Glee says goodbye to, uh, Glee Club; and a final adieu for Mr. Schuester, Tina Cohen-Chang, and the youngin's, before the rest of the gang heads to New York.
They really did it. They ended the thing. Glee shut off the lights in the McKinley choir room, a close zoom on Creepy Brad’s piano bench, the only memory that there was ever a Glee Club who dwelled there, made dreams there, dated like incestuous, insatiable rabbits there. In the second act of the 100th episode (some might call that the 101st episode – those people are not still watching Glee), it was time to really say goodbye to the Glee Club. Well, say goodbye to the newest members of the Glee Club, because most of the older members are headed to New York with the show. And by “say goodbye,” I mean give Marley, Jake, Kitty, Ryder and Unique a brief group hug, and hopefully a pat on the back for a job done as well as it could have been.
Finn may have been its heart, and Rachel may be its star, but the Glee Club was always really about one William Schuester. No one needed the Glee Club more than Will in its genesis; for good or bad, for sweet or creepy, Glee was always about Schue, and tonight it said goodbye to him for good (I mean, probably, I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen when they get to New York). And even as someone who is frequently not his biggest fan – on account of the holier than thou idealism and tendency to be crazy inappropriate in the presence of 15-year-olds — this episode gave me a fond lasting impression of Will Schuester, perm and all.
The final episode in Lima leads off with April Rhodes and Holly Holiday still trying to find a way to save the Glee Club. It seems odd to devote so much time to two guest characters in the last two episodes that Ryder will ever wear a short sleeve hoodie in, or Marley will ever wear…whatever the hell it is that Marley is always insisting on wearing. But, hey, at least these two are funny! I was straight up laughing real out loud LOL laughs in that Amazing Race sequence. It turns out Sue and Holly are biffles, so close that they made an audition tape to compete on The Amazing Race, where Sue will handle the physical challenges, and Holly will “take down those half-formed fetal duck eggs.” Their special bond helps Holly and April convince Sue not to reinstate Glee, but to at least incorporate music into some other clubs at McKinley.
Tina Cohen-Chang still doesn’t know if she’s been accepted to Brown, and in a last ditch effort to move to New York with the rest of her graduating class, applies to Mazel College or some such, in hopes that her adopted Jewish heritage will get her in. Blaine was likely accepted to NYADA at birth because Blaine’s life is 24/7 roses, but he waits to tell the rest of the New Directions until now. The celebration naturally leads to Tina being knocked unconscious because that poor girl (Jenna Ushkowitz more than TC-C) has spent half of season 5 on the ground in the fetal position. It all leads to a delightfully random unconscious hallucination of Glee-gone-Friends in New York, aka, Chums. The boys all have Ross hair; Rachel and Kurt’s loft is somehow impossibly bigger than the actual absurdly large apartment from Friends; and I think Tina is Rachel because, in the comfort of her own dream, of course Tina thinks she’s Rachel.
In an attempt to get Rachel and Santana to forgive each other, Mercedes and Kurt rehash their epic Tot Battle, and then get past it with a performance of “I Am Changing” from Dreamgirls. It’s lovely, if not exactly a convincing argument for two people to forgive each other. I savor the last chance to see Artie do “PREACH” arms in the auditorium audience, and as I don’t believe Mercedes will be changing coasts, the duet with Kurt is a fitting close to their time at McKinley. Long live “Bust the Windows (Out Your Car)!” A-
The plan to shoehorn Glee into McKinley’s other clubs has begun, so Holly and a bunch of kids who don’t even go there anymore visit the Animal Husbandry Club…where Holly promptly does a completely unnecessary Claire-Danes-as-Temple-Grandin impression that is just the perfect segue into “Party All the Time.” Listen, I know it’s like going to Red Lobster and saying, “Hm, the menu looks a little heavy,” to say that something on Glee doesn’t make sense, but seriously, WHAT was going on in this number? It sounds good and it looks fun, but while I’m sure animal husbandry is perfectly enjoyable, what does it have to do with partying all the time, and why was an Eddie Murphy (yeah, that Eddie Murphy) song released in 1985 performed on the set of American Hustle? And then it all ends with Holly saying “How’s that for a field trip,” as if that was a thing that had ever been mentioned before. C
NEXT: I never thought I’d feel these kinds of emotions (re: any) for a Glee original song…
Last episode left Brittany and Santana on a bit of a cliffhanger, and the state of their relationship still doesn’t become immediately clear, but when have these two ever had your run of the mill relationship? Santana finds Brittany in the choir room surrounded by the lesbian of flowers (lilies) to gift her two one-way tickets to Lesbos island. While a clearly appealing option, Santana knows Brittany just wants to escape MIT because solving all the world’s problems with her beautiful minds isn’t really her dream. Brittany’s all, Hey girl, being a Broadway star was never exactly your dream either. What eight different dramatic performances and an offer of 10 starring shows from Rachel couldn’t convince Santana of, Brittany S. Pierce does in just a few sentences; she really is the world’s foremost expert on Santana Lopez.
