Glee: Nationals Treasure

Glee S03E20 and S03E21: “Props” and “Nationals”

I had very little doubt that New Directions would win Nationals (finally), but it was still pretty satisfying to see. It’s all about the ginormous trophy. What is it with arts competitions handing out these ridiculous trophies? Is it some sort of attempt to thumb our noses at the oft-more-decorated athletes?

I’m okay with that. In high school, I spent every August at band camp, nursing my second-degree sunburn and insisting, “Marching band is TOTALLY a sport.” It’s pretty satisfying to have the biggest trophy in the case that also holds the accolades of the more glorified naysayers.

So congrats, New Directions! Nice bling. Let’s take a look at your two-hour long road to victory.

The show got its third everybody-feel-bad-for-Rachel song in early, when she performed “I Won’t Give Up” to an empty auditorium. “I Won’t Give Up” described her take on the poor NYADA audition perfectly and though she definitely tipped the scales in favor of earning the label of “deranged stalker,” you can’t fault her for being proactive. The muffin basket was nice, but 14 voicemails? That’s the crazy leaking out, Rachel, and you need to take care of that. Or maybe not, because after Tina got over her (completely justified) hissy fit (more on this in a few) the girls drove to Oberlin to crash Madam Tibideaux’s master class. Rachel begged Tibideaux to drop in on Nationals in Chicago and Tibideaux told her to GTFO... before ultimately coming to Nationals.

Now let’s talk about Tina. We haven’t seen much of Tina over the past few weeks and when she finally returned to the storyline, she was promptly shot down for a solo in favor of Rachel. To be fair to Mr. Schuester, Tina doesn’t exactly have a strong history of committing to solos when she’s given them, but her rejection, coupled with the general attitude maintained by the other students and faculty that Nationals would be the Rachel-Messiah’s second coming, well, I saw where she was coming from. I’m sick of The Rachel Show too.

Schuester and the others argued that seniors always got the solos and Tina needed to be a team player. The argument would have had more weight if we had seen evidence of the seniors always taking solos in the past, even when those seniors weren’t named Rachel, but the truth is, in the last two major competitions that we’ve seen, Regionals in Season 1 and last year’s Nationals, Rachel was very much the star of the show.

You can make the argument that Rachel has always been the star because she’s always been strongest, most consistent performer, and that’s totally fair. When you’re in any kind of competitive musical environment, you flaunt the talent you have, regardless of class standing, and if that was the reason that Tina was given, then I could have lived with that. But the “seniors always get solos” stuff was just weak and essentially turned the glee club into Rachel’s own personal troupe of background dancers/catapult to fame, was unfair to the lesser-used members of New Directions and irritating to those of us who find Rachel insufferable.

Then again, that very situation tends to happen quite often in real life when you have one stand-out star in a group of “generally talented” talent. I tend give Glee a hard time for its insistence on operating in a high school fantasy land because I think that if you’re going to present hard, complicated issues, you should do it with at least one foot in the real world and no, being a musical isn’t an excuse not to do that because lots of successful musicals have done it on the stage—Rent, Miss Saigon, Spring Awakening, etc. So even though this is a small thing, it’s something.

Tina had a change of heart when she tripped and fell into the fountain at the mall and imagined that she was Rachel. It was more confusing than amusing, but seeing Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison trade roles for a few minutes was priceless. Tina sang “Because You Loved Me,” and it was awesome. It was also a sad commentary on her headspace that even in her sub-consciousness, she could only sing a solo when she was technically Rachel. Schuester and the rest of New Directions promised her “next year” would be her time to shine. I’m totally holding them to that.

Mercedes, Brittany, and Santana confronted Coach Beiste about how they figured out that she hadn’t left Cooter. It didn’t go well. At the same time, Puck found himself the target of the very bullies he used to lead, challenging him to a fight at the legendary dumpster where he used to toss Kurt before class. They told him that he was a “Lima Loser,” the sort of guy who hit on younger chicks at the 7-11 that they used to make fun of when they were freshmen. I don’t know what kind of dweeb freshmen those guys were, but back in my day, we idolized those guys. Kids these days, I just don’t get them.

Puck brought a prop knife to the fight and Beiste, mistaking it for the real deal, broke the fracas up. Puck raged about his loserdom and Beiste shared her own feelings, the hurt ones that she and Puck, as resident badasses, aren’t supposed to have. She offered to help Puck study so he could retake the exam and went home to Cooter, purely to tell him that they were through. He went from sweet to psycho in about ten seconds, asking, “Who’s gonna love you now?”

