It doesn't really matter. You know what's neat, though? If this show had actually died the violent death I've on and off wished it, this episode would be the most perfect series finale. It's sharp and sweet and funny and has a story and characters in it, all the things that were lacking. Lovely dances, a serious moment of grace and redemption for almost everybody, and a feeling at the end that your time was well-spent.
"Such a shame about that finale," we'd say. "You really saw the potential there, at the end." But because there are loads of people smarter than me in this world, we don't have the say that. We can just say, "That's one way to keep me watching." It gets weird in parts and I still don't trust the motherfucker, but I'd rather feel that way than to watch this fairly great episode, and love it, and feel a little bad about all the chances it never should have gotten and all the different bizarre ways I approached writing about it, just to end up with this little truffle at the end.
Fanny's given Michelle the task of choreographing one of the dances in her Nutcracker, and she's about to see it. Michelle is very, very nervous. They are affectionate with each other, tender even, in a way where even the sharpest dialogue sounds like teamwork, like a routine, instead of open warfare.
Fanny: "...I always have an open mind."
Michelle: "Right, but you need to keep an open mind like other people keep an open mind. With a mind that's actually, you know, open."
Fanny: "How many times have I told you my production of The Nutcracker is the highlight of my year?"
Michelle, not exaggerating: "842."
Fanny: "And how many times have I told you that these two weeks of shows make up the bulk of my money for the year?"
Fanny: "I gave you one dance to choreograph."
Michelle: "The Evil Rat Dance, yes."
Fanny: "Mice! Evil mice!"
Michelle: "Anyhow, it's done, and it's great. I just put my own spin on it..."
Fanny: "-- Are they wearing pasties and G-strings?"
No, they are not. It's pretty awesome -- albeit an unfortunately timed mashup of two of the best dance sequences in Step Up Revolution, a cinematic wonder I can't recommend highly enough, without irony -- but the concept (businessmen, because they're rats; Clara on a table narrowly avoiding their little businessman claws; the other Bunheads as authoritarian metermaid ballerinas) is not as much of a possible problem as the Clara.