First, do me a favor and run back to the initial Feelings Explosion, because there are never enough words about the Klaine Edits version of Glee even though it dominates this post too.
Act I: It's A Not-So-Wonderful-Life
First of all, Artie frustrated to the point of tears makes me a happy (if horrible) camper. Throw in him bleeding from a cut caused by falling out of his wheelchair on the ice and a backstory of having to await rescue by a pair of freshmen, and my Christmas is made. Add in some visuals of Finn lifting him in and out of that wheelchair at the nurse's office (wow, he looks even tinier than usual) and I am rolling in presents. As for the things I liked about Artie's dream sequence:
- Little Lord Gayboy getting knocked around into lockers, awww.
- TERRI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Appearance: not long enough. :(
- Will wanders by the classroom and is touched in the heart by children making music in all universes, even the ones where his "sometimes I used to drink heavily just to deal with Terri" habit turns into full blown alcoholism. ♥
- Librarian Rachel >>>>> Current Rachel. Not only is working in your high school library the apex of every possible career in the world, but she's so lovely dressed like this, I love the mention of her doing community theater, and all in all, this version is just so much better than the one that’s fumbling about in NYADA, being inappropriate with inappropriate boys and doing nothing to convince Kurt the world will end if he doesn’t forgive Blaine. /bitter.
- Kurt clutching a pair of scissors defensively against his chest in the Home Ec room during the song
Act II: A Great and Terrible Beauty
I don't even know where to start, so this section has several subheaders. Can we think, for a second, about how happy Blaine was when he thought they were going to see each other at Christmas, and how devastated he must have been when Kurt said he wasn't coming home after all? Because I'm feeling like Kurt did not subsequently invite him to come to New York instead and Blaine definitely didn't dare ask.
[UNNECESSARY SIDEBAR; I will never not be aggravated by all these "I can't do anything because I have to save for college!" claims. Loans are so massive that the percentage you might save by applying a payment directly to tuition is rarely worth the sacrifice of not buying something important. Plus, Burt can clearly afford two round trip tickets here, so...Kurt mostly strikes me as selfish and a tad pathetic. I also don't buy the "my family will be somewhere else" excuse, as if Christmas holidays only last for two days* and/or as if Kurt would not have been welcome, like it wouldn't still have been time with his dad no matter where they were. *If Kurt is quitting the internship, he should quit early, and if he isn't, I'm pretty sure he can ask anything in the world of Isabelle and have it granted. You know, like holiday time off.]
Further Encounters With Surprise Foliage
* FINALLY we get a scene with Burt and Rachel interacting, and it's as adorable as can be under the circumstances. There's still a touch of a "polite acquaintances" feeling between them rather than the sort of easy closeness he later demonstrates with Blaine, but I'm willfully pretending otherwise.
* BACKSTORY in handfuls, oh goodness, cannot handle. "His mom always bought the tree," the number of sucker-punched feelings Burt must have felt seeing Kurt hang an ornament on his own (how sad is my heart right now, envisioning Little Kurt just quietly thinking and accepting that they won't have Christmas trees anymore?), the happier ornaments ("This redneck NASCAR trip, that was for you.")...question, on "It was the first time he smiled since his mom died" -- did we retcon Kurt and Burt laughing at the blackened chicken on the Friday night dinner, or does that not count because it wasn't genuine?
I Flew To New York to Tell You I Have Cancer
(*still not the AU I requested)
mean thoughts: "Well, at least Burt is better at letting Kurt build some happy memories of their first night in New York."
* It was already my headcanon that when Kurt was very specific about suggesting hot chocolate after ice skating that this was something he and Blaine did last year, and now that we've learned hot chocolate is a "Hummel family tradition," can that mean those two events connected in some way?
* I don't understand how something like scooping whipped cream off the top of your drink with your finger manages to look innocently childlike and inappropriately hot all at once.
