Glee Season Finale Review: Pomp and Circumstance

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After a little pomp and circumstance, Glee feels like it just grew up a little bit. I can't lie. I might've teared up during "Goodbye." (And by "might've," I mean I totally did.)

Graduation episodes are tough, especially when no one's really going anywhere, but tonight managed to balance the simultaneous excitement and uncertainty of the future for our favorite seniors.

Will on the Guitar

First, where are our seniors headed:

Mercedes' YouTube video has landed her a recording contract as a back-up singer on an indie label. Mike Chang is off to Chicago. Santana's mother, played by Gloria Estefan, gives her blessing for Santana to forfeit her cheerleading scholarship and pursue a career in music in New York. Puck passes his geography test, thanks to a kiss from Quinn, and Brittany gets to repeat her senior year. Forever. Her grade-point average is a 0.0.

Rachel, Finn and Kurt haven't heard from their schools yet and agree that when they get their letters, they'll all open them together.

When those letters come, it's bad news for Finn and Kurt and good news for Rachel. Which is actually bad news for Rachel because now the three of them won't be together in New York.

(And that's what you missed on Glee?)

Here's a pet peeve about all of this college acceptance that's been going on this season. Quinn's is the only one whose timeline fits with when normal colleges send out their acceptance letters. Maybe performing arts schools are different, but these letters arrived after graduation. It bugs me that these kids are graduating and they don't actually have plans in place aside from "here's what I want to do." Maybe I'm just overthinking it. If this is my biggest complaint from the episode, we're doing okay, right?

Anyway, Mr. Shue's assignment - say goodbye - felt right. Just as the writers have been returning to the show's "glory days," with the story lines and their character-centric focus, tonight's episode let us get back to the old, eclectic feel of Glee music and away from the theme-of-the-week schtick that's plagued the show. It was nice to have songs that were fun, fit the characters and weren't current Top 40 hits. (Except for the Taylor Swift number at the end.)

What else felt right about this episode? The flashbacks to the first season. The original members singing "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" was nice, but what was really great was Burt Hummel's graduation present to Kurt. Seeing him dance to "All The Single Ladies" and seeing scenes from Kurt's original trip down Beyonce' lane was funny, and it was perfect for this father-son duo. There's something about their pairing that has always worked well in the midst of story lines that seemed very broken.

The thing that felt both right and wrong was that whopper of a scene at the end.

Finn broke up with Rachel so she could pursue her dream.

Here's a girl who knows that nothing can stop her. She's got nothing to lose in waiting a year to go to New York. But then, just like that, her fiance' takes that option off the table by joining the Army, the one place he knows she can't follow him, and conspiring with her fathers and her friends. Finn's "I'm letting you go" was crushing, as was this:

You're going to get on that train, and you're going to go to New York, and you're going to be a star. Without me. | permalink

We knew it would happen. That it would have to happen. There was no way the two of them would get married. But still, in that moment, I felt the heartbreak of teenage love all over again. When Rachel put it all together and figured out what was happening, I felt it with her. I sat here biting my nail nervously and hoping the tears welling up in my eyes didn't spill down my cheeks. I like these two together, for whatever reason, but I know that young love isn't always endless love, and so, this was necessary.

That scene coupled with the shots of her walking through the city, while it was a bit indulgent of Rachel Berry's character when this is an ensemble cast, felt strangely adult. It felt like a new beginning, which is hopefully what we'll have when the show returns this fall.

Give the finale a grade in our poll and then tell us what you thought of tonight's episode.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (308 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


Late to the show for this review, but it was the worst ever. Too much attention on Rachel and Finn and none on anyone else. Unrealistic and uncaring to the other actors is all I could take away from this finale. Now that reviews for season 4 has been released it seems like a continuation of the same old same old. Break up every other couple that has the potential of being adorable (Sam and Mercedes; Mike and Tina) all because they take away time from Finchel. GLEE has become a disappointment with writers and a producer who destroy healthy storylines to fill them with fludder for Rachel. What happened to the GLEE of old?


