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Oh, the feels. Glee has officially taken its final bow.
Critical and fan opinion on series finales are generally mixed, with some loving the final twists and turns and others loathing them. The finale of Glee has, largely, been loved. And that is very much my stand on the two-part finale. I loved a large proportion of it, with just a small amount annoying me.
We’ll start with ‘2009’. Flashing back to the pilot episode was a smart way of expanding on the core characters we already know and love – though arguably it was hard to believe that these characters were six years younger. Chris Colfer, unfortunately, could not pull off his boyish looks of yesteryear, so it was perhaps a smart move to have a body double in shadow perform his audition of ‘Mr. Cellophane’.
It was heartbreaking to see Kurt so broken and dejected once more. He really has come a long way in these six years. Karofsky and Puck both briefly appeared, as jerks, and bullied Kurt so much that he happened to glance at one of Emma’s pamphlets about suicide. Calling in Burt, Burt coerced Kurt into joining a club to make friends. I am so glad that it was Burt to whom we have to thank that Kurt joined the Glee Club.
Kurt and Burt, as father and son, are genuinely adorable to watch, and the interior monologue of Kurt coming out to his father was likewise heartbreaking. At least that story ultimately had a positive outcome.
Whilst Artie and Tina didn’t have much to do at all, it was nice to finally see Artie’s audition. It was horrible to see, however, Kurt and Rachel humiliated at the hands of Artie and Tina, especially considering that these two characters have been bullied substantially too. As such, I loathe these two characters even more. I’ve never particularly liked them much.
The rest of the episode centred around Rachel being obnoxious and Mercedes vying for female lead. We’ve been there and seen this all before, countless times, but for me the standout scene has to be the original five Glee Club members discussing whether or not to kick Finn out of the club.
It was well known that this episode would pack an emotional punch, and here the feels began. It wasn’t until the final performance of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, in which archive footage brought Finn Hudson back to our screens, in which I began to bawl. And I bet I wasn’t the only one.
I would have liked more characters to return. We saw Terri come back, as overbearing as ever, along with her meek and adorable colleague Howard, and we even had a pointless cameo from Matt Rutherford (anyone remember him? Nope, me neither) but where was Quinn? Or Santana? Or Brittany? Arguably we’ve seen them join the Glee Club, but I would’ve liked at least a brief appearance from them to show what they were doing around the time the show started.
Moving onto ‘Dreams Come True’, we flash into the future several times. Firstly it’s to see the New Directions win Nationals, leading to William McKinley becoming a performing arts school and Will being promoted to principle. Predictable, maybe, but completely satisfying.
Three months later see’s Will indoctrinate several new Glee Clubs for varying members, and hiring Sam as the tutor for the New Directions. He doesn’t want to leave Ohio, which I guess it alright. Not everybody has to fly the nest. What I didn’t like was that sports was apparently completely cut (what happened to Sheldon?) and that Sam ultimately became a bit of a player. Who not just pair him and Mercedes up just for the fans?
I knew a redemptive arc was coming for Sue, but the finale failed to answer what had changed within her. We see her congratulating Kurt and Blaine (in a completely amazing scene, in which Sue says she has learnt so much about herself whilst seeing Kurt struggling in season two. Aww), making it up with Will, and adorably making friends with Becky again.
Flash forward five years and Sue is preposterously the Vice President of the United States, and will be vying for Presidency in 2024. Okaaay. Although, I suppose, there wasn’t much else that they could do with Sue. Whatever happened to her daughter?
Blaine and Kurt are still happily married five years later, replete with garish hairstyles, and are visiting schools to promote equality. They’ve both Broadway actors, which is nice. The truly amazing part of their future is revealed later, though. Artie writes a movie in which Tina stars, and they are apparently a couple now. Who cares? I certainly don’t.
And as for Mercedes, after opening for Beyoncé on her world tour, she releases hew album and partakes in a world tour of her own material. Aside from Rachel’s future, that is pretty much it. Brittany and Santana, Quinn and Puck, Ryder, Jake, Unique… we learn nothing more about any of these characters, which for me is the biggest problem with this finale.
Why couldn’t the producers have trimmed off one of the terrible episodes earlier this season (say ‘Child Star’?) and made ‘Dreams Come True’ a two-parter, to expand on what befell everyone else? I don’t much care about the new-newbies, but I want to know what happened to the newbies. Because, ultimately, we still don’t really know whether Marley chose Ryder or Jake, and nor do we know whether Unique dropped her ridiculous name and took a better one because, I’m presuming, she will have transitioned into a woman by this point. Her conversation with Sheldon in ‘Transitioning’ certainly hinted that she was at least considering the possibility.
But now, onto Rachel. She’s married to Jesse, which I’m all for. What I cannot understand, though, is why we’ve had Rachel and Sam forced down our throats all season long, only for Rachel to ultimately pair with Jesse. It was just a colossal waste of time. But Rachel is pregnant, and no, it isn’t with Jesse’s baby. Yes, she is a surrogate for Kurt and Blaine, and the feels only increase from here onwards. This baby will help cement the notion that these characters are all family, something which I simply adore.
And Rachel is up for a Tony. Predictably she wins (against such icons as Maggie Smith and Anne Hathaway) but this is the finale of Glee, after all. Her acceptance speech is brilliant, in which she dedicates the award to Will, who is watching at home with a brood of children beside the Vice President herself. Yes, it seems as though Will and Sue are thankfully friends once more. And all is happy amongst the core characters.
The final performance of OneRepublic’s ‘I Lived’ was more for the cast than the viewers, I think, though it was breathtaking to see. After a truly sweet speech from Sue, in which she finally accepts how brilliant the Glee Club is and states that it helps children see a better world (one in which ‘the quarterback becomes best friends with the gay kid’), characters past and present return for one final performance. Everyone bar Marley and Rory are there (with their performers apparently unable to return due to prior commitments), though it is weird to see Terri there. She loathed the Glee Club, and it ultimately ended her marriage.
But Sugar is there. Joe is there, Matt is there, Ryder and Jake are there. Unique is there, looking as fabulous as ever. Brittany and Santana arrive together looking extremely happy, so presumably they are still together. I think Quinn and Puck probably would be too. I expected the final performance to be ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, but I guess that song is sacred, and it wouldn’t sound the same without Finn.
Speaking of Finn, the reason for the characters’ reunion is revealed. The April Rhodes Civic Pavilion has been renamed. It’s now named the ‘Finn Hudson Auditorium’, and a plaque dedicated to him tells viewers to ‘See the world not as it is, but as it should be’. Cue the tears.
As a finale, ‘Dreams Come True’ was pretty flawless in what it presented. All of the characters ended up positively happy, and the feels were real. Aside from the fact that ultimately we learnt nothing about half of the characters, this was a brilliant ending for Glee.
Join Vada next week as we retrospectively look at Glee, and it’s legacy.