In the "Glee" season finale, "New York", there was so much time spent on music that there wasn't a ton of room for plot development. As it was, the Will Schuester broadway story, the Rachel-Jesse story, and even the competition aspect itself got resolved quickly -- even by TV standards. In the end, the Rachel-Finn story, which has been the centerpiece of the show for the better part of two seasons, dominated the finale, and hopefully reached a point that will allow for more time to be spent on other characters in Season 3.
I'm not saying I didn't like the Rachel-Finn stuff; in fact, quite the opposite. I thought it was done really well, and it all unfolded perfectly within the episode. It's just that they spent so much time on musical performances and then on top of that so much of the early part of the episode was just centered around everyone talking about how awesome New York was that some things ended up getting the short shrift. I kind of think the episode would have worked better as a two-hour finale, giving things more time to breathe.
Obviously aside from possibly getting Rachel and Finn together for good (at least until they graduate), this episode was about New Directions' performance at Nationals. And if anyone was surprised that they didn't place well (finishing 12th, missing out on the Top 10 Showcase entirely), then you were probably deluding yourself. Considering that this group is all coming back next year, at least as far as we know, they needed to leave another step for them to take, and they did that. And, being entirely honest, I thought having them not finish well -- whether it was for Rachel/Finn related reasons or not -- was one of the more realistic and well-handled things they've done this season.
Also, as much as the episode focused on Rachel and Finn, there were some other moments that stood out to me.
- As cheesy as it was, I adored the Patti Lupone cameo. Given how often they've mentioned her in the first two seasons, she was a natural to appear, and Rachel played the scene exactly like I would have expected her to -- almost too star struck to say anything -- which made it so much better.
- Santana's flip-out back in the hotel after they'd been eliminated was FANTASTIC. It might be my new favorite Santana moment of the series.
- Speaking of Santana moments, she and Brittany finally talked everything out, in what was kind of an out-of-character moment for Brittany (Santana even asked when she was done, "When did you get so smart") but it was so damn sweet that I didn't care.
- Oh, and Puckerman came through with the line of the year, when encouraging Finn to ask Rachel out: "Take her on one of those big awful dates you see in those unwatchable romantic comedies that you grow a vagina if you watch all the way through."
OK, now on to the last "Glee" song review of the 2010-11 season.
My Cup - C-
Even compared to the rejected songs from the previous set of original songs, this was disappointing. It wasn't quite "My Headband", but it wasn't anything special either.
I Love New York/New York, New York - B+
The mashing-up on this was much more subtle than some of the other weird mash-ups on Glee this season, so it worked better than most of them.
Still Got Tonight - B
This was basically a commercial for Matthew Morrison's solo album tucked into the episode, and on some level it worked, because hearing the song made me a little more interested in hearing the album, but it didn't really fit with the narrative of the episode.
Bella Note - B-
I wasn't particularly impressed with this performance until the final verse, where it just all came together.
For Good - B
Interesting note: the two original singers of this song from "Wicked" have both made multiple guest appearances on "Glee". And as solid as the Rachel/Kurt performance was, the original by Idina Menzel (Shelby Corcoran on "Glee") and Kristin Chenoweth (April Rhodes on "glee") is just SO much better. Maybe it's not fair to grade this song against the original, but because of the "Glee" connections, I can't help it.
Yeah! - D
Trying to replicate the Lil' Jon-produced beat of this Usher hit with female singers wasn't the worst thing "Glee" has ever done, but it certainly wasn't a great idea. Again, I'm not a fan of "Glee" making hip-hop songs sound aggressively show choir-y, and this was a serious offender.
As Long as You're There - B
The original song itself was nothing special, but the performance certainly was. A C song and an A performance ends up with a B grade.
Pretending - A
I liked this song way more than I should have. In terms of lyrical content, it's really no better than Sunshine's but Rachel and Finn sold the hell out of it. And I LOVED how they dropped all the audio out during Rachel and Finn's kiss. That's some really good directing.
Light Up The World - B+
I really liked the energy of this song. It wasn't quite "Loser Like Me", but I enjoyed it a lot.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.