December 13, 2012 7:40pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee' Recap: The 9 Sweetest Holiday Presents From 'Glee, Actually'
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's Glee, Actually, episode of the Fox series.]
It's Christmas (and Hanukkah) time on Fox's Glee and the musical dramedy took a page out of Love, Actually's playbook and presented five mini-stories that all wrapped up with a big red bow during Thursday's midseason finale.
Featuring stories revolving around Artie, Kurt, Brittany and Sam as well as the Puckerman brothers, the episode was jam-packed with candy cane sweetness and yuletide cheer -- despite some sad news for Kurt's father, Burt (Mike O'Malley). Here are the nine sweetest moments from the episode.
1. Artie realizes that he's really the glue that holds New Directions together. After hitting his head after crashing his wheelchair on an icy ramp, he dreams that the car crash never happened and in that world, Rory is his guardian angel, the glee club never formed, Finn, Puck and the boys are all homophobic bullies and Kurt is a year behind with Blaine never even entering the picture. Worst of all, Mr. Shue is a drunk and still married to Teri and Quinn died after never emotionally recovering from her car crash. Turns out Artie was the "quiet, steady beating heart of the glee club."
2. Burt heads to New York to visit Kurt, bringing with him a Christmas tree and memories of his son's late mother -- and the bad news that he has prostate cancer. Though it was caught early, Burt tells his NYADA-bound son the best advice he's learned: keep the people you care about close to you no matter what.
3. Blaine reveals his post-graduation plans are to apply to NYADA -- so long as Kurt doesn't mind (which he doesn't). It comes after they share a fun night on the ice and vow to always be there for one another, with both taking Burt's advice to heart -- and Blaine promising to keep an eye on Burt.
4. The Puckerman brothers unite for Hannukah in L.A. in a scene on the Paramount lot where eagle-eyed viewers could spot Glee EP Ian Brennan directing a faux scene straight out of a Boardwalk Empire gangster drama. After Jake learns Puck's lavish L.A. life is a ruse, the half-brothers head back to Ohio and reunite their mothers over a holiday dinner at (where else!) Breadstix, where a new family tradition is born.
5. Brittany and Sam tie the (Mayan) knot. The new couple take advantage of what they think are the last few days on Earth and get hitched after Coach Bieste is "ordained." The references to the world's end -- sea monsters! crocodiles! -- is super cute, as are Sam's vows to his "super hot and really smart" soul mate.
6. Sue Sylvester turns Santa when she draws Marley's mom Millie Rose in the faculty Secret Santa hat. Overhearing that the family can't afford holidays -- and would rather use what money they do have treating Marley's eating disorder -- Sue and Becky break into the Rose household to deliver a Christmas tree complete with gifts and cash.
7. In the end, it's a Hanukkah miracle when Puck reveals he can be a "screenwriter" and pool cleaner from Lima and is moving home to look after Jake.
8. Coach Bieste, for the win: Realizing that Sam and Brittany are "too special," she reveals that they're not really married and she was never ordained by any Mayan church (because the civilization was wiped out 500 years ago, duh!) and saves the couple from what she called a lifetime of mistakes. Britt's response -- she's happy to have more time with Sam but they both miss that feeling that came with living life to its fullest as the football coach gives them an Indiana Jones-style story that brings it all back.
9. Millie thanks Sue for the holiday surprise and attempts to return the money. The two bond over being a single mother and the episode ends with an Artie-organized winter wonderland-themed performance of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that reaches Puck and Jake -- as well as Sam and Brittany -- at Breadstix; and Blaine, Kurt and Burt in New York.
What did you think of Glee, Actually? What do you think Puck will do now that he's back in Lima? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Glee returns Thursday, Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. on Fox.