Glee Blog-Episode 13-Sectionals: Don’t stop believing

I suppose my life will suck, in some ways, without new episodes of Glee for the next four months, but I do have consolations. One, I’ve just seen a half-season’s worth of the finest TV series I’ve ever encountered. Two, I now can savor that series on audio and video, with Season 1 Volume 1 Road to Sectionals DVDs due Dec. 29. And three, the fall season’s final episode,  Sectionals, was the best Glee hour since its pilot.

I was expecting a satisfying if not rousing finish — and I got it. For once, the twin drives of  vibrant music and compelling story/characters balanced perfectly. Loads of plot-heavy action and character development — from Sue’s suspension to Will and Emma’s respective breakups to New Directions’ triumph at sectionals to the final kissy-face clinch — were equally matched by four full-bodied, sensational and sustained songs (no meager telecast edits here).

As always, those songs helped tell the story, and none more emphatically than the finale of Kelly Clarkson’s My Life Would Suck Without You, three minutes of straight-ahead, propulsive rock ‘n’ roll glory. Mercedes’ And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going also was a belting showcase for Amber Riley, and the spirited competition number You Can’t Always Get What You Want did the Stones classic justice.

Yet nothing was more validating and revelatory than the long-awaited Streisand number by Rachel, from Funny Girl, Don’t Rain On My Parade. It showed that Lea Michele is not just a rare talent, but even can kick Babs’ ass, just as she kicked Celine Dion’s bony buns earlier this season with Taking Chances. My gawd, that woman can sing!

As Kurt says, Rachel is the club’s star, and while Michele may not be the star of Glee’s incredibly potent ensemble, she is its best singer and one of its best actors. (Who plays earnest and naive youth more than this savvy 23-year-old?) Thank you, Ryan Murphy, for making the best casting decision of your career’s life in hiring this gal. She’s the real thing — and more — big-time.

Now we await the evolution, if not resolution, of dangling plot threads, such as what happens with Will and Emma, and Will and Terri, and where Quinn will rest her head, and how Sue will carry out her threatened and sure return. Whatever happens, I’m confident it will be vastly entertaining. And until its return on April 13, at least I’m content, having been fulfilled beyond my wildest expectations by a show which melds cutting humor, a warm heart, unapologetic  compassion and sheer musical joy — or, as they say, glee.

Yes, you did it, Glee. Like New Directions at Sectionals, you delivered in the clutch. And if this often jaded and wary veteran of show-biz glitz and glam had an award to give, then I’d give it to you.

But for now — as we dig in to wait four long, sucky months for Glee’s return — let us all take heart. Given the clear evidence, there’s no reason to stop believing in this amazing show and the humanity which lifts and ignites it. If Glee and its soaring spirit have taught us one thing, it’s that.

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