“ME.”

Beiste is so badass, but she doesn’t even realize why. She and Puck sang a duet cover of Taylor Swift’s “Mean.”

And then it was off to Chicago for Nationals! Mercedes got sick upon arrival and Puck’s studying created a brawl in the middle of rehearsals. Sue managed to drug Mercedes to her feet in time for curtain call and she joined the group for their epic performance: “Edge of Glory” into “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” into “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” “Paradise” was wicked. Sure, they had to trim a good chunk of the 8-minute song, but still, that was fun. The audience went nuts and lo and behold, who was that hiding in the crowd? Madam Tibideaux.

Going first, in the “death slot,” gave New Directions a lot of free time to hang out and Mercedes and Kurt dropped by to visit Wade “Unique” Adams. Despite the initial resistance, Unique was well-received as one of the leading ladies of Vocal Adrenaline. She became the “poster child” for everyone who is different, which was great and all, except it was a part of the spotlight that she and Wade never wanted. Wade implied that he was considering changing schools due to all of the unwanted attention. I’m willing to bet that Unique will be gracing New Directions with her talent in Season 4.

Perez Hilton and Lindsay Lohan played themselves as guest judges at Nationals. (Rex Lee also appeared, as some sort of politician.) There were some tongue-in-cheek moments—Hilton’s compulsive need to return to his computer (I know the feeling, bro) and Lohan’s “Is there anything better than someone making a comeback?” Cute. Our three esteemed judges awarded New Directions first place, prompting Emma to award Will Schuester her virginity because that’s not creepy or slightly demeaning in any way, right? Right. Schuester was also awarded the title of McKinley High's Teacher of the Year. Now everybody join in the obligatory “We are the Champions” sing-along that was actually pretty awesome.


What was your favorite musical performance this week? I’m going with the Puck/Beiste cover of “Mean” and the Nationals-winning performance of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” Seriously, Glee, you can bring Meatloaf to your party any time you want.

Comments (48)
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I just feel that New Direction's Nationals songs were completely underwhelming and less inspiring and strong as previous showcases. It made me feel like their win was completely undeserved, since Vocal Adrenaline brought it. And brought it hard.
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I have to say that I suspected that the New Directions might lose in the Nationals. I thought that would have been their final lesson: "even though you lost, you're still winners". Finn would have lost the honeymoon money making Finnchel realize that they don't need the money to be happy. Tibideaux would have seen Rachel's talent despite the loss. Puck would have celebrated graduation despite the loss. Everyone would have found something to be happy about even though "only" becoming second. But the fans were obviously expecting the season to end on a positive note, so I guess they had to win.
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Sounds a bit depressing and requires too much thinking to me. And not exactly what people watch Glee for.
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I agree about Unique probably being added to season 4, along with Joe. Unique/Wade has been the best character developed from the glee project cast so far and he wasn't even the winner. I think Unique/Wade would be a perfect addition. While I agree partially with Jag that Alex was annoying and self-centered in The Glee Project, I was still looking forward to seeing how Ryan would bring him into the show for curiosity's sake. Now, I am a Unique/Wade fan and I personally think he would be a great addition to McKinkley. I'm all for giving people a second chance, no matter how annoying.



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And he's doing a GREAT job! Toning it down and acting "insecure" because he is NOT like that in real life (or as projected in The Glee Project). He has been the best of the bunch.
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The only character I find more annoying then Rachel is 'Unique'. The actor that plays him/her Alex Newell was a stuck up diva in The Glee Project and I would hate to see him in the new series as a full time cast member.



