Do you know how I’ve complained for about two entire seasons how Glee takes itself way too seriously and isn’t fun or good anymore? Well, “Props” is the answer to my prayers. It’s easily my favorite episode of the past two seasons, and quite possibly one of the best episodes the show has ever made.

Heck, even the overly dramatic moments with Puck and Beiste feel authentic and fit perfectly into the rest of the episode. The theme of “Props” is basically the original theme of the show that was lost somewhere along the way. Everyone is unique, everyone is special, and, as Tina says, “It takes a lot of crystals to make something shine.”

How to Win at Nationals

Sue learns that the cross-dressing Unique is a smash hit for Vocal Adrenaline and realizes New Directions needs to step it up. She orders Kurt to go drag for their Nationals performance, but he refuses. However, we do see that he’s not opposed to a dress because we learn he and Blaine went trick-or-treating as Snooki and The Situation. Why in the name of all that is holy did we not get to see that Halloween episode?

Sue’s other big plan for Nationals is to use props for their “Flashdance…What a Feeling” performance (which is eventually scrapped). She suggests metal grinders, welding helmets and leg warmers, which is almost as entertaining as when the group sits in awe while watching Vocal Adrenaline do the human centipede.

Tina Demands Respect

When Rachel is given the big solo for Nationals, Tina makes her move. After the opening narration guy for the episode went on and on about how Tina has never had a storyline for three seasons, she wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Her big speech says everything that every fan has said a million times.

What’s worse, Rachel tries to bribe her with $50 to forget about her issues until after Nationals. Even Mike isn’t the supportive boyfriend he should be, saying its Rachel’s senior year and that Tina will get to shine next year. The unintentionally hilarious irony of that statement is that, with news that season 4 will split time between high school and New York, Tina will probably be every bit as ignored next season.

The Great Swap

At the mall Tina falls into a fountain and then proceeds to have a dream sequence that, in my humble opinion, is the best thing Glee has ever done and will ever do. Tina becomes Rachel Berry and gets to live out her fantasy of getting a solo and receiving a standing ovation, but the greatness comes all around. It’s impossible to recap, so I’ll just highlight a few of the many things that made me laugh.

-Brittany as Mercedes saying “Praise!”

-Finn and Puck snuggling up as Kurt and Blaine.

-Mercedes and Artie nuzzling up as Brittany and Santana.

-Kurt as Finn wanting to sex up Tina’s Rachel because her boobs are bigger.

-Rory as Sam getting cozy with Brittany as Mercedes.

-Quinn as Sugar getting cozy with Sam as Rory.

-Blaine’s spot-on impression of Puck looking around aimlessly while crossing his arms.

Rachel and Tina’s Road Trip

After the dream, Tina realizes that Rachel is good and her drive means she deserves to go to NYADA. So Tina offers to drive her to see Carmen Thibodeaux to beg her to come to Nationals to see Rachel perform. It’s a sweet bonding moment between Rachel and Tina, and it’s great that, even in a storyline all about Rachel, Tina is the one who saves the day by giving a big speech about how Rachel might be annoying, but that’s only because she’s destined for success.

Puck and Beiste Aren’t Worthless

Since Kurt refuses to wear a dress for Nationals, Puck decides to do it himself. The sight of Puck in a dress is horrifying (Sue thought he was Beiste’s sister), and it doesn’t get him anything except an ass-kicking from Rick the Stick.

Here’s where things turn dramatic, but since it all started with a guy in a dress, it’s OK. During his fight, Puck brings out a knife which shuts it down and forces Coach Beiste to break it up. It was a prop knife, but it leads to a touching moment in the locker room where Puck breaks down about how worthless he is because he’s failing high school.

That’s when everything clicks in Beiste’s head and she tells him he’s not worthless. Then she goes home and officially leaves Cooter. He yells, asking who will love her now. And her response is simple and beautiful.

This is the way the Beiste storyline should’ve ended the first time around. It’s a serious issue, but it has an uplifting, positive message. In the end, Beiste and Puck sing a duet and she reveals she got him a retest for the exam he failed. And just like that, Puck and Beiste learn that they matter.

Everybody Shines

That’s the moral of this episode as everyone gets ready to go to Nationals. Everybody is important. Even the newbies (Rory, Joe and Sugar) who are forced to make costumes are important. And Sam gets to bust out his brilliant Christopher Walken impression (delivering the amazing “two little mice” speech from Catch Me If You Can). Even in those tiny moments, it’s clear that each and every character, no matter how much the show ignores them, is important and will helps to make New Directions shine.

I wish every single episode of Glee could be this good. And I hope this uplifting story that brought the show back to its roots is a sign that season 4 will see a return to the glory of season 1.

Check Out Our Recap of “Nationals”>>

(Image courtesy of FOX)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.