Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Glee - S2 E22 - Nationals

The New Directions head to New York to compete in the Show Choir National Championships. Will, Rachel and Finna re all confronted with decisions about their future.

Spoilers after the jump.

This season finale started pretty well but then lapsed into a kind of lazy monotony about halfway through. If you're making an over the top musical themed comedy then the grand finale must always be BIG. We got that to start off with as the glee club hit the streets looking for inspiration, and with Will's stage performance and then Quinn's spectacular explosion of anger over Finn's pursuit of Rachel. However, the national tournament itself felt strangely muted and the retread of the Finnchel ground was tiresomely tedious.

It was easier to perpetuate the myth that Quinn was popular last season but it's not even close to true anymore. She cuts an especially mournful figure in this episode where clever cinematography leaves her out of focus in the background in several shots, most notably when the group is checking into the hotel and Finn first approaches Rachel to talk to her. While initially attempting to treat the indignity with class, it quickly fades when she realizes that Finn isn't even bothering to leave a grace period before starting up anew with someone else. Her shocking outburst when talking to Brittany and Santana is the first time we've ever seen anything on that level from her and it speaks to the denial and repression most of her life has been served under. In the past she had talked with Rachel about her dream of being  local married couple with Finn, a very safe, conservative future to look forward to and one that has crumbled before her eyes twice now.

The visit to the big city, limited as it is to all the most glamorous regions, confirms to Rachel that all her fantasies are true and cements her desire to move there after high school. Lea Michele has expressed a desire to stick around Tim Riggins style but this makes a lot more sense for her. As the club will ultimately learn, being the best in Ohio doesn't necessarily you're even close to being the best in the country. However, as what I presume to be a famous Broadway star tells her in the fancy restaurant, she must never give up. Finn, blinded by lust is willing to disregard all that. He probably thinks, such is the exuberance of youth, that he will be able to change her mind. Rachel fears this which is why she initially rejects his advances but the big grand gesture of kissing her on stage wins her heart in the end. Tch, hormones.

Will also has to consider whether or not his future lies in New York. He visits April Rhodes's stage show but doesn't get to see her, instead getting schmoozed by some sleazy agent type. Unlike Rachel, I think he has given up and is too scared to make a go of it. He hides behind the kids and talks about how they and the concept and ideals behind teaching are more important to him. However, he wavered before and I really think his true feelings lay elsewhere, and much like Quinn he has been repressed into idealizing a rural lifestyle.

Not a whole lot else really happened in this episode. As I mentioned not enough was made of the national tournament. With fifty other groups there, we could have had a two parter and seen some more of the competition. It was nice to see that Corazon leanred quickly what it takes a long time for a lot of east-Asian girls people to realize, that the world of white Westerners is not some utopian paradise filled with money and kindness. Sam goes from Santana to Mercedes? That's a precipitous fall given his status as a pretty boy. That they would try and set that up for next season bodes pretty badly. Looks like they'll be continuing to be preachy, ignoring actual issues and inflating their own little causes. The best hope for any improvement within the show is that they continue to write original songs. By the way, I totally can't buy that they wrote two and rehearsed them enough in what was two days at most. I've never been in a show choir but I'm 100% sure that's not how it works.

"Glee" airs Tuesdays on FOX at 8:00 pm EST.

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