Glee Recap 6.11: The Return of Jesse St. James

I could sum up this entire penultimate episode of the final season Glee in an ellipses and a sigh. An ellipses to represent my ever present anticipation for the appearance of anything resembling closure, finality, or actual plot. And a sigh for all of my naiveté.

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We open with this amalgamation of the New New Directions and the Warblers practicing, once again highlighting how professional and good at this the Warblers are and how mediocre the New New Directions are because the writing on the show refuses to admit that this isn’t an underdog team and it hasn’t been for years. That is a really large group of singing dancing people but the Warblers are still on their prep school level and they’re not agreeing with the kumbaya teaching style of not one or two but three separate instructors.

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Apparently Roderick and Spencer are the weakest link dancing wise, even though no mention of this has been made before. The implication that Roderick can’t dance because of his weight is both false and contradictory to everything the show has been trying to say for seasons. Also one of the Warblers calls Alistair a “Julianne Moore” which is uncalled for, really, the boy is adorable.

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All this said, it is somewhat endearing to watch Spencer and Roderick fumble through dance steps together. Somewhat. Not enough to make me forget that this is the episode before last and it isn’t going anywhere. Spencer suggests that they ask someone for help, maybe his boyfriend? Spencer easily accepts that if Alistair helps with the dancing they’ll just make out all weekend so they decide to ask Kitty for help instead.

Sam and Rachel are fighting (again) throwing each other lists of people who did and didn’t drop out of college before starting performing careers and it’s boring, it’s so boring. We did an entire season of this; Rachel having fantastic options and people having a lot of opinions and no one being grateful for how extraordinary any of those chances were. As a small relief, it’s always great when piano player Brad is randomly there to accompany impromptu singing. Do you know what else is impromptu? Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff). But he’s here and even if he comes to rehash more old-plot (who isn’t at this point) he’s a breath of vintage fresh air and breathtaking talent. I don’t even want to ask questions because he just made this all so much more bearable. It turns out Jesse is home to help his mom while she’s getting work done and that’s charming. I wish he would continue to be on screen for another forty minutes being charming and making this all less painful.

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He is also conveniently going to be Rachel’s potential co-star if she decides to take the part on Broadway. That goes on the Pros column, right? I’ve never been a big fan of Rachel’s plot lines (her voice and Lea’s stage presence, yes, but not what the writers do to her) but I have always been a fan of the potential power couple Rachel Berry and Jesse St. James. It may not have been the sweet love she had with Finn (who deserved a lot more mention and flashback screen time than this) but it’s something a little refreshing. These are two people who may love the craft a little more than they love each other– and they’re both okay with that.

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I do appreciate that Rachel is being consistent with the concept of not letting other people influence her decisions.

Back to the plot line that probably shouldn’t be taking up space on the second-to-last episode ever, Spencer and Roderick are such terrible dancers that Spencer has managed to injure himself. Ignoring the fact, of course, that you can hurt yourself whether or not you know what you’re doing. Spencer is dead-set on performing though, because we can’t go a week on this show without someone being stupidly determined to do something.

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It appears to be Kurt’s turn to join the intervention with Rachel. At least it seems he’s more interested in her actually making a choice rather than worried about which choice she makes. It’s hard to tell, he beats around the bush a lot which I guess is a good thing when she doesn’t want to be persuaded. He does acknowledge the fact that this has all very much already happened before exactly as it is happening now and it does appear that, just like us, he is exhausted by it.

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In the next scene as the glee club practices we have a delivery of not-at-all-suspicious boxes which turn out to be glitter bombs. The beloved piano is a glitter bomb too and boxes and piano explode as some sort of not even remotely amusing comic device.

What was amusing? Klaine’s little exchange.  Kurt is sensible enough to ask if valuable items like the piano are insured. Blaine’s awed reply: “Oh it’s not, but that was very pretty.”

Darlings, if only you were given actual stories on these final hours.

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This glitter attack was followed by Sue going on one of her usual rampages giving everyone food poisoning and setting Will’s car on fire. Just a couple of minutes of mayhem that– as usual– made no discernible sense.

