‘Glee’ Recap: It May Look Like a Feel-Good Holiday Special, But It’s ‘Glee, Actually’
It’s Christmas time at McKinley High, as the cast of ‘Glee‘ puts on a holiday episode of epic proportions. With nods at ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and a title inspired by ‘Love, Actually,’ what better way to ring in the holiday than with some seasonally appropriate carols?
Artie (Kevin McHale) comes into school angrily sporting a cut on his face. When Finn (Cory Monteith) asks about it, he tells him he fell because the wheelchair ramp wasn’t properly iced. Finn takes him to the nurse who calls his mother because he hit his head and requires more care. Tired of being helpless, Artie wishes that he was never in his wheelchair.
He wakes up in a black and white world with the use of both his feet. Artie immediately runs into Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) to find she still has a stuttering problem, Becky (Lauren Potter) is the pregnant “school slut” and Kurt (Chris Colfer) is being bullied, having never graduated because the jocks Puck (Mark Salling), Finn, Mike (Harry Shum Jr.), Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Ryder (Brody Jenner) forced him to be partially home schooled. Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt have never met.
Enter Rory (Damian McGinty) who is there to play Artie’s “Christmas guardian angel.” Artie goes to see Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) who is an alcoholic and is still married to Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) who is currently raising a fake baby. Emma (Jayma Mays) is living in Hawaii with the gym teacher, happily married. Rachel (Lea Michele) works in the school library and spends her free time performing in the chorus at the community theatre.
Artie runs to find Rory, saying he wants to change everything back. He calls the old gang that never was together and performs ‘Feliz Navidad’ to show them what they’re missing in their lives. They laugh at him.
Out in the hall, Artie finds an empty wheelchair which Rory says belonged to Quinn (Dianna Agron). After her car accident, Quinn could never walk again and died of a broken heart. Artie gets in the empty chair and wakes up in the nurse’s office. He admits to Finn that he needs help, more thankful for the life he does have.
Kurt’s Dad (Mike O’Malley) arrives in New York as a surprise to see his son for Christmas while Rachel heads off on a cruise with her family. They go out on the town where Burt tells Kurt that he has prostate cancer. He assures his son that they caught it early enough. Burt then gives his son an address to go pick up his Christmas gift at.
He arrives at the ice-rink to find Blaine waiting there for him. They skate and sing ‘White Christmas’ together while Burt looks on happily.
At McKinley, Jake (Jacob Artist) is being taunted for being an African American Jew when he is rescued by Puck. He takes his younger half-brother to Los Angeles where he tells Jake he is a screenwriter. They go to the Paramount Studios lot and they sing ‘Hannukkah Oh Hannukah’ while playing the guitar and gallivanting around the lot.
Puck takes Jake to his “house,” a gorgeous mansion which he turns out to merely be a pool boy at. In an effort to give Puck a feeling of family and closeness back, Jake organizes a family get together with both their parents. Jake’s Mom is played by guest star Aisha Tyler. Despite an awkward semi-family dinner, they toast to the horrible man (their estranged father) who brought them all together.
In school, Brittany is giving out extravagant presents — including cars, Rolex’s and all expenses paid vacations. When Tina asks what she’s doing, Brittany says she saw a special about the Mayan Apocalypse so she cashed in her savings to buy all her friends awesome presents. Sam admits that he also believes that the world will end and they create a club to tell their friends how they feel about them.
After all their friends leave when Brittany insults them, Sam sings ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ while the Cheerios — who are dressed like reindeer — dance around them. At the end of the song and dance number, he gets down on one knee and proposes. Brittany says yes and Coach Beiste (Dot Jones) marries them.
Four days later, Sam and Brittany are shocked to discover that it is Dec. 22 and the world has not ended. Even worse: they are married.
Sue (Jane Lynch) goes into the teacher’s lounge to find that she has been selected as the Secret Santa for Marley’s mom (Trisha Rae Stahl) but she doesn’t know what to get for her.
Walking by the cafeteria, she overhears Marley (Melissa Benoist) being told that they will use all their money to deal with her eating disorder. Christmas is cancelled so she can get better. Her Mom says if she wants to give her a present she can sing for her. Marley sings ‘The First Noel’ while Sue watches.
Touched by Marley’s song, Sue sells a 7,000 year old tree to a toothpick dealer to give Marley and her mother a Christmas surprise. They wake up on Christmas morning to find that Sue and Becky have broken in, set up a Christmas tree complete with presents and left them $800 cash in their stocking.
Jake and Puck’s moms are continuing their holiday bonding at Breadsticks. Puck tells Jake he plans to move back home while across the room Coach Beiste tells Sam and Brittany that they were never legally married, she made the whole thing up to keep them from making a horrible mistake.
At dinner in New York, Blaine tells Burt and Kurt that he plans to apply to NYADA.
Marley’s mom thanks Sue for her generosity and she takes her to the auditorium where the New Directions perform ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ in thanks. Sue tears up a little as she watches. Insert feelings of holiday joy here.