The Glee-kly Recap: It’s an “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” but WHERE is Sugar Motta? (also My Word Count Drops SIgnificantly…)

When we last left off on Glee, we pulled a Tabula Rasa (Clean Slate) and un-did pretty much everything that’s happened in Season 3 thus far. The gang are all back together (after that large group hug) and it’s the Christmas episode so obviously we’re not about to have any major plot points thrown in! This should be a nice one-off storyline kind of episode.

As last week’s recap clocked in at over 3600 words (my longest ever), I’ve realized that I have a problem with being long-winded. I will put extra effort into making this one a bit more “Coles Notes” as a friend suggested rather than writing a piece longer than the original script!

Here goes nothing…

So we open the show with a gorgeous Mercedes singing Mariah Carey’s classic: “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Despite the fact that Mimi herself has already desecrated this song a million times with extra festive remixes, remakes and duet versions with douchey young popstars, Amber Riley sounds WONDERFUL and this number is SO much fun! She flirts with Sam; We get cute moments between all of the Glee club couples. It`s adorable… watch for yourself!

Cut to Rachel presenting Finn with her Christmas Wishlist: 15 extravagant gift suggestions from which he is to pick 5. He tries to tell her that all he wants is her but apparently Rachel has randombly turned into a Golddigger and insists on the gifts. As she walks away Finn says “Holy crap, I’m dating Kim Kardashian”.

Sue, heartbroken about spending her first Christmas without her sister, “asks” Artie, Kurt and Blaine to volunteer New Directions to perform at a homeless shelter where she’ll be serving Christmas Dinners. They, of course, accept!

Meanwhile, back in the choir room… Rory advises that his Mother’s plans to visit for the holidays fell through and as a result it will be his first Christmas without his family. In honor of his sadness he wants to bring the rest of the club down by singing it out. He sings Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas”. Damian McGinty does a pretty good job with the song and it’s a mostly light-hearted moment despite how very sad it should be.

Santana sums it up well with: “That song is so depressing; I may actually be dead right now”. The kids discuss how depressing last Christmas was and we find out that Artie’s electronic legs broke the next day. Funny.. it was such a RANDOM plot point that I never even wondered what had become of them. Did anyone else?

Shue bursts in with good news! Lima’s local PBS affiliate has an opening for a Christmas special and the Station Manager caught their Sectionals win and wants them to film it. Shue also reveals he reccommended Artie to direct it, which excites him way more than it seems to excite Artie at first, who says he never wanted to “lower” himself to television.

Speaking of Directors, in case you didn’t know this episode was directed by Matt Morrison; His first-ever time in the Glee Director’s chair. So far, so good.. actually.

Sam, having moved out of his parents new home to go back to McKinley, understands the plight of missing loved ones and offers Rory the option to spend Christmas with his family. Rory accepts. Awwww, a new bromance is born.

Artie: the now bigshot director, has some demands for the Station Manager. 1. The special must be somehow inspired by some awful Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978 and 2. that he film it in black and white. He’s given a hefty $800.00 budget.

Next up Rachel sings a soulless rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “River”. As much as I adore this classic, no one really does it as well as Joni. I really don’t know why it’s become a Christmas seasonal favorite; It’s far from festive though it does mention “christmas”! Artie “The Diva Director” makes a return when he tells Rachel “It makes me want to kill myself.”

Artie reveals his vision for their Christmas special, which is basically where Kurt and Blaine decorate “their home” lavishly for a holiday get-together with their best friends. He wants it happy and Rachel has to pick a new song. Sam, apparently jaded by his year of hardship, argues that sadness is a part of Christmas too, but Artie disagrees. Sam storms off expecting Rory to follow, but the wee leprechaun stays.

Rejection apparently fuels the golddigger in Rachel Berry. Finn gives her an early present, he adopted an African Sow that will be “fattened up” and given to a family in need. Rachel Berry and The World agree that Finn is the weirdest boyfriend, ever but she rejects the gift and spews more raging awful energy. Hey writers! I’m not buying this sudden personality trait at all, FYI.

Blaine (finally bowtie-less) and Rachel sing her second chance song “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” which I believe is a Glee original. This time, Artie loves it! Sue comes in to check out their progress in preparing for the night at the homeless shelter (which subsequently is on the same date and time as the live TV special broadcast… shocker!) Artie and New Directions collectively flake on a very-floored Sue and The World shakes their head at them in disappointment.

