Glee: Nationals recap/review

Props recap/review

Okay, I’ll admit it, I may be crying a little bit. This episode was really emotional, and it’s not even the end. Who knows what a mess I’ll be after the season finale.

Still, head up and on I go. Nationals saw New Directions go to Chicago for Nationals – the last time all the original members of the glee club can win the competition.

With their numbers actually decided on in advance, there needed to be some other drama, which came in the form of Mercedes getting ill and the glee clubbers getting into a massive argument when the stress of rehearsals all got a bit too much.

Still, we saw just how the New Directions have matured when they resolved their differences without anyone storming off or crying (although it was close for a moment). Last season would have seen some punches thrown – Santana and Lima Heights, anyone? – but this season the club managed to pull themselves together, focus on the competition and get their heads down to rehearsing.

It’s a mark of how far the group have come, and carries on from last week’s episode, in which we saw how our characters had grown individually. This week, we saw how they’ve grown as a group.

That growth was shown as well in Rachel and Finn’s conversations with Jesse St James, who was looking a bit eighties in his jacket and with his slicked back hair. Although he was still as cocky as always, Jesse too has matured, and is able to speak to both Rachel and Finn, especially Finn, without resulting to throwing eggs (Rachel) or physical violence (Finn).

So to New Directions performance, which I just thought was brilliant. I’ve always loved the Troubletones, and the extended Troubletones with Tina and Quinn, were great.

Annoying as Rachel can be, she was superb during It’s All Coming Back to Me Now. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, Lea Michele has such stage presence and amazing vocals. And Jesse St James’s face during the song was heartwrenching, he knows just how amazing this girl is, and thankfully he told Carmen Tibideaux that.

And Paradise by the Dashboard Lights is one of my favourite songs, and I thought the arrangement was great.

Following New Directions were Vocal Adrenaline, fronted by Unique. Wade had a wobbly moment before going on stage, but Kurt and Mercedes came to the rescue and reminded him that Unique is amazing, and that he/she needed confidence to believe Vocal Adrenaline could succeed. As Kurt and Mercedes left Wade to get ready, he muttered that he might consider transferring schools next term. Could Wade/Unique be heading to McKinley for season four of Glee?

Vocal Adrenaline’s performance was amazing as always. The group is flawless – their vocals were great, and their dance moves were phenomenal. 

For a moment I wondered how Glee would swing it that New Directions won over Vocal Adrenaline. Then I stopped worrying. The reason New Directions won is because they work as a team, because yes, they may have lead singers, but without the rest of the group it just wouldn’t work. Vocal Adrenaline, fabulous as they were, relied on Wade/Unique, and so while it was right Wade/Unique won MVP, it was also right Vocal Adrenaline didn’t win Nationals.

Since we’re talking about winning, let’s mention the judges, specifically Lindsay Lohan. Eh. I didn’t think she was that great, or that funny. Perez Hilton was alright, and the politician was sweet. Overall, not one of the best judging panels Glee has decided on. Still, props to them for voting on New Directions to win.

After three seasons of waiting, it was heartwarming to see New Directions triumphant. And to see them treated as winners when they returned to school. All the slow-mo scenes at the end were really sweet.

Although, and any Glee fan will bring this up, there was something missing. We got Finchel kissing, we got Tike kissing, we got Brittana kissing, we even got Will and Emma kissing (and more). And yet, somehow, Klaine still managed to stand about 10 feet apart. What is going on? Did the quota for gay couples who can act like they’re in a relationship get reached for this episode? It’s a ridiculous situation, since Klaine is the most stable couple on the show, yet we’ve only seen them show physical affection towards each other a couple of times.

Most of the focus this season has been on the glee clubbers, and anytime Will has been on screen has generally been boring or cheesy. But this episode I loved his involvement when it came to New Directions (I wasn’t too invested in him and Emma finally sleeping together, sweet as it was with Emma leaving him a pamphlet). After all, he’s the reason the glee kids are where they are – doing something they love and being great at it.

There were lots of Will moments this episode but the one that stood out for me was right before he went into the rehearsal room just before the kids went on stage. Those silent seconds showed a teacher who loves his students, and wants them to do well. With all the non-teachering Will does, it’s easy to forget he really does care. He might not be able to speak Spanish well, he may miss completely when his students are in trouble, but he does care, and that’s one of the most important things a teacher can do.

And caring was why Will won teacher of the year. In a touching moment the kids of New Directions all hugged Will one by one, thanking him for caring. It was a really emotional moment, not least because for me it wasn’t just acting – it was also the cast getting emotional about having to say goodbye to something that’s been their lives for the last few years.

Oh goodness, someone hand me a tissue. 

The music
I loved the music this episode, as I said above. And if all the great songs during Nationals weren’t enough, then adding in We Are The Champions was the cherry on the cake.

What a song, and really, was there any song with a chorus more fitting for New Directions? 

What Glee did well
Since we’re so close to the end, I’m happy to not criticise and say I liked it all. I’ll rewatch at some point with a more neutral eye and less tears and find something the episode did really well, and something it did less well.

Next week
The end. *sobs*

Glee recap/review masterpost

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