I love you, Glee. Seems appropriate to say since those three words were thrown about this episode like they were going outta style! Made sense though since the finale was about, above all else, love. Before I get into the highlights, I want to get something out of the way, as it was a major complaint (from me as well) as about last nights episode: realism. I am the first to say that Glee is not a show set in any form of reality. There are moments where it seems to bend the laws of space and time more than LOST ever did with the flashback-forwards-sideways-jumping-through-time-in-flashes storytelling. But, despite that (though I will get back to that later) Glee, for me, is perfection. I forgive it's blatant inability to acknowledge realism and embrace the heart of the show: the songs and crazy characters.
Last night's finale was titled Journey, and they weren't just talking about the classic (I said it!) band from the 80s whose songs were the focus of New Directions this week. They were talking about the Journey we have been on this past year with the students and teachers of McKinley High. And as Mr. Shuester said in what was probably his best inspirational speech of the year (and that's saying something), it isn't about winning Regionals (good thing!) it's about the journey they were on getting there.
Things seem fairly bleak from the start. Sue Sylvester has managed to get on the panel of judges for Regionals and wants to "crush the glee club," she tells her Cherrios. The glee club wants to give up, and decends into a spiral of depression knowing that next year they won't all be friends anymore, as that is how high school works. By the way, LOVE that Puck agreed with Mercedes when she said that Puck and Santana won't acknowledge her anymore if Glee is disbanded. Gotta hand it to Puck: he doesn't hold back. But our leaders (Will and Rachel, in case you haven't noticed) are inspired to give the ol' Glee club try by their better halves. Or should-be better halves anyway. Will is reminded by Emma that he loved Glee not because of winning, but just because he loved to sing. He is also reminded how he totally blew it with her, and she is now dating her dentist, Carl (played by John Stamos as of next season. I smell a Beach Boys medley coming). But they haven't done the deed yet, so we aren't counting out Will and his hair. Rachel is reminded by Finn that she is the leader and they need to fix this so they can win regionals. He is rewarded with a kiss. Awwww..... (And we haven't even gotten to the I love you's yet!)
(Meanwhile, just to remind you, Quinn is still knocked up. Turns out what "does it" for her: being told she isn't fat. Awesome.)
All of this happens in the first 15 minutes because the middle 30 of the show is all Regionals. We don't get to see the "not at all idiotically named Aural Intensity" perform, just hear a moment over the speakers. And that is enough, because really, who cares! They are just there to round out the competition. First up (of the two we care about): New Directions. (Side note: Jane Lynch recently said in an interview that the cast calls them "nude erections" HAHAHAHA!!!!!)
Right before they go onstage Finn tells Rachel he loves her. (Number 1) The hit the stage, and the first song they sing is Faithfully. Then it goes into Anyway You Want It. Both of these are well done, but to be honest, not the best I've seen from New Directions. Then they go "old school" and sing Don't Stop Believing, but instead of just Rachel/Finn as the leads, they (almost) all take turns. I wasn't sure how they would make this song fresh considered just how many times we have heard them do it (until mid-season it was basically the show's theme song). But I will give them that one - it was fresh and even better than before. Also a nice pairing to Mr. Shue's speech about the "journey," as while it was good when the original 6 sang it, it was the mix of this whole group that made it great.
In the audience: Quinn's mom. She comes back stage to tell her she kicked her dad out and she wants Quinn to move back in. Well, if that doesn't send an already stressed out 16 year old into early labor I don't know what will. This leads to what was possibly the most creative piece of storyboarding/editing I have seen on television in a long time.
I don't have words for the Bohemian Rhapsody/Quinn's birth scene. It truly was (almost) perfection. What could have been cheesy and contrived, ended up being heartwrenching and somehow completely organic. Let's look at the two separate parts of the sequence. First there is Quinn giving birth. Love that she had Mercedes in there with her. These two are such a great pairing. But better than that was Puck. Quinn telling him repeatedly that he sucks. And his face when he looked "down there" - classic! Diana Argon (Quinn) nailed it. She was truly amazing in that scene. And then there is Jonathan Groff and the rest of Vocal Adrenaline. Don't hate me - but the effin killed it. KILLED. IT. Yes, New Directions had more heart, but Vocal Adrenaline did earn the win. That was a-maz-ing. Amazing. And honestly, I think that was the point. They did win it. In what is the only realistic aspect of the episode at all - New Directions wasn't going to win it based on heart. They were really good, but you can't beat what Vocal did.
(Here's my big time/space complaint: Where the ef is the hospital? Next to the school?? Because how did Quinn go and give birth with almost the entire Glee Club in tow and then the rest of the team make it back for the results? I mean the dual scene, that's just editing. But shouldn't Rachel have been the only one still there?! Just saying....)
At the hospital, Quinn asks Puck if he loved her. And he says yes, especially now. (Number 2!) And then there is Rachel's bio-mom, who asks the baby's name. (BETH!)
Then there is Sue.... Sue who is beaten down by the arrogance and let's face it, evilness, of Olivia Newton-John, clearly enjoying playing someone who isn't such a "Sandy." John Groban was a douche/idiot. And Rod is a 2010 version of Ted Baxter (congrats to my friends who know the reference.) In the end their nastiness opened Sue's eyes to the fact that maybe she is more like New Directions than she thought. Oh Sue....
Emma fights with the principal to keep Glee, despite the deal that was made at the beginning of the year. And her fight inspires Will to fight to, but for her. He tells Emma that he loves her (NUMBER 3!!) and that he isn't giving up. Awww.....
Then there was To Sir With Love. If you haven't seen the movie, rent it. It's great. It's one of those "great teacher" movies but it came way before they were so cliche. And it's Sidney Poitier, so how can you go wrong! The glee club kids saying one by one how Glee/Mr. Shue changed them.... well, I tear up now thinking about it. Let's put it this way... the song even made Sue cry!
And so Sue, one last time, saves Glee. If only so she can have another year of mocking Will and his hair, so she says. Thank goodness for Sue, because I can't imagine not having this show around either.
Oh.... and Rachel's bio-mom adopted Beth. How? I don't know. Doesn't matter. Again - Glee not based in reality. But I hope it leads to her being able to come back.
Then the end.... Mr Shue and Puck sing the Hawaiian version of Over the Rainbow. Sigh..... if only they had been shirtless. (What? Who said that?) Watching this group who, despite what Puck may say, are friends for more reasons than Glee, have their moment of celebration was so sweet. If only we could join them on their summer vacation......
Anyone else surprised by the general lack of cliffhangers?? As much as I love a good season-ending cliffhanger, I found it refreshing that there wasn't one!
How much did you cry? What did you love? Do you think I'm horrible for thinking Vocal Adrenaline earned the win? (Though, I do agree with Shue - they should have had second over Aural Intensity.) Comment away, Gleeks!!