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Only 90% finished; I'll edit, stuff in more fic recs and fill in a few gaps later. The important thing is that this is officially done and out less than 10 minutes before I fling myself into the abyss of despair that is the finale.

Glee, 3x21, "Nationals"

Super light on plot until the last 20 minutes, so let's just knock it out in bullet points after saying a brief prayer of thanks that they were wise enough to split nationals and graduation into separate affairs. I guess good and universally applicable lessons came out of the 2-part "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

* I appreciate your attempt to pull something from the wishlist by making one of the kids ill. I was admittedly excited to see Mr. Schue rush to the scene. Unfortunately, that person being Mercedes and her main nursemaids being Santana, Brittany and Sugar, it's kind of impossible to care unless it results in the ill kid actually being pulled from competition, which it doesn't, so: waste. This was time you could have spent panning around the boys' room in the early morning showing us everyone's sleeping arrangements.

(I think you underestimate the power of just how badly I wanted this. Also, shut up fandom, I refuse to believe that Kurt and Blaine got up to any funny business whatsoever. Being away from home together should be a rare enough treat on its own. If you're itching to write, go write me their version of the Theater Adventures Kurt had with Rachel last year).

[Edit: That said, if you are a braver person than me *coughNC-17cough*, you might enjoy Five Times Kurt and Blaine Kissed In Public, covering hidden moments in the last two episodes. I'm desperate for missing-scene scraps and my regular authors are not delivering.]

* That said, LOVED that we got to see one of their oh-so-rare rehearsal sessions, and a power session at that. Loved seeing another group fight being broken up -- Sam is turning into quite the troublemaker -- between Kurt and Blaine in the judgmental/ineffectual background (respectively) and Joe helping corral Sam. I like to believe that Joe and Sam have struck up a friendship. Mostly because it's the first thing that has made Sam likable since his second episode back, when I realized he had returned to the fold as the same unworthy bore he was when he first arrived.


I feel like the word "bro" happened in this moment somewhere.

* My favorite part of rehearsals was an exhausted Quinn stumbling through the steps, and Joe watching like hawk to make sure she was okay, looking proud and relieved when she powered through it. Of note: return of her adorable purple workout shirt. And aww, look at this little supporting hand touch between the lady stars of Sectionals!

* "I know, I'm sorry, I always go to the yelling place. I have rage." Santana, still occasionally useful!

* Blaine adores Mr. Schue. No one can convince me otherwise. My headcanon is that he just thinks he's the greatest teacher ever, how much he cares, because he's never had a teacher like that.

* Not sure what I like more here, Sam's pose, or my adorable 2nd-tier OTP off on the right.

* Followed by perhaps the greatest worldless moment in the entire episode:

Shipping Sam/Quinn in this moment, fyi. Exciting! God, I miss het ships.

* Skipped past all things Vocal Adrenaline on and off stage. For the third year in a row, they remain the most desperately underwhelming show choir that has ever existed on Glee. Seriously. Their dancing (and once upon a time, Jesse's face) is the only thing that sets them apart because their song selection is permanently THE WORST. For the past two years, their featured soloist has also been THE WORST.

* The only part of VA I did not skip past was Jesse. IT'S ALL COMING BACK, ALL COMING BACK TO ME NOWWWWW. My Ship of St. Berry feelings, that is. His hair remains awful, but between his electric-spark-filled conversation with Rachel (oh! I just realized, they're finally delivering on my demands for a "final conversation" they've bailed on for the last two years) and his amazingly impassioned and unsolicited endorsement of her to Carmen, I'll just...be in a puddle of my melted feelings.

* Some of which are depression that Jesse could audition for NYADA and fail to get in.

* WORST. JUDGES. EVER. I realized I had never seen Perez Hilton on video before, and I pray I never do again, because he's horrifying. He looks sickly, like he should weigh about 30 pounds more to fill out his frame, but also just kind of like the walking undead.

* The ND Nationals songs were underwhelming at first, but after closer inspection, I think they might have actually pulled off their third-best overall competition set of all time?

* On the Trouble Tones, because this bothers me and I didn't say it before: you know, when they were promised "a number at every competition," I legitimately thought Mr. Schue just meant that there would always be a solo/duet from Mercedes and/or Santana with backing from Brittany, Sugar, and maybe the remaining New Directions girls to fill it out. I refuse to believe that they bus in extra girls who spend no time in rehearsals or otherwise associating with the club. It's insulting to good sense.

tl;dr: I actually did like "Edge of Glory." Mainly as I loved watching Quinn and Tina get solo lines and a lovely harmonizing part. Turns out then when Blaine is not available my eagle eye tracks Quinn like a laser and ignores everything else.

* I love that Kurt is right there chaperoning Finn's pre-solo pep talk to Rachel, just in case he has to jump in and save it. He doesn't, although he does throw some wonderful if unnoticed expressions of support her way. It all just makes me more depressed than usual that Finn takes up so much space in her life when I just want her best gays (which may include Quinn, depending on your headcanon) to take care of her until someone new and amazing comes along in the boyfriend department.

* It's All Coming Back To Me Now was WONDERFUL. I love this song, it has been a while since Rachel got an amazing solo, and I've been looking for a shorter version anyway, so I might have to pick this up. I have a deep attachment to this song from my lifechanging 1997 dance recital, and she not only did it justice, she looked beautiful doing it. It was like a physical release, watching her talent shine and burst forth from her like a golden sun. Or star, as it were.

* Every time I read the last song title, I always think the song is "Paradise" and the band is "The Dashboard Light." It's catchy in a way that grows on you, with fun choreography despite its increasingly dissonant lyrics, but the only part I can ever remember is "And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of the knife," for reasons of obviousness. (No but really. That itty-bitty duet and the dancing that comes with it is MAGICAL.)