* At the actual announcement: my jaw literally dropped, and I thought he was joking. Kurt's reaction was perfect - that numb freeze he gets instead of tears when something's too big and awful to process. It's a devastating idea, but I don't think Glee will pull some awful fast one on us, so I am all on board for anything that turns Kurt into a punching bag. I like how carefully he tries to voice his fears, and of course the handhold.
When the ice skating spoilers hit, I spent a full 24 hours in paradise. We had transcribed dialogue, we had adorable video and photos, I knew reality couldn't live up! But god, I still didn't expect it to be that depressing. Tumblr has been yelling at anyone who will listen that of course Kurt's not exactly processing the first sight of Blaine after he walked away in the high school hallway, he's a little busy with the whole THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD HAS CANCER news.
But...it just *hurt* seeing how anxiously hopeful Blaine was and having Kurt look like he was forcing his way through it. "You are happy to see me, right?" was killer. I do not cope well with statements like "No matter what, even if we're not together..." because NOPE. I can't even appreciate the hug yet. Too sad. And when I can't appreciate sad hugs, the world is upside down. Pretty much the only thing I like in this whole scene is "I promise, I'll keep an eye on him for you." Because that's the best and maybe only thing Blaine can still do from his new exile to The Friend Zone. For which I remind you I have fully forgiven him. Get with the program, Kurt.
-- ♪♪White Christmas: Just because it's Klaine doesn't mean I have to like it. I hate Baby It's Cold Outside (original and Glee covers), and I hate this the same way. The ice skaters were lovely though, but seriously, go find the video filming clips, they will make you happier.
Hummel Household Holiday
The scene on the couch was PERFECT. This is what we've all been craving - more proof of the clearly awesome relationship between Burt and Future Son-in-Law. (and can we just talk about how much it means that he confided in Blaine before Kurt? Because I can't decide if that's wonderful, or if Kurt should feel weird about being last to know) I want to think about all the happier times where they watched sports Kurt ignored, pretending to be annoyed but secretly pleased they were bonding, not at all like with Finn where it made him feel excluded. Plus, Blaine whining at him for wimping out in 20 seconds is the only time in this episode they sound comfortable with each other. Or at least one of them does.
The rest is not so kind to me, starting with how I don't know if I want Blaine to apply to NYADA. I mean, I do; he belongs there more than Kurt does and who among us does not want to believe they'll be dating this time next year, but...if they're not, that's far too uncomfortable. Which is probably why Kurt could not look less thrilled by this idea if he tried. That is the most forced smile and fake "I think it's great" I have ever seen, which I feel like Blaine did not notice. He looks, instead, like he's trying very hard not to look to pleased with himself, because if Kurt's happy for him then it means they're moving forward, in whatever they are to each other now. Except Kurt distinctly does not look happy.
Dinner makes up for it, though. Blaine, could your eyes BE bigger hearts? It's like, this little family right here is all Blaine wants out of life. It hurts too much to think he might not get it.
Also, re: Blaine casually gallivanting out of state on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day...this does not seem like it is going to lessen fandom's firm belief that his parents barely notice he's alive. At this point he's not even visiting a boyfriend and being 18 means nothing re: independent adulthood when you're still in high school. I'm going to assume Burt got involved with explanations, but I still find it a tough swallow for most parents to be like "sure, your own family's not a big deal, go on."
Act III: An Abundance of Puckermans
Thanks for being completely skippable!
(♪♪Hannukah, Oh Hannukah was actually super catchy, but every couple of bars Lesser Puckerman would frog-voice all over it. SPLAT went the enjoyment. The saddest thing is that this is still one of the better songs on the Christmas album because the music is SO GREAT and the Barenaked Ladies option did not sound better.)
Act IV: Nopocalypse
I don't particularly want to believe that Sam is this dumb or that Brittany actually spent her entire life's savings in ways she can't get back (heck, I'm still not convinced she is mentally fit to sign binding legal documents), but that fake wedding was like the cutest thing I've ever seen. Adorable kissing ahoy!
