Glee Season 4 – Swan Song – Recap, Videos, Photos

GLEE: Rachel (Lea Michele) performs in the "Swan Song" episode of GLEE airing Thursday, Dec. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Adam Rose/FOX

Here’s your Glee discussion post. I’ll be back with more later.

Listen to the songs from Swan Song

The action picks up where we left off—with the kids hustling Marley off stage after she fainted at the end of New Direction’s “Gangnam Style” performance.  Marley is OK, but unfortunately, there is a rule that if a group leaves the stage in the middle of a performance, they can be disqualified. Therefore, the judges decide to give the win to those hideous Warblers!  To skip ahead a bit–I kept expecting some sort of twist that would allow the New Directions to advance to Regionals anyway, but it didn’t happen. And now that I think about it, I hope it DOESN’T happen. This twist brings the club back to ground zero. The march through sectionals/regionals/nationals was becoming predictable. How the Glee club will prevail without that ultimate goal of winning competitions could produce some really interesting possibilities for drama. I hope the writers stick to their guns and don’t wuss out  by having  the Warblers forfeit, or some such nonsense.

Santana calls out Kitty for egging on Marley’s insecurities. She’s hep to Kitty teaching the insecure newbie how to binge and purge and calls her psycho. Well, yeah.  Kitty actually looks guilty when she realizes the meltdown she baited Marley into pretty much ruined everything.  In real life, it would become obvious to the adults that the Marley had some issues, and an investigation would ensue. But this is Glee. Honestly, I can’t wait until this eating disorder story line is over, because I don’t believe a minute of it.  Marley realizes that her own self-absorption brought down the club and she feels awful. She could either realize that her behavior is destructive and straighten up, or become depressed and fall further down the rabbit hole. The issue has been set aside for now, but from what I’m reading in interviews from cast members, unfortunately, it’s the latter. Sigh.

Immediately, Sue jumps in to add insult to injury. Watching her revert back to Season 1 and 2 behaviors is just tiresome. She helped lead the club to their Nationals win last year, and now suddenly she hates them again? Blargh. Immediately, she takes over the choir room for her new side project, SUE DU SOLEIL–an acrobatic side show for the Cheerios.  A tug of war between Finn and Sue with over the Nationals trophy (She wants to run it over with her Le Car) lands everyone in Figgins office.  And once again, shades of Season 1–now that the New Directions will no longer compete, they have lost all of their perks, including their rehearsal space. Like I said, I’m all for the group dropping back to square one, but I wish the writers had been a wee bit more creative about it.

Although, I have to admit, Sue’s fantasy about where the glee clubbers will wind up without New Directions was pretty hilarious.  Tina? A drug mule in the Lima crack district. Artie? Forced to sell his legs to science. Blaine? Performing on the bathhouse circuit.  And Brittany? She’s a finance major at Brandeis.  Glee club was really holding her back!  And then the funniest moment in the episode.  Just as she’s looking for a sign that she did the right thing—Brad the piano player comes by with a present for Sue. AND HE SPEAKS!  “I can’t thank you enough,” he says, “I can’t tell you how much I hate those kids!”  Pretty awesome.

Finn and Will announce to the club that Glee competition is over for the year. But while Finn wants to try to keep the club together, the others don’t see the point if they won’t be competing.  They also don’t want to parade their loserdom for all to see. The kids are all for cancelling the holiday concert they had planned.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Rachel receives a coveted invitation from Carmen to perform in the NYADA Winter Showcase. It’s an honor–freshmen are rarely invited. Kurt contemplates auditioning for a spot in NYADA again. But, smarting from his initial rejection, he decides to give it only one more shot.  While the pair clean up from their big Thanksgiving soiree, Kurt to breaks the news that New Directions lost Sectionals.  Word came via a phone call from Blaine. (The fact these two are on their way to remaining friends warms my little heart.) Rachel briefly considers calling Finn to console him, but thinks better of it.

Here comes controversy—courtesy of Brittany and Sam (who have been dubbed Bram) hooking up as a couple. Sam lures Brittany to an empty classroom with a trail of Cheerios, which she eats off the floor (ew). He knows she forgets to eat breakfast, because she’s confused sometimes.  Alone, they admit to feeling attracted to each other– mostly because they connect on the loopiest of levels. They sweetly sing the Frank and Nancy Sinatra classic, “Something Stupid”,  but when Sam leans in to kiss Brittany, she pulls away.

