The crucial problem with this final season of Glee is that the show never spent enough time telling what was supposed to be this year’s main story: Rachel coaching and connecting with the new glee club, essentially take the place of Will for the season. It was obvious that this was only a temporary situation for her, that whether it was NYADA or a new musical (spoiler alert: she’s going back to NYADA), she would make her way back to Broadway, but this storyline still provided Glee with a strong and satisfying way to come full circle, to have students like Rachel and Kurt and Blaine now become the teachers and help these new kids in the same way that Will helped them. And while the payoff is there in “We Built This Glee Club,” with Rachel’s fantastic pre-performance pep talk and the New Directions winning Sectionals, ensuring that the glee club will be a fixture at McKinley for years to come, it’s the lack of emotional build-up in previous episodes that makes all these moments feel hollower than they should.
Still, though, I applaud Glee‘s efforts to try to turn “We Built This Glee Club” into something special, as the show attempts to make it not just a culmination of the ten episodes that have come before it in Season 6 but a celebration of the series as a whole. Those flashbacks shown in the episode’s final moments evoke the emotion that I wish I had felt throughout the entire hour and serve as a reminder of how much more fun and downright compelling the series used to be. But this week’s Glee still has some great moments all on its own, whether it’s continuing to see Kitty be the glee club’s MVP and Rachel’s biggest supporter, or when all of the new kids get their moments in the spotlight during the Sectionals performance (although I could have definitely done with whatever Myron was doing during “Chandelier”). These scenes are reminiscent of what Glee was during its early years, when the show was more about the heightened emotions of high school life and how every friendship, romance, and performance felt like the most important thing in the world when it was happening to you then.
“We Built This Glee Club” also lets Sue continue the craziness she’s caused all season long but actually gives a valid, although completely over-the-top ridiculous (this is Glee, we’re talking about), reason for her actions. Sure, her blowing up Will’s car might be even too much for this show, but her scene with Will near the end of the episode, in which she explains her convoluted plan to sabotage Vocal Adrenaline, step by step, along with her smile as she looks in at the choir room, is the most likable Sue’s been in a while. Jane Lynch actually appears to be having fun in those scenes, unlike earlier in the season, when she had to suffer through Sue’s nonsensical behavior in “The Hurt Locker” two-parter; all the stuff in this episode felt much more like vintage Sue, the things she would say or do during the show’s first, second, or even third seasons.
And speaking about vintage Glee, the series brought back another character from the past in last night’s episode, with the much-hyped return of Jonathan Groff as Jesse St. James. My opinion on Jesse has constantly fluctuated through the series (sometimes I’m fan; other times, not so much), but Groff has been good anytime he’s shown up on the show and his scenes with Lea Michele, including those in last night’s episode, are always a treat. Plus, if Glee feels the need to romantically pair Rachel up with someone in its series finale, he feels like the best match for her on the show.
“We Built This Glee Club” was, like much of this season, a hollower version of Glee, but it still had some enjoyable moments (not to mention, I’ve always been a sucker for competition episodes on Glee). Even though I know it’s time for the series to end (it’s been time for a while), I’m still going to have a hard time saying goodbye to it next week. Let’s hope Glee makes it a good one.
– Kitty calling Alistair “Julianne Moore” was perfect, as was her suggesting that they put the old glee club trophies in the case, too, after she saw Rachel’s expression. I say it every week, and I’ll say it again: she’s one of the best characters to ever appear on this show.
– Glee gets credit for bringing back Rod Remington and Donna Landries for its last Sectionals episode. Good to see the two of them again, even if the scene with the judges lasted a little too long.
– Really dug the music in this episode, particularly Rachel and Jesse’s duet of “Listen to Your Heart” and the New Directions’ entire Sectionals performance.
– Rachel’s comment to Jesse about how she’d have an egg in her purse for him on his opening night was a very nice Season 1 callback.
What did you think of last night’s episode of Glee? Are you prepared for next week’s series finale?
[Photo via FOX]