And it is done. I almost want this to be the way that Glee ends. It will be far from perfect, and it will leave about a million hanging loose ends, but I almost want to rob the show’s creators, writers, and showrunners the opportunity to screw this show up. Glee redeemed itself over these last three episodes, and I want it to stay that way. As a program, Glee manages to simultaneously do a ton of things right, and as any fan can tell you, it also manages to fuck a million different things up. And Tuesday night’s finale which saw the high school graduation of half of the cast did more good than bad (which is really all you can ask for from Glee) and it had the feel almost of a series finale. Considering some of the final act twists (which exist almost solely to set up drama for next season), I’d love to know more about what’s going to happen to Kurt and Finn now that they have found out they won’t be going to NYC (this is what happens when you don’t have back-up plans), but I just honestly don’t trust this show’s ability to be worth a damn next season when it’s missing most of its cast. I just don’t see how this isn’t going to be an epic disaster. Just like with the impending return of True Blood (whose fourth season was truly awful), I’ll be back for my licks when Glee finally returns, but it will be with seriously tampered expectations and the obvious truth that the show won’t be the same (and I can’t see how it will be any better).

It’s graduation time at McKinley High which meant it was time to prepare for an hour straight of me crying either softly or intensely. In true Glee fashion, Mr. Schue gives the club one last assignment for the year which is to say goodbye via song to everyone else in the group, and he starts it off with a really touching performance of “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart (but more on the performances in their section). The rest of the episode is given to saying one last goodbye to our various seniors. Kurt gets a surprise visit from his father as the duo share one last touching moment together and Burt does a hilarious rendition of “All the Single Ladies” as Kurt’s last graduation gift. We learn that Mercedes has a recording contract to be a back-up singer on an indie label in L.A. Mike got a scholarship to be part of a prestigious dance academy (I think. I got a little lost there). We finally meet Santana’s mother (played by Gloria Estaban) who is actually supportive of Santana’s bisexuality and we discover that Brittany won’t be graduating (because she had a 0.0 GPA). Quinn kisses Puck one last time to give him the confidence to study for his Geography final which he passes which means he’ll be able to graduate as well. Kurt, Finn, and Rachel make an ill-advised pact to open their college acceptance letters together. When they do, we find out to no one’s surprise that Finn didn’t get into the Actor’s Studio. However, the twist is that Kurt didn’t get into NYADA either. Rachel however did get in. So, graduation happens. Rachel decides she wants to stay in NY and defer her admission to NYADA to try and help out Kurt and Finn. Just when Rachel thinks she’s on the way to the chapel to finally marry Finn, we get the final twist of the episode. Finn  is joining the military and is breaking up with Rachel to force her to leave Lima and pursue her dreams in NY. Damn things got dark out of nowhere.

Well, this was an episode of Glee so let’s look at the songs. Although my dad and sister weren’t crazy about it, I thought Mr. Schue’s rendition of Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” was really touching. It also didn’t sound like your typical Matthew Morrison number, and I really enjoyed it. We’ve had a lot less of him singing this season which is a shame. Chris Colfer did a lovely version of “I’ll Remember” by Madonna even if I wasn’t all that familiar with the original song. His voice has really taken shape and matured over the course of the series but I’ll reserve my thoughts on how I think they’ll incorporate him into the series next season for my next paragraph. I really liked the version that the New Direction seniors did of “You Get What You Give” by the New Radicals (which was entirely coincidentally my Song of the Day earlier this week). Finn’s voice has also gotten infinitely better since the series began. It’s almost shocking just how better he’s sounded the last half of this season than he’s ever sounded before. The New Directions underclassmen took on The Beatles “In My Life.” I wasn’t as crazy about it as my dad was especially since their arrangement of the song was almost unrecognizable as being the Beatles to me. I thought Mark Salling and Corey Monteith did a pretty respectable job with the Bruce Springsteen classic, “Glory Days,” though it seems like a really weird song to be playing at their high school graduation ceremony (unless the show was trying to be very subtly ironic) since it’s basically a song about a group of pathetic people whose current lives are totally miserable and have to relive their glory days in high school. I had never heard the song that Lea Michele sang in the finale before, “Roots before Branches” by Room for Two but in true Rachel fashion, she sang the hell out of it and I was crying the entire time.

I spent about 6 hours today writing one article for work, an interview with Canadian alt-rock band Our Lady Peace that became a 2800 word monstrosity, so I almost don’t have it in me to give this final Glee review of the season the treatment it deserves. Here’s some quick observations though. The scene where Mike O’Malley did the “Single Ladies” dance for Kurt was one of the most hilarious/touching things I’ve seen in the entirety of the show and whoever had that idea deserves a raise. It was comedy gold. While I would have been pissed if Puck hadn’t graduated, having Brittany not graduate actually makes a lot of sense. That girl is borderline retarded, and while it’s sort of silly to have her back in the New Directions next year, I’ll definitely be glad to have Heather Morris around some more. The show kind of just shoehorned in the reveals about Mike and Mercedes but because we are most definitely not seeing them again next season (unless they return for Will and Emma’s nuptials), the show didn’t really have a ton of time to draw those stories out. I would have loved an update about Karofsky in this episode (even just a sighting of him at graduation would have been nice) but alas, I’m coming to the conclusion that we’ve seen the last of Max Adler. I get why Finn didn’t get into the Actor’s Studio. I don’t think that was ever actually a possibility (and would have thrown away any shreds of reality that this show has since he never even did any acting on the show) but this whole subplot about him joining the military seemed to come out of nowhere and I have a problem with it. Also, Kurt not getting into NYADA was something I predicted going into the episode, and I really don’t know how they’re going to handle him on the show now. I hope he still finds some way to NYC because I don’t want to see his wonderful character stuck in Lima, Ohio for another year. Kurt is my favorite character on the show and I hated to see his dreams shattered like that even if it made for good drama. However, I am now thoroughly convinced that Jesse St. James will be joining Rachel Berry as a freshman at NYADA (even though he’s three years older than her).

Like I said, I just don’t have the energy to write another 800 words about this episode. It was a good finale. It wisely avoiding being too “loud” and screaming for attention the way that Glee usually does. I would never call it subtle. Rachel walking down the streets of NYC in a garish red dress and pillbox hat like she’s Mary Tyler Moore is the theatrics this show lives and breathes on, but with the exception of the last minute twists about the college acceptances, I don’t think this episode felt like it was trying too hard. It was an honest and natural way to bring an end to the stories (and to create new beginnings) of characters I’ve really grown to love over the last three years. I’ll be back in the fall with bated breath to find out how things are going for Rachel in New York, to see if Finn really joined the military, and to find out what exactly is going to happen with Kurt, but I’ll come back knowing that this is an all new beast of Glee and that I have to prepare for a vastly different show than the one I’ve loved for so long. Maybe, change is what the show needs though to get out of the creative rut it suffers from every now and then. Only time will tell.

Final Score: B+

Season Score: B