Fans witness the end of six season musical journey
A television program is only as good as its series finale. A pilot is rarely well done; they tend to be sloppy, since writers are still in the process of finding the show’s voice, and its characters’ identities. By the third episode, episodes tend to become more cohesive and in-tune with where the show is going and what is driving it. Season finales are meant to be incomplete, with little character development and a whole lot of buildup; the central idea of these episodes is to leave the viewers wanting for more. However, the final episode of a series is final — it should leave viewers fulfilled and characters sufficiently developed so as to have some form of closure.
A very small amount of TV shows have been able to pull off seamless series finales that have truly delivered everything they needed to. Scrubs, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives, and Parks & Recreation all understood that in order to truly deliver a series finale, there must be some dwelling on the past and some looking into the future, and, most important of all, closing complicated plot points.
This week a show both beloved and hated by many ended on Friday night. Glee has had a lot of ups and downs these past six years. The finale was divided into two parts, both of which were well executed. The show’s creators decided to format the first episode of the finale like they did the first season: with grit, passion, and extremely flawed characters. The second part was truer to the current development of the program and had everything we have come to expect from the show: big numbers, big characters, and big emotionally driven moments.
The first episode of the series finale provided a very important feature for the entire series: It gave background for the characters, ensuring that viewers developed a sense of just how far the characters have come. The most important part of the episode was the one that focused on Finn Hudson, the character played by Cory Monteith, who died in 2013. This episode was not about new songs, new characters, new problems, or what will happen, rather, it was made to redirect our attention to the beginning, to the times when the characters were driven by very different objectives and when the future seemed most bleak. The second episode of the two-hour finale, titled “Dreams Come True,” gave every character his or her happy ending. While that may seem like naïve writing, it holds true to the show’s history. Viewers have to remember that the show is called Glee; it is about joy, about finding your way in life. Each character was given enough time to say their goodbyes and take their final bows. Some of these happy endings seemed far-fetched — especially Sue Sylvester’s (Jane Lynch) — however, others were extremely appropriate and showcased the importance of this show in pop culture.
Glee has impacted pop culture in many ways. It currently holds the record for most charted songs by an artist in the Billboard Hot 100 as of 2013. The show’s focus on music has helped bring musical theater to younger audiences that might not have the chance to experience it. It also made an effort to promote the arts in school. During its run, the show covered almost every single musical style and most of the biggest names in music, as well as some more obscure songs.
The finale’s music had some high notes and some off-key moments. Certain songs did not fit the characters or the moment they were living, such as “Someday We’ll Be Together” by Diana Ross and The Supremes, and could have been replaced with more tender ballads that enhanced the sweet moments shared by the cast. That being said, the final song, “I Lived” by One Republic, perfectly encompassed the meaning of the show and the show’s purpose while showcasing the cast’s immense talent.
Finally, the show remained true to its origins by going to four of Mr. Schuester’s (Matthew Morrison), the original club director, lessons. In a flashback, we see Lillian Adler (the coach that inspired Mr. Schuester) telling her students that “Glee is about opening yourself up to joy”; in another flashback Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) says that “when we look back on our time here, we should be proud for what we did and who we included.” In the scenes set in the future, Rachel shows growth; she used to say that being a part of something special makes you special. Now, she said, “being a part of something special does not make you special. Something is special because you are a part of it.” Finally, in one of the closing scenes, Sue Sylvester said that she is proud of what the Glee club taught everyone that passed through it and that her experiences with them changed her for the better. She goes on to say that the club “sees the world not as it is, but as it should be,” and that it is one of the bravest things people can do. After her speech, the club performed for the last time, reuniting all of the voices that had gone through the club for one last moment gave one of the most tender moments in the entire tenure of the show. This finale was not perfect, and the middle was somewhat off, but it showcased how the show lived: starting strong, struggling through, and ending somehow stronger.