After six long and crazy seasons, Fox’s “Glee” came to an end on March 20. The show had a lot to wrap up but luckily for fans that have stuck with the students of McKinley High the whole time, it completely stuck the landing and delivered a stellar finale.
The two-hour finish tackled the best of both worlds -- past and future. The first hour, titled “2009,” jumped back six years in the past to the early days of the “New Directions.” However, rather than simply re-air the pilot episode, viewers got a glimpse into the characters' origins from the perspectives of Kurt (Chris Colfer), Mercedes (Amber Riley), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Artie (Kevin McHale) and Rachel (Lea Michele).
The flashback tied a bow on some of the series’ loose ends, including how did Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) become such bitter rivals? It also revealed secrets such as a still closeted, pre-Blaine (Darren Criss) Kurt being suicidal before finding a pamphlet for the Glee Club.
The unfortunate elephant in the room during this flashback was, of course, the loss of actor Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson on the show before dying of an overdose in 2013. Finn was an integral part of the early days of "Glee" and the finale didn’t shy away from acknowledging that. Although the actor couldn’t appear in any of these new perspectives on the pilot, People Magazine notes his presence loomed large over the show as characters openly discussed Finn’s involvement in the group as a typical McKinley jock.
Showing the club’s principal members falling into place once again, fans were treated to the full and uncut version of “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey from the first season of “Glee” in 2009.
With the first hour finished and tears already pouring out of most people’s eyes, it was time to wrap things up for the Glee Club for good. The second hour of the finale, titled “Dreams Come True,” jumped ahead to the year 2020, to show our misfits alive and, above all, well.
After their victory at sectionals, the finale skipped right ahead to another big “W” from nationals. Although the viewer didn’t see the performance that brought McKinley the trophy, it was apparently so impressive that the superintendent decided that the Glee Club was the best thing to come out of the school since the slushy machine. He declared that McKinley would officially become a performing arts high school, promoting Mr. Schuester to principal. As Entertainment Weekly points out, this drove home a theme that’s been present throughout the entire series – the importance of music education.
With Mr. Schue out as head of the Glee Club, it fell to Sam (Chord Overstreet) to take things over. Just like that, the first two storylines of the night were wrapped up. Next was Mercedes, who gave a stunning farewell song to her fellow group members. She was leaving to be the opening act for Beyonce’s world tour (seriously). Meanwhile, Kurt and Blaine bid a fond farewell to Sue, who was uncharacteristically kind to Mr. and Mrs. Porcelain. She thanked them for opening up her mind to new people and experiences. With tears welling up in all of our eyes at the thought of our track-suited grinch’s heart growing three sizes, the show dealt viewers another blow with Sue and Becky’s (Lauren Potter) emotional hug in the hallway.
With a revisited past, and a warm and hopeful present, everyone looked like they were on to greener pastures. However, this wasn’t a season finale, it was a series finale and fans wanted to know how it ends. To help with that, the show shot ahead to the year 2020, a strange and wonderful place where Sue is the vice president of the United States to Jeb Bush, and everyone is a colossal success.
Despite Sue’s all-American status, the real star of the flash-forward was Rachel. After a lifetime of being a misfit with remarkable talent, she’d finally made her way to the Tony Awards, escorted by her lovely husband, (queue dramatic reveal music) Jessie St. James (Jonathan Groff). She takes the stage to receive her award with a full pregnant belly. It turns out she’s acting as a surrogate for Kurt and Blaine, who are still going strong. She took the stage to give her long-awaited acceptance speech, which she dedicated to Mr. Schue. The speech was tearful and a perfect love letter to the fans that have stuck with the show this whole time.
In the end, Glee’s parting words for its fans were simple – dreams do come true.
The final shot of the series saw Vice President Sylvester return to McKinley high school to officially rename the auditorium of the highly successful performing arts school after Finn Hudson. She was then joined on stage by every “Glee” cast member that’s ever called himself or herself a “New Directioner.” Together, they sang a cover of OneRepublic’s “I Lived” to close out the show.
The final shot of “Glee” was of a plaque dedicated to Finn, which read: “See the world not as it is, but as it should be.”
Thanks, you big bunch of Gleeks.