Glee Season 4 – “Thanksgiving” – Recap, Photos, Videos (UPDATED)


Tonight, the Glee graduates return to Lima to celebrate Thanksgiving. Well, most of them do. Kurt and Rachel, after a disastrous reunion with their exes at the “Grease” performance, decide to have a Kiki in New York City with Sarah Jessica Parker instead! Also, it’s the big SECTIONALS competition! New Directions face off against the Warblers.

Look for: The graduates to sing a mash up of “Homeward Bound” and Phillip Phillips’ “Home”!

I’ll be back with a longer recap later.

After a couple of really great Glee episodes, I’m not going to lie. “Thanksgiving” fell flat. First of all, watching Kurt and Rachel stroll around New York City before throwing a major “kiki” in their apartment for Thanksgiving, once again, had me wishing “Glee” was all NYC all the time. I had some REAL problems with the Lima side of the equation this week. For instance—the Sectionals competition takes place ON Thanksgiving? Really? Can you say contrived plot device? I give the writers points for trying to explain it away (high schools have foot ball games on Thanksgiving!) but I’m still not buying it. And the bulimia plotline? Oy. More on that later.

First, a plot rundown.

The episode opens with the graduates—Mercedes, Finn, Puck, Quinn, Mike and Santana having an emotional reunion in the auditorium. I wasn’t sure about the “Homeward Bound/Home” mashup when I first heard the audio, but it worked beautifully in this scene, like a sweet prayer as the long lost friends reunited. A fab opening!

Homeward Bound/Home

But then we see Marly in voice over. She continues to struggle with bulimia, Unfortunately, Glee doesn’t have a great track record when they take on big “issues.” The writers tend to preach, or glib right through complicated situations.  I’m not buying Marly suddenly becoming anorexic due to the manipulations of one, obviously crazy person (Kitty).

At a Breadstix graduates reunion dinner we learn: Rachel and Quinn text each other all the time. Kurt and Blaine? Not so much. Finn seems perfectly fine post-Rachel break up. And Quinn is soaring at Yale. She’s working hard to keep straight As and has been tapped for membership in a super-snooty all female sorority.  Former members include–Hilary Clinton and Jennifer Beals!  But in the meantime, Finn has a favor to ask. He’d like the graduates to each mentor a New Directions newbie

Back in the choir room, Finn introduces his old pals to New Directions as “glee club royalty!” Here’s how the pairings go down.  Puck is paired with little bro, Jake. Santana is teamed up with Marly, Mike and Ryder are matched up, and Mercedes gets to mentor her friend, Unique.

Kitty immediately begins kissing Quinn’s ass, while wise Santana gives her the side eye.  It’s awesome to have Naya Rivera back as Santana. She is still my favorite girl. I’m praying that she eventually ditches cheerleading school to join Kurt and Rachel in NYC.  Anyway, when Finn announces that the group will perform “Gangnam Style” at Nationals, Santana unleashes a torrent of snark.  “You’re still an idiot! Nobody in this room can tackle a dance number except for Brit. And that includes your little hand jive which looked more like a hand j…” Ha! Mercifully, she’s interrupted by Joe, who pleads, “Is there any way Mr. Schue can come back?”

In order to beat the Warblers, Finn explains, the group needs an ambitious number with a strong dance element. He is SURE the group can pull the song off.   Ryder worries that his mentor, Mike, who is “volunteered” by Finn to help teach the steps–will think he’s a dolt. So, here is where things get complicated. Jake grabs Ryder out in the hall to confess that he and Marly went out on a date.  When Ryder realizes that Jake truly cares for Marly, he accepts the situation, but then jokingly (but not really) asks Jacob not to “snake” the dance lead from him. “You don’t get to have everything at this school.”

Whoops. The boys will be vying for the lead in an upcoming dance off. Jake, who studies dance, is really the guy for the job.  But, not wanting to jeopardize his new friendship with Ryder, he decides to hide his light under a bushel.

Cut to New York! Rachel and Kurt are walking down the street arm in arm. Rachel didn’t get cast in the “Glass Menagerie”, but she survived the audition!   Kurt put in his application to Nyada. But on stationary, so it would stand out. Doesn’t flaunting his internship telegraph to the school that Kurt may not be 100 percent committed to theater?

The pair discusses their decision to stay in New York City, and Rachel seems way more committed to the idea than Kurt does. Why do I get the feeling Rachel may have twisted Kurts’s arm a bit? “You are the only significant other I need in my life,” cries Rachel.  The two are on the verge of becoming the best versions of themselves, she insists. They don’t’ need heartbreakers like Finn, Brody and Blaine in their lives. Yeah right!

Back in Lima, Mike and Puck lead the boys’ dance off. Jake biffs the routine on purpose, while Ryder  busts a few of his endzone moves,  and is chosen as lead.

Meanwhile, Santana, Quinn and Brittany entertain the girls with tales of how they ruled the school as the “unholy trinity”.   In order to show the newbies how to move in synchronicity and impress the judges at the same time, with their feminine wiles, the trio sing “Come See About Me. The performance is  fun and reminiscent of the girls New Directions “Say a Little Prayer” audition way back when.  I guess Santana and Brittany are OK post break up? They behave as if they are still the best of friends.  Meanwhile, Santana notices that Marly doesn’t look so good.

Come See About Me

Out in the hall, Kitty goes to work on Quinn, revealing a “What Would Quinn Fabray do?” poster in her locker before feeling her a  lie about how Jake is pressuring Marly to have sex with him. Quinn figures “like baby daddy like little brother” and assumes the gossip is true.

Meanwhile, Marly expresses concern that Jake botched his opportunity to take the dance lead. In return, her new boyfriend promises to help Ryder with his moves to ensure their chances at sectionals aren’t jeopardized.

Back in NYC, Rachel confronts Brody, who is subbing for Cassandra in dance class. Rachel is pissed that he slept with teacher. Brody points out that Rachel ran back to her boyfriend, leaving him free to do whatever with whomever.  As Ryder twirls Rachel around the room in a foxtrot, he reminds her that they aren’t in high school anymore. They are adults making adult decisions. But…Rachel HATES CASSIE.  “We’re friends, and I don’t want to hurt you,” says Brody, finally. He agrees not to sleep with Rachel’s arch enemy again.

When Rachel learns that Brody has no Thanksgiving plans, she invites him to her and Kurt’s “orphan Thanksgiving” in Bushwick. Brody, once a victim of Rachel’s terrible cooking, volunteers to make dinner.

Puck learns that Jake threw the dance off for Ryder’s sake (bros before hos! says an impressed Puck) just as they run into Quinn in the hall. She reads Jake the riot act for taking advantage of Marly.  Puck, noting that his ex and baby mama is wearing her “loopy” girl look, tells her that she’s out of line.  Quinn warns them that if Marly is distracted, the club won’t win sectionals.

Cut to Kurt shutting off the lights at before he leaves for the night. Oops, he shuts the lights off on Isabelle, who is still working away in her office.  Embarrassed, Kurt sits down to chat.  Sadly for the past 5 years, Isabelle had spent Thanksgiving with Gore Vidal. But now that he’s passed away, she plans to eat turkey pizza at home.  But when Kurt invites her out to Bushwick for dinner, she finds the invite quaint and accepts for herself and a few of her friends.

Isabelle is happy to see Kurt in a better mood. Has he made amends with Blaine? Kurt explains that he’s closing the book on that chapter in his life. Kurt sent Blaine a text, asking him to please quit calling him to say he’s sorry.  Isabelle gently suggests that in order to move on, Kurt may need to accept Blaine’s apology. “Sometimes it’s the not forgiving that holds us back,” says a wise Isabelle. And I TOTALLY HAVE A NEW SHIP. Kurt has a true mentor who really gets him. And Kurt’s energy and enthusiasm motivates Isabelle to keep striving.  Kisabelle?  I like it.

