"Swan Song," the latest episode of FOX's Glee, is a mixed bag. Part of the episode is very good, and part of the episode stinks. Scenes and plot make a move for greatness, and then either embrace it, or chicken out. Interestingly, the setting of said scenes tend to be a good indicator as to which end of the spectrum they fall on.
So the New Directions lose Sectionals. Last week's episode ended with them leaving the stage after Marley (Melissa Benoist) faints. Many assumed the club would pick up their performance at the start of the week's installment, and while "Swan Song" does begin moments after the previous episode ended, this is not to be the case.
Sue (Jane Lynch) is the instigator who shuts down the New Directions' chances for good. She has done many mean things, but nitpicking rules to get them disqualified is especially sinister. It seems to just be in the name of fulfilling a personal vendetta against Finn (Cory Monteith) for a rude comment he made weeks ago, as even Sue begins to wonder if she is going too far. But the point is, Sue gets away with it, the glee club season is over, Finn fails as a director, and everyone blames Marley for blowing their shot.
It's a very disheartening episode. "Swan Song" sees the members of the group meandering, several of them feeling very down on themselves, and the seniors losing all hope for their final year. The various singers switch to new clubs far too fast, and are accepted way too readily to be believable into these new groups, especially Artie (Kevin McHale), somehow scoring a band leadership position at a time when marching band is also over for the year. The thing that hits home is that the glee club is kaput, and they are all sad.
The only person that is truly happy about their failure is Brad the Piano Player (Brad Ellis), who gets his first line of the series, despite having appeared throughout, when he thanks Sue for saving him from the rude kids. It's a tongue-in-cheek joke that answers some concerns about realism in the show as a whole, without taking itself too seriously.