And so it’s come to this. After a year of ups and down and with the constant fear of the club being canned, New Directions have finally made it to regionals but are soon dealt a blow when Sue announces she is one of the judges along with a few familiar faces from earlier episodes, Olivia Newton John, Josh Groban and slimy news anchor Rod Remington.
So let’s recap what happened.
Sensing that this is the end of the club, all the members fall into a depression and at pizza night at Will’s discuss how much the club means to them and how awful they feel that it is all about to end.
Heartbroken by their sadness, Will turns to Emma for advice but is saddened to discover, while he has been busy finding out who he is, she has moved on and started dating her dentist.
Finn, who is upset at the defeatist attitude of the rest of the club, turns to Rachel and gears her up to be more optimistic, which includes her kissing him. At the same time Will comes across Don’t Stop Believing playing on the radio and it inspires him (after he has stopped crying) to make their regionals selection a mix of Journey songs. After all, that was the first song that brought them together in the beginning.
At regionals, the club discovers that the judge list was leaked and the first group to sing, Aural Intensity, do a mix of Olivia Newton John and Josh Groban songs. Determined not to be fazed, New Directions go out and sing their hearts out, but not before Finn admits to Rachel that he loves her.
After bringing the crowd to their feet, Quinn, who has been having regrets of her own due to her pregnancy, bumps into her mother backstage and is asked if she wants to go back home, just as her waters break.
While most of the club go to the hospital with Quinn, Rachel stays behind to watch main rival Vocal Adrenalin’s performance and then asks their coach and her newly revealed mother, Shelby, to join New Directions instead. She refuses, stating it is time to stop coaching and get a life and she eventually adopts Quinn and Puck’s baby.
The results put New Directions into third place and seal the fate of the club disbanding and no amount of pleading from Emma to Principle Figgns helps. Nevertheless, Will is impressed with her passion and kisses her, stating he will win her back.
As the club sings Will a final song, it turns out to be that Sue is their saviour. Having been impressed with Will’s work with the students and their utmost respect for him, she uses her blackmail card one last time with Figgins to get the club one more year. Roll on, therefore, season two.
Glee has had, in retrospect, what could possibly be said is one of the most successful first seasons in recent memory, with viewing figures most shows would be envious of and four chart smashing albums. Throw in a decently selling DVD of the first half of the season, a national US tour, an engagement at the White House, Golden Globe Awards and a couple of much mooted Emmys in the pipeline (if Jane Lynch does not win Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy , I will eat my hat). What a way to end the season with this practically pitch perfect episode.
Moving away from the more farcical comedy elements it has become known for, the episode’s focus is more emotional and has far from the happy ending predicted. And the episode is far better off for it.
Firstly, there is the big clunking fact that the club did not win at regionals. This is pretty much akin to Jack Bauer not saving the day or somebody kicking a puppy. It’s not something we are used to seeing in this type of TV show and, in fairness, I think it is a brilliant move.
I don’t think I am the only one who gets ever so slightly fed up when things come together neatly and without much effort in today’s television shows, and to have the club lose admits that life sucks sometimes.
It also nicely set up that Sue actually enjoys antagonising Will and the club and can’t see a future without that rivalry in it. It also nicely shows what the audience has known for a while, that Sue has a pretty big heart and isn’t afraid to wear it on her sleeve once in a while (as long as nobody finds out, of course).
The episode also finally tied up the season’s loose ends. Rachel seems to be finally over Jesse and on the right track with Finn, Will realises he wants to be with Emma more than anything and is going to fight for her (cue the first storyline of season two), and Quinn, well, she had her baby (although I think having Shelby adopt her was a bit much!) and I hope that next season they focus a bit on the enormity of her decision as well as the fragile relationship she now needs to rebuild with her mother.
I am still a bit disheartened with the Rachel/Jesse/Shelby storylines being rushed through so quickly, as I still feel there was no real resolution to anything. Hopefully, this might be remedied next season, but by that point I am not really sure where the writers will be able to go.
Overall, though, I think this season of Glee has been brilliant and, although there have been a few bum notes along the way, it has created a more than solid ground for another season, but the best thing about it has to be the creation of Sue Sylvester, who has become such a cultural icon she will go down as one of television’s greatest characters and I cannot wait to see what she will get up to next. Roll on September!
Read our review of episode 21 here.