Glee Season 6 Episodes 12 and 13 – TV Review
Yes, baby. We finally made it.
We made it to the end of Glee.
But Glee isn’t ready to leave without one last glory-reliving grab at the spotlight.
I’ll allow it.
TL;DR We flashback to various characters’ stories right before glee club got started; nothing important is revealed; nostalgia levels are high; the episode closes with the original footage of the original performance of Don’t Stop Believin’.
I thought they’d save that one for the final scene of the final episode, so it was a nice surprise.
So the episode is titled “2009,” which means it’s a flashback episode to 2009. You know, when Glee was still in its infancy and was actually good. We get some POV tales of various glee club members: Kurt is pressured by Burt to join a team to make friends (because Emma is worried he’s suicidal), so he joins glee club; Mercedes has arbitrary rivalry with Rachel; Tina and Artie only auditioned for glee club on a bet; Will sacrifices his friendship with Sue to commit to glee club. The episode superficially addresses an early club vote on whether or not Finn would be allowed to stay (spoiler: they allow him to stay), and also weighs on Will’s decision to choose glee club and teaching over becoming an accountant to support his supposed baby (remember that?). The episode ends as the pilot did, with Will observing the glee club rehearsing Don’t Stop Believin’.
And it’s just as magical as the first time. Dare I say it.
The episode is kind of a wank, and mostly just a nudge-nudge, wink-wink at the audience about how it used to be.
But it used to be fucking amazing, so it’s nice to see that back again.
Who knew some thicker Rachel eyebrows and a demoralised Kurt was all I’d need to feel right again?
Why I hate this episode:
This being post-season 1 Glee, though, means that Kurt is given undue attention. He’s the first character to get his POV story told this episode, and it’s a ridiculous trudge through his isolation and apparently suicidal depression. Tell us something we don’t know.
Mercedes is next, and we see that her obstructive diva side was in full swing at a younger age. Rachel, although I suppose you could construe her interest as sabotage, tries to play nice with her, but Mercedes is just haughty and dismissive to her. She literally has a cry because Will gives Rachel the first solo, despite his reassurance that they’ll all take turns. Boo fucking hoo, bitch.
Tina and Artie’s “we did it on a dare” thing is weird and unnecessary.
Sin from Arrow appears as one of their goth friends, and is the one who gives them the dare. I still haven’t warmed up to her actress, and I’m still dreading her leading role on MTV’s upcoming Scream series.
Fucking Blaine gets a scene where he almost bumps into Kurt at a cafe. Ugh.
Quinn is notably excised from the episode, only appearing in the original footage of her, Santana, and Sue watching the Don’t Stop Believin’ rehearsal.
Sue considered Will her best friend prior to all the glee club tension. She even gives him an ultimatum: glee club, or her friendship. What?
Oh, and Figgins shows Emma, who shows Will, a video of Will and his high school glee club performing Disco Inferno. Glee evidently produced and filmed the whole song, but we only see about two seconds of it. I mostly feel bad for the poor actor who thought he was getting a big break by being cast as Young Will.
But it’s not all bad:
Oh, nostalgia. You are strong, I’ll say that.
What I really appreciated most was the old Rachel. The eyebrows were the major asset, but her old fashion sense makes her pop. And they overdo the whole rapid-fire, type A bitch babble, but it feels more authentic than anything Glee has done for the past five seasons.
Kurt being his mousy, yet hopeful, self was a breath of fresh air. There are hints at the endless stream of gay suffrage that was to come, but they’re stifled by a relatively sweet story between him and Burt. Emma calls Burt in because she saw Kurt looking at a suicide pamphlet, and Burt encourages Kurt to join a team to make friends. Yeah, it’s glee club. But Burt’s always been a pretty cool dad, in spite of what an obnoxious arsehole his son is.
When Mercedes has her cry about the solo, her mum (I think?) tells her to suck it the fuck up and learn to share the spotlight. Good.
Emma actually has a role in this episode, and goddamn, I miss how much the adults used to matter in Glee.
Terri, my long lost idol, is back, too. She’s her usual, selfish self. Her life philosophy is surprisingly sensible, though. Yeah, she only thinks that way so she can get what she wants, but she does have a point about being honest with yourself and your circumstances, and tempering your dreams accordingly.
The second best line of the episode goes to Terri, who has this ominous prophecy about the glee club: “I have a bad feeling about this.” She knew!
The best line of the episode goes to Tina in her voice-over: “My name is Tina Cohen-Chang, and you don’t care.” She knew!
Matt, the black footballer and supplementary glee club member from season 1, appears in a cameo as Mercedes ignores him. Sounds about right.
During Kurt’s audition, one of Will’s notes he writes is “Gay?” When Kurt gets to an extended high note, Will quickly scribbles out the question mark. I lol’d.
Rachel and Kurt sing Popular from Wicked to prepare for their auditions. It’s cute enough.
