It's season finale time for Glee! It was a little more than a year ago that the series debuted after American Idol crowned Kris Allen the new winner. An Idol champ later, and we're finally saying farewell for the summer to the series.
So what's in store for the Season 1 finale? It's the moment we've been waiting for: Regionals, where New Directions will face off with Vocal Adrenaline. Will the McKinley High glee club be victorious? Not if Sue Sylvester has anything to say about it. Also on deck: Quinn gives birth, Finn and Rachel get cozy — and we shed a tear that we won't see a new episode for several long months.
The episode opens with Sue's continued reign of terror; this time stretching as far as becoming a judge at regionals. While Will tries to get the principal to stop this madness, Sue states that she's famous, meaning she can't be stopped. After Sue takes another iconic dig at Will's hair, the glee club coach must break the news to his pupils.
Before that, though, we get a flashback to just before Puck planted his seed in Quinn. His words ring true of high school society when speaking of how neither of them will know or care about Finn and how he'll feel in three years.
As Puck talks dirty to her by saying "you're not fat," we flash to present-day where the club has gathered at Will's house to choose their set list for regionals. Unfortunately, the club has already resigned to the fact that Sue will make sure they lose, meaning the end of New Directions.
I cry as Tina cries, explaining that the club has brought her new friends. Thinking they won't even be friends after the club disbands, they decide, on Rachel's lead, to spend the party sharing their fond memories of glee.
Will vents his feelings about the possible end of the club to Emma. She talks about how Will was once going to quit teaching to become an accountant, but she helped to show him that glee isn't about winning or losing, it's about the memories. This leads into Will confessing that he misses her, but he's missed his chance: She's dating her dentist (to be played by the smokin' hot Uncle Jesse, aka John Stamos, in Season 2.)
As Will drives home from work, he's caught in a moment as "Don't Stop Believin'" comes on the radio. He pulls the car over to enjoy a quick cry, but it's more inspirational than anything. More on that in a moment.
Finn chastises Rach for putting up the white flag when she's supposed to be the club's leader. He insists that they're going to set everyone straight so they can win regionals. She finally leans in for the kiss that we've been waiting for. Not some dopey moment like their first kiss in the auditorium, but one based on passion; a passion for both each other and the music.
The pair heads to the choir room ready to kick everyone into action, but Will's already on point. He explains that the club may have started small, but their important achievements are marked by their friendships, not their competitions. The whole reason Will didn't quit teaching, and New Directions' first real achievement was "Don't Stop Believin,'" which they'll use, along with a medley of Journey songs, for regionals.
Side note: I personally agree that "Don't Stop Believin''" was one of the finer moments of Glee. I remember sitting down to watch the screener of the pilot over a year ago and crying at my desk as I kept watching the song over and over again.
Rach and Finn needn't add any words of inspiration other than, "We're all really glad you didn't become an accountant."
And suddenly we're at regionals (!) Will watches as the judges (Josh Groban, Olivia Newton-John, WOHN news anchor Rod Remington and his former fling, Sue Sylvester) are announced before Aural Intensity begins their performance, which is a mash-up of Olivia Newton-John and Josh Groban songs. (ha!)
Though the club is nervous, they psyche themselves up and prepare for a moment that could change their lives. Rach wishes Finn luck, but he tops her with a sweet "I love you" before they hit the auditorium. The medley begins with Rach and Finn singing "Faithfully," and transitions into a mash-up of "Anyway You Want It" and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'."
The crowd jumps to their feet and it seems New Directions is really impressing the judges. Their medley concludes with — you guessed it — "Don't Stop Believin'" which may or may not have brought more tears to my eyes. Darn you, Glee. It was even more fantastic with the full club, and not just the lone six members in the pilot.
Side note: It's amazing how much the glee club has really grown. From the misfits we saw in the first episode, to an actual show choir banded together, singing their hearts out without fear of who will judge them. Not only does that show growth for the club, but for the series as well. I'm impressed, writers.
As the clubbers come offstage after a rousing performance that had the crowd screaming, Quinn's mother is waiting. She explains that she kicked her dad out of the house because he was dating some tattooed tart. (Ha!) She wants Quinn to move back in and she'll set up a nursery. Just then, Quinn's water breaks and it's off to the hospital.
Quinn's rush to the hospital, her bringing Mercedes into the delivery room (her new BFF, didn't ya know? Um, I guess I didn't feel enough growth here, but hopefully we'll see more for them next season), and the subsequent birth of her daughter is juxtaposed with Vocal Adrenaline performing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." While I'm a huge Queen fan, and this song always reminds me of Wayne's World, I just didn't feel like it fit with what a show choir should perform. It's more of a standalone, no?
Rachel, who watched VA's performance with a look of worry and longing, approaches Shelby after their set and asks her to quit VA and come to New Directions to coach with Will. However, finding the daughter she can't be a mother to has made Shelby realize that she wants a real family. I smell adoption coming, especially when Rach mentions that Quinn has just given birth to a "beautiful baby girl." Aww, just like the baby girl Shelby once gave up.
Sue heads into the judges' room with a one-track mind: New Directions has to come in third. While the others' opinions differ subtly, the conversation leads to Newton-John griping about their production value, stating that underprivileged students should get their acts together.
Sue surprisingly goes on the defensive, but this spurs Newton-John on who asks why Sue is even there; she's about as famous as her talentless school. For a split second we can see that Sue is pissed, but the next thing we know, Vocal Adrenaline has been announced the winner, with New Directions not even placing. Sayonara, glee club.
Back at the hospital, Puck and Quinn look over their baby girl, but they don't plan to keep her. Puck admits that he did love Quinn when they first slept together and even more so now that they've had a child together. Cue the moment we all saw coming: Shelby arrives and inquires about their baby, who Puck wants to call Beth, a shout out to an earlier episode.
At school, Will overhears Emma screaming at the principal. She's furious that the glee club is being shut down and wants to keep fighting to keep it alive. Will believes she's not just fighting for the kids, and despite her insistence that it's not about them, Will declares his love and kisses her. He'll sure have to fight hard for her next season against John Stamos!
Rach interrupts their moment to bring Will to the auditorium, where the club is waiting to share their experiences and growth. They each cry as they sing "To Sir, With Love," by Lulu. Will isn't the only adult shedding a tear, though. Sue, who's hidden at the back of the room, can't help but be emotional watching them.
Sue finds Will packing up the choir room and basically gloats. However, we see a flash to the judges' room where Sue listed New Directions as her No. 1 vote to win regionals. She plays off the fact that she's gotten New Directions' another year — while simultaneously sacrificing the last hold of blackmail she had over the principal — by saying she wouldn't want to live in a world where she couldn't ridicule Will's hair and failures. Will expresses that Sue really is a good person deep down, though she stays true to Sue by saying, "I'm seriously going to puke in your mouth."
Will delivers the great news to the glee club, and celebrates by singing "Over the Rainbow," with the assistance of Puck on guitar. We see each of the clubbers enjoy the last vestiges of being together before summer, as well as Shelby adopting Quinn's baby, before the series says goodbye for now.
And with that, we've come to the end of Season 1. While I may have been hard on Glee at times (last week, ahem), I truly love this show. Congrats to the cast and crew for an inspiring season that came full circle. I'll be counting down the days until fall, but until then, I'll just sing Glee songs very loudly in the shower. Just me?
What did you think of the episode? Were you glad Finn and Rachel finally came together? Was the adoption surprising to you? And how do you think that will affect Rach next season? Discuss in the comments!
On a final note, thank you all for reading my recaps this season. It's been fun to see your thoughts on each episode in the comments section, especially since you're all so kind. See you next season!