As dire as this seems, though, there is never any doubt about the end result. Finn and Marley feel bad, they help each other get over it, and then everyone is swayed into returning for a feel good finale to the tune of "Don't Dream It's Over." Not only is this totally predictable, and lets characters off the hook much too easily, the moment is spoiled in FOX's promos for the episode, which is yet another reason to avoid commercials and previews of any kind.
The story of the loss itself is gripping, but the cop out finale somewhat ruins any pathos generated, making "Swan Song" fall flat. Yes, Glee is a tale of triumph. But flopping so big, so early in the season calls for more than a couple of e-mails and a few inspiring words. Presumably, Glee doesn't want to spoil its planned happy Christmas episode. However, the series would have done much, much better to focus on the pathos, rather than the recurring themes of togetherness, a move that has deepened the New York story considerably, which I'll get to in a moment.
And while the New Directions, being disqualified, should be considered third place at Sectionals (out of three), look for the Warblers to be disqualified, too, and the group to get a second chance. If they don't, and are truly done with competition for the year, it will be better for the series, I think, and it would definitely be a surprise.
For some reason, Sugar Motta (Vanessa Lengies) sits this entire fiasco out. She doesn't appear in a single scene, including when the group comes back together in the end. Sure, she's not a main character, but like Unique's (Alex Newell) recent week off, it's a glaring omission that spoils the story, knowing a vital member of the club has just disappeared at an important moment. She needs to be there, at least in the wide shots.
Yet, Kitty (Becca Tobin), whose inclusion in the New Directions still baffles, and who doesn't really seem to care about the club, does come for the cold, outdoor, end performance. Why? It doesn't make ense.