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“Glee club will never end, Mr. Schue, because you are glee club.”: Journey (1×22) Gleecap

June 9, 2010

If you’ve been watching Glee all season, you’ve probably felt like you’ve been on quite the journey. The show’s had its ups and its downs, its hilarious moments and its tearjerkers, its amazing songs and its not-so-amazing songs (the “Hair/Crazy In Love” mashup, anyone?). But through it all we’ve stayed the course, and here we are, at the finale. Calling this episode “Journey” fit perfectly not only because of the Journey medley of songs that New Directions performed at Regionals, but also because it truly felt like we were watching the end of a journey. Win or lose, New Directions has come insanely far since we saw them at the beginning of the year (as Will points out, there were 5 of them…and they really sucked), and the “full circle” nature of this episode worked extremely well.

Let’s take “Don’t Stop Believin’,” for example. To open and close the series with this song is obviously an iconic choice, but the way they did it this time around was also wonderfully symbolic of New Directions’ growth since the pilot. While originally the song was a Finn/Rachel duet with some group back-up, it’s now become the whole glee club’s song, and, as such, many more of the kids got their moment to shine on the song. (Side note: On the studio version of this song, it’s not just Puck and Santana who get solos, but Artie, Kurt, and Mercedes do as well.) One of the struggles we’ve seen all season is the fight for solos by anyone who isn’t Finn and Rachel, so to share lines of this song amongst different members of the glee club was a brilliant move. It sounded amazing and it acted as an excellent wrap-up to that idea. Amidst the sea of tears by practically everyone in this episode, the idea that prevailed was that glee club belonged to all of them and that they all belonged to glee club, and I think that sentiment was one that needed to be fully expressed in this finale, and it completely worked.

Because above all, regardless of what it seems on the outside, all of the members of the glee club (and Will included!) are, in some way, misfits. The scene in the auditorium prior to “To Sir, With Love” when each student made their “journey” statement perfectly summed up how glee club has affected these kids. Through glee club, many of these students were given an opportunity that they wouldn’t have received anywhere else, be it the opportunity to sing, to dance, or to make friends. I mean, these are high school kids in Lima, Ohio, after all – if they’re not getting these opportunities in school, they’re definitely not getting them anywhere else.

And its this idea, this idea that these kids are really beating the odds just by making it to Regionals, regardless of whether they win or lose, that makes Sue’s change of heart so believable. While I’ve often complained that Glee has taken cheap routes to show Sue’s softer side (my main exhibit: the ridiculous hair story in “The Power of Madonna”), this storyline completely worked. Despite the fact that Sue’s had many more successes than the glee club, she’s still stuck in Lima, just like the rest of them. She puts herself up on a pedestal because in her town, she’s a celebrity, but in the real world, she’s nothing more than a wannabe. And when a couple of actual celebrities (Rod Remington, excluded!) call her out, she cracks. For me, despite how much I love the soft side of Sue in the scenes with her sister, this idea of having Sue relate to New Directions worked even better. It felt real, it was sappy, and I completely bought into it.

Really, the whole episode was quite the sap-fest, what with love literally being all around. I mean, I don’t think we’ve ever heard the word “love” so many times in an episode of Glee before. But because all of the love declarations were treated sparsely and not excessively drawn out, I think this worked. It’s also interesting to note that the three declarers of love were all guys: Finn to Rachel, Puck to Quinn, Will to Emma. By treating the romance in the episode this way, Glee left the doors open to return to these love stories next season, while keeping the focus rightly on the more important parts of the episode: the Regionals competition and Quinn giving birth.

