I am so disappointed. I have stuck by Glee through the good times, the bad times and the very, very bad times (and there have been quite a few of the latter). I’ve looked at it kindly through rushed storylines, bad characterisations and dodgy songs. I’ve tried to see the positive when fandom has been focusing on the negative (and I’ve wanted to join it). But the time has come for me to say that I’m disappointed in Glee.
Goodbye was supposed to offer some form of closure for Gleeks everywhere. Yes, Glee is back for another season later this year, but it wouldn’t be the same because all the characters would not be at McKinley.
Instead, closure wasn’t offered. What we got instead was a shambles of a storyline where suddenly only the future of one person – Rachel Berry – mattered.
And we got an episode where the beating heart of Glee – Kurt Hummel – was ignored and left to languish in Lima, where we all know he shouldn’t be. What kind of justice is it when the person who deserves it most, who has fought prejudice and who worked so hard for his dreams, gets overlooked?
Kurt was the best part of this episode. His internal monologue as he walked through the halls of McKinley showed just how much he’d grown, how grown-up he was, and the changes he had inspired in classmates.
We got treated to a brilliant Kurt and Burt scene, as Hummel the elder offered his son a graduation gift in the form of recreating Hummel the younger’s version of Single Ladies. It was a reminder to us of the changing point between Kurt and Burt, and of the moment where Kurt finally settled into himself and stopped hiding.
We got a cute moment between Kurt and Blaine, as they sort-of discussed their future (and lots of cute looks between them, although no kiss).
And we got a brilliant musical number from Kurt, as he sang I’ll Remember, complete with tears and poignant looks towards Blaine.
So tallying up what we got, why am I still so disappointed? Because what we saw was nothing Kurt didn’t have already and hasn’t been showing already this season – self-confidence, a wonderful father, a loving boyfriend, a gorgeous voice.
What I wanted to see was Kurt getting something he didn’t already have, and really, truly deserved – acceptance into NYADA. Instead, he was turned away, despite his brilliant audition which clearly showed talent, perseverance and commitment to his craft (yes, I’d love to see Kurt go into fashion, but that’s not on the table yet).
And worse than that, not only was Kurt rejected from NYADA, we also didn’t see much reaction from him about it, unless you count the few seconds before Rachel opened her letter. We have no clue as to where Kurt’s going, what he’ll do, what his back up plan is, how he feels. There are cliffhangers, and then there are just large holes in plot where it’s clear no one behind the scenes has thought about a character. (For the missing scene that should have been in Goodbye, see a talented fan’s version here.)
By contrast, it seemed like Glee was determined to get Rachel to succeed, even though she messed up her original NYADA audition. She choked, and yes, she’s talented but you don’t get a second chance at things like that. Glee went from being an ensemble show with some leading characters to being all about Rachel (and Finn to an extent) in just a couple of scenes.
As soon as Rachel’s NYADA acceptance was revealed, Glee seemed to forget all its other characters. We didn’t get to say goodbye to them. Instead, we got to watch them say goodbye to Rachel like she was the only person we’ve cared about for three seasons. And we said hello to Rachel as she stepped into a new world. There was no closure.
Rachel will get a brand new start next season. Not only is she in a new city, at a new school, but she’s also not with Finn anymore. I have no doubt he’ll still be around next season, but the dynamic will be different.
This episode Finn really stepped up. As much as I hated the Rachel focus, if it had been balanced out with the other characters, I would have loved the scene between her and Finn. It would have been moving if I hadn’t been seething over Kurt not getting into NYADA, but I did still manage to be impressed by Finn’s stepping aside. I’m not sure how I feel about his decision to join the army, but I guess we’ll see how that works out next season.
Ooh, actually, I do have a bit of a moan about Finn. What was up with the non-graduating glee clubbers deciding they needed to dedicate their song mostly to Finn. Artie said to him: “Even before glee club was kind of cool, you had our backs. You were on the football team, you were one of the most popular kids in school, you had a lot to lose. People forget the sacrifices you made. We wanted to thank you.
WHAT? From what I remember, Finn might not have thrown anyone in a dumpster, but he certainly stood by and watched it happen. He might have let Kurt take his jacket off, but he still gave the command for the rest of the team to go ahead and throw Kurt in. From what I remember, Finn was the one who had the biggest struggle choosing between glee club and the football team, and choosing to defend Kurt or just stand by and watch him suffer. So when exactly did Finn have the glee club’s backs?
We got a little bit of closure with some of the other characters. Santana’s storyline was well rounded out, mostly. As much as I find Brittana sweet, I do think Brittany has been holding Santana back. Yes, they love each other, but they’re not equals in their relationship (for a great analysis of Brittana, see what Tumblr’s Zavocado said here). So sad as it was that Brittany wasn’t graduating, I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing Santana really make a go of it in New York. It was also lovely to see Santana’s relationship with her mother (played by Gloria Estefan) and the acknowledgement of that scene months ago where Santana’s grandmother rejected her for her sexuality and that hasn’t been mentioned since.
Mercedes saw some success, and is heading to LA to be a backing singer. She deserves it, but her fate post-McKinley just seemed to be thrown in because the writers had to do something with her, not because they wanted to. Mike, going to dance school in Chicago, suffered similarly at the hands of Glee‘s writers.
Puck passed his geography exam with the help of his classmates, especially Quinn (who had a really sweet scene with Sue Sylvester). The two had a really strange scene where they kissed. Excuse me, isn’t that Quinn cheating on Joe? I know they’re seeing where things are going, but still, kissing your ex is a surefire way to throw a spanner in the works with a potential boyfriend. And also, isn’t cheating what led to Quinn getting pregnant? And then to her getting Finn back, then losing Finn, then turning into a goth and getting all crazy about the baby she gave up for adoption? When has cheating ever resulted in anything good for Quinn?
So that’s it, that’s what’s happening to Glee‘s graduating seniors, which really, really doesn’t tell us much.
I’m just so disappointed that Glee didn’t give me, us, the respect we deserve. We’ve stood behind Glee because it’s a programme about so many different kinds of people, but in the end it didn’t respect us because it made Goodbye all about one character. Anything that came earlier in the episode was negated by the big Rachel goodbye. Rachel got to move on while all the other characters we love stayed exactly where they were, and we stayed with them.
As I said earlier, Kurt’s rendition of I’ll Remember was beautiful, and really moving.
I enjoyed You Get What You Give and thought it worked well as a handover number from the graduating New Directions to the non-graduating ones. I particularly liked the set up, and the way it ended with those not graduating standing and facing their predecessors.
In My Life was good, but may have been more appropriate for the graduating seniors to sing.
What I liked best about the group numbers was that they were group numbers, no one really took prominence, everyone worked together.
Forever Young was typically Will Schuester – a bit bland – and Glory Days was typically Puck and Finn – rocky and fun.
What Glee did well
Like last week, I need to calm down and rewatch this episode to find something truly amazing. Unlike Nationals, where I have to rewatch because I loved so much about it, this week I need to rewatch to find something outstanding because I’m still filled with disappointment at how Goodbye ended.
Nothing, it’s a wait until autumn now for the new season.