After three long years of hard work and attempted wins, tonight’s ‘Glee’ takes the New Directions to Nationals for the third time. Set to perform first with a few troubles along the way, the group works their hardest to finally claim the title for their teacher, Will Scheuster (Matthew Morrison).

Things are not off to a hopeful start as Mercedes (Amber Riley) is sick with food poisoning and Will is forced to put Quinn (Dianna Agron) and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) on Trouble Tones duty to perform the opening song. Will is worried that the kids might not win, but Emma (Jayma Mays) gets his spirits up by telling him they’re more than ready. This calming moment is immediately destroyed when Coach Beiste (Dot Jones) informs them there’s a problem.

Inside the hotel room, chaos has erupted, with Sam (Chord Overstreet) yelling that Puck (Mark Salling) is studying instead of practicing. More arguing breaks out and Will quiets the group down, telling them he is proud that they’re so passionate and striving to win so badly. He delegates tasks and they get back to work.

Rachel (Lea Michele) is outside looking for Carmen (Whoopi Goldberg) when she runs into Vocal Adrenaline coach and former flame Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff). He tries to psych her out as a defense mechanism for his own nervousness and reveals that Vocal Adrenaline cannot lose again. Finn (Cory Monteith) meets them outside. Jesse wishes him luck and Finn reveals he bet their honeymoon money that New Directions would win.

The club gets ready, with Finn taking over the pep talk. Everyone agrees that they want to win Nationals for Will. Enter Mercedes, who was fixed up by some miracle steroids by Sue (Jane Lynch)! Everyone’s spirits lift. Nationals begin with Lindsay Lohan and Perez Hilton (playing themselves) and Martin (Rex Lee) being introduced as judges, followed by the Trouble Tones opening number, Lady Gaga’s ‘Edge of Glory.’

Rachel’s solo is up next, which is ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ by Celine Dion. She is ecstatic to see Carmen arrive in the audience. She receives a standing ovation and the entirety of New Directions finishes up with Meatloaf’s ‘Paradise By the Dashboard Light’ to equally rave reviews.

Mercedes and Kurt (Chris Colfer) go to talk to Unique (Alex Newell), who is having an attack of stage fright, worried because people expect him to represent all the kids who are different. The friends support him and he hints that he might transfer schools next year. On stage, Vocal Adrenaline performs ‘Starships’ by Nicki Minaj complete with gravity defying dance moves and the Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’ with giant pinball machine props.

The judges convene to discuss selecting a winner, but Lindsay seems more concerned that Perez blogged about her during the competition. We learn that Perez hated the New Directions and votes for Vocal Adrenaline because of all that it would mean for children everywhere who are different. Lindsay plays up her public persona, suddenly becoming confused that she isn’t on ‘The Voice.’

Jesse tracks down Carmen and tells her how talented Rachel is, saying if she accepted her she would not regret it. On stage, Unique receives the MVP award and first place in Nationals goes to – who else? – New Directions.

The kids return to school in a montage where everyone showers them with slushy cups full of confetti and ‘Tongue Tied’ by Grouplove plays over the action. Finn is handed his betting wins, Will makes the front page of the paper, Sue uses her Nationals’ winnings to get her portion of the Cheerios back, Will and Emma finally get it on and Rachel is asked to sign someone’s yearbook. The final shot of the montage is the New Directions putting their enormous trophy into their until now, mostly empty case.

Finn and Rachel are called into Principal Figgin’s (Iqual Theba’s) office and he asks them if the New Directions will perform at a special event for him, making them promise to keep it a secret.

Will thanks Emma for standing by him, and the duo plus Sue head off to the Teacher of the Year awards. Figgin’s brings Rachel and Finn onstage to announce the winner: Will Scheuster. They thank him for everything he has done for them, especially teaching them how to dream, and the group performs Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’ for him.

All in all, ‘Nationals’ was a heartwarming episode that positions us nicely for the finale. The New Directions have finally won Nationals, Will’s superior teaching is rewarded and the Seniors are ready to graduate. We have a bittersweet upcoming episode in store for us.