Wow. Just wow. Last night’s fall finale of Glee, titled “Sectionals,” was one of the most perfect mid-season finales (or season finales for that matter) I have seen in a very long time. I can’t say this enough, but Ryan Murphy and his creative team are truly brilliant. The episode centers around the Glee Club’s trip to Sectionals. Since Mr. Schuester couldn’t take them, Emma (Miss Pillsbury) volunteers, and pushes back her wedding. However, their trip to Sectionals is not without problems. Mercedes revealed to all of the Glee Club (minus Rachel) that Puck is the father of Quinn’s baby, and then Rachel gets suspicious. She spills it to Finn, who storms out and leaves everyone to scramble.
When the Glee Club arrives at Sectionals (with Jacob filling in for Finn), they draw the last spot and have to watch the other schools go first. It is quickly evident that Sue leaked their set list, and they can’t sing the songs they were planning on doing all along. (Eve’s group even did the wheelchair number!) Rachel calls an emergency meeting, where Mercedes gives the ballad over to her. Earlier in the episode, Mercedes sings I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going) from Dreamgirls, and I will admit I shed a tear (and my heart melted a bit). So Mercedes was all set to sing the ballad, but admits that Rachel should sing it and she is their shot to win. Rachel steps up and says she has something she’s been working on since she was four. Meanwhile, Mr. Schue runs into Finn at school and “leaves his keys” for Finn to show up at Sectionals. He shows up, song in hand, and they start rehearsing. It is finally showtime, and Emma holds up the phone for Schue to listen to the Glee Club perform.
The Glee Club opens with Rachel singing “Don’t Rain on my Parade” as the ballad portion. I could talk for days about Lea Michele’s talent. This number was jaw-dropping, tear inducing, and just amazing. She knocks it out of the park with anything, but ballads are clearly her forte. When I saw her sing at the True Colors Cabaret Night, her show-stopper was a ballad she sang. As much as I love all the other Glee cast sharing the spotlight with Lea, this was her moment to shine, and she nailed it (times 1,000).
After her ballad, Rachel introduces the rest of the Glee Club, and they sing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” which was really great. Meanwhile, Mr. Schue comes home to Terri, who says she’s in therapy and wants to work on their relationship. He leaves without saying much to go to Emma and Ken’s wedding. When he arrives, Emma is sitting by herself. She explains that taking the kids to Sectionals was the last straw for Ken, and that she did it for him and not the kids. He tries to stop her from going but this show isn’t going to tie up everything in a pretty bow. Emma declares that he just left his wife, she put in her resignation, and then leaves.
The best scene of the episode, and best musical number comes at the end. The show didn’t tell you who won Sectionals until the last scene when the Glee Club shows Mr. Schue the trophy. They then declare that they prepared a musical number for him. “My Life Would Suck Without You” is one of my favorite Kelly Clarkson songs, and dare I say it that Glee’s rendition was just as good. But it wasn’t just the singing (led by Lea Michele) that was amazing. They incorporated an entire season of performances into that musical number. They did the dances from Push It, Single Ladies, Crazy In Love, and everything in between. During the performance, Mr. Schue clearly realizes he can’t let Emma go. He runs down the hallway to find her and looks in her office but she (along with all her stuff) is gone. This was such a perfect subtle moment. They can’t just run to each other’s arms, we have to want it so badly it hurts. He spots Emma down the hallway, goes to her, and finally kisses her. The look on Emma’s face after this kiss was a whole season of angst let go: finally she had gotten her dream man. When I spoke with Jayma a couple weeks ago, she clearly couldn’t reveal this wonderful moment, but in her subtext, I could see she was rooting for her and Will (even if she couldn’t say it). The kiss ended the episode, and what a perfect episode it was.
After a (half) season of drama, not getting along, and pregnancies–the Glee Club all came together. Sue gets fired for leaking the set list, Schue gets reinstated as the Glee Club director, and justice has been served. But what makes this show truly a cut above the rest is that there is always a bumpy road along the way, but when it all comes down to it, Ryan Murphy knows what the fans want, and he gives it to them. I haven’t read anything thus far that said anything negative about this episode…because there isn’t anything. I have watched the last scene approximately 10 times since writing this, and it’s so subtle and wonderful. Finn may have been frustrated and angry with Quinn and Puck, but he knew he had to support the Glee Club. Even Santana admitted that she loves Glee Club, and it’s the best part of her day. Now one could say where do they go from here now that they all get along and support each other and Emma and Will are together. But there is a long road to Regionals ahead. Jonathan Groff will be heading up their competition Vocal Adrenaline, there is much more to the Terri/Will relationship, we need to meet Rachel’s two dads, and Emma and Will aren’t just going to have a perfect relationship. I’d also kind of like to see the Ken backlash. Will he be around in the back 9? I imagine so, but who knows. And whatever way Sue is going to find to be reinstated is bound to be hilarious and wonderful.
Glee, I applaud you. (In fact, during last night’s episode, I may have given Lea Michele a standing ovation–yes, I am aware it’s just TV). You have done for me what no other show has done in a very long time, in that I am excited every week to see what comes next. You have combined music, dancing, talent, drama, comedy in an innovative way that has truly never been done before. It is going to be a long time until April, but I will be re-watching the episodes to prepare (and fill the void), and listening to all the wonderful music. If the back 9 is anything like the first 13 episodes (which I’m sure it will be), there is a lot to be excited about. I recently read this article in New York Magazine about how TV is an art form (and has become one in the last decade or so). If anything proves this thesis, it is absolutely Glee. It was a wonderful end to an absolutely amazing half season.
And I know my Glee reviews haven’t had great videos lately, so I hope all of these make up for it! I know you want to watch them over and over again, because I sure have: (I can’t even pick my favorite quotes of the episode, because it was all so good).
I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going):
Don’t Rain On My Parade:
You Can’t Always Get What You Want:
My Life Would Suck Without You: