'Glee' Recap: 'Glee, Actually'
Last Thursday’s episode, "Glee, Actually," was an hour long tribute to Christmas and Hanukkah guided by five heartwarming mini-stories, just like Love Actually. The Glee kids even got McKinley’s honorary Grinch, Sue Sylvester, to crack a smile! In case you missed the Lima/New York City holiday fun, Brittany and Sam’s surprising Mayan Apocalypse preparations and a very special act of kindness from one of McKinley’s finest, no need to worry – we’re here to break it down for you.
Sue starts her holiday festivities writing in her journal: “Dear Journal, that magical season where 5 seemingly separate story lines are cleverly sandwiched between commercial breaks and then are tied together at the end like a beautiful bow. Like that movie Love, Actually, that I don’t think anyone really cares for, yet it’s constantly on cable.” Sue, unfortunately, you count me as a fan.
Fortunately for us, we got to see that special side of Sue that comes around every once in a while. Sue’s gifts to Becky, including a Benetton sweater, did not go over well with her. Frustrated, Becky proclaims she wants a “hot date” or a “snow mobile” instead. (C’mon, Sue). Although Sue strikes out with Becky, she succeeded with Marley and her mother, Millie Rose, who she picked in the faculty’s Secret Santa. “What do you get the woman who has eaten everything?” Sue's discontent after overhearing Marley and Millie Rose’s conversation in the cafeteria, discussing the lack of Christmas in their house this year. They converse about how they won’t have the money for presents this year because of Marley’s therapy sessions for her eating disorder. (Glad to see the issue was addressed this week, even though it was glazed over after the Sectionals fiasco!). Marley’s mom promises Marley she won’t spend a dime until Marley realizes how beautiful she is and in turn, Marley gifts her with a rendition of “The First Noel.”
After hearing the heartbreaking conversation between Marley and her mother, Sue admits to Becky that she feels awful about having a massive tree with ornaments on it. Inspired, Sue sells the tree, giving the proceeds to a worthy cause: the Rose’s. Sue ends up breaking in, stocking the house with a Christmas tree, money and presents – including the Benetton sweater, which Marley loves. We see Sue and Becky peeking through the window during this special moment. So much for being a mean one, Sue Sylvester.
"Glee, Actually" took a spin at another Christmas favorite, It’s A Wonderful Life. After Artie crashes and hits his head on an icy ramp, Finn takes him to the nurse’s office. Artie blows off Finn’s help, angry because of the helpless state he was in. As he lies down, waiting for his mom to pick him up, he dreams up his own It's A Wonderful Life sequence. In this alternate universe, Artie’s car accident never happened, providing him with the ability to walk. Artie’s thrilled, but quickly loses his enthusiasm after learning what a disaster McKinley has become. Guided by his guardian angel, Rory, we realize how different things are because he was granted his wish to walk again: Will is still married to Teri, whom he thinks he has a child with (turns out it’s just a doll) and spends most of his days drinking. Ms. Pilsbury lives in Hawaii with her husband, Coach Tenaka. Finn, Puck, Mike and Ryder are all homophobic jocks. Kurt was left back due to all of the bullying and never had Blaine in his life. The quiet librarian, Rachel Berry, is barely a presence in the school play. Tina never stopped stuttering. Becky is pregnant and has no self respect. Quinn never survived her accident. Lastly, there is no Glee Club. Artie soon realizes he’s the glue that holds the club together and vows to make things right.
Artie pulls everyone into the choir room Sue’s craft room, where he performs “Feliz Navidad,” hoping to get everyone into it. Instead, everyone stares Artie down during this performance. After he finishes, he’s stunned to hear one reaction in a quiet room - Finn: “That was so gay.” Artie eventually wakes up, thrilled that this was just a dream. After that sequence, he happily allows Finn help him into his wheelchair.
‘Tis the season for family bonding, just ask Puck and Jake. As Jake’s walking through the halls of McKinley, he’s harassed over his ethnicity by two jocks, causing him to start a fight. Puck comes swooping in to break up the fight, explaining he’s in town conducting “research” for his screenplay. (Yes, a screenplay!). Puck eventually convinces his brother to come to Hollywood with him for the holidays - on the sidecar of his motorcycle. In California, Puck takes his little bro to a movie lot, where they sing “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” After their collaboration, the two sit poolside at Puck’s amazing rental house – that is until Mrs. Cross, the homeowner, comes home early from her vacation. It turns out that Puck just cleans the pool for them. Puck insists the only reason he lied was because he didn’t want Jake to be embarrassed that he lives in the Valley (and can’t put together his Ikea furniture). Jake convinces Puck to come back. He agrees, explaining that he can write screenplays anywhere. The two head back to Lima for the holidays, where they invite their mothers to a family dinner at Breadstix. The two women argue until the boys stop them, reminding them that their father was the bad guy. The foursome end up sharing a pleasant evening together. That’s the holiday spirit, boys!
