Glee "Swan Song" Review: A Showcase Full of Sloppiness (Brittany's Dating WHO?)

Glee S04E09: “Swan Song”

According to the rules of Sectionals, leaving the stage for any reason during a performance is grounds for disqualification, and just like that, the New Directions competition season ground to a startling halt before it even truly began. With no reason to rehearse, there was no justification for the glee club to continue taking up real estate in the choir room, which Principal Figgins quickly handed over to Sue to use for rehearsing with her Cheerios side project— Sue du Soleil.

Facing a school year devoid of extracurricular activities, the glee club members quickly scattered to other clubs around the school. Artie joined the marching band. Joe joined the interfaith paintball league. Unique joined the floor hockey team. And last, but certainly not least, Blaine and Tina joined the Cheerios. I was hoping that there would be more shenanigans concerning that particular storyline, but alas, everyone came crawling back to the glee club once Finn wrote them a Breakfast Club letter that wasn’t even all that Breakfast Club-y, aside from the soundtrack. Where was the “Each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal?” There was such an opportunity to draw connections between the students as individuals and as members of the club. I thought it was interesting to see where everyone ended up when New Directions was no longer an option, because they didn’t randomly scatter. No, their choices were made with very specific factors in mind; Unique chose floor hockey because she could still wear a wig under her helmet. Joe’s Christianity is important to him and he felt that interfaith paintball allowed him to embrace it freely while still maintaining a diverse and understanding group of friends. Of COURSE everyone had to come back to New Directions, otherwise what’s the point of Glee, but every team is made up of individuals who have wants and concerns outside of singing at sectionals and it was nice to see that highlighted.

Oh, and Finn? Sweetums? It was TOTALLY healthy that the New Directions kids channelled their disappointment into other constructive activities. Yes, even the Cheerios.

But for the competition-starved viewers in the audience, there was still Rachel to hang our star upon. Whoopi Goldberg returned as Carmen Tibideaux to host the Winter Showcase at NYADA. It was talked up as a big ol’ coming-out party for the best of the best at NYADA and freshmen were hardly EVER invited to participate.

So of course Rachel was invited.

Still, freshmen NEVER win.

Rachel won. Rachel won and then she called Finn to give him a pep talk about how competing isn’t everything and he needed to get the gang back together so that they could experience the important parts of New Directions, like the friends and the romances. Her self-important monologue would have meant more if Rachel hadn’t spent the first half of the episode trying to outdo mean teacher Cassandra who refused to acknowledge how wonderfully talented Rachel is, then the second half prepping for her competition, which she won against all odds after she kissed her new almost-boyfriend.

That was pretty sloppy, Glee. Kind of like Marley’s magical bulimia that comes and goes as the story sees fit with little consequence to anyone or anything outside of prematurely ending the New Directions' season, except worse because we know that Marley’s issues are just a plot device but I think the show was actually trying to make a point with Rachel’s phone call.

After Rachel won all the awards (as usual), Tibideaux was touched by the overwhelming purity of Rachel’s performance, or she had a stroke or something, because she decided to let Kurt audition for the spring semester at NYADA right there during the school's best-of-the-best showcase. I’m sure the other faculty were thrilled. Earlier in “Swan Song,” Kurt had gotten all stalkery and desperate for Tibideaux to give him a second chance, which she quickly rejected, but at least we got to hear her reasoning: While Kurt’s initial audition was great, and in many, MANY ways, better than Rachel’s, it lacked the depth, complexity, and emotion that Tibideaux looks for in “real artists.” That actually made a shocking amount of sense. I mean, it’s great that Kurt designs his own costumes, but no matter how much glitter you throw on a cardboard cutout, at the end of the day, it’s still a cardboard cutout. As he showed in his second audition, Kurt is perfectly capable of channeling the same level of emotion as Rachel. We knew that all along, but he had to show Tibideaux. Yay Kurt... but does this mean no more Sarah Jessica Parker?

And finally, I’m sorry to announce this, Brittana fans, but it looks like Sam and Brittany are a thing now. I personally think it’s a cute thing, but I also understand why Ryan Murphy might be getting a healthy dose of hate mail this afternoon. When you get into all of the real-world implications of removing Brittany from a loving lesbian relationship and replacing that relationship with a straight one, things get more icky and complicated than I think Glee is prepared to handle. My biggest issue with the relationship at the moment is the WTF-ness of it. Brittany and Sam worked just fine as silly besties and I’m not sure what the motivation is for getting them together outside of padding Glee's relationship ranks again after the mass break-up of a few weeks ago... and pissing off the Brittana fans.

How do you feel about Sam and Brittany as a couple? Sound off below!

Music Notes

– My Glee playlist: Kurt’s “Being Alive” from Company was simple and pretty. I also really liked Cory Monteith’s voice in “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

– I would go see Sue du Soleil, but only if Sue stands in the middle and belittles the Cheerios with the bullhorn during the entire performance.

– “The Walking Dead isn’t based on a true story. I checked.”

– Let me get this straight—a student faints during a performance, everyone hits the nail right on the head and points out that she hasn’t been eating because the resident psycho has her convinced that she bears a striking resemblance to the Staypuft marshmallow guy, but NO ONE does anything about it? In fact, the general sentiment seems to be, “Marley ruined glee club.” W.T.F.

– Piano Dude is free! Freeeee!

– A “swan song” is typically defined as a final act before death or retirement. No one here died or retired and the glee club will certainly rise again in some form. The term is also a reference to the myth that actual swans sing one beautiful song before they die, which leads me to assume that Kurt and Rachel’s careers will now tank since they apparently gave their finest performances ever at the Winter Showcase. But really, it’s probably just Glee trying to be DEEP and sucking at it.

– So, Brittany/Santana is “Brittana”...what does that make Brittany/Sam?

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