On account of not being Jewish enough, Tina doesn’t get into Mitzvah University. She feels like not only can she not move to New York without a plan, but having nowhere to go after McKinley makes her a big ole loser. Oh, you mean “…like me?” say the three guys with actual plans after graduation. Semantics — hit those keys, Blaine! Original songs were never Glee’s strong suit, but when Blaine, Sam and Artie start in on an acoustic version of “Loser Like Me,” with Tina joining in later, I get all nostalgic for these dreamy losers. You just can’t beat the sweetness of their complete emotional commitment to lines like, “I’m not thinkin’ ‘bout you haters.” A
Santana finds Rachel working on her Funny Girl lines, which is a relief, considering she’s been at McKinley packing away the choir room for, like, a month. She tells Rachel that she’s quitting the show but she’s not doing it for her, she’s doing it for herself. Rachel agrees not to go all sentimental, but she requests one last duet for the Glee Club, because rain or shine, love or hate, all major decisions must be cemented with a song. They choose “Be Okay” by Oh Honey. The message is there and I’ll take anything these two serve me, but the performance was surprisingly smiley considering they technically still really don’t like each other. They’re not actively trying to ruin each other’s lives anymore though, so that’s something worth smiling over. B
Quinn and Puck follow up that performance with a more warranted lovey-dovey rendition of “Just Give Me A Reason.” It makes sense, it’s sweet, and naturally, it ends with them DTR-ing in front of the entire Glee Club. B+ As Schue says, the coupling of Quinn and Puck brings us fittingly full circle, as the duet was the last song that will ever be performed in McKinley High School’s Glee Club. After Holly’s little Animal Husbandry Club stunt, Sue received a flurry of complaints, and has to officially end the extracurricular musical experiment. Holly tries to apologize, but finally, finally Will isn’t blaming someone else, he’s just accepting that Glee Club is over and trying to move on.
Holly has one last stunt up her substitute sleeve though and calls on Artie for some A.V. help. There’s one precious moment where Artie thinks she’s asking for some assistance in the love department, for which he is all on board, but when Holly shuts that down (I was personally relieved — you really never know with Holly, and Kitty deserves more than a text), he’s on board to make a video for his Glee coach and friend. That video turns out to be a message recorded by all the Glee kids, new and old, for Will and Emma’s future little nugget, played on the big screen in the auditorium that Will has spent so much time fighting for. They tell Will’s kiddo about how his/her dad could “dance like Fred Astaire and sing like Michael Buble”; how he helped Tina get over her fake stutter (“you had to be there); made them feel safe for loving whoever they chose; saved their lives and loved them unconditionally.
As the screen rises, the five remaining original members of the New Directions take the stage for one final performance of the song that started it all: “Don’t Stop Believing.” The song may have had one too many shining moments, but watching the Glee kids continue to pour onto the stage in the order they joined, and finally, the man who got them all there, whether by trickery or with a Nationals trophy, jump the stage to sing with them, well, it was a moment — full-glitter Glee. A
NEXT: What happens when it looks like the end and feels like the end, but it’s really just the middle?
New Directions 2.0 finally (I didn’t even remember what Marley’s voice sounded like) have their goodbye moment and they’re tasked with sweeping the floor of the choir room while doing it. Marley reminds them all that they were part of something incredible, and even though Glee Club is finished, that can’t be taken from them. As with Glee, the new kids may have just been too little, too late; but when the end result is Unique and Kitty promising to still talk to each other in the halls, maybe it was all worth it.
The last five minutes of Glee in Lima are spent in a rushed graduation ceremony in the auditorium. Apparently McKinley was much smaller than I ever knew, because there are seriously, like, 30 people in its graduating class. It’s one of the more disorganized high school graduations I’ve ever seen, but it makes for quick work of Sue calling the names of Tina (who got into Brown and isn’t going to New York anymore – sorry, storyline!), Artie, Sam, Blaine, Becky and, with a few called-in favors from Santana, Brittany. Hats are tossed, hugs are shared, and Santana convinces Brittany to take a return ticket from Lesbos and come back to New York with her after their trip.
After graduation, presumably at the close of Will’s final school year with McKinley, he takes one last trip to the empty choir room to find Sue there, waiting with a recalled Razzle Dazzle wine cooler to toast to his demise. He won’t miss the berating, but she’ll miss the fight. Will was a worthy adversary, and it’s probably that ever-oscillating feeling of respect and hate that leads Sue to get him an audition for Vocal Adrenaline’s glee director. I hope he gets it. He’s had his rag-tag Glee Club who worshiped him, now how about one where he’ll either run it into the ground or finally have to plan a competition song more than a few days in advance?
As Will shuts off the lights, and closes the door to the Glee we’ve always known, the voices of Glee members past sound out, ending with Finn: “We want to win this for you.” Some people will say that Glee ended for them at the end of season 3, or maybe even with “The Quarterback.” I’m sure a few more will bow out here — it certainly feels like a series finale. But we know the show must (or will) go on to New York, more like a spinoff that’s happening in the middle of a season than the same show. Personally, I’m excited to see what happens, and if they can make this work, it just might be a comeback.
Or, you know, not. What do you think about New York? Will you be watching eagerly, or between your fingers, as Brittany, Blaine, Sam and Artie join the rest of the NYC gang?
– “You guys got married and adopted Russian twin babies!” – Sam’s excited guess at what Blaine and Kurt’s news might be
– “Open the g-dang door!” – Santana in the Chums montage (Rachel was clearly Monica, so I guess that made Santana Phoebe? Maybe more Chandler because they’re both dead inside.)
– “Walking away from a dream that you don’t actually care about is you winning because it’s you saying ‘this isn’t who I am and I don’t care who knows it.’” – Brittany, serving up more than just mathematical genius
– “You don’t need a plan, you’ll figure something out once you get there. We can get an apartment!” – Artie, giving some truly terrible advice about moving to one of the most expensive cities in the world.
– “That sweater’s legit.” – Puck being a pretty nice, but still terrifying, guy
– “SANDDOLLAR” – Brittany’s on-point description of Will