Now at the competition, there’s a falconry school singing “Broken Wings”, faintly in the background as all the extra choirs in these competitions tend to be.

Okay so since it is Vocal Adrenaline performing “We Built This City”, how come we named the episode after something the other glee club was singing? Maybe it’s because they’re fantastic, they always are. I have often wondered if it’s just a predisposition to expect some form of excellence from them or if their performances are just better for the effect. Vocal Adrenaline is stunning, but that has never had anything to do with their coach. I loved that “Hey, Mickey” is such a cheerleading song, it was a great wink to Sue’s cheerleading coach roots. In the audience, all of our main cast looks absolutely floored. But why is everyone astounded by the fact that Vocal Adrenaline is doing a good job when they have always been amazing?

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The Cheerios Canon O Doom makes one (hopefully last) appearance. Just one more time because we’ve finally found people crazy enough to voluntarily get inside it!

Of course Rachel gets to commandeer what might be the last show choir circle ever to talk about all the opportunities she’s had and how difficult that is and then give a generic pep talk. Oh dear Lea, we’re at the home stretch, more worthy roles are hopefully coming your way.

Okay so Roderick has an idea so that we don’t have to shoot up Spencer with drugs to numb his injured foot and possibly ruin his mobility forever. What is it? We’ll have to wait. The show is still clinging to the vague idea of suspense.

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Okay now I have to stop being mad at the show for a second because “Take Me to Church” is a song I have been obsessed with for months and this performance is to be applauded. I don’t know what Roderick’s entire plan was but I can’t care because he sounds amazing as Noah Guthrie always does. No dancing needed, maybe this is the plan? Dazzle everyone with Roderick’s pure talent and the amazing choir background so that no one has to be propelled though the sky by a canon.

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It seems they stuck with their strength and “Chandelier” a song known by the athletic interpretive dance in its music video, is accompanied by the dancing Warblers and apparently Myron dressed as Maddie Ziegler (in her Sia costume). I mean, why not? That’s a good attitude towards most things.

OH MY GOD THEY HUNG SPENCER FROM THE ACTUAL CHANDELIER THAT’S HILARIOUS OKAY I APPROVE OF THIS, I REALLY DO. Please excuse my unedited outburst, I do have a heart and people literally hanging from chandeliers make it light.

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Mason and his sister are never going to stop doing the strangely close twins thing but that’s okay, all of the numbers were actually really solid and “Come Sail Away” was a sweet closing. I’m sticking with “Take Me to Church” though, I can’t be swayed.

Now we get that scene where all the judges discuss the competitors in the style of Sue Sylvester. And if I’m not mistaken the third judge is not the second lady in the room but the actual poodle. That’s all there really is to say.

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If someone decides to do a compilation of all of the sectionals/regionals/nationals final decision moments complete with the ever-third-ranking extra choir, it would be the audiovisual equivalent of really terrible elevator music.

The New Directions won, because at least we can recognize that there isn’t time to get the kids’ spirits up in the final episode of the entire show.

 

Now Sue is going to make one last villainous statement or she’s going to throw something in Will’s face. What’s it going to be? Well William makes the astounding statement, “It finally happened, you lost.” But Sue is the antagonist of your show, she loses on the regular. It’s part of your most basic plot. Then we spend about three full minutes listening to Sue outline how she did too good a job with the Vocal Adrenaline kids in order to gift William a win along with all her other cartoon villainy. Moving on.

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We’re ending with Jesse St. James and Jesse St. James is always an actual win. I mean jeez Rachel a promising career in Broadway and hot boy to move in with? Disaster, who would want something like that. But it seems she turned down the part on Broadway and is going back to school. I mean good for Rachel, making choices for herself. You’re still going to be in New York so we can get back on the St. Berry train and say goodbye to this transitory Sam madness.

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But we actually close with a montage of every New Directions Win Ever. It actually does manage to be touching, even though I still think there could have been many more homages to both Finn and Cory Monteith. So that’s it everyone, let’s all take a deep breath and let it go, we’ve only got one more week until the very end. Sighs of sadness or sighs of relief? Here’s hoping we get some beautiful Klaine.

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