Glee Season Finale Review: What a Journey!

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Forgive any typos in this review of the Glee season finale. My keyboard is still wet from tears shed during the group's "To Sir, With Love" tribute to Will.

I kid, but only slightly.

That song was the best moment from a nearly perfect episode, as Glee got away from specific, character-driven, theme installments and focused on New Directions as a whole. When each member offered up a one-sentence description of who they had been before the choir was formed, viewers could go also reminisce and consider how far this show has come...

... in just one season! It feels like it's been on forever, doesn't it? It's been quite a journey, so let's go over this aptly-titled finale ("Journey)" below and try to make some guesses about season two.

After Regionals

More Shelby ahead? For most of her stint on the show, it seemed like Glee was more focused on hiring Idina Menzel than making much sense of her character. One second she wants to meet Rachel, the next second she suddenly realizes how much of her daughter's life she's missed.

For such a major storyline, Shelby and Rachel's relationship felt rushed and scattered. But perhaps her adoption of Quinn's child will give both Shelby and the series a chance to correct her missteps. We have to see more of her next season now, right?

A chance for Wemma: Get your singing shoes on, John Stamos, you've got some competition for Emma's heart in the fall! The real question here is: Which "I love you" was more moving? Will's to Emma, or Finn's to Rachel?

How Sue sees it: I may have been in the minority, but I was never a fan of Sue's storyline with her sister. It felt manipulative, like an overt way of proving that there's an actual human being underneath that track suit.

But her decision to vote for New Directions at Regionals and then to extend the program for another year fit in perfectly with her character. It gave her heart, and a vital role, within the episode's main storyline and it made sense based on what we know about her, too.

Sorry, Olivia Newton-John, but Sue Sylvester is a mega celebrity in our minds. We've already pre-ordered her biography, "I'm a Winner and You're Fat."

The only area this finale loses points in was the strange duet between Vocal Adrenaline and Quinn's labor. The cutaways just felt disjointed, as viewers were supposed to be glaring at Jesse and his group one moment (like Rachel, oddly left behind at Regionals, for storyline purposes only), and then emotionally invested in the opposite direction in Quinn's experience the next.

I can understand, though, how the show wanted to give Vocal Adrenaline a major number, without focusing for so long on New Directions' competition. If Jesse and company were gonna win, we needed to actually watch their performance. This device allowed Glee to cover two storylines at once.

It's also hard to be too critical when Jonathan Groff is given such a platform on which to perform for a solid five minutes straight. His character also never truly found momentum (did he ever love Rachel or not? Why did he turn into such a villain after he successfully fulfilled his mission of uniting Shelby and Rachel?), but I'll miss Groff as Jesse.

Although I won't miss my wife constantly staring at him and telling me how much she wished I could sing.

In the end, there's no way New Directions could have won Regionals. The group must maintain its underdog status for at least another season. Therefore, the finale wrapped up perfectly, both emotionally and logically. I'll have more to say about it in the TV Fanatic Glee report card, so let's turn it over to readers for now.

What did you think of the episode? Browse through Glee quotes from the hour as you decide!


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (256 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Also Keith Vlasak, Glee isn't scared of Judy Garland!!! that's a well known rendition of 'Over the Rainbow' by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. I recommend it, it's one of my favourites, and unfortunately I'm not sure whether Mr Schue did him justice although it was cute.


I think you need to re-watch the Bohemian Rhapsody Birth montage, as it was amazing and surprisingly powerful in comparison to the rather comfortable niche Glee has sat itself in for the second half of this season (don't get me wrong I love it, but in comparison to the first half). I think it was well thought out and emphasised everything they were trying to get across about priorities and the things that matter in life. It was good they didn't win, it would've been too contrived, and really the battle with VA was unimportant in comparison to their real competition, SUE, and they don't even know they got her, for all it's mush this show's got real wit.


I wasn't surprised that Vocal Adrenaline won, because they were really really good. And New Directions didn't win because of the judges. You saw how terrible they were. Olivia was so mean saying all those things about the Glee kids to Sue. And that changed Sue's mind about destroying ND. And then she saw the kids performing to Will. I cannot stop crying at that part. Actually I cried throughout the episode. And I think the storyline with Shelby and Beth is really good and I'm hoping to see more Jesse next season because he is incredibly talented. Even more talented than Finn and Puck in my point of view. I like Rachel/Finn's "I Love You", it was unexpected :D And Puck's "Especially now" to Quinn was sweet too. And when they sang "Don't Stop Believing" I love it when Puck and Santana sang that song too. It was great but their performance was not as great as their performance during Sectionals. I had goosebumps when Rachel sang "Don't Rain On My Parade". It was amazing. It gets me to the edge of my seat! But their performance during regionals made me teared up :) Overall, I liked this episode. Except that there was no explanation about Jesse being the villain.


@SJ - I'm not positive, but I took what Rehnaxia said as to mean that they thought they (he/she) knew how the show was going to end and were surprised that New Directions didn't win ... and that they were glad to be surprised (and, I also assumed, they were satisfied with the "To Sir With Love" message and Sue saving the club or they wouldn't have been glad to be surprised).


I agree with a previous poster who said he likes Sue having the disabled sister. I like it ,too,a lot-but for personal reasons. My father had a severely disabled sister who did not live past the age of 26.I wish she had lived longer so that perhaps she and my dad could've have had a relationship like Sue has with her sister.
I know my dad would've liked that,too. I also like the relationship
that Kurt has with his dad.
Speaking of families,I'd to meet Rachel's dads and Mercedes' mom.
Her mom sounds really cool from the way she talks about her.


@Rehnaxia: What The FUCK is wrong with you?


The only thing I really didn't like about the Quinn's labor - it all happened in like 6 minutes. I know, I know, it's TV but the whole crew was already back by the time the winner was annouced.
I'll miss Jesse, I truly thought he needed some closer (well ok, maybe I needed it, lol) - he was a pretty major character these past episodes.
Overall, great finale, I don't know will fill the emptiness in my heart till it comes back!


i thought the Vocal Adrenaline/Quinn's labor sequence was the best edited scene of the entire season. unrealistic, yes, but the show IS a musical, so that automatically goes out the window. when i first heard the baby would be born in the finale, i rolled my eyes, but i felt they did it with great creativity. i didn't like the Will/Emma "i love you." it felt super-forced, and i like Matthew Morrisson in the role of Will. the Finn/Rachel "i love you" was so good because it was so subtle and charming and natural.

Well thats too bad

Uncle Jesse on Glee? DO WANT!


Ehh I agree with a previous poster. I felt that the fact that they had multiple "I love you's" took away some of the power of the sentiment. I would have been fine with Finn/Rachel's "I love you", personally. Especially because Glee has a habit of teasing us with our favorite couples only to have them break up after the break (remember when Rachel and Finn first got together??) But aside from that, AMAZING episode. I also thought the thing with Quinn's mom was cute and an interesting way to wrap up the season. Does that mean Quinn is moving out of Mercedez's? Their friendship is one of my favorite ones on the show.

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Glee Season 1 Episode 22 Quotes

Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist, animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing about living on the bayou.


I realize my cultural ascendance only serves to illuminate your own banality. But, face it, I'm legend. It's happened.