The next 20-or-so minutes of the episode is the TV special in it’s entirety as the Ohio audience would see it. To sum it up:

  • Blaine and Kurt sing “Let It Snow” before Mercedes and Rachel arrive.
  • They exchange amusing gifts.
  • They banter.
  • They sing “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. It’s lovely.
  • We get the predictable commercial break segue into, yep.. you guessed it!
  • More funny banter turns into Finn and Puck arriving to perform “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.
  • Then, in burst Brittany, Santana and the Cheerios singing “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses.
  • GREAT choreography!
  • GREATER cinematography!!

Here are some highlights…

Lastly (and the only thing that brings us back into the plot of the episode), Rory arrives as an elf. Artie’s vision was for him to read a revamped Frosty The Snowman story, but he decides instead to read a bit from the Biblical Christmas story to remind his friends what the true meaning of Christmas should be: “Peace and good will toward men”.

We come back to Sam and Quinn helping Sue at the homeless shelter, serving food. In come New Directions, having realized the error of their ways (and getting cancelled mid-show for the previously scheduled program). They bring extra food and a spare musical number they didn’t get to perform on the air: a FANTASTIC cover of Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. While I have NEVER liked this song, I found the cast’s rendition VERY catchy and beautifully arranged, even despite arguably racist lyrics.

In THE MOST ADORABLE FINCHEL MOMENT OF ALL-TIME, Rachel apologizes to Finn for being a materialistic bitch and tells him that she loves the African Sow he adopted for her and she’s (unsuprisingly) named her Barbara. Finn then tells her that he also registered a star for he in a moment that made every woman and gay man weep, saying he named it “Finn Hudson” because there’s “already a star named Rachel Berry. She’s right here on earth and she shines brighter than any one up there”. Finn also revealed that he hocked his letterman jacket to buy her earrings. Rachel is so overcome by guilt for her own fortune, she decides it’s time to give back!

We come back to Rory and Sam – who are helping out their fellow man by collecting for charity on the street. Rory, perhaps in jest (but even-if-so-just-as-strange), suggests that Sam should be his Valentines Day sponsor too and that by February he shouldn’t have a problem giving him “a snog or two”. (For those of you unfamiliar, “snog” means kissing.) Sam says “sure” without any hint of a laugh but does ask Rory to help him develop a Sean Connery impression to score chicks. Rory just smiles leaving us to wonder why the writers decided to make this so ambiguous. Intended or not, there is DEFINITELY a flirty vibe happening here. This would be a rather unexpected turn of events and I honestly don’t expect anything to come of it, but I know I’m not the only one who thought there was something fishy about this scene.

Rachel and Finn walk up (dressed in suspiciously similar attire) wander up to chat and reveal that they returned Rachel’s earrings and an iPad she bought Finn and they donate the money to Sam’s collection. The episode ends with them grabbing bells to help Sam and Rory fundraise, calling into mind Rory’s recital of “Peace on earth, good will toward men!”. [The-End]

Main Beef:

  • We are presented with the full “GLEE Holiday Spectacular” as if we had just changed the channel 2/3 of the way into episode. Suddenly all of the episode’s plot disappears for a significant amount of time and we’re presented with something that entirely interrupts the flow.On it’s own, this 20 minute ode to 60’s sitcoms and variety shows is hilarious and adorable in a twisted and occasionally transgressive way, but within the episode it’s almost annoying. I felt completely thrown off and by the halfway point, despite beautiful filming, choreography and performances, I just wanted it to end. (A second viewing read significantly more endearing when I contemplated this part as a standalone piece.)
  • CONTINUITY ERRORS!! It may be the result of them filming several episodes simultaneously, but WHERE – I repeat: WHERE WAS SUGAR MOTTA!!!? Lauren Zices does NOT approve!!

Overall, Matt Morrison’s first shot in the director’s chair turned out one of the finer-crafted episodes of this season despite being low on plot or series impact. I would say it had enough memorable scenes to fall among the best of the series, highlight-wise. The musical numbers were all beautifully performed, staged, chorepgraphed and filmed.

We’re heading into mid-season hiatus and Glee will not return with new episodes until January. Until then, we wait… but if Sugar Motta’s not back I’m gon’ go apeshit. You’ve been warned šŸ˜‰

As always, thank you for reading and please please please, comment! share! discuss!!

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