Glee’s annual holiday episode aired on December 14, and frankly it left us a little cold. In the five-scene episode (loosely inspired by holiday films like Love Actually and It’s A Wonderful Life), Artie visits a world where he was never paralyzed, Kurt, his dad and Blaine spend Christmas in New York, Noah and Jake Puckerman solidfy their brotherly bond, Sue performs a Christmas miracle for Marley and her mom and Sam and Brittany get married in preparation for the apocalypse. What worked, what didn’t? Here’s how “Glee, Actually” scored on Broadway.com’s Glee Report Card.
Rory Flanagan (Damian McGinty): It was a holiday treat to see the former Glee Project winner back as Artie’s Christmas guardian angel.
Terri Schuester (Jessalyn Gilsig): Terri reappeared in Artie’s It’s a Wonderful Life-inspired dream. Turns out in an alternate universe, Will is too drunk to notice that Terry is fooling him with a plastic baby doll.
Best Song: The final number “Have Yourself a Merry a Little Christmas” put a smile on Sue’s face and really helped bring together this unusual episode. Runner-up: Kurt and Blaine’s beautiful Bryant Park-set duet of “White Christmas.”
Best Line: “You guys aren’t straight douchebags, you sang Lady Gaga songs.” —Alternate-universe Artie to Finn, Puck, Ryder and Jake
Best Place to Spend Christmas: With the Berry family on Rosie O’Donnell’s gay holiday cruise, complete with a “Jesse Tyler Ferguson look-alike contest.”
Best Form of Transporation this Holiday Season: Riding sidecar from Ohio to Los Angeles (and presumably back again). Oh, the Puckerman brothers truly are something else.
Scene with the Most Heart: (Tie) Bert’s cancer confession to Kurt in New York, and Marley’s heart-to-heart with her mom about the holidays and her eating disorder. Both scenes made us want to check in with our own parents.
Relationship of the Week: Kurt and his dad. Fans got a revealing look at how much these guys have been through since Kurt’s mom died and how much they've grown together.
Best Jaw-Dropping Moment: When Blaine (Darren Criss) told Kurt he wants to join him in NYC and audition for NYADA. Talk about a Christmas miracle! Will Klaine get back together?
Star of the Episode: Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester. She's funny and deep. Seeing Sue do good for Marley and her mom, Millie, was heart-warming, and the fact that the zingers didn’t stop made it feel more natural for the character we’ve known and loved since the beginning of Glee.
“The Earth is really just the back of a giant crocodile that’s destroyed and recreated every 500 years.” —Brittany Pierce explaining why the world will end on December 21
“The last thing that we need is another teen tragedy of marrying too young, popping out a couple kids before you’re 20 and ending up with your faces blurred out on an episode of Cops.” —Coach Beiste’s relationship advice to Sam and Brittany
Sorry, Matthew Hodgson (the writer of this episode). Somehow the adorable concept of Love Actually didn’t come together the way fans may have hoped. Despite director Adam Shankman’s best efforts, the episode felt too disjointed. Where was the flow, the throughline, the wink at that awesome rom-com?
A FOR EFFORT:
Glee came up with a creative way for wheelchair-bound Artie (Kevin McHale) to finally lead his own big dance number. Unfortunately, that song was Glee’s over-the-top, eye-roll-inducing rendition of “Feliz Navidad.” Better luck next time, Artie.
C (for cheesy)