The New Directions take us to church at sectionals.

By Lincee Ray
March 14, 2015 at 02:10 PM EDT
Credit: Fox
S6 E11

With only one Glee episode left, it’s clear that the writers are working hard to tie a nice, tidy bow around various story lines. I think it was a wise move to devote an entire episode to sectionals. We will need a two-hour series finale to properly say goodbye to the original underdogs who sang their way through the halls of McKinley High. I have no doubt we will all be a blubbering mess by the final curtain call, but we must get through sectionals before we break out the tissues.

Mr. Schuester is living his dream—surrounded by kids who execute his uniquely taught choreography with enthusiasm and pizazz. The Warblers aren’t convinced that the number is good enough to win, especially since some of the New Directions are dead weight. When Spencer takes up for “weighty” Roderick, it is suggested that he fall in line on the back row with his buddy. Both agree to ask Kitty to help them with their dance moves. Spencer attacks a jump spin with reckless abandon and ends up on the floor with a severe ankle sprain. Man down!

Meanwhile, Sam encourages Rachel to think about her future. Is dropping out of NYADA the right move? He leaves her to reflect in the empty auditorium. She gives a confident head nod to Brad the Piano Player, who launches into the opening chords of “Listen To Your Heart.” She strolls to the middle of the stage, sings the first verse, and is joined by none other than Jesse St. James during the chorus. I may have stood up. These two have undeniable chemistry. I’m so glad they brought him back for the final season.

Jesse meets Rachel on the stage. He’s heard a rumor about how she was offered a role in the new Russell Simmons musical opposite one of Broadway’s hottest actors. Guess how Jesse knew about the offer. That’s right. Jesse St. James is the hot actor! This muscial just keeps getting better.

Rachel gently explains to Jesse that she may not take the role. She wants to return to NYADA. He tells her that she belongs on Broadway. Later, Kurt goes one step further to make sure Rachel knows that whatever decision she chooses, Kurt and Blaine will be in New York to support her. He doesn’t want her to forget how she continues to inspire everyone.

That afternoon, the group gathers in the choir room, only to be greeted by several boxes of glitter bombs. Will knows exactly who is behind the sabotage. He makes a mad dash to locate Sue and almost slips in Sam’s puke.

The entire campus is suffering from Montezuma’s revenge. Will finds Sue trespassing in the faculty lounge. She admits that she put eye drops in the school’s water system before she set Will’s car on fire. Will retaliates by posing as Sue’s hair stylist, taping her arms to a chair, and shaving her head slick bald.

This could totally happen. Just go with it.

The day of sectionals finally arrives. Everyone knows this competition is really between New Directions and Vocal Adrenaline. However, the John James Audubon Institute for Rehabilitative Ornithology gets major points for performing with actual falcons. Balancing a predatory bird on your arm and waving gossamer sleeves while singing “Broken Wings” is a true talent. Fly high kids!

Vocal Adrenaline is up next. They take the stage performing acrobatic choreography on movable platforms. Sue swells with pride as the audience members cheer when shiny silver costumes are ripped off to reveal cheerleader uniforms. Everyone claps along to the familiar cadence of “Mickey.” It’s an assault of the senses with partner work, flags, and some sort of jumping apparatus. They finish by shooting an actual person out of a cannon. I guess walking on hot coals does make you a force to be reckoned with in the world of show choirs.

NEXT: Myron rocks a unitard

After that performance, Rachel must give the peppiest of all pep talks to her dazed New Directions team. She ends up making the moment all about herself, thanking everyone in the circle for helping get her groove back. Go team!

Roderick stands on the other side of the curtain where so many stood before him. I’m reminded of Rachel singing “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and “Faithfully” with Finn. We were treated to the nerve-wracking moments right before the first notes of the opening number. I think it’s fitting that Glee’s last sectionals follows that same pattern.

Roderick commands the stage as he sings “Take Me To Church” by Hozier. The New Directions back him up beautifully, with a little duet help from Kitty. I thought everything, down to the lighting, was extremely well done.

