It’s Time To Countdown…The Ten Best Episodes Of Glee Season Five

Behold the Photoshopped glory

I know. I know. I’ve been slacking in my posts lately! I’m really sorry guys.

I got into grad school. I’m graduating from college in a few days TOMORROW (June 1st). I am a college graduate as of tomorrow!

I need to find stuff for my apartment. I got work. I had finals and papers due. Hopefully with a basically free month in June before I go to school in July for my Master’s, I can knock out a couple more posts by then.

Especially the one about Rachel’s arc in the latter half of season five. I have things to say about that nonsense. I have a lot of things to say about that.

So I figure with the season over, I’ll do a ranking of the best episodes in season five. Then hopefully once this graduation stuff is done with and all I have to focus on is packing I can air out my grievances over this Rachel plot.

Yeah. That’s going to fun for all of us.

Also for funsies, I’ve linked my recaps (or a post containing my thoughts about the episode) to the various episodes that I have placed on this list so you can get a refresher. One post doesn’t have a link because bad circumstances to the place where I would have linked you too.

So without further ado, here are my top ten episodes for Glee season five.

10) “New New York” (season five episode fourteen)

We’re in New York here! (Gif: Tumblr)

“New New York” isn’t going to set the world on fire or anything. In terms of Glee episodes, it’s only pretty good. It’s decently written, has a couple of interesting things for plot, and tells a complete story while setting up several others for the rest of season five.

The reason I put this on here is actually, believe it or not, because of Klaine.

Yeah. I know. I’m shocked too.

This episode has some of the better writing for the couple that I have seen in awhile. They have an issue, a common issue, and what do they do? They have a mature, adult talk about their problem. Yeah of course there’s fighting but once they’re a bit calmer…they talk about the problem. More importantly, they find a solution to satisfy both of them. It turns out to be total shit by the time the finale rolls around because Blaine is back in the apartment. But whatever, for the episode this was a surprisingly big step for Glee to take.

Let’s be honest the show doesn’t have the best track record of couples having a legitimate discussion of the relationship. So Klaine having a fight and instead of singing for forgiveness, actually having a discussion is breaking and wonderful. It’s one of the more mature things and shows a wonderful start for the New York arc in the season.

I think this was the New York start that people wanted in season four for “The New Rachel” (season four episode one).

I feel like I should say that it was a close tie between this episode and “Tested” (season five episode sixteen) for the ten spot. Both of them have similar themes going through it (couples being mature and talking to each other). I prefer this because I liked the conversation Elliott had with Kurt and Blaine respectively in the episode.

9) “Tina in the Sky with Diamonds” (season five episode two)

That was the best line of the year. (Gif: Tumblr)

So I already talked about this episode and another that will appear in my list in The Best Glee Episodes of 2013 post. Obviously I’m not going to be talking too much about this then. This part of the post is going to get the cliffs notes version here.

We can all agreed that Demi Lovato’s Dani was a severely underutilized character in season five. Perhaps she is the most underutilized Glee celebrity guest star for awhile. She just kind of shows up after this and hangs out in the background. Still, her character had a very sweet and likeable introduction. Dani was funny, sweet, and kind. So it kind of sucked to see her pushed to the side.

Also Kitty in this episode was just fabulous. She showed real growth from her bitchy and mean first appearances. It showed how the glee club had soften her for the better.

She’s owing up to her past actions. (Gif: Tumblr)

I liked Kitty’s development out of all the newbies. This episode kind of concluded an arc for her that started in season four. So it was nice to get closure on one of the characters.

8) “Trio” (season five episode ten)

Now this is a threeway I can get behind. (Gif: Tumblr)

“Trio” was great in a lot of ways. It was solidly written, had some wonderful drama, and a bit of silliness.

