Glee wastes no time getting to the music in their latest Christmas episode as “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” opens up with Mercedes’ (Amber Riley) performance of Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” followed quickly by Rory’s (Damian McGinty) performance of Elvis Presley‘s “Blue Christmas.”
Christmas comes early for the Glee Club when the local PBS station needs help with Christmas programming and Artie (Kevin McHale) agrees to take the job of directing the New Directions in a holiday Christmas special, as long as the show is shot in black and white and includes a Star Wars theme (to honor the greatest Christmas special ever). The episode even includes an appearance by Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew).
However, by agreeing to do the PBS special Artie has to break the commitment the Glee Club made to Sue (Jane Lynch) to perform at a local homeless shelter. Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Quinn (Dianna Agron) decide to help out at the shelter, but the rest of the New Directions choose the glamour of public television over the club’s previous commitment.
As the special (and odd mix of a 50’s b&w Christmas special and Star Wars) nears its close, it’s Rory, who is without his family for the first time this Christmas, who reminds the New Directions of the true meaning of the holiday (in typical Linus fashion). Even Rachel (Lea Michele) decides to forgo the gifts she’s been demanding of Finn (Cory Monteith) and embraces the true Christmas spirit.
Other Christmas performances include Rachel singing Joni Mitchell‘s “River,” Blaine (Darren Criss) and Rachel doing an original song “Extraordinary Merry Christmas,” Blaine and Kurt’s (Chris Colfer) duet of “Let It Snow,” Rachel, Mercedes (Amber Riley), Kurt, and Blaine perform “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, Finn and Puck (Mark Salling) perform Bruce Springsteen‘s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” Brittany (Heather Morris) performs The Waitresses‘ “Christmas Wrapping,” and the entire group performs the musical finale Band Aid‘s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
The message of the episode is pretty blatant (and the reference to A Charlie Brown Christmas feels far more like a cheap plagiarisation than a homage) but most of the numbers work well, and I’ll admit (what little we see of) the Star Wars touches are fun. Overall, the year’s Christmas special isn’t nearly as memorable as last year’s, but it is packed with plenty of music and a nice (if extremely hokey and non too subtly expressed) message about the true meaning of the holiday.