Part one of a double bill that precedes next week's season finale, 'Props' is Glee in stall-mode but having lots of fun with itself ahead of 'Nationals' (review coming tomorrow). The frankly bizarre plot twist that comes early on feels like a throwback to creator Ryan Murphy's 'Popular' days, but also acts as a chance to tip its hat to one of the show's most undervalued characters - and, in a way, redefine the series in time for Season Four.
Ah, Tina Cohen-Chang. Aka, according to Sue, 'Asian #1'. Also, according to Sue, 'the one who used to stutter'. She's feeling a bit fed up with being at the sidelines all the time, which is bloody fair enough seeing as she's had about five lines all season. However, the writers confront this head-on and use Tina's jealousy of Glee club's leading lady Rachel as a step-off point for an episode that doesn't hesitate to mock the twists and turns the series has taken, as well as setting up Jenna Ushkowitz's inevitable starring role next season when all the graduating seniors have buggered off. On a costume run for Ms Berry at the mall, Tina trips and hits her head which makes way for a bizarre ten minutes where she envisions herself as Rachel singing Celine Dion in front of a topsy-turvy, 'Freaky Friday' Glee club world. Blaine with Puck's mohawk: hysterical, y'all.
Anyway, this zany mini-sode enlightens Tina to the fact that it 'takes a lot of crystals to make something shine' (eugh) and so she offers to drive Rachel to see Whoopi Goldberg's Carmen, in an effort for Rachel to persuade the NYADA scout to watch Rachel take centre-stage at Nationals. It's sweet to see Rachel and Tina working together and it ultimately sets up Rachel's inevitable show-stopping, NYADA-winning performance in the next episode.
Elsewhere, there's some business about Puck's descent into loserville and Bieste coming to terms with her marital situation, all of which is wrapped up with a nice positive spin by the episode's end, but really this is a chance for Tina to shine. And for the show to finally pay tribute to the welding 'n' leggings spectacle that is 'Flashdance', obvs. What a feeling, indeed.