Here’s where things get super duper meta. Brittany explains that a slew of lesbians online found out about her relationship with Santana, and look up to them as an awesome couple. They post their devotion on Lord Tubbington’s facebook page and will be REALLY upset if she hooks up with a guy.  Casual viewers would chalk it up to weirdness of Glee, but those in the know recognize the writers acknowledging the rage of the Brittana shippers who have been angry for awhile now.  I believe it’s true that the LGBT couples are written with their lights under a bushel—in order not to offend the sensibilities of FOX brass? I don’t know. But Brittana in particular were never really given much of a story line or chance to develop in Season 3, so I can understand the shippers’ frustration as they watch Bram kiss and flaunt their relationship in this episode in ways Brittana rarely could.  Really, I just think sometimes Ryan Murphy is a straight up troll. The Britanna shippers have been on the warpath for a year, ever since “I Kissed a Girl” portrayed Santana saved by the same hetero man (Finn) who outed her, with no self-actualization, or help from Brittany.  After a year of abuse from fans, Ryan probably could not wait to stick it to them.

Anyway, I’m so used to the romantic musical chairs Glee plays—I’ve become immune at this point. Besides, I have a feeling we have not heard the last of Brittana. Oh, and Bram’s voices blend nicely! Enjoy it while you can.

Meanwhile, Rachel is still suffering abuse at the hands of Cassie, played deliciously by Kate Hudson.  Finally, Rachel has found the confidence to stand up to the bitchy dance instructor.  When Cassie mocks Rachel for stopping to take a drink of water, Rachel stands her ground.  She’s improved, and Cassie should admit it.  At which point, Cassie goes all SHOW ME on Rachel and they dance off to “All That Jazz”. Afterward, Rachel admits she’s not as good a dancer as Cassie, but  insists she’s a much better singer (of course she is).  At that moment, Rachel realizes she will only win the showcase with that golden voice of hers. Poor Cassie is so bitter, hating on the younger girl. I love watching Rachel finding her power as the two go toe to toe. Also: Play spot the SYTYCD alum during this number!

Kurt drops by to see Carmen, who remembers him.  Kurt sent in a new application with an accompanying video of him performing the acoustic version of Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”  *PLEASE COULD WE SEE THIS PLEASE*.  She’s not impressed, what’s more, Carmen claims that she turned Kurt down after his first audition, because, while he knows how to sell a number, he’s “devoid of complexity and depth.”  Wait. Didn’t Carmen tell Kurt that she was impressed with his audacious performance of “Not the Boy Next Door”? This turnabout makes no sense. Oh Glee.  “You gave me surface when I was looking for soul,” says Carmen. Poor Kurt is crestfallen. “No second chances unless they are on my terms,” insists Carmen. Little does Kurt know…

Meanwhile, back at McKinley, the members of the Glee club begin to scatter. Tina and Blaine join the Cheerios (Sue figures a few more minority students on the team won’t hurt–especially a gay that’s “non flammable”. Yes she really says that.) Artie has joined the marching band. Ryder and Jake are on the basketball team.  Unique is a member of the floor hockey team. She’ll just slip a wig underneath the face mask!  And Sam is a member of the interfaith paintball league “where Jews, Muslims and Christians can shoot at each other safely.” Lulzy.

Finn is upset to learn how quickly the club dispersed and into “completely insane directions.”  He’s REALLY mad at Artie, who dragged him out of Burt’s tire shop to head the club.  “Your costume is ridiculous,” says Finn. “It looks like a peacock died on your head.”  Finn wants the club to meet at 9:54 in the auditorium on Friday night–the only 6 minutes he was able to carve out of Sue Sylvester’s crazy sign up schedule.  Nobody, other than Marley, seems keen on showing up.

Despite feeling dissed by Carmen, Kurt still accompanies Rachel to the Winter Showcase competition to cheer her on. HUMMELBERRY RULES YA’LL.  Hands down, the New York City plotline is still my favorite thing on Glee. Brody is there too, to give Rachel moral support. But she really doesn’t need it. She’s got this, and she knows it.  “If you give me a stage to sing on,” Rachel explains to Brody, “I know in my gut that there’s no one that can beat me.”  Then, she gives Brody a kiss. Because she’s decided she’s going to start doing things as if she’s never going to get a chance to.

