Ever since I first saw the title for this episode, I speculated as to who would be the subject of the "Funeral" in the title and how the characters on the show would react to it. In all my speculation, I don't think the possibility of killing off Sue's sister ever crossed my mind, nor did I think that would result in one of the best -- but hardest to watch -- episodes of "Glee" ever.
The devastating news came pretty early in the episode, and set the tone for what can only be described as Jane Lynch's Emmy episode. I never though the character of Sue Sylvester could be sympathetic in any way, but the way she had so much trouble processing the death of her sister, then having such an emotional breakdown at the funeral itself, it was just so powerful.
Being someone that has trouble dealing with death myself, I could relate to what Sue was doing, particularly in the early scenes in the episode where people -- most notably Kurt and Finn -- were trying to help her. The entire thing was really heartbreaking (and I'm not afraid to admit I cried a could times), but the scene near the end of the episode where Sue allowed Becky back on the cheerleading squad, and then they shared a hug, was just flawless.
Obviously it's going to be hard to see the character of Sue Sylvester the same way ever again, but given the strength of this episode, I'm willing to let that slide.
The only thing that kept this from being a perfect episode was the awkwardness of having the "nationals preparation" plot running concurrently with the Jean's funeral plot. I know they had to both keep things somewhat light and get music into the episode, but every time they flipped from Sue being all dark to Jesse comically insulting the glee singers, it was just really jarring. Plus, Sue's serious drama drastically reduced the impact of the Quinn-Finn high school drama, because the latter didn't have nearly the life-and-death implications of the former.
Still, overall, this was a great episode with some very good music too. Now, on to that music:
Back to Black - B
This was the second time they've gone to the Amy Winehouse well for Santana, and I don't think this performance measured up to "Valerie". Also, while this should have nothing to do with the song, I really didn't like Santana's shirt. It was very awkward.
Some People - C
Speaking of awkward wardrobe choices, what was up with Kurt's pants? Also, as harsh as it was, I kind of agree with Jesse's assessment. Kurt normally owns a song when he performs it, and that wasn't the case here.
Try A Little Tenderness - A
Yeah, Mercedes can sing. I actually like treating her performances like that show "The Voice" (which I've never actually seen) and close my eyes and just listen.
My Man - B-
Just not a big fan of this song and I thought Rachel's drama was a little much. Maybe I'm just tired of hearing her sing this kind of song.
Pure Imagination - A+
Really, nothing more to say here. One of the best songs of the season.