Madison and Kitty drive the next number with some artistic help from Myron. The song is “Chandelier” and Myron plays the part of Maddie Ziegler’s character from the Sia video. Thank goodness he committed by wearing a nude leotard and white wig, or we would have all been thoroughly confused. Suddenly Spencer swings in on a chandelier. This is way cooler than wobbling in on crutches.

Mason and Madison use their twin powers to finish strong with “Come Sail Away.” I have a hunch that most of the Glee viewing audience had to Google the hit song from the ‘70s, but it was a fun way to end the set. The audience must be huge Styx fans, because they absolutely loved it.

Fortunately for the New Directions, the judges also loved it enough to award them first place at sectionals. More glitter! More big trophies! The Glee Club is saved!

Sue congratulates Will in the hallway and he immediately becomes suspicious. She confesses that she handed the victory to New Directions on a silver platter. Will laughs, but it’s true. The numbers Sue chose for Vocal Adrenaline were subliminal messages of pain based on the deep background checks she conducted on the judges. The puking fiasco actually produced a burst of cortisol that boosts alertness, followed by a calming sensation that kicked in right as the kids went on stage.

When Will stares blankly at her confession, she becomes irritated at his lack of praise and thanksgiving. She changes her mind and vows to destroy Will and the Glee Club. There’s the Sue we all know and love to hate.

Back in the auditorium, Rachel breaks the news to Jesse that she turned down the Broadway part. She’s going back to NYADA. Jesse admits that he is disappointed that he won’t be spending every night on stage with her, but he’s glad Berry is back. Surely they are bound to run into each other every once in a while. Then he kisses her and she blushes.

I personally like Rachel and Jesse together. Even if it isn’t resolved on the show next week, they are totally an item in my head right now. Team St. Berry!

The next day, everyone gathers around to gawk at their sectionals trophy. All of the advisors promise to support the Glee Club, no matter where they are in their lives. Kitty suggests they put the old trophies in the cabinet with the new ones. We are treated to a lovely montage of “trophy” moments from past seasons. It’s clear that while one chapter is ending, another one is beginning. Glee Club forever.

Musical Notes

“Listen To Your Heart” by Roxette

Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff are individually talented people. When you put them together, they are phenomenal. Their chemistry is palpable. It jumps off the screen. I found myself grinning the entire performance. It was a perfect song for that moment. Their harmonies were tight. It was my favorite performance of the night.

“We Built This City” by Starship

Vocal Adrenaline pulled out all the theatrical stops on this number. The choreography was high energy and all over the map. Their costumes were flashy and simple, which made sense when they were whipped off for the second number. I thought the vocals were on par with what we’ve come to expect from this group.

“Mickey” by Toni Basil

When Vocal Adrenaline launched into “Mickey,” I didn’t know where to look. Clothes were stripped, people were tumbling, boys were tossing girls around, a trio of flag people came out midway through, and a guy on jumping stilts pulled focus any time he was on the stage. It was a hot mess, but in an entertaining way.

“Take Me To Church” by Hozier

Noah Guthrie can sing. I was thrilled to see that Roderick took the lead on this song for New Directions. It was a great choice for his voice. I did want a little bit more of the “amen” portion of the song before they got to the chorus, but it was still a nice performance all around. The purple lights, the steady choir, and Roderick’s commitment to the piece were all on point.

“Chandelier” by Sia

I thought Madison and Kitty sounded great together. I was glad New Directions featured another current song in their setlist. Myron dancing around was an interesting choice. He certainly claimed the performance. I thought the entire ensemble did a great job.

“Come Sail Away” by Styx

This was an odd song choice in my opinion, but it was performed well. There wasn’t anything that stood out as a stellar moment. It was simply a fun, safe piece.

Sound Bites

“You’re going to point a cannon at me? Oh hell no!”—Ohio State Vice-Comptroller Donna Landries, voting against Vocal Adrenaline

“I thought they all needed to lose a few pounds. There’s nothing like a day-long projectile vomiting sesh to jump start the old metabolism.”—Sue, admitting to putting something in the water supply

Episode Recaps


Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.

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