because their characters haven’t been fleshed out enough for me to really care what they’re doing when they’re not on screen (and I only care when they’re singing when they are). I hope that changes.

    Seeing the Cheerios unwinding from the ceiling for Sue de Soleil had me laughing as did interfaith paintball and Brad the piano man finally breaking free. Only to be pulled back in. Damn kids and their perky let’s put on a show shennanigans!

    It’s cool that you got to see some of this filmed, but cooler still is finding out that Chris selected “Being Alive.” He killed it.

    • I miss Hummelberry fiercely. They are so fun when they’re sniping at each other, when they’re supporting each other, all of it. Love love love. And I”m right there with you on the new characters. I just don’t have an affinity for them yet.

      Brad should have been given the line, “They keep pulling me back in!” And yes – Chris Colfer NAILED that song. So much emotion and depth to his vocals.

  7. Hey, just curious… I adore your reviews and look forward to them every single week… when are you scheduled/planning to do episode 4.10? :) I’m looking forward to reading it very much!!

  8. I’m so sorry, commented just above but left the wrong email address for you to respond! The one attached to this comment is the correct one. Thanks! ;)

  9. Oh my god…I just found these recaps and I am in love! I can’t believe how spot on you are to all of the feelings I am having during each episode…The commentary you add to the episodes is amazing!

    Did you stop watching? Are you going to continue the season? I think the glee tag is broken because I could not find any of this season on it, I had to search “glee” in the nice little box to find the rest of the recaps.

    If you did stop watching can you tell us why? I understand if just have too many shows to recap for everyone…I would be willing to help out with any of the shows I watch on a regular bases…I wouldn’t be as good as you but I am sure I could get close…

    Shows I normally watch: Once Upon a Time, Castle, Bones, New Girl, The New Normal, GoOn, Smash!, Nashville, The Vampire Diaries, Beauty and the Beast, Happy Endings, Downton Abbey, Grimm, and of course Glee!

    I really need your insights into this new season!

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