I was prepared to love the Glee finale. And I did—for about 2/3rds of it. The episode begins with the original 5—Rachel, Artie, Tina Kurt and Mercedes—in front of the choir room performing “Sit Down Your Rockin’ the Boat” as Will looks on, flashing back to that disastrous first New Directions performance. Just a few minutes into the episode, and I am already tearing up a little. So far, so good.
Each of the seniors gets a little segment to themselves, where we revisit their high school journeys and learn where they’re headed post high school. The owner of an indie label just happened to catch Mercedes performance of “Disco Inferno” uploaded by Sam to You Tube. She’s off to work as a backup singer for the outfit. Mike was all set to go to Alvin Ailey in New York, when he got a full scholarship to Joffrey in Chicago. Damn. Mike should be in New York City too! That’s pretty much it for those guys. What will happen after graduation to Tina and Mike? Mercedes and Sam? Shafted again!
Headed to New York City, however is Santana, who decides to ditch the full cheerleading scholarship to the University of Louisville to find fame and fortune in the big city. Mama Lopez (played by an irrepressible Gloria Estefan) would rather she get an education, but decides to bankroll her daughter’s dream anyway. Santana headed to New York? Good News! Bad news? Brittany is flunking her senior year and is only too happy to repeat it. Uhm. Who the heck repeats their senior year? Happily? And somehow, she believes she’ll still be class president. Chalk up another lame move by the Glee writers to keep another popular character in the choir room.
The fates of Kurt, Rachel and Finn are more complicated. Kurt and Rachel spend the episode waiting for their acceptance letters from NYADA–ditto Finn from Pace University and the Actor’s Studio. Finn and Rachel still plan to be married. GAH THE TEEN MARRIAGE STORY LINE. HATE HATE HATE. Finn feels his life falling into place. He’s even super confident about his audition for James Lipton. However, Finn seems to have miscalculated Lipton’s reaction to his audition, which we see in a tiny clip featuring the Actor’s studio director in a cameo. Still, he’s been trying to reverse his father’s dishonorable discharge from the military, to no avail, and it nags him.
Kurt assures Blaine, in one of the episodes sweetest scenes that he once said “I’m never saying goodbye to you” and he means it. He’s determined to make a long distance relationship with his high school boyfriend work. Burt Hummel drags Kurt to the auditorium to gift him with an absolutely AWESOME performance of “Single Ladies.” Burt considers the moment where he discovers his super-fabulous son busting moves to the epic Beyonce classic a pivotal moment in their relationship. Burt is NOT a bad dancer, especially with Tina and Brittany performing by his side. Greatest. Dad. Ever. So that’s where Kurt gets his moves. The scene is cut with flashbacks of Kurt’s epic interpretation of the Beyonce classic. Adorable. It’s amazing how much Chris Colfer has grown up in the last 3 years! Kurt tearfully sings his goodbye song “I’ll Remember” dedicating it to the Glee guys who accepted him unconditionally.
Puck needs to pass Geography before he can get on with his life. Coach Beiste is tutoring him, but he’s completely lost his confidence until Quinn sits him down and tells him she loves and believes in him. After a sweet kiss, he gets his confidence back—like a frog who has been turned into a prince. That Quinn has been so magnanimous lately—handing over her Prom title to Rachel. And now pity kissing Puck so he won’t flunk. Well, it’s not a pity kiss exactly, but she’s headed to Yale. C’mon She’d never end up with the pool boy. Not ever. She also buys Rachel a railway pass so she can visit her in New Haven once in a while. What a gal! Sarcasm aside, Quinn and Sue admit they admire each other, and despite some pretty gnarly treatment at the hands of evil Sue, Quinn is going to miss the old gal. They both tear up as they hug. Aw. At least Quinn gets to exit Glee on a sane note, after she’s been written as a psycho bitch for a good chunk of the past 3 years.
The club spends their last moments in the choir room together singing goodbye songs to each other (Goodbye songs are the final class assignment). The seniors surround the juniors as Finn leads the upperclassmen in a performance of “You Get What You Give.” Inexplicably, the juniors single out Finn to thank with “In My Life”–because he was the cool jock who didn’t slushie them? We’ll just forget that time he refused to stick up for Kurt when he was the target of bullies,, abandoned New Directions for the football team, and outed Santana in front of the whole school. There’s a guy who deserves special treatment! That quibble aside, both numbers allowed the Glee kids to celebrate each other in a way that brought a tear to the eye. There was one moment, during “You Get What You Give” where Blaine and Kurt just stand apart and look at each other as if to say “I’m going to miss you SO DAMN MUCH.” Sniff.
Speaking of blasts from the past—Will sits down with Finn to finally admit to him that he PLANTED the pot he supposedly found in his locker in order to blackmail him into joining the Glee club way back when. Cut to a flashback of Finn singing in the shower. That particular plot development could have ONLY happened early in Season 1, before Glee became issue-driven and committed to setting an example for the children (Brittania sex tape aside). Finn looks horrified, as well he should, but he’s really not. I suppose all is well that ends well. But still.