Honestly, I love Glee and always have. I can see where the show is mainly about Rachel and Finn but gives emphasis to Tina's breakdown about being in the shadows and all of that. Also, I applaud the way they ended the season. Especially since I cried from the moment Finn pulled up to the train station until even after the credits. That takes a lot of talented actors/actresses and writers. Can't wait until the new season!


1. After watching the Glee Project I am very disappointed we didn't get a proper goodbye from Sam or Damian.
2. Disappointed that after the entire season nothing followed through on the show & it was a depressing mess.
3. Sick and tired of the Rachel/Finn show.
4. When is Kurt ever going to have success in his life and step out of Rachel's shadow? Except for his relationship with Blaine, his life is nothing but depressing.
5. It seems on this show that the underdog is always the underdog. None of the other characters besides Rachel/Finn got proper notice or solos. They started out as underdogs and stayed under Rachel Berry all 4 years of high school. How depressing. I am truly disappointed in the writers. I am leaving the show. No more Glee and furthermore, no more Glee Project.


I hope they put the Jesse and Rachel possiblity dating to rest in Nationals episode. Rachel knows and understands Jesse even to the point she thought nothing was real about what was between them. I feel Jesse wanted to help Rachel out to get an new auditio by speaking to Carmen but in the interaction with Finn I got the impression Jesse is resolved that Rachel is happy and made her choice. No, I don't think Jesse will return any time soon since Jon Groff is on a series. I think his character will be played only during competitions at best. Will miss his voice.


I think Jesse and Rachel will wind up dating again. Maybe not permanently, but I just get the feeling he's going to get into NYADA as well. They're making Blaine really demure - almost like they're trying to make him seem more gay. Nothing wrong with that, but even Kurt said, "You're the alpha male of gay men" and it seemed natural; like he could be gay but wasn't trying so hard. Being gay is just sexuality and isn't the whole person, so I hope they let the character be who he is as far as talent and personality.


I thought I remembered Britney saying, "I'm a sophomore" at the beginning of the season, so I was surprised to hear her say she was failing and not graduating. Maybe I thought she said it and I'm wrong.


so humid. (I looked it up, Lima OH public schools have their graduation on June 3rd.) When Madame Thibodeaux said that "Giants in the Sky" had some of Sondheim's most challenging lyrics, I hoped that she specifically didn't mention "Getting Married Today" because it was going to be sung early in season 4. Kurt, of course, would do the operatic solos.


I would like to think that Kurt was lying when he said he didn't get in to make Finn feel better, but remember, they live together! While Finn is apparently going to Fort Benning, he'd still know that "oh, gosh, surprise, I got in after all." Mike didn't specifically mention ANY colleges - he talked about going to Alvin Ailey, a dance school in New York (that offers BFA degrees with Fordham), but is now going to the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. Rachel's last number made me dizzy. A train coming from Ohio would go to Penn Station, not Grand Central. From the scenes of her walking around, she dragged that pink suitcase about five miles. Wouldn't her dads want to meet her or have her take a cab to their hotel before exploring the city? At least give us a "That Girl" reference! I was in New York in late May (and went to the Letterman taping when Lea Michele was on), and I walked that much in a suit. I had to change my shirt after a couple hours because it was so humid. I felt a bit gypped by this episode, as I did by their inconsistent handling of Quinn's accident. But I suppose I need to watch next season to see how this all gets resolved. When Carmen Thibodeaux referred to "Giants in the Sky" as having some of Sondheim's most challenging lyrics, I really hoped that meant Rachel would sing "Getting Married Today" from Company in Season 4, which is MUCH more difficult. Maybe Finn will come to New York and she'll be the one getting nervous?


@ Crush on You
It told lat the beginning of the season or even late last season that Blaine was a Junior. Private schools tend to be a year ahead, so it does match up


@Bob N. I would love to find out that it was as you say, but how did you get to that conclusion, that he lied about his not getting into NYADA? If so, that was a short-lived lie; Finn is his brother so he would know if Kurt was indeed moving to NY or not. He did have a confusing expression when he opened the letter though, and it was definitely not an 'I didn't get in' expression.

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Glee Season 3 Episode 22 Quotes

You know how hard long distance relationships can be. We both saw The Notebook.


Our work here is done. There's only one thing left to do. Say goodbye.