Glee, 4x22, "All or Nothing"
I wrote way too much. Would you like the short version?
I loved: Blaine and his boundless enthusiasm for proposals and ring shopping, his friendship with Sam & Tina, Liz, the performances (namely All or Nothing and Hall of Fame), and how Sam & Brittany broke my heart
I hated: the "Katie" reveal, the wedding, and the incessant and hamfisted rambling about gay marriage as a social and political movement
+ To Love You More: Rachel always sounds lovely on Celine. I look forward to falling head over heels for this later.
Rainbow Connection: I normally loathe this song, but this arrangement was pretty good.
+ Clarity: I enjoyed that more than I've enjoyed any of the competing groups this year, but I really dislike Sanchez's face, so I'm still tempted to go listen to the original.
+ Wings: I like the original as much or better on this too, but it was still fun to watch them perform it.
+++Hall of Fame: Where do I even start? When I heard the original, all I could think was "Script, why are you inviting this loser rapper to work with you," but rapping is always better by Glee kids so now the break is the best part. I love all the lead soloists, though none moreso than Joe, who absolutely owns his few featured seconds and just kills it. I love their attitudes on the dance moves (mostly the boys in the chanting part, but also...King Kong Sugar ahoy!), Tina's lovely trilled harmony, and just everything about this. It sounds so inspiring, and they look so proud on stage. Its only flaw is being cut for time; the studio version has been going on endless repeat for weeks.
I Love It: More like I don't care. it's okay, but too many plays and its ditzy trash-pop flavor will start to grate on my nerves. Definitely better performed by Glee kids, but it didn't really light up my heart or anything. They should have gone with one of Schue's suggestions in place of this.
+++All or Nothing: the second best part of this episode - BLAINE AND MARLEY FINALLY GET A DUET. I WEEP FOR JOY. I've been playing this nonstop since it was released prior to the episode airing, and I could not possibly be more thrilled. It's literally everything I could want in a song for them, musically, lyrically and vocally.
ALSO THEIR OUTFITS ARE SUPER PRETTY.
So at least the music was a success. I can't remember the last time I didn't hate anything.
Glee, that's not how early admission...oh, I'm not even gonna bother to argue; that is too deliberately ludicrous for words. Off the top of my head, in 10 seconds flat, here are better options: you could have had her leave to join So You Think You Can Dance (LOL META), be a backup dancer for a touring artist (LOL META #2), drop out because Fondue For Two went viral and made her a star, or win a trip to South America on a game show and inform them she's leaving to investigate the true disappearance of the Mayans. Or to meet her Chinese birth parents. Then season 5 could be a game of Where In The World is Brittany S. Pierce? There's no way it could be a worse game than "Who Is Sue's Super-Sekrit Celebrity Baby Daddy?"** Granted these options don't involve her graduating, but that was never a believable storyline.
[**side note: speaking of which, that's your answer? "Michael Bolton," with no buildup, follow-up, or accompanying storyline/guest-star? I think that might be a worse example of payoff than "why did Ted Mosby walk into a bar wearing a green dress."]
However, Sam & Brittany's breakup is the actual-fax saddest I have been about anything since the Klaine breakup, and also the second-saddest I have ever been about a Glee breakup, including when Finchel made me cry real tears. Their tearful hugging absolutely gutted me, so much inevitable sadness. It was so, so well done, but owwwww. Like they both know it has to happen, it makes sense and it's the only way this story ends, but it's killing both of them to let go.
Resigning myself to going back to the depressing world that is a Glee without any adorable het ships. :(
(*pause* Or...any ships; wtf is season 5?)
But on the bright side, at least now this fic is totes canon. If you didn't read it before (All We Can Do Is Keep Breathing), read it now and it'll make you feel a little better for poor Sam, at least.
My favorite thing about being spoiled this year was reading every word Patty Duke had to say about being on Glee. She is a total sweetheart, and at this point I'm not sure which two people I want to see hang out more - Patty & Darren, or Liz & Blaine. Those two tiny people together are like magic! Meanwhile I could not care less about Meredith Baxter or Jan; she is the season 2 Not Good Enough!Kurt of this relationship like whoa. I hope Patty has time for about 12 episodes of making heart eyes and fondly reminiscing.
Blaine in the ring store was far and away the best scene of the whole finale. Tina continuing to hint at being Tina Cohen-Chang-Anderson. Blaine patiently reminding her how that's not going to happen. THE INSANE AMOUNT THAT I WANT TINA TO BE PREGNANT DUE TO DRUNKEN SHENANIGANS AND POSSIBLY FOR A SHOTGUN WEDDING TO HAPPEN. How Blaine's face lights up in happy disbelief at being invited to gush about the love of his life, especially by a complete stranger. (+ how Tina rolls her eyes and walks away) Liz just seems like she would be the most wonderful mentor; I choose to believe that they end up having lots of one-on-one time off screen if we don't get to see it.
AND THEN SAM SHOWS UP AND IS ALL "I love you, man" and they have vehement denials of him being the ex-boyfriend in question even though "well, he wants to do me. What? You DO want to do me!" Which I think is my favorite line of the entire season.
Plus Blaine very politely gritting his teeth and wondering if Sam would kindly shut up about him lusting after other guys whilst trying to convince someone he's ready to get married. GLORIOUS.
That said, my fears about Ryan Murphy blatantly talking about how he wants to be all politically relevant manifested themselves in reality. That was an entirely ham-fisted and shoehorned plotline that honestly didn't feel like it was about characters at all, more like someone just wanted to yell "GAY MARRIAGE IS HAPPENING! GAY MARRIAGE IS HAPPENING! Hey everybody, remember how in the future we're always saying 'Remember when the Supreme Court got its act together and decided to make nationwide gay marriage happen?' THIS IS THAT TIME!" And I just so don't care.
Meanwhile, I spoiled myself on the Klaine edits early, and I literally could not believe my eyes when I realized there just WASN'T. ANY. DIRECT KLAINE INTERACTION. In the finale. Letters From Titan has an idiotic post about how we shouldn't be angry because "that wasn't a finale, that was episode 22 of a 30-episode season," and I'm sorry but no. American television, ESPECIALLY on broadcast network television, has certain structural expectations. You have to fit your stories to those cultural expectation, you can't just go "fuck it, I'll do what I like and you will all deal" without criticism for failing to meet those expectations. And it is an abject failure on your part.
I hope the next time he has a Twitter Q&A, he gets bombarded with tweets asking why they've actively decided to show so very little of Kurt's side of the story. I'd genuinely like to know if there's a plan or if he actually thinks those 3 episodes where Kurt directly addressed their breakup (some ways more vaguely than others) are sufficient to show where he's at. Even professional reviewers are noticing and bringing it up.
The Breadstix scene was boring due to an excessive amount of Jan, so I'm ignoring it. Plus it just makes me sad to essentially watch this happen:
At this point I don't even care whether Blaine asks him or not. The utter lack of resolution to this storyline has actually made me more apathetic than the cheating bombshell. Good job, everyone involved.
(That said, flaming_muse has an awesome half-canon-compliant fic about what happens when Blaine insists on walking Kurt to his car after dinner: A Conversation From An Alternate Universe.
We'll wait for season 5 to see how far it can stay canon-compliant, but for sure up to “I was going to ask you - but I guess it doesn’t matter now.” He takes a step back. “Have a good night.” Maybe even a little further, if you change one of Kurt's answers to a more definitive 'no.' In the meantime, I feel better having both a happy option and a sense that at least they talked in canon.)
I cannot roll my eyes hard enough at Katie being Unique; that is the worst possible outcome. At this point, I wish Ryder WOULD quit the club. The only way I'll accept him coming back is if Marley begs him. Preferably while imploringly clasping his hand(s) in a way she thinks is totally innocent and platonic.
One of the reasons this is the worst: what if Marley subscribes to some stupid girl code about how you can't date someone your friend likes? How is she supposed to get together with Ryder now?? Glee, the only reason I have put up with her Jake-dating shit is because I genuinely thought I just had to be patient and wait my turn, much like Finchel shippers. Who, it should be noted, also got pre-relationship kisses even in the first 13 episodes.
The other reason this is the worst is too horrible to contemplate - at this point I'm just PRAYING they don't drag my gorgeous boy into a confusing relationship of deeply unequal physical attractiveness** just to prove something about trans people.
**that's more important to me right now, but it's not like Unique does anything except mouth off or whine/cry in a far more annoying and less sympathetic way than Kurt ever did, so the personality is inferior too.
The One Happy Fandom
So Emma and Mr. Schue finally got married. Wow, I am just super glad we ruined their pretty church wedding so that...oh no wait, there wasn't any point to that, because this was the most underwhelming resolution ever. The kids still could have hooked up in hotel rooms whether they got married or not, and Will and Finn still could have fought about the kiss without Schue hammering in what a loyal and supportive buddy he'd been in the past week first. We sure as hell haven't seen Will & Emma work on their relationship at all so it's not like you did it for arc purposes, and it's frankly not sweet or romantic or fitting that they got married in the choir room. It's enough that he proposed in school. The choir room is where the kids made memories with each other, but it's not where he made them with her - not really. I'm sure that was the intent, but I don't think of the choir room as "their" space, so it just doesn't work.
The only thing that depended on them not getting married on Valentine's Day were "In Your Eyes" and that idiot Broadway song, and it would have been just as easy to make the latter about overcoming anxiety at the last minute, giving them a Jim/Pam moment where he either calms her down or offers to blow this popsicle stand and last-minute elope. I don't even care if that would feed bitchy viewers' complaints about women needing to be saved by men. Then the finale focus could have been on things that are actually due for resolution, instead of vastly overdue.
* It was kind of cute when Brittany started singing "My Cup" and I realized how tragically few people in that room actually recognized it. Band together, senior quartet!
* I for one enjoyed all of Ryder's justified roid-raging, including Blaine trying to calm him down (still waiting for that fic where Blaine tutors him).
* Someone said "that's messed up," after Ryder stopped out (I'm assuming in reference more to Marley's actions/confession thereof than Ryder's stomp-out), and I'm pretty sure it was Blaine. I am upset by this King & Queen of Glee Club 2.0 betrayal.
* Fixed it:
King and Queen of Glee Club 2.0 hug!
* Sam actually reached out to the devil herself for help with Brittany - not to fix anything between them, but to help her because he knew she needed someone. #Sam Is Literally The Best Guy Ever, part 5.
* There are rumours that Jessica Sanchez had a mini-arc that got cut due to the lack of Cory, and if that's true, then it's the first thing that's made me happy about his absence.
* Will/Ryder hug! One newbie down, one relevant newbie to go. Plus Joe.
* Aw, Blaine's got a little tiny tear @ Brittany's speech
* This a really unfortunate shot in which I wonder how a person could ever ship Klaine when they can play pretend in a world where Sam is into Blaine. Of the two options here, one boy is significantly outstripping the other in sheer hotness.
* Brittany's last moment alone on stage? I sobbed. (and then Santana showed up and I shrugged, emotions gone)
EDIT: OK, the costume department gets serious props for the "Katie" bracelet, and having that released in stills prior to the episode airing. Secret confirmations are the best.
Conclusion: I guess with enough time and distance, his finale wasn't HORRIBLE. It was just...blah. A notch above New York but waaaaay below season 3 and possibly also season 1 (that said, I have growing resentment toward the season 1 finale as time goes on. Back then I loved it, but now every time I think about it I'm just ilke "ugh this boring mess of Journey/weird long birthing scene." So maybe this is actually the second-best finale?).
I'm going to save my attempt at ranking for a wrap-up post on season 4 as a whole, I think.