Brittany and Sam were also in the holiday Apocalypse spirit this season. After watching a documentary on the Mayan Apocalypse, Brittany cashes in her savings and buys her friends lavish gifts including a car, Rolex watches and vacations. Brittany and Sam form the Mayan Apocalypse club. During their first meeting, they invite everyone in to tell them their true feelings about them. Brittany starts by telling Tina she’s a fool to pursue acting. Before Brittany gets to anyone else, everyone walks out, but Brittany insists she was going to tell Marley “she’s delightful.” Sam takes the opportunity to sing Brittany “Jingle Bell Rock,” before he shatters the dreams of Brittana fans around the country with the phrase: “Brittany, before the world ends will you marry me?”
Coach Beiste volunteers to marry the pair, insisting she was ordained on a Mayan Church website. The two exchange comical vows. Sam: "Brittany, I always thought you were super hot and really smart but what I didn’t know was that you were going to end up being my soul mate. Who knows what the future holds for us, probably tsunamis and horrible sea monsters, but now I’m not worried about that because I have you." Brittany: "Sam, when you first joined the Glee Club I didn’t notice for a while. It wasn’t until you did a Rich Little impression and told me it was a Rich Little impression and then explained who Rich Little was that I knew you were special. I can’t tell you how excited I am to become your Mayan star-wife." The two kiss and are now husband and wife.
We see the disappointed pair on December 22, as they sadly realize they made it through the Mayan Apocalypse – married. Brittany and Sam find Beiste, who explains to them there is no such thing as a Mayan Church and they’re not actually married. Beiste intervened because the pair are so young. Instead of crushing their spirits, she tells them that she just got a Google alert that Indiana Jones found another Mayan calendar with a new end of the world date: Sept. 27, 2014. Now they have two more years of honesty to share.
In New York City, Rachel and Blaine are discussing their holiday plans. Rachel is going on a cruise but Kurt’s staying put in the city in order to save money. A few minutes later, they hear a knock at the door and Kurt finds his dad with a Christmas tree, complete with their very first ornament: a sparkly red apple. Kurt and Burt spend the night walking around the city as Kurt learns his father has prostate cancer, but they caught it at an early stage. Kurt, panic stricken, tells his father he’s nervous he won’t be around for him to “reach his destiny.” Back at Kurt and Rachel’s Bushwick digs, Kurt and Burt exchange Christmas gifts. Kurt gets his father a lovely assortment of NYADA apparel. As Kurt’s ready to open his gifts, Burt tells him that the gift is too big to fit under the tree. When they arrive at Bryant Park to pick it up, we learn it’s Blaine! The two share their promised skate and duet on “White Christmas.” Later in the night, Blaine insists that no matter what happens between them, they’ll be there for each other.
The three prepare to have a nice holiday dinner at the apartment. Kurt watches the basketball game for 20 seconds before he picks up Vogue, causing Blaine to lose his bet to Burt. When Burt asks about Blaine’s future plans, he says that he may apply to NYADA, as long as that’s alright with Kurt. “That’d be great,” mutters Kurt, who seems a little taken back.
McKinley wraps up the holidays in dramatic fashion. Millie Rose seeks out Sue in her office to thank her for what she did for them. Sue claims she has no idea what she’s talking about, but Millie admits she got Becky to confess after bribing her with candy. She tries to give the money back, saying she can’t accept it, but Sue says no and insists to use the money on Marley to get better. Sue confides that she knows what it’s like to be a single mother. Millie asks Sue to come with her to see Marley, who wants to say thank you. The Glee Club sings “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” along with parts from Puck, Jake, Sam and Brittany at Breadstix and Kurt in NYC. Happy Holidays, Gleeks!
Millie: I wanted to say thank you for what you did for Marley and me.
Sue: I have no idea what you're talking about. I had nothing to do with the making of that film.
Burt: [to Kurt] Well, the Rockettes might have better legs than me, but they can't touch my Single Ladies performance.
Brittany: You guys, welcome to the first meeting of the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse club.
Tina: Wait, that's what this is?
Sam: Don't worry, it's also the last meeting.
What did you think of Glee, Actually? Let us know below! Glee will be back with all new episodes on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. on Fox.