* Here is an adorable spit of a fuzzy Kurt/Blaine drabble -- a moment of anticipation before they're called to the stage for results.

* They win, and while the very best part is Kurt and Blaine off at the end there (#oh good they did hug), the second best part is:

Wait, I remember shipping this! So long ago...

NO, THIS IS A THING THAT HAPPENS. AND IT IS GLORIOUS.
-

* The Montage Where Everyone But Klaine Kisses, a/k/a Tumblr Meltdown 2012: This song ("Tongue Tied"? I am incapable of remembering the title or melody) was killed long ago with overplay in commercial, but it is still really hard to resist how much it makes your heart swell with pride in your chest. It's the first time their win really sinks in for me, whereas before it just kind of hit you in the face with no preamble and didn't feel real. I have come to terms with the ostentatious lack of a Kurt/Blaine moment as seen through this fic: No state has ever granted us permission (to be who we want to be). A walkthrough of Kurt's thoughts, plus a sweet bonus moment with Blaine later on.

Brief Break For More Fic Recs
* Here is a full fledged fic rec: The Nature of Dreams, a little moment with Kurt, Rachel and Blaine as they admire their trophy and muse about the future.

* So remember that time on glee_kink_meme when someone was like, "Klaine making out. That's it. That's the whole prompt," because we were all so fed up with the lack of canon kissing? RESULTS! I picked this one because it fits in nicely after Nationals and they're alone. And yes, Past Me, we're getting up close and personal with a makeout session here. I'm pretty sure that is a violation of one of our bylaws, and yet...that is a) how affection starved I am by canon, and b) a measure of just how much I trust this ship.
[edit: holy crap, did I even read this before I linked or did I just flick my eyes over it for keywords. THIS IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR MY READING LEVEL. But I'm leaving it up anyway, or my review will feel like it has a hole.]

And Resume
* I keep literally forgetting that Will/Emma happened, which is wonderful, and then so traumatic when I remember what brain-scarring stuff raked across my poor eyeballs. I wouldn't remind myself of it here, except that I need to warn Future Me, and also: WAIT, WAIT, WAIT A MINUTE. I know I skipped a lot at the beginning of the season, but Emma has been a virgin this whole time? This whole, living-with-Will, even-before-being-engaged time??  Excuse me, I would like to know the secret to making men pledge their lives to you independent of that component. I would assume compromise was involved, but with Emma's OCD, it seems like everything else would be worse than intercourse. So. Question mark.

* I am SO HAPPY that they left so much of the episode for after the win, though, because the Teacher of the Year award was incredible. Between the speech and the song and the aftermath, my screen almost explodes as a flood of, like, every character interaction wish I have ever repeatedly made for this series gets granted one after another. "We Are The Champions" is no "To Sir With Love," but I ask you to please: consider the following. /Bill Nye voice.

+ Blaine/Rachel holding hands
+ Kurt/Quinn in the same spotlight, literal and vocal (actually, that one was a surprise. Great idea!)
+ WILL/RACHEL, WITH THE LEADING HIM BY THE HAND
+ WILL HUGGING ALL THE KIDS ONE AFTER ANOTHER
(Remember? Remember how I have made the very specific wish that I need them all to be hugged by him by graduation? I love how the show was just like, "Welp, in case we miss any of them, let's literally go down the line and make sure." ...I may have spazzed and started flapping my lists when I realized what was happening. And then I threw this together, whereupon I learned that the Glee Project kids, actually, are apparently still not worthy of hugging.)



+ WILL/QUINN --> BONUS CHEEK KISS?! SWEET BABY JESUS 1X11 COMES FULL CIRCLE.


In conclusion: Hmm. As usual, I have tricked myself with my entertaining post and now think it was pretty great, when I distinctly remember thinking it was nice but also pretty bland, like their end-of-year competition episodes always are. I think I'm going to keep it in the "Mostly Very Good" category when I rank things, but it was definitely below "Props."

Feelings I Had Last Week After The Promo: I care about nothing that happened in these two hours quite so much as I care about those five seconds of Serious Discussion Kurt/Blaine in the promo. Watching that, oh, eight million times because I am a needy, needy shipper who needs to hear the same soothing things over and over.

It sucks that I have to have my eyes assaulted by Puck/Quinn if I want to see the whole clip, though*. SWEETHEART. WHY DO YOU CONSTANTLY SCREW ME OVER EVERY TIME WE GIVE YOU WONDERFUL LOVE INTERESTS.

*n/m. Fixed my dash up w/ all appropriate gifs. Let the gazing on loop commence.

---------
Meanwhile, you should have this fabulously definitive guide to All Your Should-Be Headcanon:
Being Kurt Hummel - flaming_muse
Kurt has always known he's different. It's a journey to figure out what it means to be himself.

It is NC-17 and there are definitely parts that I have to dart away from, but oh, it gets everything exactly right. His childhood. The realization that he's gay, and the simultaneous need to hide it. The beginnings of Finn, of harassment by Karofsky. Those first forays into porn, making those horrible conversations in "Sexy" worth it just to get the brilliant description of his reactions here. Through meeting Blaine, from friendship to that awesome-for-me Rachel period and out the other, brighter side as it expands on everything we've seen in their relationship as well as the summer we didn't. And on and on and on, all the way up to the present day before shooting beyond for a glimpse into the future that I will believe in come hell or high water.

Memo to 2011 Self: This is so good I will wager you a Jackson that even you would come out of this liking Kurt. Is there a better endorsement?

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