Glee season finale recap: Little Victories in the Big Apple

New Directions heads to New York City for Nationals, where the price of resolution is the big prize
Ep. 22 | Aired May 24, 2011

I <3 NY: New Directions takes Manhattan!

After a roller coaster of a season, in which there were as many butt-chin jokes as so-so episodes, Glee closed out its season last night with an episode that accomplished the thought-to-be impossible: It was a breath of fresh air in New York City.

One could argue that after such an uneven season, the series needed more than that for redemption. It needed more than a few sporadic moments that reminded us of the golden age of Glee. (Too soon to use that term? I think not.) You know, the time when, as Kurt said, they were just a bunch of misfits who stumbled their way through "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat." And while I'd agree that it wasn't necessarily enough to atone for a meh season, I'll also take the few great moments from last night as a sign that there could be hope for this creatively inconsistent show yet. Let's examine closer.

From the first frames, we knew we were in for a special episode -- the kind achieved when a series steps off the soundstage and into the "real world." (Hello, Boy Meets World Disney World episode! Hey, you shush; I liked it.)  And the change of scenery did shake things up a bit. I especially loved the fact that the kids generally (minus perhaps Kurt and Rachel) looked out of place in the city; they looked like a real group of kids who had left their hometown for the first time. It was charming.

But once they'd arrived in the city, the kids' hopes for adventure were short-lived after they were reminded that they still had two songs to write for Nationals. This is where we're expected to believe that Mr. Schuester would (1) let his kids wait until the day before competition to write two songs, (2) let his kids write the songs period, and (3) not have some sort of backup plan that included them rehearsing previously recorded songs from other artists. But I'm not nitpicking. Nope. Just like I'm not going to question how much longer we're going to be asked to believe that Puck isn't a 28-year-old man. (I'm sorry, the bar scene made me laugh in disbelief. I'm the height of your average 12-year-old and even I don't always get carded.)

After a failed attempt to pen some songs, the kids took off to have adventures. Most notably Finn and Rachel had a true New York City date, complete with perfect outfits, a walk through Central Park, and dinner at Sardi's, where Rachel had a far-too-short encounter with Patti LuPone. I was happy at how straightforward they played their encounter. There was no frill -- just sage advice from a legend. (In this case, she told Rachel to "never give up," adding a "he's cute" in reference to Finn, for good measure.) It was a moment as cute as it was brief, and hopefully a lesson to producers in how to deal with guest appearances in the future: Remember, they're guests. But as sweet as their date was (street serenade!), it ended on a flat note, with Rachel refusing to give Finn a kiss. Yes, after trying most of the season to steal him back from Quinn. Is irrational indecision a teenage-girl thing, a human thing, or a Glee thing?

NEXT: Dustin Goolsby = new villain? 


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