Two years ago, it was Coach Sue dressed as Dr. Seuss' The Grinch — green face make-up and all. Last season, it was the New Directions' The Star Wars Holiday Special meets Judy Garland Christmas Special hour-long PBS program. Thankfully, Glee's third Christmas episode did not disappoint in the bizarro department. In the first 10 minutes alone, the Fox musical dived into black-and-white only, It's a Wonderful Life-inspired alternate-reality territory. So which former New Directions member returned? Who got married? Who is moving? And, most importantly, what were the best Christmas songs?! Check out our seven favorite things from the episode:
1. The return of Rory! After his abrupt exit at the end of last season, it was nice to see former The Glee Project finalist back walking the halls of McKinley, even if it was still hard for Artie to understand him because of his accent. How do we sign up for a Christmas guardian angel with a cute accent? It was even funny to see Terri back on Glee, since it made for a very destructive, and hilarious, Mr. Schue. For a minute there, we thought he was going to bust out a rap!
2. Artie really is the "glue that holds the glee club together." Glee has more than its fair share of characters to service (the new kids, the New York kids, etc.), which sometimes means the current New Directions seniors get the short end of the stick. That was not the case in the Christmas episode, which let Kevin McHale bust out his comedic chops — and his impressive dancing skills — for a delightful, eyebrow-enhanced performance of "Feliz Navidad" in the alternate Glee universe. Our only complaint? Rachel may have been considered a nerd at McKinley before glee club's glory days, but she had a decent amount of confidence and energy — she would have never become such a soft-spoken bookworm! Also: Quinn texts and drives in every timeline? Sad!
3. A surprise appearance by Senor Queso. The episode was light on Rachel because of her prior commitment to go on Rosie O'Donnell's gay cruise with her two dads, but that left lots of time to move Kurt's story forward. On a good note, that meant bringing back Kurt's father to celebrate the holidays with his son in NYC. On a not-so-good note, that mean giving Kurt and his dad yet another obstacle to overcome: prostate cancer. It seems a little much to keep hitting his poor dad with health issues, but it was kind of all worth it for Klaine 'shippers just to hear say Blaine say, "I promise I'll keep an eye on him for you." Aw!
4. Speaking of Blaine.... It was nice to see the writers restrain themselves from allowing Kurt and Blaine to magically get back together and go back to normal. Their once extremely idealistic, near-perfect relationship was not nearly as realistic as the place that they're in now, especially since Blaine wants to go to New York too. Obviously this is Glee, so when we say "realistic" we mean complete with an ice skating rink that has zero lines and plenty of space for a duet!
5. Puck and Jake take Hollywood by storm. Puck has been in California how long, and this is the first we're seeing of his fake Tinsletown swagger in action?! Putting that aside, watching him and half-bro Jake perform around the actual Paramount Pictures lot where Glee shoots was hilarious and a nice meta wink for the show.
6. The Mayan Apocalypse Brittany-style. Earlier this season when Kitty tried to tell her classmates about The Rapture, she yelled at them and tried to scare them into believing it was true. We much prefer Brittany's method, which involves "giving love and brutal honesty to everyone we know" but also giving everyone she knows Rolexes and 2013 Toyota Camrys! Although her marriage to Sam unfortunately turned out to be as big of a sham as the Apocalypse, Sam's musical proposal to the tune of "Jingle Bell Rock" made it well worth it. And, good news, Indiana Jones found out the Apocalypse is actually happening on Sept. 27, 2014. #yolo!
7. The return of Puck? No one wants Puckerman to suddenly become a Lima Loser, but it will be nice to have him back in town in a more believable way than Santana's many trips home from Louisville to "do her laundry" (Yeah, OK, Santana). Puck's many lies about his glamorous life and especially his confession to Jake that he was "lonely" in Los Angeles rang true to the struggle so many kids go through right after high school. And hey, people still have pools to clean in Ohio!
However, there's still a few burning questions:
Why is Finn still singing with the glee club? Mr. Schue is back and, more importantly, there is no more glee club! We applaud Finn's effort in trying to find himself and all, but he needs to move onto phase 2 of that project, or any step which gets him to stop hanging around McKinley High and stealing from Mr. Schue's closet.
Why is Coach Sue suddenly so generous? She's been pretty relentless towards the glee club all fall, so the sudden attitude makeover gave us a little bit of whiplash. Maybe it's because she's a new mom and she can't imagine something like an eating disorder happening to her daughter? Who knows, but it was very interesting to juxtapose the image of Sue giving Marley and her mom a Christmas tree two years after painting her face green and stealing the New Directions' tree and presents.
What did you think of Glee's Christmas episode? What were your favorite moments? What do you think will happen next?