Glee is the champion, my friends. The show kept on fighting until the almost-end. Glee is the... okay. Enough of that. You get the picture, right?
While I didn't love every single minute of tonight's two-hour smorgasbord of song, season 3 is certainly attempting to finish stronger than it started.
Let's talk about what I didn't like from each of tonight's two episodes and go ahead and get that nastiness out of the way, shall we?
First, from "Props," I really wanted Tina's dream to last longer. It had the potential to be silly and fun and to liven the show up a bit. Imagine how funny it would be to see Puck-as-Blaine belting out a show tune. Instead, we got a literal "sing a solo in someone else's shoes" from Tina-as-Rachel and then Tina woke up and suddenly understood what it must be like to be Rachel Berry. Really? That's the best you can do?
I liked Tina challenging Rachel because Tina's right. She's an original member of Glee and she's been relegated to back-up dancer. Perhaps she'll have her time to shine next season, but I couldn't help but feel for the girl just a little bit. She deserves a standing ovation, too.
I was also a bit put-off with her pleading with Carmen Tibideaux on Rachel's behalf, and that's an irritation that carried over into Jesse St. James doing the same thing during "Nationals." We all know Rachel will get into NYADA, but the begging and the muffins and the voicemails and the downright stalker-like behavior was too much. Tibideaux was right. Every second she spends on Rachel's craziness is time she has to take away from another student who didn't choke at the audition. Rachel needed to hear and understand that, and while I think she did, it was still over-the-top annoying instead of over-the-top funny.
"Props" also helped me define what it was about Coach Beiste's domestic violence PSA that was so out of place, and I come at this from the place of someone who is a high school teacher and not only a casual viewer of the show. Mercedes, Santana and Brittany did not in any way, either now or two episodes ago, need to be involved as the impetus that made Beiste leave Cooter. Puck was enough for that.
Which is what happened to be my favorite part of tonight's first hour.
The Puck/Coach Beiste scenes tonight were amazing. Mark Salling and Dot Marie Jones nailed their performances and had me near tears. What worked about Puck's story line is that he didn't even know he was helping her. In reality, while a teacher may share parts of his or her personal life with the students in his or her classroom, he or she would almost never do so in the manner in which the domestic violence story line was carried out on Glee. To do so would border on a violation of professional ethics.
And yes, I realize that this is the same show where the Spanish teacher who speaks no Spanish wants to move his wedding up six months so that high school students can attend, but still.
It's not unlikely that in the course of helping a student like Puck, one who feels defeated and alone, realize his worth and value as a person, the teacher would also realize that the message she's sharing with him applies to herself. That's what happened tonight and that's what redeemed that story line for me. THAT was good story telling. And it gave us the short, sweet, masterfully delivered line:
Beiste: You are loved, punkin. You are not alone. | permalink
Perfect for the two of them, right? Listen up, writers. I need more Dot Marie next season, okay?
Other things I loved: The New Directions finally won Nationals!
I knew it would happen. I knew it had to happen. The progression of their competitions over the past three seasons has pointed toward this moment. And their set had been flawless, right? While judges Lindsay Lohan and Perez Hilton, as themselves, were debating which show choir would win, I'll admit there was a part of me, maybe the former choir member who now only sings in her car, who thought "Oh no! What if they don't win!? What if Wade "Unique" Adams and Vocal Adrenaline out-shined them up there." (Be sure to check out the Glee quotes page for LiLo's verbal gems.)
I may have held my breath while waiting for the announcement.
But, the New Directions were victorious, and they received a hero's welcome of streamers and confetti instead of slushee facials, even from the hockey players who'd beaten Puck up just a few days before.
The New Directions aren't the only ones who were victorious.
Sue got her Cheerios back and Will got Emma.
She was finally ready to have sex with him and told him so through a pamphlet left strategically on a desk where she knew he'd find it. How very quirky. And yet somehow perfect for the pair.
But the best part of tonight was that it was a continuation of the circular trip the show has been taking over the course of the past few weeks. Rachel Berry said it best:
I mean, in a sea full of kids who are just desperately clinging to their own kind, we're different. We took the time to get to know each other and reach out and accept one another. That's our unique factor. And that's what I love about us.
Tonight, once again, the show reminded us that this is a series about misfits, underdogs who find their places with each other in the murky waters of high school. Once again, we were reminded of what it felt like to be in high school, maybe on the fringe of the mainstream, but swimming along with everyone else. We found our places, right? I know I did. And our characters did, too.
In these final episodes of the season, we've seen a return to the stories of the characters we fell in love with in season one. We've also seen how, when done well, new characters can be sewn into the fabric of this show in a way that makes us root for them, too. Something tells me we may be seeing more Unique next season.
Cheers, writers, for giving me characters I still want to see go from underdog to top dog, even after that messy middle of the season.
What did you think of "Props" and "Nationals"? Which musical performance was your favorite?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.