Hopefully they will bring back Lindsay from The Glee Project, the two songs she performed ealier in this series where outstanding.
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He was a stuck up diva but Lindsey was stuck up and extremely fake! I think I hated her most!
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Both episodes were good, Glee's still got it.
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I actually loved both episodes... I seem to be in the minority. Oh well.
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Time to GONG Glee!
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And ANYTHING by Meatloaf is ultra cool!
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I just love all the Pee Wee Herman outfits the "boys" wear!
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To be honest: Only season 1 was good. Season 2 was torture and 3 its been a none-sense pain. Writers often forget the characters and we havent seen much of them. Honestly if I were an actor on that show i would feel underappreciated. Most of the actors just have to stand in the back because the writing is so poor that NO ONE has a decent part (and sometimes they dont even appear on screen).
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I have to disagree with some of the review. While the Meatloaf song was an excellent performance, it's not a keeper. There were no keepers in the episodes. And please. Celine Dion? I spit on Celine Dion. Last year's finale spent the full two hours on the Nationals and it was worth it. We got to see more than Audio Adrenaline perform -- and really, they just do the same tired thing all the time, so who cares? Last season I held on to the episode so I could replay "For Good" by Kurt and Rachel until I was sick of it. There was no song from these two episodes that I wished to replay like that, and it's already history after a quick replay of "We Are the Champions."
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I thought both episodes were both underwhelming. I thought Props was going to be the funniest ever in the history of Glee but the switching was only a few minutes in the episode. I thought it was going to take at least half the hour or more. I thought Puck's story arc was better than Tina's and Tina is my favourite character. I like Rachel too (not as much) and my favourite songs were definitely I Won't Give Up and It's All Coming Back. The Nationals was less than epic. The Sectionals in season 1 had more anticipation and excitement. Maybe because it was a bit obvious that New Direction was going to win, but I was hoping that there was more excitement. Plus, there is no continuity! Last season there was a top 10 qualification round, but there wasn't in this episode. I don't know, I thought it was going to be epic. Tina needs a real story line!
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Did anyone actually hate 'Pinball Wizard'? That version was offensively bad.
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Does anyone remember True Colors? Because I do, meaning Tina already had a solo, and a pretty good one at that. I'm not saying this episode didn't give her her due (which she deserved and was totally justified in wanting), I just want to make sure that everyone isn't toting this episode as her first solo/song because True Colors has that title.



Now that that's off my chest, this was an amazing episode and I was really happy New Directions won. I had a moment of doubt where I thought Vocal Adrenaline would take the crown again, but that wouldn't have been very Glee of the writers to not have a happy ending for the seniors. Now we get to see Rachel get accepted to NYADA, Puck pass his exam, and everyone ride off into the sunset together next week after graduation. Yipee.
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Wouldn't it be interesting if whoopi wants Finn and neither Kurt or rachel? It would give an interesting arc of her having to live in his shadow for a bit.

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I thought the same thing but was like nah, Finn is such a sub-par singer it would be insulting to the audience to attempt that route.
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vffdggetdr
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"we are the champions" was done in a season 1 style (the good one)
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Will Shuester was a spanish-teacher, who couldn't even speak spanish, how did he get teacher of the year? I'd get it if it was called "Mentor of the year", but come one, teacher!? And why would 2/3 judges hate on New Directions but then declare them winners? Gaah, my brain hurts.
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Only perez Hilton really hated on them. I assumes that Lindsey and her underdog comment meant she was voting for thee new directions.
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Well, Tina's episode was pretty good. But she has had her own song. ABC at Regionals. But anyhow, Kurt's never had his own song.
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Season 2 episode 3. "I wanna hold your hand".
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That isn't a Sectionals/Regionals/Nationals song, is it?
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These two episodes were surprisingly great. Blew the rest of the season out of the water. My only complaint is that Tina's bizarro world body swaps ended too quickly.
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I'm not the biggest Celine fan, mainly because her facial expressions are creepy, I def enjoyed Rachel's version of "It's all coming back to me now" way more than expected. Fast forwarded through her first sond though..

LOVED "Mean" by Puck and Beistie!!
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i thought the puck and beiste moments were awesome. all of her moments, leave cooter and having sue hug her, all awesome. i think unique meant she was going to mckinley because of the way they do things, not because of the spolight.



who else thinks that when the wedding episode comes, all the graduates will come back and we'll finally know if rachel got into nyada and married to finn and if puck graduated?
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Props was ok, and although it was 100% predictable, Nationals was a pretty great episode.



I don't know why but I'm super excited for the New Radicals cover next week. I've always loved that song for some reason.
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also, Dashboard was probably my favorite performance. and Tongue Tied was pretty good, I relate it to that fun. song a while back this season where I don't like the original but the Glee versions were pretty good.
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The episode essentially started off with Tina finding her voice and a pair of cajones and letting them have it with horribly she (and some others) have been neglected so Rachel can have her time in the spotlight...and then they spent the rest of that relatively small storyline convincing her that she was wrong for feeling that way, pummeling her so far down literally to the ground where she hit her head and lost her right mind so much so that she ended up agreeing with them and having a Rachel Berry pity party while simultaneously singing Rachel's praises. That was so unsatisfying it's unfathomable. The excuses given didn't even make sense...Rachel being a senior was irrelevant since she's been hogging up the spotlight since she was a sophmore...also other seniors are still regaled to swaying in the background behind her. Rachel's uber talented isn't a good argument because how do you know she's the best when you refuse to allow other people to show that they are equally as talented? They have a knack for doing this...having the chance to highlight a well supported gripe for all of a millisecond and then dropping it quickly..not only dropping it but somehow making the well supported gripe and gripers sound unreasonable for having such thoughts. Like how Night of Neglect turned into the neglected characters coming across poorly so that even when it wasn't about Rachel she was still meant to shine...and making them seem like they're unreasonable for their griefs.