Oh, and the ending with Don’t Stop Believin’ is perfect. God, they were so young and untainted by the seasons of crap that would follow.
TL;DR Epilogues ahoy. Everyone moves on and becomes roaringly successful and content. But given that it’s glee, the schmaltz levels aren’t as unbearable as Parks and Recreation’s pathetic finale were. And yeah, I cried.
Whatchu gon’ do about it, huh?
The episode starts out in present day, with the New Directions winning Nationals. This results in McKinley being converted into a performing arts school, and now glee club (more than one, in fact) will be forever safe in its halls. Will becomes the principal, and three months later sings a tribute to most of the original glee club kids for making it possible. We then move onto the first of the epilogues: Mercedes tours as an opening act for Beyoncé; Sam becomes the new coach of the primary New Directions; and Sue farewells Will with an ABBA song. The time skip then jumps five years into the future for the remaining epilogues: Sue becomes vice president to Jeb Bush, and will be running for actual president after his term; Tina and Artie are apparently together, and making a movie; Kurt and Blaine are a Broadway power couple, and Rachel is a surrogate for their baby; Rachel marries Jesse, and wins a Tony award for a musical he directed. Finally, almost every character from Glee’s series run converges on the McKinley auditorium, where Sue announces that it’s being renamed to honour Finn, and everybody sings the final song together to end this saga we called Glee.
It is jubilant.
As a longtime hater and vicious critic of Glee over the years, I will concede that I was satisfied with this finale. Epiloguing is a pet peeve of mine (American Horror Story!), but I’ll suffer it if there’s a musical number involved.
And this is Glee, baby.
Why I hate this episode:
Kurt and Blaine’s flash forward to five years in the future saddles them both with hideous new hairdos, and awful clothes. And of fucking course they’re a successful, Broadway power couple. Ugh. Their epilogue scene has them singing Daydream Believer to a class of preschoolers, which is so drab. Kurt and Blaine are awful because they’ve always been the Mary Sues of this show, and they couldn’t even go out with a bang? Rachel gets to win a fucking Tony, and all these two get is a song to some kids? Pfft. Go big or go home, Glee. And you’ve already gone home. To your grave.
I couldn’t give a shit about Rachel’s surrogacy for them, either.
There are a few notable characters missing from the episode. The most egregious of which is Marley. Remember when she was The New Rachel? I assume scheduling conflicts are to blame, but that doesn’t change the fact that she isn’t there.
Also missing are Rory, Ken Tanaka, Sandy, and Shelby. Ken and Sandy I get, but Rory and Shelby I think at least warranted a look-in. If Jesse got to come around, then Shelby deserved to, too.
April isn’t there, but I didn’t expect her to be. There is a huge missed opportunity for name-dropping her, though. Before Rachel wins her Tony, the presenter (Elijah from Girls, btw) reads the other nominess. April could have easily been one of them.
Oh, and Becky’s reunion with Sue is sweet, but it’s a fast turnaround from her cuntish treatment of her a few episodes ago. But Glee’s never been big on the whole continuity thing.
But it’s not all bad:
The omissions may be noticeable, but the inclusions easily drown them out. The final song is OneRepublic’s I Lived (fitting), and it’s a winner. Sue assembles most of the series’ adults in the auditorium to announce its rededication as the Finn Hudson Memorial Auditorium (even Terri comes. Thank God). It then transitions into Will starting the song, backed up by Artie, Tina, Quinn, and Sam.
They are joined shortly thereafter by Rachel and Mercedes. And then, sadly, Kurt and Blaine.
The Generation 3 New Directions members file in next, tailed by an always-exuberant Sugar. Mike and Matt swing in for a quick dance, then from the seats comes Santana, Brittany, Puck, Lauren Zizes, Kitty, Karofsky, and our long-forgotten Jake. Jesse joins Rachel on stage, before the rest of Generation 2 (Joe, Unique, and Ryder. Not Marley, though) sweep in from the back of the stage.
Next, the adults join in, too (Figgins, Burt, Carol, Emma, Bieste, Terri). Terri hugs Will, and Glee gets its final gag in when Emma makes a shocked face about it.
And Becky and Sue complete the Glee soup. The lights fall, and the show’s over. It was nice.
Sue’s farewell song with Will is ABBA’s eternal The Winner Takes It All. ABBA always does it for me. Both because it’s ABBA, and because of Muriel’s Wedding. The one exception is the film adaptation of Mamma Mia. Those casting agents were not on the ball that day.
The other Tony nominees up against Rachel were Maggie Smith, Willow Smith, and Anne Hathaway. I chuckled a little bit.
I love the fact that Kitty was the only Generation 2 character who got screentime this season (Unique a bit, but he doesn’t really compare). It’s rare, but sometimes Glee understands what’s right.
Oh, and Kitty grabs the fucking trophy. Again.