Glee: One for the Road

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Last night's Glee was a great way to cap the fall season. Fighting! Kissing! The Rolling Stones! Seriously, if they could all be like this, the show would be unstoppable. The only bad part is having to wait until April to get more.

The episode opens with Rachel figuring out that Puck knocked up Quinn. The other glee kids then have a cute split-screen conference call on their cell phones as they cruise the halls, though I could have enjoyed it more if Houston's Fox affil wasn't run by what has to be a team of mildly handicapped chimps. The widescreen ep was broadcast full-frame, so action on the sides was chopped off, making the split-screen stuff impossible to track.

Anyway, the soap action takes a pause for Mercedes to sing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," a really bland song they gave her just because they want to slot her in the big black woman role. It doesn't even have a melody, it just gets screamed for three minutes. If you want to give her something stereotypical, dudes, try some Aretha. "Think" is infinitely better.

Will is still DQ'd for the whole mattress thing the week before, so he names Emma as the faculty advisor since she wants to help out, even getting Ken to push their wedding back a few hours so she can take the choir to sectionals.

But WHOA Rachel tells Finn about Quinn and Puck and Finn just springs into action and beats Puck down, big time. Then Finn bails on glee since he can't deal with being near any of the people who have been ruining his life, which is understandable. That's a lot to take. They get the nerdy Jewfro newspaper kid to sub in, and things aren't looking well.

Stuff gets worse at sectionals, where the other two schools steal McKinley High's set list. The juvy girls do "And I Am Telling You I'm Going to Work These Melismas" and the wheelchair version of "Proud Mary." Then comes the most uncomfortable joke ever, when the deaf choir screeches an atonal "Don't Stop Believin'." Director Brad Falchuk didn't even show the choir, just played audio, because even he knows it's just on the wrong side of mean. It's like a Family Guy joke; not funny, just terrible. Seriously, guys, drop the obvious and badly played deaf stuff.

Will tells Finn to step up and lead. "Sometimes, being special sucks," Will says. This is a distillation of Glee's vibe: Being talented often means walking a road of isolation and sacrifice. You wanna sing and chase your dreams? Get ready to be ostracized. But that's art.

Finn shows up at sectionals with sheet music inspired by Will's speech, and it's a nice moment. The rest of the kids are happy to see him, but when Puck tries to patch things up, Finn barely contains his disgust and just says, "No." Nice! It would've been way too easy to have them make up, and too much has exploded for them to just brush it off.

Their performance is one of the most uplifting of the season. Rachel kicks it off with a stunning version of "Don't Rain on My Parade," and the group comes out for a moving "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Emma held up her cell phone for Will to listen in back at school, and the tears in his eyes brought them to mine. You knew the glee kids had first place locked, but the point of the episode was how they came together, not how they won.

The action cut quickly to Will prepping for Emma's wedding, and he and Terri had a killer DTR in which he said he doesn't love her anymore. And then when he got to the wedding it was empty because Ken stood Emma up (what a dick!). Emma tells him she's quitting because she can't stand the pain of being near him. Aw.

Back at school, the principal tells Sue and Will that the other choir teachers confessed to cheating with Sue's help. Sue denies it in a hilarious series of brush-offs that made me realize something: They're turning her into Sarah Palin. She's hell-bent on a mission of vengeance, with no regard for the facts around her or the evidence against her. Jane Lynch is excellent in the role, too, but it's great to see Will happy when the principal suspends her, fires her from the Cheerios, and reinstates Will as head of glee.

But oh, the ending was great. Blissful even. The glee club performed for Will (they did Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You," a line from Dickens), trotting out costumes and choreography from earlier eps while he took the lyrics to heart and realized how much he needed Emma. As the song kept playing, he dashed through the halls until he saw her, then he went up to her and finally -- finally, finally -- kissed her. I kid you not, my hands were clasped to my chest. I may have elicited a noise not unlike a small squeal. Screw you. I'm a little girl in a pink dress for this show. I'm a marshmallow. It was a pleasing moment too long in coming.

And that's that, for now. A lot has happened, but Quinn's still pregnant, regionals are coming up, and Terri and Ken aren't going anywhere. Plus Will and Emma will still have to deal with Sue, who's only going to redouble her efforts to destroy them. But for now, the heroes had their moment in the sun.

Line of the night: Sue (as happens about half the time), railing at Will: "I am reasonably confident that you will be adding revenge to the long list of things you're no good at, right next to being married, running a high school glee club, and finding a hair style that doesn't make you look like a lesbian."

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