Back in Ohio, Quinn gives Kitty some tips on how to flirt with the judges.  It’s disappointing to see the return of crazy, self absorbed Quinn, who totally buys into Kitty’s suck up act.  If Quinn were allowed some real character growth, she’d be written as older, wiser, and able to help Kitty mend her evil ways. But I guess that wouldn’t serve the plot.

Instead, Santana who sees right through Kitty, and is pissed that the psycho cheerleader is giving her girl Marly laxatives (yeah, that’s happening), gets into a verbal sparring match with Quinn.  The argument turns into a slapping match when Santana reminds her friend that she barely visits her kid. Burn. We also learn that Quinn is partying with celebrities and having an affair with a married professor.  Nice.  “Quinn was always a genius slapper,” says Santana, when Brittany enters the room to break things up.

Meanwhile, poor Ryder can’t sing Korean and dance at the same time. Jake drops in to give him a few pointers. When Ryder confesses that he practices things over and over again until he gets it, Jake asks him if he did an apple pie 500 times before he had sex. Ryder laughs, “That’s exactly what I did, but I wore condoms, so I didn’t make any apple fritters.”  Did we just learn that Ryder isn’t a virgin? And that convo + the earlier hand job joke?  Never would have happened at 8 pm.

After Jake shows him a few moves, it’s clear to Ryder who should have the lead. But Jake insists on keeping his promise not to step on his new friend’s toes.  Plus, he’s kind of embarrassed that he’s trained in ballet. They watch the “Gangam Style” video on the laptop Blaine and Sam nicked from Dalton during last week’s Nationals trophy bust-out. Ha.

Back in New York, the gang prepares for dinner.  A turkey war threatens to break out between Kurt and Brody when the latter insists on cooking the bird in a bag.  And then Kurt is all “ew ew ew” as Brody and Rachel nearly turn buttering the bird with their bare into a makeout session. Rachel seems to be over that Cassie thing.  It’s just like “The Big Chill”, says Kurt. Ha. As Rachel remembers her first sectionals, the action cuts to Lima where Marly, still a mess, gives herself a Rachel-like pep talk in the mirror.

It’s getting close to showtime, and Marly is dizzy, hungry and tired from starving herself all week.  She accidentally leaves a pill on the sink in the girls’ room. We know THAT’S going to come back to haunt her. And look at Unique! She’s back in a dress–but against her parents’ wishes.  “If I’m not true to myself while performing,” Unique confesses to Marly, “There won’t be anything inside myself to protect.”

It’s show circle time. Joe leads the gang in prayer–Old Testament, to be inclusive and all. “So do not fear because I am with you. Do not be dismayed, I will strengthen you. I will uphold you with my righteous hand…”  Then Artie chimes in, “And our righteous dance moves, AMEN!”

After the introduction of the sectionals judges, which includes the town paper’s obituary editor, chief historian of the Lima locomotive museum (wearing a conductor’s hat) and Defiance County’s catfish queen (sash and all), the Warblers take the stage.  Creepy Warbler captain, Hunter Clarington, introduces the boys. He sings lead on Flo-Rida’s “Whistle”, and like last week’s “Stronger” I’m annoyed by the whistling.  Hunter isn’t a very charismatic lead singer. No wonder they wanted Blaine back so much. Hunter does a mean back flip. I’ll give him that.

Next, Sebastian takes the lead on “Live While We’re Young.”   That bad boy has some charm!  And the production features some cool dance tricks—kicks and flips! But god, I hate the percussion on this song. Bring back the Tufts Beelzebubs!

Warblers – Whistle – Sectionals

Warblers – Live While We’re Young – Sectionals

Back in New York, Rachel is missing holiday sing alongs with her dads.  Kurt assures her that as long as they are in each other’s lives, holiday medleys will never be over!  As Brody takes the turkey out of the oven (Kurt’s skipping the bird, after the two manhandled it) the guests arrive.