I liked that the conflict between Rachel and Santana wasn’t immediately solved in it. I also liked how everyone around them (namely Kurt, Dani, and Elliott) refused to deal with this drama around them. They weren’t going to play into this. Santana and Rachel’s fighting wasn’t going to go like it did in high school. There were no sides to be taken. No one wanted a part in this. Not even Kurt, who had dealt with this sort of stuff for years. It’s nice to see the new character (Elliott) convince the old (Kurt) that this does not fly. And in the end, the consequence was the fact that both of them were kicked out of the band.

It wasn’t the best send-off to Dani, but I think we can all agree that she got the raw deal here to begin with.

This episode also had some of the more amazing musical numbers of the season. They were big, fun, and sometimes really epic. Which is what you can expect because you know Adam Lambert.

The New York stuff was stronger than the Lima stuff to be honest. I just felt that the trio aspects were more forced in to the Lima side to Artie’s detriment.

7) “100” (season five episode twelve)

And that is truly a great life lesson. (Gif: Tumblr)

It’s the hundredth episode. I’m not surprised that it’s here.

The episode was just full of nostalgia in a lot of ways for me. It was great seeing the old cast together and interacting. I did like seeing Puck and Quinn interacting. I mean I knew Biff was going to be a jackass because let’s be real when is ever the guy named Biff the hero? Never. Although I am a little tired of Quinn always falling back on relationships. While it was nice to see Puck and Quinn back together, especially at the end with the running down the hall, I kind wish she and Santana ended up together.

I mean I get why this happened the way it did. I just thought it would be kind of cool.

I did like seeing April Rhodes because she is awesome. And minimal Gwyneth Paltrow makes me happy, more to the point less Holly Holiday makes me thrilled. Because I really goddamn hate Holly. Like seriously. I loathe that character in a very special way.

Anyway, it was funny and I liked seeing the originals. The music was fun enough. I loved seeing old numbers get performed.

Especially “Toxic” that was probably my favorite remake (outside of DSB but that’s in a class by itself so I’m not counting that). I really liked the almost tango feel to it and it was just…wowza.

Seriously why aren’t we talking about this number more? (Gif: Tumblr)

Plus I like hearing the Unholy Trinity sing.

So between the fact with minimal Holly, April being April, some decent drama with the club being cancelled…it was fun.

My only complaint, and part of the reason it’s ranked at 7, is that well “Defying Gravity” should have probably been a Kurt solo. The whole Mercedes-Rachel champion diva of the glee club plot was stupid and kind insensitive given the circumstances of there being no more glee club. This is just my opinion but that plot and cover kind of lost me. I really kind of wanted Kurt to get his own moment to nail that note and come full circle. I mean I got what I wanted in that front later (and yes that episode is on the list).

6) “Frenemies” (season five episode nine)

This is strangely hypnotic (Gif: Tumblr)

The second half of season five was so much better then the first half. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I cut the first half slack from my usual scrutiny because well Cory’s death kind of destroyed a lot of plot lines for the show. So it was a rebuilding period and I won’t begrudge them that as a viewer or even as a writer. If, God willing, I ever get to produce one of my ideas into an actual television show I don’t know how I would handle the situation the Glee writers found themselves in. That being said the first half of season five (outside one or two episodes) was really not good.

So when “Frenemies” came around I can admit that I wasn’t expecting much. This being said the episode was a pleasant surprise. It had good musical numbers, set up a plot thread for the next few episodes, had Elliott Gilbert, and Kurt pole danced. I was happy with what I got in the end. Granted, this episode was one where I went back to my whole not liking Rachel so much and actively rooting for her to fail. Also I wasn’t that thrilled with Santana. I understood both sides of their argument. I just think that Rachel kind of blew the whole thing out proportion and acted like a brat. I also think Santana should have woman’d up and told Rachel what she was going to do.

I still think that this wasn’t called for.

Seriously? (Gif: Tumblr)

Like seriously could you act more like a spoiled brat?

The Lima stuff was also solid. I liked that Artie and Tina got to have a plot together and duet. They sounded good together. I’m kind of bummed we didn’t get more. Of course I’m pretty sure that Tina only had one duet with Mike Chang and he was her boyfriend for two years. So I’m not that surprised.

I was actually wait listed for a college I wanted to get into so I really sympathized with the whole Brown plot. When you’re on the wait-list it is its own special kind of hell.

This episode also established one of my favorite things: Kurt and Elliott as the only sane characters in New York. Believe me when Elliott went “on his yoga retreat” after “New New York” (season five episode fourteen), he was sorely missed. I mean we got Mercedes and she added a nice dose of sanity. But I kind of liked Kurt having a friend outside of everyone else.

Also I really like Chris Colfer and Adam Lambert singing together.

5) “City of Angels” (season five episode eleven)

Yeah. Let’s get the tissues. (Photo: GleekingSongAlbums Tumblr)

People call this the second Finn tribute episode. Yeah it is the second Finn tribute episode. While “The Quarterback” was cathartic and a memorial for the character and for Cory. It was an episode about the different facets of grief and grieving shown through the characters. “City of Angels” kind of felt more like a tribute to Finn’s life such as it was. Finn was going to be a teacher. The series was going to end with him in his own glee club. That was going to be his life. So it feels fitting to have a secondary tribute at the last glee competition on the show.

I feel like this part from Carole said it best regarding to why the Nationals was so Finn focused.

(Photo: Tumblr)

This whole episode was about his life. In the last year of his life, Finn coached those kids.. His mother was there (Romy Rosemont deserves that Emmy). Burt was there. His drumsticks were used to amazing effect. The losing of his plaque to whichever asshole from Throat Explosion took it was a good scene because they focused on the spirit rather then the material. The music was perfectly chosen for New Directions and for Finn’s character. These are songs that I could see the character of Finn Hudson loving. The last song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, describes what arc that we ended up with for him. He was just beginning to find his path in life on the show. It just hammers home the tragedy here.

I cried a lot during this episode. So did everyone else as far as I know.

Skylar Astin was fun. I mean his character was a pretentious douchebag. Yet he respected New Directions tragedy and that they had lost someone important to them. I also liked that he respected them enough to give them a real competition. He wasn’t going to hand it over to them. He was still douchenozzle though. Let’s not get carried away. I also like the fact that he kicked the asshole that took Finn’s plaque out of Throat Explosion.

Yeah it was sad that New Directions lost. But Lima was always going to be Finn’s story so it makes sense that it would close like this.

4) Bash” (season five episode fifteen)

Kurt Hummel is here! (Gif: Tumblr)

Okay remember when I was talking at “100” about “Defying Gravity” being an almost close to a character arc for Kurt? We did get that close in “Bash”. Now I’ll go more into the details about this in a later post. Because honestly all I want to say about this arc is probably a post in and of itself. So I’ll give you the Cliffs Notes version.

Kurt, from about episode four of the first season (“Preggers”) to present, has always been very opened about his sexuality. He’s gay. And nothing is going to change that. Part of his story is how people can really suck when you try to be honest about who you are. The rampant bullying he experienced, Karofsky’s death threat, the call to the garage in “Wheels” (season one episode nine), the Prom Queen debacle (season two episode twenty), and well you know the list goes on. Kurt has stood his ground and refused to be anything less but himself. In season two, there was him transferring to Dalton for his own safety but he eventually comes back because he’s not going to let some assholes chase him away.

“Bash” is kind of culmination of this. In one of the more fraught scenes of the season, Kurt hears someone get attacked by drunken assholes and runs down the alley where he stands up to them. He is beaten up and left in the alley. He is hurt enough to go to a hospital. Yet he also kind of came to a realization that no matter what horrible shit life throws at him he will always overcome it. I think in this episode, Kurt truly realized his own strength and kind of came into his own. When he has that wonderful scene with Burt in the hospital, Kurt calls himself “the man” that Burt raised. In a bizarre way it was a coming of age moment for Kurt. Like I said I’ll go more in depth in another post. But that’s what I think is so wonderful about “Bash” in terms of actual character development. I also just really liked seeing Burt again. I want to see him in a happy situation next time he pops up.

