‘Glee, Actually’ Television Recap & Review

‘Glee, Actually’ Television Recap & Review

Glee on my birthday = awesome present (a Christmas episode no less!)

I loved the set up of this whole episode. You got 5 separate stories each centered around one or two characters. They didn’t overlap so your focus was only on that storyline and those characters. They wrapped up the episode with small scenes concluding each story and a group song.

We begin with Sue writing in her journal and putting her unique spin (that makes you go “hmmm”) on Christmas.

Story 1:
We see Artie looking like he has seen better days. He is frazzled, bleeding and barely holding back tears. He has slipped on the ice in his wheelchair, and Finn comes to his rescue. Artie is justifiably upset and frustrated with his limitations and utters the words “I just wish I was never in that dumb chair” which sets his whole story in motion. He wakes up (in black & white), looking less like Artie (aka less nerdy and no wheelchair) and more studly.

After a run in with a still stuttering Tina, we see Rory again (Yay!), who is Artie’s Christmas guardian angel. He reveals that he made Artie’s wish, of never being the accident and the resulting wheelchair, come true.

In this alternate reality, Puck, Finn and Ryder are tormenting and teasing Kurt who never graduated due to bullying and has no idea who Blaine is. Mr. Schue is drinking, still with his crazy ex-wife (who is still wonderfully as looney as ever). Rachel is still wasting away in Lima as well. Artie calls an emergency meeting of the Glee Club members who have no idea what he is talking about because they have no Glee Club. To demonstrate, he sings “Feliz Navidad.” I think Artie’s vocals are highly underutilized because he is one talented performer. Plus, we get to see Artie dance! Double yay! This whole dream sequence teaches him a valuable lesson as to what a difference maker he has been as the solid and quiet force keeping the group intact.

Story 2:
The award for best TV dad goes to…Burt Hummel! This character (brilliantly played by Mike O’Malley) is easily one of my favorites. He has brought a tree to celebrate Christmas in New York with Kurt. He tells a story of the first Christmas after Kurt’s mom died while they decorate the tree. The emotions this actor can portray, strictly visually, are unparalleled. Burt tells Kurt that he has prostate cancer, and I think my heart broke along with Kurt’s. He is either optimistic or just saying all the right things to placate Kurt, either way it has a calming effect on his son.

Burt continues to amaze me when he reveals that his present to Kurt was flying Blaine to New York. This leads to them singing their traditional Christmas duet. This year it was “White Christmas” while ice skating. I was looking forward to this song, and it in no way disappointed. Their vocal talents and emotions reverberated on this rendition of the classic song.

Wrap up: Blaine, Burt and Kurt watch basketball (actually Kurt reads Vogue). They talk about Blaine’s future plans (Blaine wants to apply to NYADA).

Story 3:
I vote for more Puckerman brothers! They are very sweet together and complement each other well. In order to “network” they sing “Oh Chanukah” throughout a studio lot in LA. It was a fun scene, and their voices together were outstanding (especially on this kind of song). They need more scenes and songs together (hear that Ryan Murphy – make it happen!). After a reveal on the lack of Puck’s progress in LA (in a way only Puck can manage), the brothers decide to spend Christmas together in Lima with their moms. Can you say awkward (before they bond over their jerk of a father/ex).

Wrap up: Puck is moving back to Lima.

Story 4:
Britney and Sam both believe in the Mayan Apocalypse (no surprise there), but Sam has done his research on this (which unfolds in an amusing scene)! Their bright idea is to tell everyone how they truly feel about them because of the impending end of the world. Sam, for some reason, ends up singing ‘Jingle Bell Rock.’ Not sure the whole point of this storyline much less the song (while I enjoyed it, it felt thrown in last minute). He also asks Britney to marry him and wed in a Mayan ceremony led by Coach Beiste.

Wrap up: They aren’t really married, and Coach Beiste did the right thing by tricking them into thinking they were married.

Story 5:
Sue winds up with Millie Rose (Marley’s mom) in the faculty Secret Santa. This leads to Sue overhearing a conversation between Marley and her mom discussing there being no presents or a tree so that sessions with the eating disorders specialist are paid for. Millie is a remarkable woman and mother who is selfless and sweet. Marley sings “The First Noel” and for the first time in while, her voice was very pretty and pure.

Sue’s witnessing of their exchange leads her to giving this struggling family a Christmas miracle by leaving presents and money under a tree for them. Sue is such a complex character who has many layers and just needs the right motivation to do the right thing sometimes.

Wrap up: Millie thanks Sue and tries to return the money.

The Glee Club kids (past and present) sing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ Very well done!

Final (extra) thoughts:

  • Jake in Puck’s side car was hilarious!
  • Sue’s smile at the end was heartwarming (I think it was a genuine Jane Lynch smile shining through)

Author: Karen Walsh

Glee: Glee, Actually
Season 4, Episode 10
Original Air Date: December 13, 2012