The other arc happening at McKinley this week is Brittany (Heather Morris) getting with Sam (Chord Overstreet). This has been telegraphed all fall, but it doesn't make the inevitable kiss any easier to swallow. Even a decent duet of "Somethin' Stupid" doesn't make their pairing feel right, and hopefully the relationship will be short-lived, like Brittany's previous dalliance with Artie.
The reason I don't like Sam and Brittany as a pair is not because she is previously part of a lesbian couple, despite what her character says on screen in acknowledgement to fan resistance; Brittany is established pretty firmly as being bi-sexual in earlier seasons. Instead, it's because they just don't feel right together. There is no spark, no warmth, no connection. I like both of the characters very much, and they deserve better than being thrust together just because they are blond and ditzy.
On to New York City, where "Swan Song" shines. Rachel (Lea Michelle) continues to butt heads with Cassandra (Kate Hudson), which leads to a terrific dance off while singing "All That Jazz." For a bit, Rachel keeps up, really allowing Michelle to show off just how deep her talent goes, and illustrating the growth of the character. In the end, though, the dancing vet, Cassandra, wins out with the physical moves.
It's nice to see Rachel find her niche, and learn something about herself. She may not be great at dancing, but the confrontation leads her to redouble her confidence about her singing ability. The dance classes will still be important, as she will have a better chance at parts on Broadway if she is well rounded. But with a rare voice like Rachel's, there is no denying the power she has, and that she can succeed without being the best mover on the floor.
Rachel has ample opportunity to flaunt her talent when Carmen Tibideaux (Whoopi Goldberg) selects her for a special Winter Showcase, the first freshman picked in years. Rachel's "Being Good Isn't Good Enough" brings down the house, so much so that she is allowed an encore of "O Holy Night." Both numbers soar, and it's not hard to believe at all when Rachel wins against more experienced upperclassmen. Her voice, and the way that she uses it, is rare, even in the company of other performers.