Glee Season 1 Episode 22: Journey
Well, Glee went out last night in pure Glee style: a little sappy, a little silly, but full of heart and not afraid to pile on the cheese to get the audience crying. And cry we did, kittens. Admit it, so did you.
We could do a strict recap and run down the plot points, but why bother? There was little in the way of plot and in perfect Glee fashion, everything returned to the status quo by episode’s end (with some minor changes). If you think that’s a criticism you couldn’t be more wrong. Last night, Glee did what Glee has always done, except this time they did it really, really well.
Oh, fine. Here’s the recap: New Directions’ dreams are crushed when they find out Sue Sylvester will be one of the judges at Regionals. They fall into a deep funk (and yet manage not to use the word “funk” thirty times in conversation) and Will joins them, breaking down in his car (emotionally) while listening to Journey, a reminder of where it all started. Cue the theme of the week: journey. Thankfully, they didn’t say the word every other minute. Will decides that the journey is more important than the destination, a sentiment that comes out of left field, since the previous 21 episodes were totally focused on the destination, and invites the glee club to enjoy the fact that they’ve come so far rather than focus on the fact that they won’t win. With this revelation comes a new Journey medley and we have to say, it was a knockout performance, especially the redux of “Don’t Stop Believing,” a callback to the very first episode and that magic moment when we all first fell in love with the show. We didn’t think they could top the version that made the show a hit, but passing out solos to the rest of the group’s heavy hitters (Mercedes, Puck, Santana) gave it real depth and emotion.
Quinn goes into labor (as we all saw coming) and delivers a baby girl (with Mercedes in the room, which was a really nice touch) while Vocal Adrenaline brings the roof down with a killer performance of Bohemian Rhapsody. We were surprised to learn that we still knew all the words to this song and now it’s been stuck in our heads for the last 15 hours. Anyway, Sue tries to steer the judging a certain way but finds that she doesn’t have to as Josh Groban and Olivia Newton-John not only do the dirty work for her, but also manage to subject Sue herself to a little Sylvester-style nastiness, which was a really nice twist that set up the ending well. We have to give Groban and ONJ a lot of credit here because they fearlessly portrayed themselves as horrible people in order to sell the joke.
Vocal Adrenaline wins Regionals and New Directions doesn’t even manage to place, which seals their fate. Emma suddenly becomes a ferocious lion and has a huge screaming match with Figgins in his office, which turns Will on and he secures his win as this year’s least appropriate educator by making out with her in the hallway in full view of the students. New Directions performs a devastatingly emotional (and surprisingly appropriate) version of “To Sir With Love” to Will, which not only reduces him to tears, but also got Sue to cry. In the end, Sue backs off her threat and gets Figgins to reinstate the club for another shot next year. She plays it as if she just wants to torture Will some more (which is partly true), but it’s really because she recognized how much good he’s done for the students. Shelby winds up adopting Quinn’s baby and we hope we never see her again because this development doesn’t make up for how shitty her treatment of Rachel was. Will takes them home with that cute ukelele version of “Over the Rainbow” that they use in so many commercials and with that, the first season of Glee comes to an end.
Like we said, they piled on the cheese last night, but in our opinion, every emotion was well-earned and had been set up long before the payoff. We believed Sue’s tears partially because Jane Lynch is the best actor on the show, but mainly because we’ve already seen that Sue has a human side due to the earlier scenes with her developmentally disabled sister. With everything Finn has gone through in the past year, his “I love you” to Rachel felt like the “At last!” moment it was. The delivery/Bohemian Rhapsody scene was maybe a bit too much, but again, it was a nice emotional payoff to all that baby drama we were subjected to.
The second half of the season simply wasn’t as good as the first, but last night’s finale brought it all together in a way that made sense and reminded us of why we all loved the show in the first place. We’re glad ND didn’t win. It sets them up for next year and allows them to keep their underdog status, which is a major part of their charm.
Alright, let’s head out the door with some funny lines and some music, in perfect Glee fashion:
“I spent large segments of each day picturing you choking on food, and I recently contacted an exotic animal dealer because I had a very satisfying dream that I once shoved your face into one of those pink-inflamed monkey butts.”
“It’s as barren as me in here.”
“Kiss my ass, Josh Groban!”
“Brunettes have no place in show business.”
“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.”