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'Glee' Recap: 'Swan Song'

Lisa McGrath Lisa McGrath
December 17th, 2012 9:33am EST

Glee

This week's episode, "Swan Song," was all about taking chances. The Glee club got knocked down (but got up again), Rachel and Kurt shined at NYADA and Brittany and Sam made a lot of "Brittana" fans sad.

Everyone rushes Marley backstage after she collapses during their Sectionals performance. Jake informs the New Directions that Marley has been skipping lunch while Santana accuses Kitty of turning her into an anorexic. Mr. Schue comes in, telling everyone that they need to get back on stage before they get disqualified. Too little, too late: Coach Sylvester comes in to deliver the news that the judges unanimously voted for the Warblers.

Kurt and Rachel find out about the New Directions' disasterous performance after Kurt receives a phone call from Blaine. Rachel insists it's best not to call Finn because that will not only make him feel bad, but it will remind him of his other loss - her. The two continue to discuss the upcoming NYADA Showcase, a seasonal competition where 10 students are selected by Carmen to perform. Rachel insists she won't be selected because she's just a freshman, but as fate would have it she ends up getting invited to the showcase.

Back at McKinley, Sue and the Cheerios wasted no time taking over the Glee club room for Sue's latest side project, Sue de Soleil. As Sue's set to walk out of the room with everything, including the Glee club's Nationals trophy, Finn stops her. Eventually Figgins' breaks the news to Finn that there's no longer a space for the Glee club to practice or perform.

Sue chats with Becky in her office, explaining to her that she's been looking forward to this moment for a long time. In an interesting turn of events, she says it makes her feel empty, though, since the Gleeks are already emotionally fragile as is. She asks for a sign that she's doing the right thing and in walks the club's pianist, thanking Sue for his freedom.

It's hostile in the choir room as Tina rips Marley for their Sectionals loss, calling her "no Rachel Berry." Ouch. Finn assures everyone the club is not over and they still have the holiday concert to look forward to. Even if they're on their way out, they'll go out at their best. Tina, not having any of this, insists it's hard to be motivated when there's nothing to be motivated for. Finn says the club will be ready for next year, but then Sam asks the dreaded question: "What about us who don't have a next year?"

Brittany follows a trail of Cheerios in the hallway, leading her to Sam, who confesses he's into her. Sam arranges for them to perform a love song, since they never had the opportunity to do one. At the end of their duet, Sam tries to kiss Brittany but she backs away. She explains it's not because of Santana, but because of all of the flack she'd receive from Lord Tubbington's blog readers, who would be upset with her dating a guy - or as I perceived it, the Brittana shippers. Sam reassures Brittany he's not scared of them, but she insists she can't.

Back at NYADA, Rachel asks to get a sip of water in Cassandra's class which does not go over well with Cassandra, who calls Rachel a diva ever since she got her Winter Showcase invitation. Rachel denies her claims, insisting she's been improving and can now keep up with Cassandra. After they dance-off to Chicago's "All That Jazz," Rachel discovers that the only way for her to win the Winter Showcase is with her voice. Meanwhile, Kurt finds Carmen in her office to discuss his NYADA application. Carmen tells Kurt she received it, but thinks he's "devoid of complexity and depth," adding: "You gave me surface when I was looking for soul." Kurt begs for a second chance, but she excuses him.

Back at McKinley, the Glee kids flocked to different clubs and activities: Artie joined the band, Blaine and Tina joined Cheerios, Joe joined the Interfaith Paintball League and Jake and Ryder joined the basketball team. "It looks like we all moved on," says Blaine. Finn is in utter shock about the Glee club's dissemination, confessing that it's only been a few days and everyone is already in different places. Finn announces he booked the auditorium for practice Friday night as everyone walks out, except for Marley.

Brittany finds Sam in the hallway and asks him if he's going to the rehearsal Friday night. She booked the VIP booth at Breadstix for the pair, but the reservations conflict with the Glee club's rehearsal. Brittany informs Sam she means this will be a date, confessing she was inspired by Finn's last chances speech. "Since Santana left you're the only one who makes me smile." Brittany decides to go with her gut and take a chance on Sam, confessing "love is love," as the two kiss.

The Winter Showcase at NYADA is finally here! Carmen welcomes everyone to the show, insisting that while this is a competition, it's also a showcase. During the first performance, Brody finds Rachel on the staircase for a pep talk. Brody reassures her she's the best of the best, but Rachel confesses she's not that nervous: "If you give me a stage, I know in my gut there is no one who can beat me." Rachel kisses Brody, declaring she's going to start doing things as if she won't have another chance again. Kurt interrupts their moment to bring Rachel upstairs since she's up next.

Rachel starts her performance off with Barbra Streisand's "Being Good Isn't Good Enough," tearfully surprised after she receives a standing ovation. She follows up with "O Holy Night," which seems to really impress the crowd, especially Carmen. Right after her performance, Carmen calls Rachel's performance "superb." Feeling gracious after Rachel's beautiful performance, she announces to the room that Kurt Hummel will perform next, that is, if he's ready. Cue the nerves! 

Rachel follows Kurt outside, who's freaking out over the opportunity to perform in front of the whole NYADA crew. Rachel assures him that this is a good thing because Carmen rarely ever gives second chances (she would know). Plus, Kurt will be able to show he can perform under pressure. Rachel advises Kurt that he was at his absolute best when he sang "I Want To Hold Your Hand," explaining "It was simple and emotional." Kurt ends up performing "Being Alive," receiving a standing ovation at the end, even from Carmen. 

Finn receives a call from Rachel, who he thinks butt dialed him. Rachel tells Finn that she won the competition, as Finn tears up on the other line. Finn, feeling down on himself, gets some valuable advice from Rachel. She insists that even if they didn't win Sectionals or Nationals everything still would have been worth it, claiming: "Glee is about the music." She insists that the kids respect him so much and he can't let them give up on their dreams. In turn, Rachel asks Finn to promise her one thing: that he wont give up on his dreams.

Surprisingly, Finn and Marley are the only two who show up for the rehearsal. Marley breaks the bad news to Finn: nobody else is coming. On the bright side, Marley found a place for them to practice where they won't get kicked out: the courtyard. Finn, inspired by Rachel, writes an e-mail out to the club, hoping they'll show up there for practice. He shares that Rachel won her competition last night and he won't give up on anyone.

Marley and Finn sit in the cold, convinced that nobody will show up. Marley continues to apologize for everything, confessing she knows it's her fault Glee is over. But it's not over! (Foreshadowing?) He stops her, explaining that they're both still there. The two begin singing "Don't Dream It's Over," as everyone shows up, singing along. Back in Bushwick, it's not over for Kurt either after he learns he was accepted into NYADA. Don't dream it's over, Gleeks!

Memorable Quotes

Brittany: Can I ask you a question?

Sam: Oh, The Walking Dead isn't based on a true story. I already checked.

Brittany: That's not what I was going to ask, but, oh.

Brittany: Most people don't understand geniuses. Like most people didn't appreciate Einstein or the Spice Girls until it was too late.

Rachel: I know I may not be a typical beauty, and no one's ever gonna pay me to walk the runway at Fashion Week or I'm not gonna cure cancer, or write the great American novel, but if you give me a stage to sing on, I know in my gut, there's no one that can beat me.

Finn: Artie, man, you basically dragged me out of that tire shop telling me that this club was part of my destiny somehow. What did you even join? Your costume is ridiculous. It looks like a peacock died on your head!

Artie: It's called a plume.

What did you think of this week's episode? Were you surprised Marley's issues weren't a big focus, even after her collapse? Sound off below!

Photo Credits: Fox Broadcasting Company