Glee Season 5 Episode 11 – TV Review
Yes, they lose Nationals.
There is some justice in the world, it seems.
TL;DR Despite an endless wank over Finn’s legacy, the New Directions lose Nationals; Marley remembers she exists, but only enough to whinge about nothing; Sue cuts the glee club due to the loss.
So Sue was the hero of the series after all.
The plot focuses solely on the glee club’s journey to compete at Nationals in Los Angeles. Sam decides what better way to get everybody in the happy singing spirit than to constantly remind them that Finn is dead and let them know that the defence of last year’s Nationals title is all that will keep his legacy alive. Throat Explosion prove too great a foe, though, and the New Directions’ set of all Finn-related songs falls unsurprisingly flat. They come 2nd, and Sue reluctantly fufills her promise of cutting the glee club. Meanwhile, Carol learns to face her son’s death by supporting the glee club; Marley has a sook about how songs she’s been sending to competitions aren’t winning (outrageous!); Mercedes, who is apparently a superstar now, gives her some pep talking; Skylar Astin shows up as the determined but scrupulous leader of Throat Explosion. And the episode ends with Santana, Rachel, and Kurt getting the bad news about the cut.
I assume they’re already formulating a plan to sing the glee club to reinstatement. They have no other abilities (or in Kurt’s case, no abilities).
My God, what an uncomfortable, morose episode this is.
I thought Glee was going to tastefully put Finn to rest after the tribute episode. We’d barely heard a peep about him since.
But no, let’s dedicate another episode to pay tribute to him. Because how can we enjoy sunny LA without bringing an entire tragedy’s worth of storm clouds with us?
The losing of Nationals may have amplified the dour tone, but it made me happy. So that was nice.
Why I hate this episode:
Sam and the New Directions are positively flabbergasted when their Nationals set comprised of Finn’s favourite songs fails to resonate with the judges. Because, you know, they barely know who he is. Sam holding up a pair of drum sticks at the end of the set is the perfect image of how out of touch the idea was. I’ve watched Glee week-on-week since it started, and it took even me a few seconds to figure out what the hell Sam was doing holding drum sticks.
Mercedes’ plot about becoming super famous and successful irks the shit out of me. You may remember my rage at her selfishness when it came to her record deal. Well, it doesn’t fucking matter when you’re a Glee character. You can fuck your record company off as much as you want, because Kanye West’s maid will buy your CD from a 7/11 parking lot and hand it on to Ryan Seacrest who will get you a better record deal that you are somehow able to get full control over, despite not having anyone to advise you in negotiations. What a world!
During her pep talk to Marley, Mercedes uses her overcoming of being “dumped” by her first record label as an example of how resilient she is. Um, no. You bailed on your first record company because you didn’t want to do your job properly and abide by your contract, you deranged narcissist. Fuck you.
Marley’s subplot is dull to the dullest. “Oh no, my songs aren’t actually that good after all. Wah.” Maybe if you’d been on Smash they would have had some cred.
She confesses this to Ryder, along with her intentions to quit glee club once Nationals is over. He promises to keep it a secret. Ryder’s interpretation of “keeping a secret” seems to entail immediately telling Jake, even when, as tense frenemies, they have no real reason to talk anyway.
Jake makes sure to have a snap at Ryder for trying to move in on Marley so quickly after their breakup. Who even remembers that? It was 4 months ago. Get over it.
There’s some mini subplot that involves Sam bringing a plaque of Finn to Nationals for inspiration. It’s morbid.
The glee club call Skylar a “bully.” But he’s, like, not.
One of the Nationals judges is Marlee Matlin. She’s deaf, if you didn’t know. That might have been cute if they’d made a few more jokes about it, but nope. Marlee Matlin is just a judge for a singing competition and that’s all there is to it.
One of the other judges is the Prancercise woman. Because Glee is nothing if it isn’t criminally reliant on old memes.
Throat Explosion does a pedestrian number to Mr Roboto. Their second song is Counting Stars. It wasn’t actually done that badly. But their outfits, choreography, and chart trash song choice means it could have easily been a New Directions number. Swap Skylar with Blaine and nobody would be able to tell the difference.
There are clips of Finn intercut with the New Directions’ performance. Overkill.
There is no New York plot line at all.
Oh, and we don’t even get to see the 4th placed club perform. Why even include them during the ceremony?
But it’s not all bad:
The New Directions actually do an alright job during their performance. And Blaine doesn’t even get to hog the stage all that long. What a miracle.
Kitty may not get any subplots this episode, but she does get a semi-prominent role during the second song, America. The first song, lead by Blaine and Tina, was More Than A Feeling. And the closing song, and Finn’s favourite song, was Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. I don’t consider myself attached to any of these songs, but if someone who is would like to bitch about Glee’s versions of them in the comments, go on, baby.
Carol gets best line of the episode. Tina is going on about how after Nationals her life will be so boring, and Carol unintentionally speaks her mind: “At least you get to have one.” Nobody comes back from that. Literally.
Marlee Matlin is cool.
New Directions losing is winning for me.
Roz led the Cheerios to a Nationals victory, and Sue admits she’s proud of her. Aww.
Sue tells Will the reason she’s so mean to him is because she likes him (not like like, just like). Aww.
Oh, and even at her lowest, Marley still doesn’t want Ryder. I lol’d.