I remember the day I first heard about this new quirky show called Glee. The words “show choir” definitely piqued my interest, but I never fully committed until I saw the first teaser: It showcased a band of misfits who all rallied together in the high school auditorium to sing and dance to Journey songs. I knew I had found my people.
I wasn’t the only one who identified with the show. Each week, countless fans tuned in to see how the New Directions would navigate the treacherous halls of McKinley High. We laughed at the campiness of the weekly Glee Club assignments. We identified with the storylines. We shuddered at the thought of our own insecurities. And we found sanctuary in the chorus of a familiar song.
The music of Glee was the heartbeat of the show. It became the soundtrack of our childhood, adolescence, and young adult lives. Several generations were introduced to a wide variety of musical stylings, thanks to Ryan Murphy’s vision. We became honorary members of New Directions with every showtune, mash-up, or original recording we belted out in our car.
More than anything, Glee challenged us to dream big. It was only fitting that the series finale open with a flashback to 2009, when the original cast members each made the decision to take the first step in building their legacy.
When Ms. Pillsbury shows Kurt’s dad a pamphlet Kurt had been reading (Ending it All: Pros and Cons), Mr. Hummel becomes concerned. He forces Kurt to join a team at school, or his sewing machine will be confiscated.
Kurt scours the cafeteria for a place to fit in. He lands at Rachel Berry’s table. Kurt refrains from whipping out a pair of tweezers to help wrangle Rachel’s eyebrows. Instead, he listens as this small, feisty girl convinces him to join the Glee Club.
Kurt approaches Mercedes to help him figure out what he should sing for the audition. Mercedes encourages Kurt to match his attitude with his fierce wardrobe choices. But Kurt wonders if it even matters—most of the time he feels invisible. Cut to Kurt auditioning to “Mr. Cellophane” in the auditorium. It was a nice throwback to the pilot episode. Warm fuzzies all around.
One of my favorite moments from the night is when Mercedes complains in voiceover that the only other black kid in school is boring. Then the camera pans to Matt! (Remember him? Yeah, I almost forgot, too.) That sweet boy is still getting the shaft.
Rachel, always the schemer, falls into step with her “new best friend” and invites herself to Mercedes’ church so she can scope out the competition. Mercedes commands the stage in front of a gospel choir, hitting notes that would definitely crack the stained glass windows. The gauntlet has been thrown, and Rachel knows it. Game on.
Tina and Artie
I had almost forgotten that Tina was once a Goth chick with a (fake) stutter. Not to mention that Karofsky and Puck were truly horrible individuals! Even when the two bully her, Tina refuses to conform to the norm. Instead, she joins forces with the kid in the wheelchair. Both Tina and Artie audition for the Glee Club as a result of a dare from the dude who thinks he’s a werewolf. Kids these days.
Rachel tracks down Mr. Schuester to hand him her list of potential male lead candidates. She also gives him a list of reasons why she should get the first solo. Moments later, Mr. Schuester is shocked when Puck launches a slushy in Rachel’s face. He now understands the underdog status of Glee Club.
Did you ever wonder what instigated Sue Sylvester to hate Will Schuester? We now know the answer. During a friendly game of basketball, Sue casually suggests to Will that fostering unrealistic dreams in the kids at McKinley High is unfair. Will informs Sue that he has Finn Hudson on board. There’s no stopping the Glee Club. The arts are important—even more important than cheerleading.
And so a rivalry is born.
Rachel is back on her elliptical machine, mentally preparing for her future Broadway debut. She knows that she can’t get there without the Glee Club. However, we’re at the point in our timeline when Mr. Schuester is about to quit so he can become an accountant to support his family, including horribly manipulative wife Terri. Rachel takes it upon herself to visit Terri at Sheets-N-Things. She implores the non-pregnant woman to reconsider guilting her husband into quitting his job. GO BERRY!
Meanwhile, Kurt and Mercedes debate whether Finn Hudson is right for the Glee Club. They figure he will eventually convince his jock and cheerleader friends to join. That means that the misfits will be pushed to the side. Rachel reminds her fellow show choir members that Finn wants to be accepted for who he really is and not what his label says. When they look back at their time in Glee Club, they need to be proud of what they did and who they included. Can someone pass me a tissue?
NEXT: Here come the tears