Oh my. Isabelle invited ALL of her downtown friends!  A gaggle of fashionistas, drag queens and glamour pusses enter the apartment, and the fun begins!  Isabelle (Sarah Jessica Parker ) begins the opening monologue from the Scissor Sisters’ “Let’s Have  a Kiki” as she climbs the subway stairs and enters the loft with dessert.   Isabelle, Kurt and Rachel trade off lines, and the performance is pure awesome camp.  Rachel can’t help but turn the number into a Broadway “Turkey Lurkey” from  Promises Promises. Can we keep Glee in NYC and never ever leave?

Let’s Have a Kiki/Turkey Lurkey

But alas, we are back in Ohio. Will makes it back from DC just in time to reunite with Emma for the New Direction’s performance. Sue is there too, with her baby in her arms. Mama Rose is in the house as well. But first up is the Rosedale Mennonites. Dressed OLD SCHOOL, they sing “Over the River and Through the Woods” mashed up with “Comin Round the Mountain”.  It’s the Osmonds dressed as Prairie folk. Santana is all WTF. That shit needs to be GIFed.

The Rosedale Mennonites – Sectionals

Backstage, New Directions get ready to hit the stage. The kids get excited when Sam spots Will out in the audience. Then…Blaine’s phone buzzes.  It’s Kurt.


Before Blaine can say a word, Kurt pours his heart out.  He believes that Blaine is truly sorry for cheating on him, but he’s just not ready to forgive…yet.  Nevertheless, it’s Thanksgiving, and it’s sectionals. “I miss you like crazy,” Kurt says, his voice cracking.  “I can’t stand not talking to you, even though I’m still mad at you,” says Kurt. “’Cause you’re still my best friend.”   Blaine tears up on the other end of the phone line. These two are breaking my heart.  “You’re mine too,” Blaine chokes out.  Kurt suggests a mature heart to heat at Christmas time. Maybe the two can go ice skating on the river.  And get hot chocolate. But NOT at the Lima Bean. Kurt saw a mouse when he was working there.  Blaine squeaks out a laugh. He can’t believe he’ll be seeing Kurt in a few short weeks.  Kurt wishes Blaine good luck (Don’t let any of those hideous Warblers win) and a Happy Thanksgiving. “Kurt, I love you so much,” whispers Blaine into the phone, before they hang up. “I love you too,” says Kurt. AND Klaine continues to be the most believable and grown up couple on Glee. The end.

When Kurt leaves the fire escape, one look at his face and Isabelle knows what happened. She wraps Kurt up in a big emotional hug as tears slide down his face. KISABELLE. YES.

Back in Ohio (BOO), Marly sits at a dressing table. Her hands are shaking. I think we know where this is going.   Jake knows there is something wrong. Marly confesses that she hasn’t slept in days and is sweating when it’s not even hot.  She feels like if New Directions loses, it will be all her fault. We’re a little self-absorbed here, now aren’t we? Ryder is behind a curtain listening in, before he interrupts to ask Jake to take his spot as lead dancer. First, he fakes (badly) a sprained ankle, then admits that he’s willing to give up his lead role to allow the BEST DANCER to take center stage.  So Jake gets the lead AND the girl.  Ryder is disappointed, but he wants New Directions to win more than anything.

Does anyone else find it ironic that when Tina finally gets a competition solo she’s singing a joke Asian song in Korean? It’s not just me, right?  It’s a big, fun number. But, better than the Warblers? I’m not so sure.

But we don’t learn who wins the competition, because as many of you probably saw coming, just as the number finishes. Marly faints.


Gangnam Style

Next week’s promo for “Swan Song” hints that New Directions may be disqualified from the competition.  And New Directions may be over, if Sue has her way. Wait…this is Season 4, right?

I hope this bulimia storyline winds down soon, because I am not digging it. It didn’t start out on a believable foot.  Marly thinks she’s gaining weight because her “Grease” clothes are tight? What about the rest of her wardrobe? And doesn’t she have a scale at home? Or how about consulting a doctor? Does a psychological issue like bulimia just appear out of nowhere because one obviously psycho bitch suggests it? Is it a good idea to teach kids how to be bulimic through the magic of TV? So many questions, so few answers.   Glee as a night time version of an after school special is my least favorite thing, ever.

Next Week – Swan Song

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About mj santilli 34992 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!