I loved the Puck and Beiste scenes. Two underutilized characters this season...truly shining in a heart wrenching scene.The resident badasses having a breakdown. Definitely endearing. Beiste finally getting the strenght to drop her hubby was great.



I found it overall to be pleasant. Great that they won. Great that the honored Mr.Schue. Great that Rachel got what she needed. Great seeing Whoopi Goldberg again. Just all around good times. I appreciate a little more clarification on what grade they're in.
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I agree that they under utilize some of the other talent in the group. However, I think when it comes to Nationals and a solo you need to go with one of your strongest performers, when it comes to that for females I would have to say its Rachel, Santana, and Mercedes. After watching Tina who I do like a lot, she just doesn't have the vocal strength Rachel does. There is something missing. She is great and she is talented but to me she just isn't the right girl to be belting out a ballad. The boys have so many talented guys I never know who to choose. I honestly love Finn and Sam ( he needs to get more songs). Blaine and puck I love but with certain songs. I don't know who is the strongest male lead because this season the first half they used Blaine.
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Essentially my point. I agree Danielle. I think if they would at least give the others some adequate screentime and opportunities throughout the season than they could explain away having Rachel be the lead during competitions. It's all Rachel...all the time...with opportunities sparse amongst the others to show that they have the chops to pull off some big numbers too. I agree vocally Rachel is better than Tina. But I also tend to prefer Mercedes and Santana vocally to the other two as well. As for the guys...I agree Blaine is limited in his vocal ability but that doesn't deter them from using him constantly. That's a whole other issue. I love Blaine. I love him in a nice dosage however....it frustrates me that someone who came so late into the game recieved so much more screentime, storylines, solos, and attention in general than those who've been there longer. I think Sam is a very strong singer vocally. So is Puck...and Kurt.
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"my Hoarders episode airs in early August" best line!
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I loved paradise by the dashboard light. It was a great number to end their national competition songs with.
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Paradise by the Dashboard Light or We are the Champions, honestly I lean toward We are the Champions, complete sucker for Queen and that's one of the few times I've sung along to a performance on Glee.
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I have to admit even though Glee season 3 mostly sucked ,, the past 4 episodes were really good and yesterday's double episode was a very good example of a mature series
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I thought this season was incredibly better than season 2. Season 2 was beyond abysmal for me.
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i agree,,, season 2 had many horrible episodes, ...but also some really good ones, like season 3
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i thought the performance of "mean" was the best. about freaking time glee did some t-swift!

also you could make the argument that the reason the senior rule was never an issue before was because before this year there were no seniors in glee club. and i would like to point out that never before this year did they establish artie and tina were younger than everybody else. they did with sam and blaine but that wouldve meant that season 1 they were freshmen which i can;t remember them ever mentioning. and i thought it was interesting that glee is acknowledging that tina who they;ve cut out of recent episodes is the most expendable charatcer these days
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Great episode. Did anyone else think that the Vocal Adrenalin performance sucked? It wasn't show choir at all. It was a one woman Vegas-style drag show with a lot of backup singers.
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I agree about the Vocal Adrenalin, they were dependent on their lead singer, Unique the Kid, who was doing all the singing and it creates an imbalance. I'm glad the New Directions won because they know how to alternate lead singers to be given a chance. They fought harder and they don't get distracted during their performance. Way to go, New Directions!
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I can only see the prediction that happened which was winning Nationals. I mean would anyone have wanted the original cast not to win and still call themselves a fan? I'm thrilled that a TV show finally gave us what we wanted. It was perfect and the timing was spot on! True, it was a hollywood-esque script all in line with what should happen but could we have imagined the seniors leaving without winning it all? I wouldn't have minded stronger songs and Season 1 had the stronger songs and that wasn't even Nationals.
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Rocky didn't win the championship until the sequel. The Bad News Bears didn't win, period. Are those "Hollywood-esque scripts"?
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No, they're not. But pretty much everything else is.
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Well it did take until season 3. :P
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Predictable as always. But "Paradise" was pretty sweet.
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