Let’s be honest, Season 5 of Glee kinda sucked. A lot. With all the kids leaving and going off to college and stuff, it pretty much turned into the Rachel Berry show. Most people expected it, but I thought it would focus more on the kids at the high school, not venture off with the original cast. I still watched it but it didn’t have the appeal that the previous seasons had.
This season started with Rachel failing in Hollywood and coming back to run the Glee club. It was odd and I wasn’t really sure what to do with the season up to the finale. A lot of the kids just come back and hang out at the high school which makes me feel a bit awkward. I’d feel weird if I went back to my high school, but then again, my high school was a little redneck and unwelcoming. Returning there really would be admitting failure to me. The new club members aren’t that intriguing and the school gets combined with Dalton Academy (seems like a stretch) to fill up their ranks. Overall it was an okay season, but not something I’d clear my schedule for at 9pm on a Friday night.
Tonight I was at home and thought why not, it’s the last episode, I’ll go ahead and watch it and I’m very glad I did.
The first half of the finale starts with some flashbacks to when the glee club was getting started. We’re reminded of how arrogant Rachel is and hinted that Kurt might be thinking about suicide. We are bought back to the initial struggles of the main cast, except for Finn of course. There is some original footage from the pilot episode of Finn and the classic Don’t Stop Believing.
The second half brings us back to the present. Well slightly ahead from the previous episode where the team just won sectionals. They are at Nationals and of course win first place. After that there are a lot of changes at McKinley. Mr. Schuester is asked to be the new principle and the school is converted into a center of the arts and Sam becomes the new coach of the New Directions. There are then some flash fowards into the future. Kurt and Blaine are successful and doing their thing in New York, Mercedes gets to tour, Artie and Tina get together, Will has a house full of kids, and Rachel finds a new love, Jesse from Vocal Adrenaline, and is carrying a child for Kurt and Blaine. Everyone has gathered at 10 years in the future to watch the Tony Awards as Rachel is nominated for one. She is absolutely shocked when she wins and gives an acceptance speech that perfectly wraps up the series. The last scene is a fairwell number after Sue dedicates the stage to Finn. While I think it would have fit better earlier in the episode, I do like that it ended with an upbeat song.
Usually when a series ends for good, the finale leaves a lot to be desired for me. How I Met Your Mother just made me angry and felt cheated in a way. But Glee did not. It’s always going to be bittersweet, but given season 5 and the start of season 6, I think it had outlived it’s prime in a way. But the finale to me was perfect. I started watching the series in 2009. I was so excited when I saw the original trailer because I have a major soft spot for musicals (sue me) but I didn’t think I would become so attached. It’s understandable why though. I was a bit of a misfit in high school as well. I was geeky and didn’t really fit in with most crowds. Thankfully there was little bullying and no one throwing slushies, but it can still be isolating. In college I struggled with making friends and in 2009 I was second to last year of undergraduate. I had very few friends and an almost non-existant support network. In a way, Glee was there to show me I’m not alone and maybe it will get better.
I’ve since finished a graduate degree and scored a job that I love, but there are still days that I feel alone. The finale may have hit me so hard because today was one of those days for various reasons. I know that the show is not real and it shows a pretty ideal future for all of them, but think back to where they started. Rachel was a pretty awful person, she wasn’t personable or nice. Over the years of the show she grows into an extremely caring and dedicated individual. Kurt struggled with his identity and was in a very dark place, but he found happiness. And I know it’s cheesy, but it’s the little things that remind you that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’t suck as much as you think. Even when something ends, it may be bittersweet, but there is always hope. The major takeaway for me from the series finale of Glee: It gets better.