It’s here, it’s here! Wait, I’m in Texas. It’s there, it’s there!
The Gleeks are once again at a Nationals competition, but there is little chance of the Kiss Heard ‘Round The Very Small Community of Show Choir YouTube Fans That Made A Link GO Viral Within That Small Community happening, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for our soon-to-be-departing Seniors…
They’re in Chicago and OH SNAP, the Park-n-Bark Wunderkind Mercedes is sick. No!! Probably from a bad burrito (they always blame the burritos when it’s the chalupas they should be side-eying) and somehow Chipotle is not to blame here? Chipotle is always to blame. (Yes, it’s good. It is not good for you. Unless they would like to sponsor our site, in which case I will sing its praises from hither to thither.)
All of the girls flutter at Miss Jones’ side being sweet and supportive while Will has a quiet freak out.
Sue mentions that we are now in The Hunger Games portion of the competition, which makes sense of Rachel adorning Mercedes with wildflowers and holding three fingers to the sky. (Oh, Rue!! Sobbing, brb.)
Coach Sylvester isn’t phased, though. You don’t come out of Guam during wartime without learning survival tactics. She’ll pump Mercedes full of B-12, Pedialyte, and some leftover antibiotics from her horse training days, and Mercedes will be back to full speed in no time!
Meanwhile, Will decides that Tina and Quinn will fill in for Mercedes’ portion of her number. Two girls to take her place? Miss Jones, I am going to miss your vocals when you graduate. I am totally not ready to deal with that, not gonna lie.
It’s crunch time, people. Welcome to Jacob’s Ladder. (Hopefully not the part where Elizabeth Peña is, um, attacked while dancing at a rave. Oh god, that was scarring.)
Will continues his quiet freak-out with Emma. What if they don’t win? What if it’s all for nothing?? Emma reminds him that he’s done all he could to prepare them for this moment, and they understand that it’s a competition. There will be winners and losers, that’s how it works. It’s not quite enough as the soft piano playing of unfulfillment tinkles in the background.
The kids, downstairs rehearsing in one of the hotel’s conference rooms, are at each other’s throats, stressed that they are the first choir to perform. Sam is pissed at Puck for studying (come on, bro), Kurt is upset that while everyone bickers, Unique is being given a key to the city, and they’re basically succumbing to the pressure. But that’s good! That’s their passion! Let’s just channel that into dance steps while Puck studies over there, okay?
After a break.
Um, no, Finn won’t take a break; they can sleep after they’ve won. Santana pulls her “Lima Heights” retort out of her bag for those who won’t work, then acknowledges that she has rage issues. Ha ha! God, I love Naya.
Rachel runs into Jessie St. James outside, who immediately tries to psych her out by being mean and saying how he knows about her choking in her audition for NYADA. Oh, but she’s above all of that now Mister. She’s onto his tricks, so nice try, Fabulous Hair and Face. That admission allows him to drop the act and for them to actually talk (aww!). He confesses that his career is on the line with this performance. They also throw out some exposition regarding the competition’s theme: vintage. That is basically just means anything older than now. Okay! (OMG.)
Favorite moment of this conversation: Rachel admits that his performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in Season 1 (Err, her Sophomore year) set the benchmark for Show Choir performances. Jessie muses, “Most people don’t realize I lost ten pounds during that performance…” Ha!
Finn walks over, Rachel leaves, and the two roosters stare each other down. Well, not really. Jessie knows they’re getting married and actually congratulates Finn. And wishes the New Directions good luck. And then they shake hands. No…no fight? No name calling? Boys! You’ve grown up!
Backstage, Finn shows Rachel a commemorative Nationals glass beer mug that he bought with the intention of smashing it at their wedding to honor her Jewish traditions. So sweet, Bubbala. He also tells her that he is so confident that they’ll win, he bet Rick “The Stick” $500 that they would. She panics, but he continues to rain sunshine and positivity down on her. There’s our Co-Captain!
The gang gathers for their show circle, and Finn stops Will from giving them a speech. It’s time for the kids to tell Will that they think he’s their personal Teacher of a Lifetime. Finn says, “A teacher’s job is done when the students don’t need him anymore.”
(Sounds like someone’s hoping for the chaperones to am-scray.)
Mercedes shows up right about then apparently all better, thanks to Sue. Oh, it’s nothing. Just a few hormone injections Sue picked up from the Romanian Gymnasts Underground—membership only, Beiste, sorry. Quinn is happy to be let off the hook, but Mercedes isn’t going to let anyone back away from this, their last performance as this team (I am not ready for Graduation, omg!). Goooooooooo Gleeks!
