Glee: Long Day's "Journey" Into Night
Accept no substitutes
Where has the time gone? It seems like just last week that New Directions was contending with Sue Sylvester's evil schemes and singing Journey songs, and here in the season finale they're...doing that all over again. Give the show points for consistency, at least.
Regionals are upon our faithful glee club members, a normally giddy time rendered somewhat less so by the news that Sue has earned a spot as a judge thanks to her dubious celebrity status.
This turn of events will come as a surprise to anyone who didn't see last week's previews. Nevertheless, the announcement sends New Directions into one of their oft-repeated low spiritual ebbs. That is, until Will takes the bold, radical step of deciding the club will sing a Journey medley at the competition.
I was a bit surprised that what one would assume to be their climactic performance actually took place before the midway point of the show, but there it was. It started with "Faithfully," kicked off by a duet between Finn and Rachel (finally, a song perfectly suited to the former's testicularly challenged vocal stylings). segued into a Puck/Santana-led mashup of "Any Way You Want It" and "Loving, Touching, Squeezing" (sure to stoke the fires of all the viewers who attended their 8th grade social in 1980), and closed with a series encore of "Don't Stop Believin'," featuring solos by...Rachel and Finn. Again. The stark absence of Kurt, Mercedes, and Artie -- the most prominent minority characters, in other words -- is damning evidence of the show's white supremacist underpinnings.
Okay, not really. Also, Quinn (finally) goes into pre-term labor after a surprise visit from Mama Fabray (and not at all because she was jumping up an down on a stage two minutes earlier). Luckily for her, the birth of her child takes no more time than it does for Vocal Adrenaline to belt out their sterile rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." And if you thought New Directions slammed the door on several of their vocalists, VA might as well change their name to Jesse and the Pussycats for all the help he got. The cut-across sequence ends with Quinn holding her (amazingly alert and expressive for a one-month premature) baby.
The only other competition is a group called Aural Intensity, which I initially mistook for "Oral Intensity" when I first heard it, because I'm not a pleasant person. The matter finally comes down to the celebrity judges, consisting of singer Josh Groban, Olivia Newton-John, previously featured local newsman Rod Remington (whose reminiscences of "partying" with Freddie Mercury in the 70s "before people were hung up on labels" made the episode for me), and Sue. She finds herself in the not entirely unexpected role of having to stick up for New Directions against the unexpectedly nasty Newton-John, but Vocal Adrenaline wins anyway.
At this point, the show threatened to lapse into unbearable sentimentality. The club, sure of their imminent dissolution, serenade Will with Lulu's "To Sir, With Love." And Shelby Corcoran (surprise!) adopts Quinn's baby girl. Everybody tears up while your humble writer tries to swallow his gorge.
Glee may not cream everbody's Twinkie, but I can't deny the final episode gave fans exactly what they wanted. If only other finales could say the same (*cough* Lost *cough*).
Given the announcement that the show has been picked up for another two seasons, Sue's decision to allow New Directions to continue for another year has to rank up there with Mike Damone's for all-time anti-climaxes. All we know for sure at this point is: Glee will be back until 2012 at least, which should give me plenty of time to stock my liquor cabinet.