I’m going to be honest with you all: I spend most of my time watching Glee annoyed at Glee, but during “Props” and “Nationals” I sobbed out of, well, glee. Finally, the sparks we saw during the first half of the very first series came to fruition and this was — unlike some other programs I could mention — a very welcome reunion with the funny, touching, well-scored and original program we all fell in love with.
Two-parters frequently fall into the trap of a useless first episode with a rubbish ending and a second part that lacks suspense or, I don’t know, pizzazz. This wasn’t the case, however. The fantastic thing about ”Props” is that it dealt with more than one issue. Beiste stood up for herself in extremely difficult circumstances, Tina finally asked for a solo and even though she didn’t get one, she showed that she had earned one without having to turn into a diva or mini-Rachel (after, that is, turning into Rachel during a concussion dream sequence that also featured Dianna Agron doing the best Sugar Motta impression ever and general Schue and Sue hilarity) and Rachel didn’t break character, but instead persevered and persevered and persevered. Kurt makes it clear that being gay doesn’t necessarily mean you like to wear a dress and Puck proves he’s a team player by manning up and turning into the subject of a song by The Kinks — incidentally, was anyone else disappointed that he didn’t sing “Lola”? She walks like a woman, but talks like a man and also sometimes does really sweet covers of Taylor Swift songs with her coach? No? Okay.
As for the second part, Mercedes’ unexpected and totally unnecessary food poisoning aside, it was weirdly satisfying to see New Directions at each other’s throats after all of that positivity. Good on Schuester for making the best of that energy, too. The writers aren’t functioning ENTIRELY under the illusion that Quinn had a miracle recovery because they at least get her to admit that she can barely walk despite all that dancing she does a few scenes later and it seems like Puck is taking his re-testing seriously, so maybe he’ll make graduation after all.
Jesse St. James was bound to appear and be snarky and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one on edge throughout the episode thinking he’d superglued Rachel’s shoes or something, but he ended up being a Tuxedo Mask-style secret superhero, telling Whoopi of Berry’s talents. I was a little unsure about how necessary this was because it kind of detracts from how much Rachel kicked ass on her own terms but maybe it only was to show that Jesse isn’t totally evil or whatever.
As for the performances themselves, they were strong, believable and fun. 100% vintage New Directions, particularly ”Edge of Glory” with its gorgeous arrangement and lack of Finnchel looking adoringly into one another’s eyes. The only thing I was really disappointed about in “Nationals” was how stilted the Lindsay, Perez, showchoir-fan-politician dialogue was. Lindsay and showchoir-fan did a rather excellent job but Perez waited too many beats and it messed up the scenes entirely. I understand why they put his name in for the direct association with gossip blogger and exclusives etc. but really, he seemed a little redundant. I appreciated Lindsay’s allusions to her comeback, nonetheless and will take a shameless girly moment to say I love her red hair.
So the New Directions win, Emma and Schue get their jollies on (cutest propositioning ever) and just when you think they’re going to get smashed in the face with slushies, confetti rains down, Brittany and Santana kiss, everyone is cute and this editor cries more than she did at High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which is saying something.
BUT THE TEARS AREN’T OVER YET because Glee then appeals to everyone who has ever had a really really really good teacher and has wanted to get them a Presidential Proclamation. The next best thing… Schue wins Teacher of the Year, New Directions sing, Schue hugs them all, Rosi cries, the program restores itself to its former glory, chocolate and tissues for everyone.
What did you think and what was your favorite musical number? Was the two-parter necessary? Should Tina have put her foot down more about the solo? Is Rachel a shoo-in for NYADA? Do let me know in comments!