Also this episode has one of my favorite solos from this season and the show in general. Kurt’s version of “I’m Still Here” from Follies. Again this ties into his whole coming of age moment. Now the other two best solos of the season “Make You Feel My Love” and “If I Were A Boy” were breathtakingly gorgeous, wonderfully instrumented, but also really, really, really fucking sad. Like I bawled during both of them for different reasons. “I’m Still Here” is wonderful because it’s joyous, a rallying cry, and a kind of fuck the world I’m awesome song. Some people say that this needs to be sung by someone with more life experience and yeah Chris Colfer is young and it shows in his. Yet I think that there could have been no other song for Kurt to sing. Because let’s be honest, this character went through a lot of shit and always came back swinging. No one really deserves this but Kurt. It was fabulous and left the episode on just this great hopeful note.

The rest of the episode was you know good. I feel like the Kurt storyline was the best and most interesting. Sam and Mercedes was strange but also made sense in a way. Because yeah image does count in the recording industry and stuff like who you date does factor into it. I like the songs Amber sang.

The other part that came a close second to the Kurt storyline was Rachel’s. Because it was nice to see Carmen call her out on her shit. Nothing came of it but it was just really cathartic to see and just wonderful for that reason alone. Rachel in the latter half of season five annoyed the hell out of me. So this scene was a favorite.

3) “The Quarterback” (season five episode three)

Gif: Tumblr

I’m surprised this one is at number three too. In the end, I really couldn’t justify putting it in the number one spot to myself. It was easy for the Best Episodes of 2013 post because it was the best episode of 2013. I feel like I’ve talked about this episode and circumstance surrounding it in general enough. I really don’t have more to say. I’ll try though.

This episode was a memorial. It was catharsis for the audience and for the cast and crew. We mourned a character and the actor at the same time. The whole episode was just about grief. Grief that makes you angry. Grief that paralyzes you. Grief that just rips into your soul. It was about how people deal with grief they embrace it, they hate it, they ignore it. This was all the different facets of grieving and mourning for some that you love.

I think this was a necessary episode. I think people kind of forget that the audience for Glee is young and Cory’s death is, for many, their first kind of brush with either a death of celebrity that impacted you or just death in general. So I think this was needed for them, for the fans, to allow an outlet for those emotions because Finn and Cory were important to the community.

It was just so gut wrenchingly sad and cleansing. I think that’s why it’s number three. Glee is supposed to be about finding joy and it was hard to find joy here. I feel like it was a really great look at needing grief and mourning and how everyone does it differently.

It also had Lea Michele’s best performance across the board like Broadway career to current. “Make You Feel My Love” will be known as her song to fans and in general. Like Johnny Cash made “Hurt” his own that’s what I think happened here. This will always makes me sob.

I also like that the proceeds from the EP went to charities that Cory supported. I still can’t really listen to it but I did buy it.

Yeah that’s pretty much all I have left to say about it.

2) “Old Dog, New Tricks” (season five episode nineteen) 

Aw hell yeah! You go Chris! (Gif: Tumblr)

Okay. Yes the writing was a bit clunky at times and a million other little nitpicks that someone can go through here. Yes I admit loving the hell out of Chris Colfer because he is fabulous and amazing.

This episode was still amazing. And I’ll tell you why. It made me laugh. Like I genuinely let out belly laughs. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. It was funny and fabulous.

Glee is always classed as a comedy. I love it when someone remembers that it is supposed to be one. Chris Colfer, bless him, did. This was the funniest episode of the season hands down. It has wonderful bits of sly, dry humor that Colfer is known for. The music numbers were fantastic. I love the puppies. I loved June Squibb (God I loved her so much more then Shirley MacLaine’s June Dolloway). I loved that Kurt was calling people out on their shit and not being their mother. I also liked Rachel getting dragged by the pack of dogs because yeah at this point I was done with her shit.

I think this was Chris’ airing of grievances against his character and what nearly half of Tumblr is saying regarding Rachel’s plot.