The only thing cuter was the proposal - you keep rockin' that earth science classroom location, buddy! And since that is officially Sam's fourth proposal scenario in 3 years, surpassing even Emma Pilsbury's record on acceptances, can the fact that he got married this time mean it's out of his system now?
They were also cute with their December 22nd morning-after regrets. Part of me wants to be grossed out, but the rest of me gets that both of them are (now) so absolutely the kind of teens who would start sleeping together immediately, and while there would be Feelings involved, it would also just be another aspect of being in a relationship, casually approached.
In conclusion, this was somehow my second favorite act just because it was full of their precious faces being cuddly and precious together.
+ ♪♪Jingle Bell Rock was cute, not noteworthy over the original (which I adore), but still fun.
Act V: Sweet Precious Marley Dearheart Lamb
As always, I want Marley to be better than the idiot who is stripped of Christmas because someone has to pay for rehab and/or therapy appointments. And to be honest, I don't really like her mom - she's sweet, but she drastically lacks the radiating warmth of a Burt or Carole, or even Mama & Papa Chang. Still beats Rachel's dads, but I didn't need a huge focus on her.
But, I will forever love that Sue can't find anything to hate about her, and instead calls her things like "golden-throated, [chestnut]-haired beauty." (seriously, "raven-haired"? Why did that make it to air? Jane, writers, and director, I'm mad at all of you) My heart did little flutters at her a capella carol in the kitchen, and I got all choked up at her happy CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! face.
+ ♪♪ The First Noel: is not as spectacular on the CD, but still the best thing this episode and the album itself has to offer in the music department.
- ♪♪Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: It's okay that I curled up in a ball of Klaine Pains and can't enjoy this song even though I love their part, right? (Which is a shame, because the club is so pretty in all white with their snowy stage that they look like a Christmas card and I want it as my desktop background.) Worse, Kermit the Frogboy was busy ruining other parts. I've never liked the song and this didn't help.
In conclusion: Worst Christmas episode by a landslide. Low on the season totem pole, too.
Up next: I feel like I'm going to have to retreat to season 2 coping mechanisms and just start skipping all Kurt's scenes again. If he doesn't talk it didn't happen! Otherwise, there is a great big passel of WHAT UP, DO WANT for Sadie Hawkins (and Quinn returns for stupid 4x12), so damned if I am not still here. WHEN WILL I GET TO QUIT YOU, SEASON FOUR?
In fact, there are specific spoilers that would make me super happy for 4x11 if they turn out to be true:
I heard the words "Blaine has a crush" (on someone) and immediately wanted to kill everyone, because if I don't have a waiting game on his end at least, I HAVE NOTHING. And if he has one it'll probably be on someone horrible like, oh I don't know, Unique. BUT THEN. Someone floated the name Sam. And holy crap, I am HERE FOR THAT. Literally the only male option I would look at, because as much as I have liked the idea of them having an uncomplicated straight/gay friendship free of such messiness, there is also nothing short of wonderful about the idea of Blaine falling for a friend all over again.
The best part is that I assume it will be unrequited, because logic and please-don't-set-another-precedent-for-f
I made a Tumblr post I am really proud of explaining this, but basically, even though it's nothing I can bring myself to voluntarily/actively ship...just like Quinn/Rachel, my brain occasionally likes to run wild with the possibilities of so much pretty in one couple. Because in the face department, Sam/Blaine is just collectively more attractive than Blaine/Kurt. Kurt looks like a combination angel/Vogue model on his own, but...standing next to Blaine, they do not make my eyeballs glitter in rapture the way athletically muscled black hair + blonde somehow does.
(*you know, Glee, if you just didn't SUCK SO HARD at casting, Kurt and I would still be on speaking terms even in the face of The Awful New York Spoilers and then Chris Colfer could be happy and I could be happy for him
**Other spoilers indicate Tina will have a crush on Blaine, which I am ALSO HERE FOR, even though that apparently does not work out like I want it to in any capacity. Let me hope and believe it'll be worth it anyway!