On Tuesday's episode of Glee, Mr. Schue's whiteboard lesson du jour was WWMJD, or "What would Michael Jackson do?" And while there was no shortage of attention paid to the King of Pop — the gang sang no less than 9 numbers, which seems like a record -- the episode's real theme was all about what lies ahead for Glee's graduating class. The G-word has been a scary one for many of the show's fans ever since series boss Ryan Murphy first revealed — and then retracted — the idea that McKinley High seniors might not be a part of next season. (Since then, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer have all said they're definitely returning in the fall.) And happily, we got more than a glimpse about what that future might look like for several of the show choir kids.
The episode, written by Murphy himself, left us pleasantly surprised about the journey each of the kids is about to take:
Rachel gave Finn an answer, and we're actually totally cool with it. As much as we love Finchel, Finn's sudden marriage proposal at the end of the last episode was simultaneously understandable (he's lost!) and pretty much the worst idea ever (well, that and that time when Glee thought hair would help them win sectionals). Rachel's a star! She has to go to NY and follow her dreams without such emotional baggage! But Tuesday's episode helped us understand two things : why Finn proposed (he's OK with them moving to New York together) and why Rachel wouldn't be crazy to accept (he's the love of her life, proved again and again through song, this time a moving duet of "I Just Can't Stop Loving You.") Best of all, there's still plenty of believable suspense ahead: how will Rachel tell Finn she did make it to the NYADA finals? What will Burt and Carol say? Or Rachel's dads? Or New Directions?
Quinn finally gets her cue. When's the last time Dianna Agron had a bonafide solo? (No one would remember it was Fleetwood Mac's "I Don't Want to Know" back in, wait for it, Season 2. Also, that was technically a duet.) Luckily, her sweet and reflective performance of "Never Can Say Goodbye," in which she got to dance with Puck, Finn and Sam, made the wait (almost) worth it. More importantly, it was a great beginning of the end for Quinn, whose departure is looking more and more imminent now that she's been accepted to Yale. (New Haven, CT is 667 miles from Lima, OH in case anyone is wondering). Quinn's had her fair share of emotional breakdowns (not to mention crazy soap opera plotlines — she was once ugly and unpopular, she was also once an aspiring baby snatcher), but her advice for Rachel and her thank you to the glee club was a nice nod to her McKinley past. If this is her sign-off, it was a good one.
New Directions can survive without the seniors. A New Directions without Rachel, Finn and Kurt (Chris Colfer)? Fear not, Gleeks. A stand-out episode for McKinley's resident rapper Artie (Kevin McHale) (sorry, Mr. Schue) proved that New Directions will be left in very capable hands next year (again, apologies, Mr. Schue). Whether it was his ability to take charge when Kurt completely wussed out or his killer performances (it almost seems unfair that he can't dance more on the series after showing off his moves in "Scream"), Artie demonstrated that there is life after three of the McKinley Class of 2012 move on from the hallways. Now if they could just pay more attention to Rory...
What did you think of tonight's episode? Do you understand Rachel's decision? Are you sad Dianna Agron may not return next season? (It's an educated guess!) Isn't it about time Brittany was allowed to say funny things again? Who should step up in the choir room with Rachel, Finn, Quinn and Kurt firmly on the graduation track? (Seriously, who else is a junior anyway?) Sound off with your theories and critiques in the comments below!