Television Review: "Glee" Finale

12/12/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Kristen Lopez

The ending of "Glee" was bittersweet. Now starting its four-month hiatus to make way for "American Idol," the series ended on a strong note, leaving audiences with a smile and a tear. In the few episode reviews that have appeared on this site, it's been mentioned before that “[Insert episode title] was the best of them all,” but it can be said with all certainty that “Sectionals” is THE best episode of the "Glee" canon.

Since there is no way to discuss the events of this episode without revealing spoilers, readers should know that going forward.

It's finally arrived--New Directions has made it to Sectionals, albeit without their intrepid teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), who was removed as adviser after the events of last week's installment. The effects of Sue (Jane Lynch) leaking the set list leave the kids depressed with no songs to perform, and Will stuck listening to the aftermath through Emma's (Jayma Mays) cell phone. Finn (Corey Monteith) finally learns the truth about Quinn (Dianna Agron) and Puck's (Mark Sallin) relationship, and that Finn is not the father of the cheerleader's baby causing him to abandon the club in their hour of need.

Last week's episode, “Mattress,” was a tad heavy-handed with drama, but it allowed the episode to start off with a raw nerve--one ripe for irritation. Will is forced to remove himself from leadership of the club, and the kids are left on their own for the first time. Rachel (Lea Michele) attempts to become de facto president in Schuester's absence, but in the evening's first performance, in which Mercedes (Amber Riley) sings “And I Am Telling You,” the choir's star singer is forced to admit she isn't the best to lead. And so, she hands over the reins to Emma.

This is the first of many realizations the group discovers during Sectionals, and Rachel is forced to confront that she needs to spread the wealth in order to have everyone unify as a team. Finn learned that Puck was the father of Quinn's baby, in an event that mirrored Will finding out about Terry last week. The young quarterback's been put through the wringer this season and finding out that all this time his best friend was the father just destroyed him--he really wanted the baby.

Will had to confront Sue after she leaked the set list and it was easy to feel for him as he was so angry, he wanted to punch something--maybe Sue herself. These two moments led to an insightful conversation with Finn asking the question of why the nice guys always have to be the bigger man? Will simply says, “You can't always get what you want.” The two men have probably grown the most in the series' run, and they both share some deep-rooted similarities. They are both forced to confront the women they love, and they're also the two good guys who always seem to get the short end of the stick. It was a deep moment that allowed both men to vent their frustrations and come together to help the team as a whole.

The actual events of Sectionals is where the episode's heart and soul came from. Audiences have followed these kids from social outcasts to a group of underdogs from different social hierarchies who became friends. In fact, “Cherrio” Santana (Naya Rivera) admitted that Glee Club was “the best part of her day.” The fact that they all come together to performance a rousing set list that moved their teacher to tears was particularly affecting.

The songs from this episode were beautifully performed. Mercedes has been hot on Rachel's tail as the best singer of the group, and her stirring performance of the "Dreamgirls" ballad “And I Am Telling You” might have given Jennifer Hudson a run for her money. Ironically, the song mirrors the dynamic between the two big-voiced singers in the club as Mercedes has played backup to Rachel throughout the season. To have her sing a song about not giving up and making people love and respect her conveyed more weight than standard dialogue.

Equally good was the Broadway theatrics of Rachel's rendition of “Don't Rain On My Parade.” Actress Lea Michelle is a Broadway vet herself and her performance was pure theater--she worked the room. It's the last song that fans will probably remember most--the group's rendition of Kelly Clarkson's “My Life Would Suck Without You,” which was a tribute to Scheuster. The kids made it a point to include famous dance sequences used throughout the season. Examples include the kids wearing cowboy hats to memorialize star Kristin Chenoweth's cameo performance of Carrie Underwood's “Last Name,” and having Kurt do his Beyonce “Single Ladies” dance. This was intercut with scenes of Will sprinting down the hallways to catch Emma before she left the school for good, and sharing that romantic kiss that fans have been waiting for since the two were introduced.

Now, the questions are piling up. What is Sue going to do to get back her coaching position? How is Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) going to react now that Will and Emma are a couple? Since the show is on hiauts until April, audiences will need to wait.

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