The graduation scene is joyful, with the parents of Mike, Kurt, Finn and Santana in attendance. Bummer that Rachel’s dads couldn’t make another appearance! Each of the grads has their own little victory dance—a high kick from a tearful Kurt, A sashay from Santana as she makes her way to the podium, A song, “Glory Days”, from Finn and Puck. I could have done without the Finchel face sucking on stage (UGH) but I’m pretty caught up in the moment.
The episode falls apart for me in the last 15 minutes. Kurt, Rachel and Finn have gathered in the choir room to open their acceptance letters. Finn’s overconfidence was a tip off to me that he was rejected by the Actor’s Studio. And he was. Not a complete surprise there.
But then Kurt opens his letter. Holy crap. NYADA turned him down. NYADA TURNED HIM DOWN WHAT THE F*CK. After his sensational, daring audition, that Madame Tibideaux LOVED, Kurt didn’t make the cut after all. HOW COULD SHE SAY NO TO THE GOLD LAME PANTS? With all the freaking whining Rachel did this season, in the end she got everything she wanted including the lead in the school musical and crowned prom queen next to her dreamy fiancé. And now she gets admitted into the school of her dreams AFTER CHOKING HER AUDITION. Yes, she got in after chasing Carmen down and getting a d0-over at Nationals, thanks to Tina. Oh. And she would not have been prom queen without the largess of Quinn and Santana, either. I guess in Glee world, it pays to be annoying? Kurt never whined at all, despite losing the lead to the school musical, losing the class president election (Rachel was no help running against him at one point) and now being rejected by NYADA after KILLING his audition. Personally, I really wanted Kurt to finally triumph after a year of losses.
I hate Finchel. Seriously. I didn’t mind them really until this season when the writers put them front and center at the expense of every other couple. I like the characters apart, but not together particularly. I don’t get why they are together, nor do I see much chemistry between them (real life romance notwithstanding). The teen marriage plot was tedious and completely unbelievable. What college bound students in this day and age consider marriage as an option? I know the two are endgame, whether I like it or not, so I probably should just shut up. But one last thing: Their constant public displays of affection, while the LGBT couples were relegated to longing glances and a kiss or two in “very special episodes” really pissed me off. FOX sucks.
After Finn and Kurt get their rejection letters, Rachel decides to defer her NYADA acceptance for a year to spend the time “coaching” Finn and Kurt for a do-over so they can all attend school in New York City together the following year. Rachel is all dressed up in red and a pillbox hat thinking she’s on her way to her wedding, when Finn drops the bomb that he’s putting her on a train for New York instead, where her Dads will be waiting to take her on a tour of her new school. No Rachel…you aren’t deferring! She has a total meltdown in the car. This scene was pretty gut wrenching. Both Cory Monteith and Lea Michele get to sink their teeth into some pretty meaty dialog. The wedding party is waiting at the train station to see her off. It’s a very old-fashioned moment. I mean, Rachel could have taken a plane instead, right? But the image of Finn chasing the train as he sets Rachel free to follow her dreams is way more romantic. Once Rachel hits NYC, she’s all smiles. Despite the heartbreak, the big Broadway is where she’s meant to be.
And that’s the end. This is the weirdest cliff hanger ever. Finn plans to join the army to clear his Dad’s name. But we know that he ends up in New York, so the question is—how? Will he go AWOL to join his love in New York, or does he never make it past the recruiter. Will Finn be relegated to holding Rachel’s purse while she does red carpets?
What will happen to Kurt in the next 3 months that results in him joining Rachel and Finn in New York? Sarah Jessica Parker is set to be Kurt’s mentor. But for what? Will Kurt squeak into NYADA on a wait list? Or, as I suspect, will he end up working at a fashion magazine? Here’s why I think the latter. Chris Colfer told a reporter on the Upfronts Red Carpet last week that he’s excited for Season 4 because Kurt will be doing the thing he always imagined. Before Season 3, Chris said he envisioned Kurt working in fashion eventually. And can’t you imagine Sarah Jessica Parker as a fashion magazine editor? Well, I’m digressing here. I’ll just say that while Chris may be excited, I am not. It feels like Kurt, after spending his high school years dreaming of a performing career, is settling for less.
Also, I’m really disappointed that we didn’t get ANY follow up to his rejection. I guess we’ll have to wait until September. Bah. I’m glad the season is over. I need a break from this show.
Glee co-creator, Brian Falchuk directed this episode and took photos throughout the filming. I put them together in an gallery which I am posting along with the official FOX photos.
In My Life
I’ll Remember – Kurt
Single Ladies – Burt!
Forever Young – Will
You Get What You Give – The Seniors
Roots Before Branches – Rachel and Finn
Sneak Peek Goodbye