Oh, Glee. You just had to go there with another holiday episode, didn't you? All so you could market the holiday album you said you weren't releasing this year.
We should've known a) that you would release an album, because hello, it's just too easy and b) you would sell it to us via a ridiculously cheesy episode ill-placed within the season's narrative.
Glee Season 5 Episode 8 didn't need to happen. But now that it has, here's what I thought.
I really do try to find the good in every episode. I try. Really. But with an episode like this one, there's only so much good to be found.
First of all, I know the writers were going with some alternate reality theory for how this episode came to be, but it's impossible to believe that this was actually an episode filmed over a year ago when vital members of the events of a year ago were missing. Without Brittany and Finn, this didn't work.
Sure, Santana gave a one-liner to a kid about how she and her girlfriend were broken up, but that didn't explain Brittany's absence from McKinley and their live nativity. She was still a student about to get Mayan-married to Sam and unaware that a college believed her to be a super-genius who doodled high-level mathematics in crayon on the back of her notebooks.
Finn was manning the ship at McKinley while Shue was in Washington. That was actually a GIANT part of all of last season, in case we'd all forgotten that.
Saying "oh, hey, we filmed this episode first, but it was terrible so we gave you a different one instead and here's this one now" was even more silly than Glee usually is. Which means it was an over-the-top and ridiculous premise.
And yes, before you guys say it, I know this wasn't actually filmed last year. I wasn't born yesterday.
Now that we've talked about the missing cast members, let's talk about what actually happened tonight that never would've happened ever in a public high school.
A live Nativity. A quest for the Virgin Mary. Nope. Not happening by the general population of a typical American high school.
Do choirs sing religious holiday songs? Yes, in concerts. Not while dressed up as Mary, Joseph, the wise men, and an angel while someone else poses as the baby Jesus.
(Exception: Religious clubs operating in a high school might do this. The glee club at McKinley isn't a religious group.)
The setup for the live Nativity gave us "Love Child" which gave us Kitty's face throughout the entire performance. I would probably watch an entire episode of Becca Tobin's face in that scene because it was perfect and priceless and mirrored my own for the rest of the entire episode.
As for the Becky and Sam and her wanting to have sex with his face, sometimes Glee pushes the envelope too far with Becky Jackson, and lately it's felt that way more often than not. It won't hurt to scale it back a bit, writers.
New York worked almost entirely because last season New York was just Rachel and Kurt (until Burt showed up with Blaine, that is, and dropped the bombshell that he had prostate cancer).
There's not much else to say about New York because it was legitimate fluff in an episode full of the stuff. There wasn't really much historical rewrite happening there, so there's not much to take issue with.
Having Santana drop in for a long weekend visit was at least plausible. She had the best lines of the night, as per usual. And that sexy Santa? Well, yeah. He was definitely sexy.
(But still, it's New York in December. Walking around the city shirtless seems illogical at best.)
Their helium-fueled rendition of "The Chipmunk Song" kind of felt like the music department had run out of songs for them to sing though. Of all the Christmas songs in all the world, that's the one they went with?
Here's what I want Glee to do next year. Are you listening to me writers? This is going to be THE BEST idea you will ever get for free on the internet. PROMISE. (Except I totally said this last year and you didn't listen to me then so I'm bracing myself for next season already.)
Just record a holiday special that isn't trying to tell a story. Get up on a stage with a pretty backdrop and Brad the piano guy and just sing some songs. Then sell those songs. People will still watch and buy.
If you air it, they will come.
What did you think of Glee Season 5 Episode 8? Did you love or hate this year's holiday episode? What do you hope Glee brings when it returns in February?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.