Our Nationals Celebrity and Guest Judges are announced: America’s Sweetheart, Lindsay Lohan! (LiLo, I want you to pull it together, damn it!), Perez Hilton looking like a monster (not a fan—I think he’s a cyber-bully), and Alderman Martin Wong (guest appearance by Lloyd (Rex Lee) from Entourage!).
The Unholy Trinity (Santana, Brit, and Quinn, of course) all hug and appreciate that they started this together and are finishing it together. Me too, girls. Me too. They hit the stage for a great rendition of Lady GaGa’s “Edge of Glory” with the girls all taking turns with the vocals, minus Sugar, who admits that she can’t sing. Hee. While they’re performing, Rachel notices that Carmen Tibideaux’s seat is empty; she’s understandably upset.
But New Confident Finn won’t let any of that stinkin’ thinkin’ linger and tells her to own her moment. She walks out to center stage and does. She positively nails Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.” Seriously, she gave me chills at one point. Owning a Celine song is nigh-on impossible. Jenna did with the previous episode, and here’s Lea Michele taking on one of the biggest (vocally) songs and knocking it out of the park. Her vocal control here is outstanding.
Amazing moments: Carmen showing up mid-way through and the oomph it gives Rachel in her performance. Jessie feeling obvious regret for his (lost) relationship with Rachel and being floored—once again—by her talent.
The whole group comes out for their final number, and my husband and I groaned when we saw what it was. Meatloaf? Really, Glee? “Paradise by the Dashboard Light?” And then…they sang. Son of a motherless goat, they made me love a Meatloaf number. And Finn sounded better than he has since…gosh, Journey in Season One? Puck, as well. I thought they sounded just perfect for the song. And there was a Kurt and Blaine moment where they sang as a couple! And the same for Brittany and Santana! Very nice. And eagle eyes will note that Kurt and Blaine remained a couple for the entirety of the number. (Brittany was Puck’s dance partner for a spell, otherwise I would have said the same for the girls.) Rachel’s rock voice was perfectly growly where it needed to be, as well.
They get a standing ovation, and Carmen Tibideaux actually whistles. Ha!
Kurt and Mercedes take it upon themselves to see Unique, only to find that Unique has left the building. Actually, Wade explains, she never came. He is terrified and all of the pressure is getting to him. They say that sure, maybe Wade can’t deal, but could Unique? Take on her persona and get out there and shine? S/he girds up his/her loins and puts on a determined face.
They give him a white rose and the stage is set for Wade/Unique to transfer to McKinley next season. (Let’s hope the kid gets some good acting lessons so he can deliver a range of emotions next year. Fingers crossed, because I’d really like to see the Wade/Unique story’s progress.)
Vocal Adrenaline takes the stage with Unique (she showed up!) singing Nikki Minaj’s “Starships.” It’s okay vocally. It’s not a challenging song, but they have some awesome dance tricks (the flipping down the stairs was cool) and raise your hand if you exclaimed in delight when Unique was lifted into the splits? Hell, yeah, honey! I can’t do the splits! But…it’s show choir, not show choreography. Even though that’s an element, I know.
They transition into “Pinball Wizard” by The Who and I was scratching my head over this one. I…huh? It’s a song on my iPod, sure, but…again, not a challenge vocally. And I found the pinball machines and the sitting on top of them to be distracting. Eh. The New Directions kids need to stop looking so worried, I say. (And Unique needs to do more than Smize and work the catwalk—she does that well, but let’s round out our stable of emotions, shall we?)
Off to the judging room where Martin confesses that he’s all over high school show choirs like a creepy older man is all over toddler pageants. Perez liked the Starlight Express number (Oh my god, I love roller skates but no.) by the Scale Blazers; Martin loved the energy of the New Directions; and LiLo admires someone getting a second chance (after hearing about the Kiss of Failure last year) because hey, she’s on her nineteenth second chance, after all.
Side note: LiLo is really funny here, mocking herself. God damn, she was talented. I want her to pull it together! Perez is awful and hates everything and makes fun of Lindsay, and wants Unique to stand as a model for all kids like him /her in the world. That’s nice, but giving someone an award because you want them to be a poster child for transgendered kids isn’t the way to go about it. Give her the floor, let her be successful on her own merits and let that stand as the symbol. And Unique didn’t bring the Full Flavor here, and it was all her with backup. Show choir.
During the intermission, Jessie finds Carmen and when she thinks it’s going to be him trying to get on her good side, she shuts down. But Jessie has also grown this season, guys. He wants to tell her that Rachel is the most talented person he’s ever met, and that she would make an excellent addition to NYADA. Aw! There is growth all up in this joint tonight!
