How strong were the third- and second-last episodes of the season?
As anyone who has been following my reviews of this third series of Glee so far will know, the current season has been a bit of a mixed bag, lacking direction in its middle portion and often straying a little too far into the bizarre with its song selections. We're now at the penultimate two episodes of Series Three, so I'll split this review of the double-barreled pair into two...
PROPS (4/5)- First up, we got a wacky look from Tina's perspective as to what the various members of the New Directions would look and act like if they switched places for an hour. It's certainly a great concept to throw into the mix this far in, and admittedly something that perhaps only Glee can handle, but as a whole it just felt a bit out of place once the novely of the various 'impressions' the actors had of their co-stars had worn off. Essentially, all of this just helped to set up Tina's convincing Rachel to follow her dreams and convince Carmen Tipideaux to visit her at the Nationals competition, before everyone lamented that this upcoming tournament would be one of their last chances to sing together. I was glad to see the Coach Beiste abuse storyline resolved successfully, though, as that could bode well for the lovable character's role in Series Four amongst the Glee club. Overall, then, a fun episode, albeit a rather unnecessary endeavour at times.
NATIONALS (4/5)- Finales of the hugely sprawling American drama runs are always hard to pull off, so for Nationals to have to carry its weight as something other than a finale when that longer slot is usually given to the current run's big competition episode was always going to be a challenge. As it was, the writers performed admirably in the time they had, pulling out all the stops with songs like Edge Of Glory, We Are The Champions and Paradise By The Dashboard Light to make the main competition a fun and engaging event to sit through. On top of that, we had the actual victory of the New Directions and the touching celebrations back at McKinley High and Will Schuester's winning of the Teacher of the Year award, both of which are important events in terms of the programme's progression that leaves me to wonder where things can go in terms of scale and plot arcs. On a whole, Nationals was just an extremely fun romp, even if we've seen it all before, and nowadays bar the odd standout episode (see On My Way for evidence of that, any chance of Goodbye doing that) that's all we really need and hope for from Glee. A good way to lead into the finale, then!