Rachel takes the stage and she DAZZLES with a performance of Barbra Streisand’s “Being Good.”  She sings “I’ll be the best or nothing at all.” No more choking for Rachel. She’s in full power. There is no stopping our girl. Finn who?  She’s greeted with a standing ovation and shouts of “encore” when she finishes.  Indulging the crowd, she sings an absolutely ethereal “O Holy Night”.  The performance is cut with shots of Finn cleaning out the choir room while Cheerios twirl on hoops and silks around him.  After Carmen tells Rachel that she was superb, she announces to the audience that after intermission, if he’s ready, there will be a performance from Mr. Hummel.   Of course, it makes no sense at all that in the middle of a competition, a non-student would be dragged up on stage to audition for a spot in the school.  But what can I say. I made the decision to suspend belief and just go with it!

Of course, Kurt is completely freaked out, and convinced he will fail. He’s got nothing prepared. And what’s more…he’s got NO PROPS. No steel scaffolding or gold lame pants.  When Kurt runs down a list of songs he already knows, Rachel thinks “Being Alive” would be the perfect song, despite the fact that Carmen hates it (remember she said it was one of three songs she had to endure constantly from newbie auditioners). Then Rachel reminds Kurt of the raw emotion he brought to “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, dedicated to Kurt’s father while he was in the hospital.  (Actually, I would also mention, “Roses Turn,” “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” Defying Gravity,” “A House Is Not A Home”…shall I stop now?) Kurt doesn’t need no stinking bells and whistles.  Just keep it simple and emotional, she says.

It is the perfect song, because as he tells the audience before he takes the stage, he had only recently come to understand what the song meant. Kurt pours all of the angst from his painful breakup with Blaine into the performance. And it is FLAWLESS and wonderful.  UGH– that it took 9 freaking episodes to finally get another incredible Kurt solo. When he finishes, the audience bursts into applause and gives him a standing ovation. He looks around the room, stunned.  All those losses his senior year at  McKinley—losing the presidential election, the lead role in the musical, a spot at NYADA, his boyfriend—finally Kurt is triumphant, in front of an audience. A tear slides down Kurt’s face as he soaks it in. This win was such a long time coming. Man, that was sweet.

After the showcase, Rachel calls Finn. It turns out she won the competition.  Finn’s feelings are mixed. He’s happy for her, but can’t help feeling like an even bigger loser.  Rachel doesn’t dwell on it. Because she’s called to say that she’d do Glee all over again even if they hadn’t won a thing. It was all about the relationships–and even the romances.  It’s a pretty awesome pep talk she gives Finn, convincing him not to give up on his dreams.  Only Marley shows up at rehearsal on Friday. She’s found them a rehearsal space. Does it matter?  With “Don’t You Forget About Me,” playing in the background, Finn pens an email  to send to everyone in the club that basically reiterates the Rachel pep talk. Finn asks the club to meet after school.  Standing in a snowy school courtyard with Finn, waiting for the others to show up, Marley apologizes for scuttling their chances at Sectionals. But Finn doesn’t want to hear it.  “You and I are still here, right?” Finn asks before the two launch into “Don’t Dream It’s Over”.  And of course, the rest of club eventually arrives.

During the song, we cut to Kurt in New York, staring shocked as he reads a letter.  But this time, it’s not bad news. He’s been accepted to NYADA! He and Rachel hug ecstatically. In Glee, even when it seems the dream is over, it never truly is.

Other than the eating disorder plotline, and a few concerns I have with the Bram romance (We’ll see how that plays out) I loved this episode. I especially dug the Broadway heave soundtrack. The scenes at the NYADA showcase were just stunning. Can Rachel and Kurt sing ever week? Pretty please? I’m still dreaming of that New York City spinoff that will never happen. What could have been.

Performance Videos

Something Stupid – Sam and Brittany

All That Jazz – Rachel and Cassie

Being Good – Rachel

O Holy Night – Rachel

“Being Alive” – Kurt

Don’t Dream It’s Over – New Directions

About mj santilli 33870 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!