'Glee' Recap: Christmas Cheer, Mayan Weddings and Hanukkah Miracles

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As any Gleek knows, Glee's annual Christmas episodes are like a "Get Out of Jail Free" card for Ryan Murphy -- and Thursday's episode surely proved that.

"Glee, Actually" was pretty much everything that's wrong with the FOX comedy wrapped in a pretty 42-minute package and tied with an obnoxious bow. From black-and-white dream sequences to shock weddings and "Rosie O'Donnell‘s gay holiday cruise," this was surreality at its finest. In other words, there were few highlights in this otherwise forgettable episode, which followed various gleeks as they celebrated the holidays.

Note: Spoilers if you haven’t watched Thursday’s episode, “Glee, Actually.”

While Rachel (Lea Michele) is off to join her dads on "Rosie O'Donnell‘s gay holiday cruise" for Christmas, Kurt (Chris Colfer) decides to spend Christmas alone in New York City. But Burt (Mike O'Malley) -- TV's No. 1 dad -- has different plans, as he surprises his son with a Christmas tree and their family ornaments.

But after the father-son pair take in the Great White Way, Burt reveals he had another reason for visiting: He has prostate cancer. What the what?! My heart can't take anymore of this. "It's really scary to think that when I finally meet my destiny, you won't be around to see it," Kurt says. However, Burt promises, "I will be there."  Cue the Christmas tears.

After Kurt gifts his father with a NYADA hat and shirt, Burt tells him his present is waiting for him at the ice skating rink. Enter Blaine (Darren Criss), who promises Kurt he'll look after his dad in Lima. The duo then get their annual Christmas duet in just before midnight ("White Christmas") -- in ice skates, no less!

"Even if we're not together, we are always going to be there for each other," Blaine says. Klaine fans may not have gotten the romantic rekindling we wanted, but I'm OK with it. Kurt and Blaine are both maturing, and that's the important part. And with Blaine possibly attending NYADA in the fall, anything could happen!

Meanwhile, back at McKinley, Artie (Kevin McHale) finds himself in a situation straight out of It's A Wonderful Life, complete with a black-and-white filter.

Artie suffers a nasty fall when his wheelchair slips on the ice. "I'm tired of being in this damn chair," he tells Finn. "I just wish I was never in that dumb chair." Be careful what you wish for, Artie! Have you learned nothing from ABC's annual It's a Wonderful Life marathon?

When Artie wakes up, he can walk! And Rory (Damian McGinty) -- remember him? -- is his guardian Christmas angel. I guess it's a step up from Christmas leprechaun. It doesn't take long for Artie to realize that in this life, he's a bully, as are the rest of the glee club guys, including Finn and Sam. Even worse? Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) never met, the New Directions don't exist, Will (Matthew Morrison) is an alcoholic and he never divorced his crazy wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig).

"Everything's wrong," Artie tells Rory, who reveals that Artie was "the glue of glee." Well, duh. I've been saying that for the past two years.

So Artie decides to round up the glee club and perform "Feliz Navidad" for the group to convince them that they're meant to be together. It doesn't exactly work as planned. Rory then drops an even bigger bomb: In this timeline, Quinn (Dianna Agron) dies -- of a broken heart, obviously. Without Artie and glee club, she was never able to learn how to walk again after her debilitating car accident.

Thankfully, it was all a dream, as Artie wakes up with a newfound respect for his chair. "This chair is a part of me. It's made me who I am," he tells Finn. Lesson learned.

If only Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Brittany (Heather Morris) -- McKinley's dumb blond superduo -- could be so lucky! Easily the silliest of all these holiday tales is Sam and Brittany's Mayan wedding pact. Brittany, believing the world will end on Dec. 21, cashed in her savings to give her friends extravagant gifts and starts the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse Club (or, the "Let's Tell Each Other How We Really Feel Club") with fellow believer Sam.

After Sam performs "Jingle Bell Rock" for Brittany in the school library, he breaks out another kind of rock: an engagement ring! Yes, the duo gets married. Sam calls Brittany his "soul mate"; she says he had her James Earl Jones. It's cute is a weird kind of way. But don't worry Brittana fans, Sam and Brit survive the apocalypse  and as it turns out, their marriage was never really real. Thank the glee gods.

As for Marley (Melissa Benoist), her holiday season is looking pretty bleak after her mom Millie (Trisha Rae Stahl) says there will be no presents this year. Instead, all her money is going to an eating disorder  therapist for Marley. But Marley's more bummed about not having a Christmas tree to decorate. OK, so she's also sad she ruined Christmas.

"You want to give me a gift? Sing me something," her mom tells her. So Marley obliges and sings "The First Noel," as Sue (Jane Lynch), who has Millie for the staff's Secret Santa gift exchange, watches. At that moment, Sue, overcome with the giving spirit, decides to gift Marley and her mom a Christmas tree -- and $800!

In the end, Marley -- with Artie's help -- surprises Sue with a glee club Christmas carol, much to Sue's obvious disdain. Was it just me or did the entire set-up look like a Gap commercial? Between the hats, the cable-knit sweaters, the fake snow and the fake smiles, Marley and Co. look like they just stepped out of a holiday shopping catalogue.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: I'm sorry, but there's no way Quinn could have died from a broken heart. That's too surreal even for Glee.

Thank you, TV gods.: Artie may be the glue that holds the glee club together, but Kurt and Burt's perfect father-son relationship is the glue that holds Glee together. I don't think I could have asked for a more touching Kurt/Burt scene. And when Blaine told Kurt he'd keep an eye on Burt for him, I most definitely felt my heartstrings flutter.

Awk-ward: When Jake and Puck bring their moms together for a super awkward Christmas dinner at Breadstix, I physically cringed -- especially since Jake's mom was the other woman. "He ran out on all of us," Jake says of their father. "We're a family, a pretty messed up one, but still a family."  Of course, they all bond over calling their dad an "ass." Now that sounds more like a typical family Christmas!

Hotness: What's better than one Puckerman? TWO Puckermans! With Puck returning to Lima, here's hoping Puck and Jake get more screen time together -- preferably shirtless.

Fab-u-lous: OK, so Kurt and Burt may be my favorite father-son duo on TV (sorry, Phil and Luke Dunphy), but I may have just found my new favorite mother-daughter pair -- notwithstanding Lorelai and Rory Gilmore -- in Millie and Marley Rose.

Can. Not. Wait.: How will the arrival of Oliver Kieran-Jones' character affect Kurt and Blaine's on-off relationship?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 6 -- Just another silly Glee Christmas episode. It's episodes like this that make Glee one of the most hate-watched shows on TV.

Below, take a look the latest scoop from Glee newbie Blake Jenner. Glee airs Thursdays at 9 PM on FOX. 

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