I called it earlier this week when I said that New Directions wouldn’t win Regionals. As sadistic as it sounds, I’m glad that they didn’t win, and that Ryan Murphy and co. had the guts to let our heroes lose. At this point, Vocal Adrenaline is still the stronger team. Nonetheless, New Directions’ performance was incredibly fun to watch and it was heartbreaking to watch them come in third. What I think worked exceptionally well was the extended performance scenes for both New Directions and Vocal Adrenaline, because it’s always fun to watch the McKinley kids sing and dance with such sheer joy as they did here, and because the “Bohemian Rhapsody” performance interlaced with Quinn in labour was one of Glee‘s best scenes of the entire season. It’s amazing because this scene could’ve been incredibly cheesy, what with Quinn echoing some of the lyrics from the song, but it didn’t come off that way at all. It managed to simultaneously show us how fantastic Vocal Adrenaline’s performance was while also showing us Quinn’s (unbelievably fast) labour sequence, with not much actual dialogue from Quinn’s side of things. It’s the music, the switching between scenes, and the camera movements that tell the story here and it’s a true highlight for Glee.

The reappearance of Quinn’s mom and the “Over the Rainbow” scene were other highlights of the episode, while I’m still of mixed minds of Shelby adopting Quinn’s baby. Ignoring the fact that it’s ridiculous that she adopted the baby that fast (but hey, Quinn delivered her baby insanely fast, so why shouldn’t the adoption process be just as fast, too?), it’s still a bit of a strange plot decision. Why would Quinn decide to give the baby to this woman she’s never even talked to before and only knows as the head of Vocal Adrenaline and Rachel’s birth mother? It’s also quite the blow to Rachel that Shelby doesn’t want her as a daughter, but does want her ex-boyfriend and frenemy’s baby as one. Will Glee revisit Shelby and Beth in the future? It’s hard to say, and I’m not sure if I want them to or not. Another low point was the lack of actual interaction between Rachel and Jesse – it would have been nice to see a proper cap to that relationship.

Favourite quotes:
Will: Besides, we have got something that the other groups don’t.
New Directions: What?

Sue: Kiss my ass, Josh Groban!

Sue: From Fort Wayne, Indiana, the not-at-all stupidly named, Aural Intensity!

Sue: 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.

Favourite moment: “Bohemian Rhapsody”/Quinn in labour – definitely one of my favourite first season scenes of Glee. Dianna Agron was absolutely fantastic.

Next week: Oh, gleeks, there is no next week! But don’t you worry! Gleeks United will still be running strong all summer long with news, gossip, contests and more! Don’t go anywhere!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Clare permalink
    June 9, 2010 2:44 pm

    Great post! The kids and I watched this cheering last night. Corny? Yes, but so what? We loved every minute of it. I did raise an eyebrow at the fast birth and fast adoption, but hey, it’s TV.

  2. June 9, 2010 5:12 pm

    I decided Shelby must have already started the adoption paperwork thing awhile back. That made that scene not frustrating for me! LOL!

  3. Carole permalink
    June 9, 2010 5:13 pm

    Great Gleecap of a terrific episode!

  4. June 9, 2010 6:38 pm

    Eh, I thought the VA/Quinn’s birth simultaneous was cheesy. Some parts were funny (like Puck “Oooh”-ing in horror at the same time as VA’s “Ooooohhhh”), but I officially rolled my eyes at Quinn yelling “Let me go”. Too much (for me, anyway) at that point. I’m also kind of like, “…really?” at Shelby adopting the baby that quickly.

    LOVED “To Sir with Love”, so sweet, and I was so sad that New Directions didn’t place. I also expected them not to win (‘cuz then what’s the point of next season? ;D), but to not even PLACE? GAH! Also: Loved the little reference to Quinn’s dad being a Jesse-James-like jerk, haha. Looking forward to seeing how the Will/Emma/Dentist triangle works out next season!

  5. June 9, 2010 7:31 pm

    The ‘let me go’ part was definitely too much… and the fast labour. Like… they drove to the hospital, Quinn gave birth, and they went back to the judging announcements in… an hour? At most? Yikes.

    I don’t know, I really didn’t enjoy it so much as any of the episodes in the first half of season 1.

  6. November 24, 2010 9:37 pm

    Yeah! and I just found another way for us GLEEKS to enjoy our favorite TV show, its through the Nintendo Wii Karaoke Revolution Glee, I love it as much as the series.

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