This was, in general, one of the most confusing episodes of "Glee" ever. Instead of going on hiatus immediately after sectionals, which has been the case in the past few years, we were treated to a Christmas episode. But because so many of the storylines neatly wrapped up last week, this week's episode decided to take a different route and feature no story at all.
Also, Rachel, a character who makes a point of her Jewish heritage often, apparently celebrates Christmas. Like I said, confusing.
The basic shell of the story went a little something like this: Sue, in an attempt to squash a potential Christmas spent alone, drafted Kurt, Artie and Blaine to help her out at a homeless shelter to feed the needy during the holiday. They agreed, but just as quickly reneged when the TV special they were doing for public access conflicted.
Mr. Schue, impressed with the work Artie did on "West Side Story," decided he was just the man to direct the special. Artie's new role took a tyrannical turn shortly afterward, and he demanded that the show split its cultural references between the "Star Wars" and the Judy Garland Holiday Specials, because the kids love both dead gay cultural icons and obscure spin-offs of the original "Star Wars" trilogy starring Bea Arthur.
Aside from that, Rachel, who I should remind you is Jewish and has had problems with Christmas in the past, made a list of possible gifts Finn could give to her. Instead, he gave her a sow pig, which would be awesome, but she rejected the gift. She was basically horrible and played against character the entire episode, so she could eventually realize that she was awful and change her ways.
That was more or less it for the story. They acknowledged Rory for the first time in weeks, so he could teach everyone that Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus. I'm not sure if Rachel was listening.
The rest of the episode was made up of songs and an extended look at the holiday special, which was shot in black and white and contained a misguided "Star Wars" reference that didn't amount to much.
Last night's episode made no mistake that it was about the songs and only the songs. It opened with a nice rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" from Mercedes that made some incredibly awkward cuts from the original song. (You notice those kinds of things when the Mariah Carey version plays on loop from November 1 to December 25.) We were even treated to a new original, "Extraordinary Merry Christmas," that was okay, which is high praise for a "Glee" original.
The best song of the episode came at the end once the kids finally showed up to help people who were actually in need, not just in terms of exposure for their glee club. They were kind enough to sing "Do They Know It's Christmas" for everyone and learned the most important Christmas lesson of all: Choose the selfish thing overall, and if you have time because the Yule log people finally came through, stop by the homeless shelter for a bit and face no real consequences for your decision.
Check out Jim Cantiello's musical "Glee"-cap below!
Download or Ditch
"All I Want for Christmas" – Download
Beside the episode's awkward editing of the song, this is actually a good rendition of the new classic Christmas song.
"Blue Christmas" – Ditch
Damian McGinty can be great when he sings a song safely within his wheelhouse, but Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll and of this song especially.
"River" – Ditch
I have to side with Artie on this one, and nothing again Joni Mitchell. The song was just a swing and a miss, one of the low points of the episode.
"Extraordinary Merry Christmas" – Ditch
It's a "Glee" original song, which means it's not really worth your $1.29. This one comes closer to earning it than most, but it still falls into the same generic, forgettable category as the others.
"Let It Snow" – Download
Kurt and Blaine have fun with this one, and it did work well during the episode.
"My Favorite Things" - Ditch
It was nice, albeit kind of confusing, to see this song show up in the episode, but the "Glee" kids didn't do enough with it to make it worth a purchase.
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" – Download
Unnecessary "Star Wars" costumes aside, Mark Salling does a good Bruce Springsteen with this one.
"Christmas Wrapping" – Ditch
Along the same lines as my complaints with "My Favorite Things," this is too close to the original to merit spending extra money on it, but if you don't have it already and like it, buy away.
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" – Download
The cast brings it on home with this song for Africa, enjoyable not only for the great chorus but for the incredibly and ironically dark lyrics.
What did you think of last night's "Glee" episode? Did it leave you in the Christmas spirit or have you muttering "bah, humbug!" Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!