You’re Gonna Love Me
OK, so I know I’ve griped about aspects of this show off and on all season. I’ve worried that the show’s schizophrenic desires to be a straight serial plot-drive show and a quirky musical parody-comedy have kept it from doing either well, or consistently. But last night, during the fall finale, I feel in love all over again. The show finally seemed to grab both parts of its identity in its choreographed jazz hands and create a quirky, feel good, plot driven musical comedy-drama. And that makes for a good hour of broadcast television.
The episode also had all the good markers of a fantastic finale, even if it is just a mid-season finale (digression: does anyone else think this might be the wave of the future – mid-season finales followed by glorious spring returns?): it tied up lingering plot points, brought the main plot to a kind of climax, but left us hanging with tantalizing teasers of what’s to come. Best of all, it made me love all the misfit characters that form this geeky ensemble and it made me believe again in the power of a feel good come-back tale. As their ensemble number told us, you can’t always get what you want….
If one theme of the series so far is believing in oneself against the pressures of high school conformity, the finale gave us the ultimate test: the kids left to unite together around their common purpose and to prove that they have not only the talent, but the gumption, will and camaraderie to take the competition. Of course, not without some serious internal drama. Finn knows about Quinn’s deception, and his anger toward both her and Puck was far more compelling than Shu’s anger toward Terri last week. That said, I still a hard time with the mix of serious emotional drama and quirky musical comedy – not with the idea of their mixture, but with the execution of the former in this particular instance (having finally started watching “Friday Night Lights” on DVD – I know, way behind the times – I can’t help but wonder if there is a riff/parody going on here: football captain betrayed by girlfriend trying to be the bigger man). We also got the plot line that apparently many fans have been dying to see: the promise of romance between Shu and Emma. I know a lot of readers will disagree, but the whole revelation of Terri’s deception and her final rejection by Shu (including his “I just don’t love you anymore” speech last night) happened a little too fast and a little too conveniently for my tastes. But I am excited to see what they will do with this story, now that they are giving it free reign in the coming season. I have great hope that it won’t be an easy happily-ever-after for those two, with Terri just dumped to the side.
Perhaps the best moment, and the one we’ve been waiting for all season, was the recognition of Mercedes as Rachel’s equal on the singing stage and the prospect of giving her the ballad solo. When she sang for the club in rehearsal and they all broke into spontaneous dancing, smiling, and applause, I was right there with them. At first, I was pretty pissed that she didn’t actually get the spotlight at sectionals, but I have to admit, along with Kurt, if anyone is going to belt it on the fly, give the mic to the girl whose been singing into her hairbrush since she was four. Perfectly annoying as she is, it was actually very gratifying to see Rachel basking in the applause she’s been dreaming of her whole life. I very much hope that in whatever comes next we see more acknowledgment of Mercedes as a force to be reckoned with.
A favorite minor moment: in the judges chambers. That is, I imagine, exactly what it is like inside the judges room for most high school arts competitions. Oh for all the hopes and dreams of high school divas across America pinned on the state’s assistant comptroller!
I don’t have a lot of predictions for the spring return, but I have a lot of hope that the show has found its stride and will be back with a bang sometime in March or April. As the cast closed the episode with Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” (including moments from almost all their routines: hairiography anyone?) I couldn’t help but think I knew what they were singing about.
Posted by Kathryn.
Natalie is traveling this week, so please join the conversation with your comments and thoughts.