For every Sure Thing there is an Underdog, and no matter how many Sectional and National trophies they have, that Underdog will always be the New Directions. Just as Will starts in on a rousing “we didn’t come here to win, we came to sing and dance our hearts out” speech, Carole and Burt bust in all, Lock it up, Schuester, go out there and win this thing! Carole says they are Finn’s legacy and she could hear him in her head, telling her that leaving them would have been like leaving him.
Hands in on “Amazing!” and the reigning National champions take the stage. Blaine and Tina take the lead on Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” with lots of high notes, lots of harmonies, and a few Cheerios we’ve never seen before to fill out the choreography. B+ They pick up the pace, transitioning into Neil Diamond’s “America.” It’s a big, fun group number, but the camera stays surprisingly tight on the individual singers, saving most of the climactic swells for the next song. B+
Because if you’ve been holding that lump in your throat for the last 30 minutes, the last number reminds you that it’s OK to cry. As the first notes of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” play, the camera shoots to Finn’s mom in the audience as she tearfully realizes they’re singing all of Finn’s favorite songs. And suddenly this kind of odd set list makes sense. The graduating seniors – Sam, Blaine, Artie and Tina – take the lead, with brief clips of Cory Monteith playing Finn cut in throughout the performance. It’s something that Glee held back on in “The Quarterback,” but it seems appropriate now, in what is the New Directions’ tribute to Finn, not spoken, but sung. And the drumstick thrust; well…it’s some closure. They did their best. A
I won't say their best isn’t always good enough, because it was good enough – it just wasn’t 1st place. The New Directions take home a certifiably giant trophy for 2nd place, and Throat Explosion takes the championship that is rightfully theirs. So, it’s back to Lima, where Jean-Baptiste, has mailed back Finn’s plaque after finding out one of his teammates stole it (“a bully with a moral code” feels oddly symbolic for Glee). Everyone is feeling a little dejected with their giant 2nd place trophy, but Burt reminds them what their leader Finn always stood for: "Even though Finn didn’t have the best voice or the best rhythm or the best throwing arm…the best thing about him was he always managed to find a way to feel like he won.”
If only that could win over Principal Sylvester, who comes in at the end of an already somber episode to remind Will that he needed a 1st place finish to keep the Glee Club. And though she delivers the news with surprisingly sincere remorse, she has to look out for the whole school now, not just the clubs that she “likes.” Apparently everyone but “Diving, Academic Decathlon, actual Decathlon, and yes, the Glee Club” took home 1st place National wins, and not just metaphorical ones, because they’re the only clubs that get the axe.
It seems they’re really pulling the plug on the Glee Club at McKinley High. Marley doesn’t need to quit; Ryan Murphy has given her a contractually obligated out. The news makes it all the way to Kurt, Rachel and Santana in New York: cue the 100th episode reunion. I’ll leave you with some patented Advice from Mercedes Jones, Recording Artist, that she serves up to Marley after listening to the original songs Ryder and Jake passed along:
- “You can throw yourself a pity party for exactly three minutes and then you need to haul your ass up” from whatever rejection you’ve just received, be it a songwriting competition for high schoolers, a National Championship, or hey, let’s bring it to the real world, a job you really wanted.
- “They’re stupid and they’re wrong and they’re going to be sorry someday.” All of them.
- “Those guys, they really care about you – that don’t mean you should date them.” And you can run and tell that.
What did you think of the 99th episode of Glee? Were you expecting more closure for the second generation of Glee kids? Or did you think this was a fitting tribute to Finn? And are you ready to finally take this thing to New York full-time?