I'm not the only one who saw that, right? I mean, it wasn't just a hallucination caused by sleep deprivation or some bad cold medicine? Okay, assuming I didn't just imagine it all, here's what happened:
Sue asks New Directions to join her in volunteering (and singing a song) at the local homeless shelter. They agree, but throw those plans out the window when the local PBS station invites them to create their own Christmas special, with Artie in the director's chair. Sue's intermittent faith in humanity is crushed. Formerly homeless Sam and formerly heartless Quinn are also disappointed, and they bow out of the show.
The Christmas special itself is a weird, cracked-out recreation of a '60s era holiday special. Blaine and Kurt host everyone at their mid-century modern Swiss chalet, and every pair that arrives sings their own lovely song. And for some reason, Finn and Puck are dressed as unlicensed Luke Skywalker and Han Solo knockoffs. But the glib paean to commercialism is brought to a screeching halt when Rory (inspired by the example of Sam) pulls a Linus and reads the Christmas story from the Bible. This leads everyone to have a change of heart, and they rush over to the homeless shelter in time for the most condescending and insulting musical performance this show has ever seen. (And that's a pretty high bar.) I mean, really, singing "Do They Know It's Christmas" to a bunch of homeless people? That's just wrong.
The other tiny plot is that Rachel is disgustingly insistent that Finn get her some fancy, expensive presents for Christmas [even though she's Jewish - Ed.]. She rejects his initial gift of a pig that will feed a hungry African family, but Rory's Bible message gets through to her, and she and Finn decide to return the fancy gifts they buy each other and donate the cash to the needy.
And I got home from work three hours late tonight, and all the music is just standard Christmas fare, so I decided that your Christmas present to me will be not caring that I don't have the energy to give you links to all the songs. Thanks! But don't worry, there'll be a full set of links in the full recap.
Check out a video recap of this episode, courtesy of Hulu's The Morning After show:
Like most scripted television, episodes of Glee can generally be understood to fall somewhere on a spectrum that runs from "good" to "bad." Or "serious" to "cheesy." Or "sincere" to "ironic." But I think this episode is on some kind of spectrum we've never seen before. A spectrum that's not normally detectable by human senses. A spectrum that's probably only really understood by theoretical physicists. Or devotees of psychedelic mushrooms. I mean, it doesn't make sense in the Glee universe, and it certainly doesn't make sense in our universe. Which isn't to say there aren't some moments of pure delight, along with some moments of embarrassing failure. But mostly, I watched this episode with my jaw on the floor, hoping that someone was aware I was having a seizure and that the paramedics were on their way.
Also, my cat somehow managed to damage the 'u' key on my keyboard. I think he's mad 'cause I kept calling him a pussy.
We open straight on some music. Mercedes is singing Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" while she hangs ornaments on a Christmas tree in the music room. Everybody else is there, and they all start dancing around with candy canes and wrapping paper. All you Mercedes/Sam shippers out there will be happy to hear that at one point she wraps a garland boa around his neck and sings the title lyrics to him. That should certainly make Demian happy. The song ends with Rachel and Finn kissing under the mistletoe (thoughtfully provided by Mercedes), and we cut to the title card.
Hallway. Rachel cheerfully approaches Finn and tells him, "Here's my list!" Finn: "I thought we agreed the 'things we did wrong last week' list was hurting more than helping." Rachel tells him she made him a Christmas list because she heard he was having trouble figuring out what to get her.
Flash back to the boys' locker room, where Finn is telling everybody present that he can't figure out what to get Rachel for Christmas. Everybody makes moronic suggestions, while Puck just tells them he's glad he's Jewish so he doesn't have this problem. Or maybe he points out that Rachel is Jewish, so Finn should be worrying more about Hanukkah and less about Christmas. Or maybe what he really does is tell them he's glad he doesn't have a high-maintenance girlfriend. Whichever one is least connected to the established facts of the show, go with that one. And then we see Kurt peek around the corner, clearly having heard the entire thing.