Because it is okay for Kurt to resent his friends’ success while he works his ass off and gets nowhere. He is allowed to feel that way. I love him telling off Rachel because yeah she has been acting really bad to him lately. It felt like season one Glee.

Is the episode perfect? No. The stuff with Kurt and June’s daughter was a bit contrived. Santana’s sudden desire to be a publicist came out of nowhere (although it’s a perfect career choice for her). Billy Dee Williams’ and Tim Conway’s characters disappear halfway through the episode. Yet this episode was so genuinely funny and joyful that I was able to look past it like I did in the early seasons of the show. It was fun and poked a lot of fun at the normal writing tropes in the show. I love Kurt so the episode focusing on Kurt doing something he loves is great.

It brought back some continuity like where Elliot and Dani are and Sam’s family being homeless at one point. I was thrilled.

Plus Maggie Banks is fabulous. Chris Colfer looked hot in that Peter Pan get-up.

While I’m here.

I think we should petition NBC to cast Chris Colfer as Peter Pan when they do the live action version. Because that would be the best possible casting.

I am dead serious.

1) “New Directions” (season five episode thirteen)

The final bow… (Gif: Tumblr)

Yeah I’m surprised that this is number one too. The more I thought about the episodes, the more that this one made sense.

“New Directions” is the series finale. I know next year we’re going to get an actual series finale, but this episode? It’s the series finale. Like here’s how I judged it. If the show ended with this episode would I be happy with how it ended?

Yes. Yes I would. Rachel will be on her way to being a Broadway star (without that total bullshit storyline but that’s for another day). Will is married to Emma with a kid on the way. Will also has a chance to continue teaching glee clubs even if New Directions is over. Kurt and Blaine are together (not my cup of tea but will make a subset of fans happy). Kurt is in NYADA and doing well. Blaine has been accepted and plans to move to New York. Mercedes has her record deal. Brittany and Santana are back together and going off to the see the world as a couple. Mike is following his dream of being a dancer. Puck and Quinn are going to try to give their relationship a chance. Tina got into Brown. Artie is in film school. Sam is going to be a model. All of the seniors graduate (even Brittany). The new members of New Directions reaffirm their own bonds built during this time and are different people now because of it. They will remain friends after this is over.

Given everything, I can’t think of a better place to leave off the characters. The glee club is over. The New Directions are saying goodbye. Will is moving on with his life with a potential new opportunity. Everyone is starting a new chapter in their lives.

This, to me, was the perfect way to end the series. I would be satisfied with this as the ending of Glee. I would have no complaints about it. It brings everything full circle.

Will bowing to the empty choir room as the voices of the original six are in his head from season one is the perfect final image for the show. I don’t think the actual series finale can live up to it. The more I think about it, the more perfect of an ending it is.

The final “Don’t Stop Believin'” is perfect end for the songs. It just adds up to a very satisfying end to the show.

So that’s why it’s number one on the list. I can’t think of an episode that is more perfect as an ending to Glee. Despite the fact there were more episodes after it. I don’t even care about Holly Holiday being in this episode and having a song. That’s how much I like it. It gets numbers one.

I feel like I have closed these posts with “Don’t Stop Believin'” in its various covers enough times. So here’s a gif instead.

Class dismissed. (Gif: Tumblr)

NEXT ON THE GLEE REWATCH PROJECT: We talk about Rachel’s storyline in the second half of season five. Or rather examine the following question: “What’s your deal, Rachel Berry?” Or I basically try to channel my annoyance into a constructive manner for a change.

Follow Me: @GleeRewatch for the latest updates. If you want there is always my personal account if you want to hear my daily dose of random babbling! I also write for PopMythology. I no longer write for PopWrapped. If you want my glee-caps or to see anything else I write then check out 4YE (4 Your Excitement) where I am a Senior Editor. Here is my Glee recap for “The Untitled Rachel Berry Project“.

We’re also looking for writers. So if you’re interested then email:

Credits: Glee Wikia
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