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'Glee' season finale instant reaction: Regionals, at last

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On May 19, 2009, the first episode of Glee debuted. Before that date, the only musical TV shows that anyone remembered were Cop Rock and Viva Laughlin, and they were pop culture punchlines. What followed was the kind of epic, zeitgeist-y first season that instantly entered into legend like few shows in TV history. Glee has already been through various stages of the fame cycle: critical praise, overexposure, public adoration, controversy. The final episode of the season featured the long-promised competition at Regionals. Did it live up to your expectations?

Personally, I’d have to say: Yes, Yes, a thousand times Yes! I’ve felt ambivalent about some of the choices made by the creators in this post-hiatus run of episodes, but there was a lot to love in this finale. (Much credit to Brad Falchuk, one of the Glee co-creators, who wrote and directed the episode.) First of all, there was the Journey medley. What could’ve been just a fun callback to the series premiere turned into a bring-down-the-house mash-up of “Faithfully,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” and (of course) “Don’t Stop Believin’.” This was a full-on showstopper…and it aired about twenty minutes into the episode. Ballsy.

But the energy kept up through Vocal Adrenaline’s performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was painfully, awkwardly, and wonderfully intercut with Quinn giving birth. (Aside: her labor lasted exactly as long as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is very long labor, musically speaking.) And I don’t know about you, but I liked Josh Groban and Olivia Newton-John much better the second time around. (ONJ had some extra-special zingers in the judges’ room. “Are they a poor person’s school?” “Brunettes have no place in showbiz.” “By the time I was fifteen, I already had a band. Josh was in Mickey Mouse Club, or something.”)

Most of the plotlines faded away by the end of the episode, though the very few little bits of Finn-Rachel lovey stuff reminded me how much I like those two characters together. (Also: don’t you love how the show managed to take two zany, aggravating mystery-pregnancy plotlines, and combine them into one incredibly moving twist? Farewell, Idina Menzel and Baby Beth! Now, please, don’t ever show up again? Maybe? At least not till season 4?)

There was plenty of other fun stuff; look for my full recap sometime in the early morning. [UPDATE: it’s here!] What did you think, Glee fans? Were you ecstatic/satisfied/disappointed? Did you believe Sue’s change of heart at the end of the episode? Will we ever see more of Oral Intensity? Where can I get a red piano like the Bearded Piano Man? Sound off below!