Previously on Glee, the rules of the Ohio Show Choir Sectionals Competition continued to be remarkably similar to the rules of Calvinball. New Directions broke this year’s mandate of “no fainting and/or vomiting on stage” when Marley Rose did both, and so they were immediately disqualified. They broke up and came together again, as has been the bread and butter of every episode of this show since the pilot, lo those many tears and self-inflicted face punches ago. Rachel left the validating arms of one man to run headlong into the validating arms of another man. And Kurt crushed his impromptu NYADA audition without any props or tear-away slacks.
Sue Sylvester is journaling away about the holidays, blaspheming the name of Love Actually to let us know this week’s episode will consist of a bunch of unrelated stories that may or may not come together in the end when the audience may or may not riot at the gates of hell where Finn Hudson keeps his quarters. So, just like every other week, basically. Only this time, the ding-a-ling is from the sleigh bells because it is Christmas.
Story the First: Artie took a beating this morning when his wheelchair flipped over because his ramp was covered in ice. He’s dropping his stuff out of his backpack and his face is bruised and bloody and he’s getting angrier by the second, so when Finn swoops in to attend to Artie, Artie grabs him by the scruff of his neck and says he’s tired of needing help. While he’s waiting for his mom to come pick him up from the nurse’s office, he says he wishes he’d never even seen a wheelchair, and because it’s Christmas time, he drifts off into a fitful black-and-white dream sequence where the Ghost of Leprechauns Past guides him around the school and shows him what life would have been like if he’d always been able to walk.
The bad: Tina still stutters, Becky is pregnant, Quinn is dead, Kurt didn’t graduate because he never came to school because he always got bullied, Rachel never embraced her Broadway dreams and now she lives in the library and wears her grandma’s cardigans, Finn says “so gay” like kids used to do before Ian McKellen was like, “Gandalf is gay; get over it,” and Kurt has never even heard of Blaine Warbler. The sound effect when Kurt says, “Who’s Blaine?” lets us know that of all the tragedies that befell New Directions in the absence of Artie’s wheelchair, the Blaine-less-ness is the worst of all. It’s so dramatic! KLANG-CHANG!
The good: Will stayed with Terri and she’s been psyching him out about being a dad this whole time with a doll wrapped up in a blanket.
Artie gathers New Directions in the choir room and leads them all in a rousing rendition of Feliz Navidad, but Finn scoffs about it after it’s over, and Artie is like, “I hate this place!” Rory explains that this place is the place that would have been if Artie hadn’t been in a wheelchair because without the chair he wouldn’t have joined glee club and without glee club everyone’s lives would be the worst. Artie is the glue that holds Glee together, Rory says. Which: It’s a weeee bit far-fetched, but it’s Christmas and I’ve got bigger Bram-er fish to fry, so I’m going to give you this one, Glee.
Artie wakes up from his Christmas fever dream feeling a lot better about his life. Which is correct. I mean, it must be a struggle to have to accept help from people when you’re differently abled, but Artie has the cunning of a Slytherin and the courage of a Gryffindor and the heart of a Hufflepuff and the wits of a Ravenclaw. Plus he has that reindeer sweater. There is no limit to the things he will accomplish in life.
(Also, Rachel, those glasses can stay, girl. Let’s play “overdue library book.” I’ll be the delinquent patron.)
Story the Second: Rachel is going on a cruise with her family for the holidays because she’s tired of these writers not knowing what the hell Hanukkah is, so she’s just decided to skip the nonsense this year. The way they made her massage animal flesh with her vegan hands just a few weeks ago makes her think they’re going to force her to french kiss Santa Claus and/or Jesus Christ with her Jewish mouth this week. She tries to convince Kurt to come with her, but he decorates his little tree and promises he’ll be fine even though he balked on those plans he made with Blaine and also he sure does miss his dad.