'Glee': Journey's end
After an incredibly long and bumpy road (very bumpy, I might add), it was time for our favorite kids to face the music – and the judges – at regionals.
One thing I’m sure viewers can agree on is, when the show turns on the emotion, it certainly knows how to keep the waterworks running. I don't think there was a dry eye in the episode, and everyone except Figgens seemed to shed a tear.
Though I went into the finale peeved at how incredibly messy last week’s episode was (last week’s show was switched with the Gaga episode from two weeks ago, and the switcheroo was a poor excuse for leaving last week's storylines unresolved), I hoped deep down in my heart that Ryan Murphy and the gang would tie up some of the loose ends that had been dangling around all season.
Question is, did they succeed? The beauty of the show always has been how individuals see it, and I’ll allow loyal readers to debate their level of satisfaction with the finale, which I thought was a success, even if parts became disjointed.
The back nine episodes proved to be hit or miss. And I look forward to the often-heated discussion with Gleeks on my weekly recaps and on Twitter. These episodes should have been the start of Season 2, with episodes in between to develop the plot lines that had potential to flourish but floundered: Jesse and Rachel; Rachel and Shelby; Will and Emma; and although Quinn’s pregnancy took the backseat in the back nine, it was incredibly rushed (yes, I know, I’ve always hated it and wanted it over, but parts of it were ignored in the back nine).
By losing two valuable hours to pay tribute to Madonna and Lady Gaga and showcasing guest stars we didn't always need (I'm looking right at you Miss Molly Shannon), we lost a great deal of story development – though we can all agree the saga of Kurt, his father and Finn truly played out, and regardless of how you may feel about the story in your own living room, none of the other story lines in the back nine got better treatment than that one.
But enough of that. Let’s talk about how the finale wrapped up lingering stories.
I love you, 'faithfully'
No matter how long and windy the road was, Gleeks will always be Team Finn. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching their love affair unravel on screen because it’s the one story that felt organic to me. This budding – but complicated – romance is a nice tribute to the first love often experienced in high school -- you know, full of complications, heightened emotions and more break-ups to make-ups than a couple on "The Hills."
We’ve seen the two completely fall head over heels for one another, and the romance translates into song extremely well (I still play “Borderline/Open Your Heart”). Even when things got all awkward with Jesse coming into the picture, we always knew these two would find a way back to one another. Who melted when the two were backstage prepping and she told him to break a leg and he told her he loved her? This before launching into “Faithfully”! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek (that's the shriek that transpired in my living room, thank you very much).
Will, Emma and a dentist?
Blame the fact that things went from hot to cold in about two episodes, but I’ve completely stopped caring about these two – as a couple, of course.
Don’t get me wrong. In the first half of the season, the will-they-or-won’t-they game was hotter than the Fourth of July, but like every other forbidden-fruit storyline, once Will was single, it just wasn’t the same. God, I just sounded awful writing that. No, I don’t condone affairs by my fictional characters. But I do condone Will courting Emma the way she deserves. Instead, he acts like a frat boy and makes out with Shelby, shares his bed with April (although they have incredibly chemistry, by the way) and gets all awkward when she attempts and fails at losing her virginity.
So excuse Emma for asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” when he comes to her office asking for guidance. And excuse her for moving on – to her dentist (to be played by John Stamos next season, who in case you forgot has an awesome voice). Sorry Will, Emma said it best when she said you two had your shot. And that kiss? It did nothing for me, unlike in the first half when I was actually rooting for you two. I want to see where the dentist storyline goes; it could play out great and leave an opening for April to return and a slow buildup of tension. Or things could go awry (just look at "Ugly Betty" post-Henry. No mas.)
I’ve never been shy about voicing my disdain for Quinn’s pregnancy storyline. It wasn’t because of the whole teenage deal -- I’ve never lived on George W. Bush’s fantasy island and realize this is a tough reality for a lot of teens -- but there were a number of elements that made me turn up my nose: Quinn lying to Finn, Quinn blaming Puck, Terri attempting to bamboozle Will. That whole thing was a disaster, and thankfully it cleaned up nicely in the fall finale.
The story, however, never quite recovered, and that could be the reason it took the backseat. I forgot she was preggers until she actually was showing. But I commend Puck for stepping up in the back nine, though I hate how the financial burden was thrown out the window. So imagine my complete surprise to see Quinn’s mother resurface in the finale episode. After leaving Quinn’s father because he cheated on her with some tattooed freak (sorry Sandra Bullock, I promise I didn’t laugh), she was ready to be a supportive parent and even caught her first Glee performance. Um, OK. It was touching that Quinn had her mother and Mercedes at her side. Last week’s awkwardness aside, I like these two as friends, and having her birth scenes cut with Vocal Adrenaline’s intense performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was brilliant.
I totally wasn’t surprised that Quinn carried through with her plan to do what’s best for the baby and give the baby girl (I cried a million tears at Puck naming her Beth, like he said he would) up for adoption. Did anyone catch the fact that he never answered when she asked him if he was sure, or did I imagine that? It’s sweet that Shelby decided (seemingly on the spot) to adopt Beth – does that completely write her off for next season then? It will be interesting to see Quinn next season; will she have moved on, or will she be dealing with the emotional consequences of giving her daughter up for adoption?
'I relish the thought of another full year of constantly besting you'
What Sue wants, Sue gets. Well, that’s not always true.
The only shocker of the episode for me was her realizing she’s much like the Glee kids – she wants more for herself, but her adversaries will tell her otherwise. Even though Sue and Figgens seem to have been the ones to give the kids the toughest time the entire season, a few slushies from the football team only leave stains on egos and polyester. Like any great school, the administration is always your biggest threat. But Sue was put in her place (actually owned) by Olivia Newton-John, which confused me given their “Physical” love a few episodes back. But after some taunting, Sue was Team New Directions, even if she’d never admit it, and she actually voted for them to win first place. And, as predictable as that loss was, I still got all watery eyed like a little baby -- that Journey medley was absolutely epic. Even if she just wanted to spend a year crucifying Will’s immaculately groomed hair, she used her blackmail tactics to secure the kids another year in the choir room. Would we really have it any other way?Though the episode was an emotional journey, there were some great laughs. Here are a few choice lines – largely thanks to Sue, as usual:
Rod Remington: I partied with Freddie Mercury back in the '70s, and I partied hard, if you know what I mean. Back then, people weren't so obsessed with labels.
Sue: I have to be honest, Will. I'm having a really difficult time hearing anything you have to say today because your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing songs about livin' on the bayou.
Olivia Newton-John: When Josh Groban was their age, he was already in the Mickey Mouse Club or whatever.
Quinn: I'm the president of the celibacy club. I took a vow.
Puck: So did Santana and Brittany. And I did them.
Sue: It's as barren as me in here, Will."
Sue: From Fort Wayne, Ind., the not-at-all-stupidly-named Aural Intensity!
Sue: I know you think I'm heartless, Will. And you may have a point. I spend large segments of each day picturing you choking on food. And I've recently contacted an exotic-animal dealer 'cause I had a very satisfying dream that the two of us went to a zoo and I shoved your face into one of those pink, inflamed monkey butts."
Olivia Newton-John: Brunettes have no place in show business.
I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the season finale of “Glee”? Comment below, and be sure to come back to Show Tracker this week to see my recap of my favorite performances this season (will your favorite song make the cut?) and see my thoughts on how the show can make Season 2 even better.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy