Did ‘Glee’ Get the Emotional Ending It Deserves?

And that’s all she wrote! The two-hour series finale of Glee aired last night, ending a six-year run of boundary-pushing story lines and characters. While the popular Fox show has definitely decreased in quality in its later seasons, it looks  like Ryan Murphy finally listened to fans and delivered a flaw-free final act. Rachel won. Kurt won. Hell, everyone won. And that’s exactly the kind of sunshine fantasy fans needed to feel satisfied.

The finale was divided into two acts: “2009,” which took audiences back to — you guessed it — 2009, and “Dreams Come True,” which took us five years into the future. (Where Sue Sylvester is Vice President of the United States. Really.) In order to emotionally process all of last night’s feels, we’ve broken down the highlights from each episode. Grab a tissue; we promise you’ll need it.


Kurt is in trouble.
You know it’s 2009 the second you spot Kurt’s old hairstyle. Oh, and the fact that Puck and Dave Karofsky (who Blaine later dates) are tormenting him unmercifully. In an inner monologue, Kurt confesses he feels no one cares if he wasn’t in the world anymore. He picks up one of Emma Pillsbury’s pamphlets about suicide, but hides it the second she starts talking to him. But Emma sees the pamphlet and calls in Kurt’s father Burt to talk about it. 2009 Burt’s solution to the problem is ordering Kurt to join a team by the end of the week or else he’ll take away his sewing machine.

Rachel and Kurt meet. And they sing a Wicked song because duh.
Kurt’s on the hunt for adequate lunch room real estate and spots an ambitious Rachel Berry sitting alone making posters. He asks to sit with her, and she agrees — probably to brag about the 17 million clubs she’s a part of and radiate annoying energy. Remember, this is 2009 Rachel, and she’s awful. After denying Kurt a spot in the speech club, she mentions the teacher who looks like an “old Justin Timberlake” is reviving the glee club and that she’d meet with Kurt after school to test his vocal range. They sing “Popular” from Wicked, to the delight of gay men everywhere (this writer included). However, their tender teen moment ends when Rachel shuts down Kurt’s suggestion they audition together for the club. She’s a star and can only shine alone. Would you expect anything less?

Mercedes and Rachel meet.
After Kurt meets Mercedes and convinces her to audition for the glee club, Rachel tracks her down and says some really insensitive comments — like how she and Mercedes have a lot in common because they each have a black dad — before asking if she can see her sing. Rachel attends Mercedes’ church service and gets noticeably shaken up by how much Lady M can belt. After the performance, Rachel says some more offensive crap about how Mercedes’ R&B audience will love her. (This simultaneously implies Mercedes’ audience is obviously not Rachel’s, because Rachel is the worst.) But Mercedes is done playing with Rachel; she declares that anywhere Rachel’s voice can go, she’ll take her’s there too. They butt heads again when Will Schuester gives Rachel the club’s first solo instead of Mercedes. In an emotional scene, Mercedes’ mom tells her to stay in the glee club because Rachel’s drive will only make her better. Who knows? They might even be friends.

Artie and Tina are dared to audition for the glee club, so they do it.
2009 Tina (angsty, goth, and fake stammer in full swing) gives an internal monologue about how she’s unpopular and in love with Artie. Artie does the same thing, but when he says “I love you” out loud to Tina, he acts like it didn’t happen. Cut to lunch time, where Artie and Tina are playing the most intense game of truth or dare ever. (The other two kids in the game dump entire plates of spaghetti on Kurt and Rachel for shits and giggles.) In retaliation, the non-Artie-and-Tina players dare the two future New Directioners to audition for the glee club. They agree, slay their auditions, and make the cut.

Will and Sue used to be friends. 
Six years ago, the Cheerios ruled McKinley High School and Principal Figgins kissed the ground Sue Sylvester walked on. However, Sue gets a bad feeling Will’s glee club will upstage her precious Cheerios, so she decides to confront him about it during their weekly basketball game. (Yes, Will and Sue were once friendly.) Sue asks Will what his intentions are with the glee club and gives him an ultimatum: it’s either the club or their friendship. Obviously, he picks the club.

Does Finn get to stay in glee? 
Will shakes up the glee club when he asks star quarterback Finn Hudson (the late, wonderful Cory Monteith) to join the group. It has Kurt and Mercedes thinking Finn will just recruit more popular kids to join glee club and they’ll get pushed into the background. In an emotional meeting, the kids share times where Finn actually wasn’t a monster to them. (Like when Finn let Kurt take off his expensive coat before getting thrown in a dumpster.) Unanimously, they retract their original opinions and vote to keep Finn in the club. D’awww.

“Don’t Stop Believing” saves the day (of course).
When Terri (Will’s crazy first wife) tells Will she’s (fake) pregnant, he decides to quit his teaching job and become an accountant. Sue’s excited, Terri’s relieved Will is going to start focusing more on her, and Rachel is devastated. When Rachel fails to convince Terri to reconsider her request, Emma goes to Figgins and asks him to offer Will a raise. He can’t do that, but he does something better: show Will a video of him performing at the national show choir competition in 1993. Like clockwork, Will walks into the auditorium and sees the gang, including Finn (tears), singing “Don’t Stop Believing.” He’s sold.

Other highlights from “2009”:

  • While Kurt and Mercedes are getting coffee and complaining about Finn joining the glee club, Mercedes asks a well-dressed young man to pass her a packet of sugar. That someone is one Blaine Anderson, B.K. (Before Kurt). So cool!
  • In a sweet moment, Kurt tells his father he’s joined the glee club and never been more genuinely excited to go to school. While Burt would rather Kurt join a sports team, he seems more than satisfied with his son’s decision. An internal monologue reveals that this was the moment when Kurt almost came out to his father. However, something holds him back.

Jane Lynch discusses filming the final episode on Big Morning Buzz Live.

“Dreams Come True”

Will and Sam get promotions. 
We’re now back to the present, and the latest New Directions class has won the national show choir competition. The school district superintendent is so impressed by Will’s work that he has some exciting news: he’s decided to turn McKinley into a performing arts high school and make Will the principal. After an emotional song from Will (“Teach Your Children Well”), Blaine tries to convince Sam to move back to NYC with them. Sam assures Blaine that he’s actually happy in Lima, especially because he also has a new job offer: he’ll be the next coach of the New Directions (one of many show choirs Will plans on forming). And his first assignment for the class? Country music.

Mercedes makes it big time. 
Present day, we learn Mercedes has been asked to open for Beyoncé’s world tour. After a tearful musical goodbye, we go forward five years and see that Mercedes is now a famous musician with a hit album and private car. Hmmm, does this mean Mercedes is even bigger than Bey in 2020? Bananas!

Sue becomes human. 
Kurt and Blaine thank Sue for getting them back together; in return, Sue thanks Kurt for making her grow as a more tolerant person. She also sings ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” to Will in what feels like a heartfelt apology for the years she’s spent torturing him. However, she doesn’t actually say anything, so who the hell really knows? But her most endearing moments happen in 2020 when she is VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (with plans to run for president in 2024). She travels back to McKinley to officially unveil the Finn Hudson Auditorium and gives a wonderful speech about how she now sees glee club as brave and wonderful. It’s because of Will’s work and Finn’s memory, she says, that the McKinley School of the Performing Arts has become a wild success. That’s right, folks. Hell has officially frozen over, and Sue actually — gasps! — likes Will.

Kurt and Blaine are a power couple and the definition of #relationshipgoals.
Kurt and Blaine move back to NYC, and things turn out pretty damn fantastic for them. In 2020, we learn they are both stars who recently headlined the first LGBT version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? They also take time out to do precious things like sing to elementary school students about achieving their dreams. But the best Klaine moment comes when we see a very pregnant Rachel carrying a child that’s not her’s. She’s agreed to be a surrogate mother for Kurt and Blaine — that kid is going to be so talented! (P.S.: Tina and Artie, who is on the cusp of a successful film career, are also a power couple in 2020.)

Rachel’s dreams come true. 
Five years into the future, Rachel is a NYADA grad, married to Jessie (Jonathan Groff) and nominated for a Tony Award for her work in Jane Austen Sings. She doesn’t think she’s going to win — she’s up against Willow Smith in Cabaret, after all — but ends up getting it. All of the original Gleeks are watching her acceptance speech on television, including an ecstatic Sue. She ends by dedicating her award to Will, her biggest supporter and inspiration. Cue all the ugly crying.

What did you think of the Glee finale? Sound off in the comments below.

[Photo Credit: FOX]