Last night's Christmas-themed episode of "Glee" was like getting the one thing you wanted most on your wish list and a lump of coal, all at once. I only say the latter because it's the last new episode until the post-Super Bowl ep in February, and it just seems downright cruel to do to fans during the holiday season. But before we go asking Santa for the show to come back as soon as possible, let's look back at "A Very Glee Christmas."
New Directions certainly started things off in the Christmas spirit. They even decorated their choir room for the holiday and sang "The Island of Misfit Toys" (a sentiment the kids in the club can relate to) from the timeless "Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer." But, much to their dismay, not everyone was happy for the holidays.
Not only did they get slushied (hey, at least they were green and red!), but their attempts at singing "We Need A Little Christmas" for their fellow students weren't met with "Ho Ho Ho"s and "Fa La La"s, but rather taunts ("I'd rather be learning!") and shoe-throwing (from a teacher, no less!)
Even though he's coping with a broken heart, Finn wouldn't let it ruin his Christmas. And while he does remind his fellow glee clubbers to keep their own spirits up, he can't find it in his heart to forgive Rachel. After her failed serenade (she goes on to sing the oh-so-depressing "Merry Christmas Darling" solo) and an even more discouraging Christmas tree-shopping venture (where they both belt out Wham!'s "Last Christmas"), Finn decides to call it quits with Rachel for good.
On the sweeter end of McKinley High School couples, there's Brittany and Artie. When Artie, being the rather wonderful fellow that he is, discovers that Brittany still believes in Santa, he hatches a plan to ensure no one spoils it for her. All is going according to plan with the glee club's visit to the mall to see Santa (among the best requests: Sam wants Chapstick for his rather sizable lips, Lauren asks for Puck's love and Mike requests that Channing Tatum "stop being in stuff"!) until Brittany sits on his lap.
The wide-eyed and hopeful Brit asks Santa for a most selfless gift: for Artie's legs to work. The gang, faced with the possibility of Brittany losing faith when her wish doesn't come true, recruit Coach Beiste to step in as Old St. Nick. Beiste—er, Santa—then surprises Brittany and, in one of the season's most touching moments, tells her that she may simply have to be given the gift of patience when it comes to this.
But something pretty magical happens, Gleeks. We later find Artie in a device called Re-Walk (not, as Brittany originally thought, a Transformer) which allows him to walk sometimes. A stunned and overjoyed glee club thinks the miracle came from Santa, but I've got a sneaking suspicion Beiste had something to do with it, don't you? Either way, it was an all-around amazing moment. From Brittany's shriek of excitement at watching Artie stand up from his wheel chair to Tina's gasp of joy for her old love, this was a part of the episode I watched over and over, albeit through some very teary eyes.
Artie's life-changing present wasn't the only Christmas miracle to happen in the halls of McKinley High. The unthinkable, the ultimate Grinch, one Sue Sylvester, has a change of heart. Of course, before that happened she was up to her usual scheming, only this time with a Christmas twist. Sue hijacks the staff's Secret Santa, ensuring she will get all of the presents. When Will, Emma, and Beiste get wind of this, they take back all of her goods (including, hilariously enough, six Shake Weights!)
The Grinch, a.k.a Sue (or, as I'm calling it, "How the Lynch Stole Christmas"), emulates the mean, green one in a perfect homage to the animated holiday classic (complete with Brittany as Cindy Lou Hoo) and does her best to ruin Christmas. Side note: I sort of wish they'd let Jane Lynch sing vocals instead of guest vocalist k.d. lang, but it was still fun to hear the lyrics get changed to, "You're a mean one, Sue the Grinch."
But, despite her best efforts otherwise, Sue's heart grew 10 sizes too big when she heard the glee club (who were raising money for those less fortunate) sing "Welcome Christmas" for their teachers. Her faithful assistant Becky knew it and she knew it: It was a beautiful Christmas moment. Rather than spoil the season, Sue returns the gifts and even brings along the glee club with her to keep Will, who was faced with the prospect of spending Christmas Eve alone, company on the holiday.
Don't worry, Gleeks, I didn't forget about Kurt and Blaine's adorable duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside"! While there wasn't much going on for either of the characters this week (despite some looming questions of if, and when, these two will ever get together), they did get this charming little moment to sing the wintertime staple.
That moment, like so many others, helped make this one a holiday winner. Will it have the same longevity as most television classics? Maybe not, but it certainly made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Check out Jim Cantiello's musical "Glee"-cap!
How about you guys? What did you think of "A Very Glee Christmas"? Do you, like Brittany, see Santa's elves as slaves? Did you wonder why Puck didn't sing any Hanukkah songs? Was Beiste acting as Santa, or do you think Artie really just received a Christmas miracle? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter. We'll see you next year, Gleeks!