(And can I say how awesome it would be for a spin-off with the NYC crew including Jessie? I would watch, I’m just saying.)
We’re back on stage and it’s moment of truth time. The MVP award goes to…Unique, and probably because s/he was the only actual performer in her choir, the rest were the back-up doo wop and dancing. (I’m sorry. Show choir!) The kids on skates take number three, and it’s down to Vocal Adrenaline with Jessie’s career on the line or the New Directions and, you know, all of their hopes and dreams, plus Rachel’s future career may be on the line, too.
Please note Rory backed up against Kurt looking scared as Kurt and Blaine hold hands (pressed over Blaine’s heart!) waiting for the verdict. Adorbs. And the winner and National Champion is…New Directions! Cue the slo-mo celebration with confetti and leaping and excitement and Brittany lifting Santana off the ground in a fierce hug and Rachel hugging Mr. Schue because they did it. They really did, too. I loved their performances and from what we saw, slam dunk, guys.
The gang returns to McKinley to a silent crowd lining the hallway. Yikes. Two hockey players approach and ha ha, funsies, it’s not slushies they toss, it’s more confetti! The Gleeks are superstars! It’s everything they’ve ever wanted! Jocks are hugging a bewildered Kurt, random girls are kissing Rory, Quinn and Joe smile at each other!
While all of this is going on, Grouplove’s awesome party song “ Tongue Tied” plays. More montage! Rick “The Stick” pays Finn! Will finds a pamphlet in Emma’s office “When It’s Time To Finally Have Intercourse.” Um—and then they have sex, apparently, and he’s a teacher I just… Gah.
Brittany and Santana have a super romantic kiss, which is echoed by Rachel and Finn later, and I love that it’s Brit and Santana leading the way. A girl asks Rachel for her autograph (much to her surprise) and she signs it over the ad her dads took out for her (aww!) in the yearbook, and you all noticed the ad on the facing page from Burt and Carole for Kurt and Finn? And that they signed it, “Love, Mom and Dad?” The only steps in that house are the ones leading to the front door! Love it.
The scene ends with the gang putting their First Place trophy in its case and smiling at it.
Later, Figgins calls in the Prom Royalty to say that while he doesn’t approve of teens getting married (they should wait until they’re 29 with a clear financial plan, properly diversified in several avenues of investments) he does have a gift for them. Five dollars. Oh, and he wants the New Directions to perform at a special event. Oh, really…
Will thanks Emma for not just finally giving him her flower, but for everything else too. Just her general awesomeness, and I’d say that was overdue, William. Emma rocks. Sue busts up their happy conversation to say it’s time for the announcement of Teacher of the Year, and because she stuffed Becky Jackson into a dummy filing cabinet in Figgins’ office, she’s sure that she’s won.
Mrs. Hogberg, the teacher from Purple Piano Project who hated the Gleeks, is being forced into retirement, where she plans on making the best of it. Good time to stop sniffing glue, she thinks. Good time to stop her meth habit, while she’s working on herself. Speaking of, her specials on Intervention and Hoarders will be airing later that summer, so do turn in to those, won’t you?
“Go softly into that sweet night,” Figgins says softly before bringing out Finn and Rachel to announce the winner. And…it’s Will! He’s visibly shocked, Sue is visibly smug, and Finn is visibly ready to own himself and his wishes. No more fumbling Finn, I barely know what to do with myself! He stops Will from coming up, because he wants to tell Will that show choir changed his life. And Will taught him how to dream, something Finn had never done before.
Rachel, already crying, says that while she hasn’t changed much on paper (gay dads, annoying, Jewish) she has changed on the inside. And there’s no question that she’s going to New York because of him. She’ll be carrying him every step of the way (in her heart, because she is a tiny wee elfling and that would get difficult after a block, I would think).
He’s touched; but wait! There’s more: they have something special planned for him. Cue the Gleeks performing “We Are The Champions” and again, Finn and Puck sound great on the rock end of the spectrum. Kurt has a moment that is lovely, Quinn joins him and…well, she’s a good choir addition. They bring Will up as they finish the song and he hugs everyone, with extra long hugs for Rachel and Kurt, and it’s all very sweet. There’s an unfortunate hand slide on Quinn’s backside, but contrary to what the internet said, I don’t think he was actually grabbing her ass. His hand slipped from her waist as he dropped it slowly to his side.
And come on, this is all great! Our underdogs are finally awesome! (Prediction: they’re going to be cocky next year and it’s going to fall apart.)
Only one more to go? Just…one? Guys, again: I am not ready for some of these kids to leave!