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.


loved glee till this year when the first couple of episodes were so bad dvred them but havn't got around to watching. now that other shows are over will start watching and will skip thru all the silly storylines and watch performances.


OMG that was a great episode cried quite a lot been with Glee since the first episode and seen Glee live complete Gleek. I still stand by my earlier comment Kurt was robbed he should have got into NYADA his audition was 100% better than Rachels and he was not really given a chance to shine at Nationals. Rachel and Finn in the truck was brilliant was a bit upset Rachel looked so happy in NY after leaving her boyfriend and friends behind.


I am amazed that no one has realized the undercurrent plot of Kurt saying that he didn't get into NYADA. When Finn opened his letter first and said he didn't to the Actor's Studio, Kurt then opened his letter, felt sorry for Finn, and apprehensive about
what Rachel would find in her letter, and said that he didn't get in when he really did, in fact, get in, but didn't want to rub it in anybody's face. What we will see in Season 4 is Kurt showing up at NYADA, where he and Rachel will burst into song and sing a "Welcome to NYADA" duet. I won't even bother to comment on some of the other lunacy that happened in this disappointing and flawed finale.


I'm a bit bummed, not because of Finn and Rachel not getting married since I couldn't care less, but because Kurt and Finn and Rachel won't all be storming New York together. I was really looking forward to that. Santana and Rachel won't have the same vibe, and I will miss Kurt and Rachel singing together. Bummer. Don't actually care about the rest so it probably just means a free space on my dvr. Yay.


Well....what do I say, English episode has just aired. As many people also love Glee. I can't understand why the plot was based mainly upon Rachel, again!!. She is an amazing character yes; but why not focus on others. What is happening with Kurt? why would he not get into NYADA? I know that this is a basis for writers to keep the audience on tender hooks so that they watch the next episode but really.....


"Maybe I'm just overthinking it"
Yup, you are. Musicians pop out of nowhere every episode, obvious twenty-somethings playing teenagers, a school and faculty THAT corrupt, and you're getting your skivvies in a twist over the college acceptance timeline? Never mind the fact that Q went from paraplegic to professional dancer in what a few weeks? Yeah, over-thinking, a lot.
I thought the train station scene was by far the best actual acting I've seen in this show. Rachael's reaction was spot on (not that I have experienced high school breakups, cough, cough) And Finn's determination, though perhaps not so much his motivation, was splendid.


Though I enjoyed the season finale, and I loved all the songs and the saying goodbyes, I just do NOT agree with everyone who says that Rachel and Finn couldn't have been married and still have been successful in New York! And how is Finn joining the Army and going off to the hell hole of Afghanistan to risk his life redeeming his father? His death in the middle east would just be a waste of a young life, not redeeming of anyone or anything. And what if he loses a leg, or an arm, or gets PTSD and becomes crazy from seeing all kinds of horrors during war? How will that help Rachel and Finn's relationship, when Rachel isn't emotionally strong enough to pursue her career and help Finn recover. People get married and then one of them goes off into the military ALL THE happened a lot before each of the World Wars, and I think that the two of them would have been stronger for knowing that they had a husband/wife to come home to for support and comfort.


Gettng this episode tonight in the UK looking forward to it, but reading the reviews I am shocked not that Rachel got into NYADA but that Kurt didn't. Pretty sure not the boy next door was the song of the season and Miss T sure seemed to enjoy it at the time so am a little put out Kurt who didn't mess up didn't get in. On the plus side hope this means plenty of Klaine next season!


actually, Santana was accepted into her cheerleading college at a normal time, Mike's is said to be a late acceptance, probably off of a waitlist. Rachel, Finn, and Kurt's acceptances were weird, but maybe since they have to audition it takes longer

Charmed jenna

@howard, mercede was accepted in two colleges. Episode was really really good, enjoyed half the songs alot. Nothing but goodness except two complaints, i do agree with alot of you that the final focus shouldve been on the entire glee club, not just rachel, but that doesnt take away from the episode as a whole where the focus was pretty well spread. Which brings me to my second complaint, all the seniors got adequate focus except mike and mercedes, who received as much focus as brittany, who didnt even graduate. All in all great finale, already feeling glee withdrawel symptoms, excited for s4!

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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.