‘Glee’ Recap: ‘Swan Song’

by Melissa Albert

On the heels of Marley’s spectacular stumble at sectionals, the Warblers are given the win and the glee club is officially disbanded. Before you can say “Le Car,” the Cheerios have taken over the choir room, the accompanist has fled and Finn’s handed over the glee club keys.

Finn tries to talk the glee clubbers into getting excited about the upcoming Christmas show, their last performance of the year, but they’re too busy scattering among the various after-school clubs of McKinley, unable to bear the empty hours between last bell and dinnertime. Major traitors Blaine and Tina even go to the dark side, becoming the diversity arm of Sue’s Cheerios squad.

Speaking of Cheerios, did you know that Brittany always forgets to eat breakfast on Tuesdays, because early weekdays confuse her? Well, Sam knows. He lures Brittany to a classroom with a trail of delicious cereal to confess that he’s totally into her. They sing Frank Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid,” but before he can catch a kiss, she turns him down, saying she doesn’t want to disappoint the lesbian blogger community that’s been so supportive of her and Santana. But, since he’s a genius whose impressions are amazing, she can’t resist for long: by episode’s end, they’ve shared both a kiss and a trip to the VIP booth at Breadstix. (That is not a metaphor. We don’t think.)

In New York, Rachel’s jonesing for a “golden ticket,” one of 10 invitations handed out by Carmen Tibideaux herself to perform in NYADA’s winter showcase. After Rachel becomes the only freshman to get one, her swollen ego expands to the point that the rest of her organs become compromised. It’s lucky she’s still able to dance, because angry lush/dance teacher Cassie goads her into competing on an impromptu performance of “All That Jazz.” Cassie’s sexy moves convince Rachel that she’s not going to win the NYADA showcase with her dancing; she’ll have to do it with her voice.

The night of the showcase arrives, and she’s riding so high that she finally kisses Brody, just before going onstage. The camera swoops and swirls around her as she madly emotes to Barbra Streisand’s “Being Good Isn’t Good Enough.” The standing ovation that follows is so unhinged that Carmen allows her to do an encore, by which point Rachel’s ego has detached itself from her body and started its own principality just off the coast of New York. She follows up her strident, pitchy Streisand impression with “O Holy Night.” What, “I Have a Little Dreidel” isn’t good enough for you? When she’s done, the enigmatic Carmen stands up to make a bizarre announcement. Though Kurt was turned down earlier in the episode when he asked for a chance to re-audition, Carmen has decided to give him a second chance after all—that very night, live at the showcase! This impetuous decision requires some major suspension of disbelief, considering how many actual NYADA students weren’t allowed to perform.

Kurt nails it, of course, performing a soulful rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Being Alive.” It wins him a place at NYADA, but will he accept it? Or will Isabelle convince him to stay at Vogue, pursuing his fashion dreams?

Finn’s sitting home alone, staring into space, when Rachel calls. Not to commiserate with him about the glee club loss, or to see how he’s doing since their second (third? Fourth?) breakup, but to brag about herself: whaaaat, she won the showcase. Even though guilty Marley is the only one still holding on to the glee club dream, Finn’s somehow inspired to action by his ex’s arrogance. He writes an email to all the kids, reminding them that glee is all about the love of music. And so the club reunites on a snowy night, singing “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” by Crowded House. Sectionals or not, they’re gonna rock the Christmas concert next week.

Song of the episode: “All That Jazz.” If only spiking our breakfast smoothies could make us look and move like Cassie.

What did you think of last night’s “Glee”? Do you like Sam and Brittany together? Which performance was your favorite? Tell us everything in the comments and on Twitter!