“Glee” Finale Replaces Closure With Cliffhangers

The New Directions perform at Regionals.

The New Directions perform at Regionals.

Jamie Ferguson

The New Directions perform at Regionals.
The New Directions perform at Regionals.

The season three finale of  “Glee” felt more like the end of a series than the end of the third season, as it concluded with tearful goodbyes and farewell speeches. The show dedicated a separate episode to the graduating seniors instead of lumping the finale together with the glee club’s national show choir competition. However, the characters who graduated were not gone for long, as all of these college students somehow had the bottomless financial means to fly home to Ohio at the drop of a hat throughout the fourth season. This year, with the exception of wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale)’s acceptance to a New York film school, the producers of “Glee” seemed to have forgotten that the seniors were supposed to be graduating. The episode is boring and uneventful, and the spark that drove the show’s first two season continues to be replaced by shock tactics and surprises.

The finale opens with Brittney meeting two MIT administrators. Although she received a near perfect score on her SATs, her 0.2 GPA and 0% score on the follow-up exam they gave her left the two men puzzled. However, the numbers she doodled in crayon on the back of her test proved to be a handful of genius equations, solidifying her admission to the prestigious school. The pressure of college admissions leads Brittney to begin acting out, causing the New Directions to wonder what is going on with her. After Brittney breaks up with Sam, he is sure that she something is bothering her. Seeking help, he calls up none other than Santana Lopez to get to the root of the problem.

Back in New York, Rachel shines with her only scene in the episode, singing Celine Dion’s “To Love You More” for her Funny Girl callback. The stony-faced judges simply tell her that they will let her know, and the future of Rachel’s Broadway career is to be determined in season five.

Blaine still wants to propose to Kurt, despite the fact that everyone he has talked to has told him that he is too young (and, as confirmed by Kurt later in the episode, the two are not even a couple anymore after a messy breakup earlier in the season). While ring shopping at the mall, he runs into a salesperson (Patty Duke) who reveals to him that she has been with her girlfriend since the two were teenagers and are still together decades later. She invites Blaine and Kurt to lunch with her and her partner, and after sharing their story at Breadstix, the two get engaged. It is a sweet moment, and as if Blaine was not certain enough that he wanted to pop the question to Kurt, the touching engagement only further motivated him to propose.

Meanwhile, Ryder still does not know who his anonymous Catfish-esque admirer is, and he is not happy. Overwhelmed with rage, he demands to know who “Katie” is or he will not perform at Regionals, and Marley Rose confesses. As it turns out, she was covering for Unique, who promises Ryder that despite hiding behind someone else’s face, the person he was talking to was really her. Ryder does not care, and he tells Unique that he is never going to talk to her again. He comes back for the competition, but he later reveals that he is quitting glee club. Ryder’s strange behavior and rage-fueled exit begs the question: Is Ryder gone for good, or will he come crawling back to glee club later in season five?

Before the New Directions perform at Regionals, Brittney acted out because she was so nervous about leaving for MIT, and she confesses her love for everyone in the club before they go on stage. At this time last season, the New Directions were performing at Nationals, but it seems that the glee calendar has shifted, as they are only at the Regionals competition. Despite an emotional graduation episode in last season’s finale, graduation is not even mentioned in the episode. This blatant failure to discuss graduation leads viewers to wonder whether the graduation episode will be in the fall, or if the characters will just get written off and discarded.

Despite the hype surrounding “American Idol” runner-up Jessica Sanchez’s guest starring in a scene at Regionals, her fifteen minutes of fame are disappointingly brief. She has two quick performances on the opposing team, and then she is gone.The New Directions win Regionals as expected, yet their two lackluster performances did not deserve the Regionals title.

The episode ends in the choir room with Emma interrupting the glee club meeting. She tells Will that she does not want to deal with the pressure of a big wedding; instead, she brings in a preacher to marry them right there in the choir room. The on-again, off-again couple finally exchange vows—with no family or friends present besides the students, suggesting that perhaps these two do not have any lives outside of glee club. The season concludes with a shot of Blaine standing next to Kurt with the ring box behind his back.

Season four of “Glee” has been hit or miss, with the unfortunate majority of its misses outweighing the few high points of the season. When “Glee” is good, it is very good; however, when it is bad, it is a disaster. The once-celebrated show often makes a fool of itself, and the series has gone from a heartfelt comedy to a show that feels the need to tackle every social issue teenagers struggle with today. Between suicide, texting and driving, dyslexia, homosexuality, virginity, eating disorders, bullying, gender identity, religion, child molestation, and teen pregnancy, Fox has no problem tackling even the most sensitive issues on “Glee.” Thankfully, it usually manages to stay sensitive and honest when dealing with real problems, such as the well-done but extremely unnecessary episode on a school shooting (which also occurred far too soon after the Newtown tragedy in December 2012). Every once in a while, though, moments such as Rachel’s Broadway audition (she sang “Don’t Stop Believing,” one of the first songs the glee club sang back in season one) remind viewers why they fell in love with the show in the first place. Unfortunately, the entirety of the season four finale was not one of those moments, as it lacks the passion and spirit of the show’s first season. Now, only one question remains: Will the show follow the graduates and abandon the high school setting forever, or will the graduates be replaced with a cycle of filler characters until the plot holes sink “Glee’s” ship? With proposals, auditions, and (hopefully) a graduation, season five  of Glee has the ability to sink or swim. With the announcement that “Glee” has been renewed for two more seasons, it is unclear whether or not the once beloved show will be able to keep its head above the water.