‘Glee’ season finale recap: Some graduate and head to college, while others don't

May 23, 2012
New York Daily News
David Hinckley

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Puckerman graduated because he got a C- on his geography test. Brittany didn’t because she has a 0.0 GPA. Rachel got into school. Kurt and Finn didn’t. Santana decided not to go to college and Joe got a scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.

Kurt’s father danced to “All the Single Ladies” with Tina and Brittany and a Michael Jackson glove. Sue Sylvester said she is retiring Quinn’s uniform, Finn said he’s joining the Army and Mr. Shu sang “Forever Young” with no Rod Stewart rasp.

And that’s what you missed on “Glee” Tuesday night.

Well, that’s some of what you missed on “Glee” Tuesday night.

You also missed a lot of gooey goodbye songs, redeemed by a graduation ceremony choreographed to Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days.”

Unlike the dozens of professional sports teams that blithely play the song as if it’s inspirational rather than dark, “Glee” presumably got it and played it anyway.

The best part was coordinating the song and the ceremony so Puckerman, the man least certain about glory days of any kind, could grab his diploma and yell “Whoo!” at exactly the point where Springsteen yells, “Whoo!”

That moment capsulized the first and potentially annual “Glee” graduation show, which was also the season finale.

The show had moments of precise intensity, like Santana talking to her mother, and moments that oozed more melodrama than a RuPaul New Year’s Eve ballgown.

At one point Rachel, Kurt and Finn gathered in the choir room to open their school decision letters. Finn said before they reached for the envelopes that he wanted the pre-opening moment to last forever. It almost did.

But Rachel’s acceptance did set up the show’s eleven o’clock number, which was Finn breaking up with Rachel for her own good.

In a scene lifted 100% in spirit from the ending of “Casablanca,” Finn drove Rachel to the train station instead of their wedding and told her he was sending her off to New York to pursue her dream even though he could not go with her.

Where he had to go, she couldn’t follow. What he had to do, she couldn’t be any part of.

And it was all true, since Finn had thrown us all a curveball and enlisted in the Army, so he could redeem his father’s honor.

Or set up a more interesting plotline for next season on “Glee.”

Whichever. It’s all good.

While Tuesday’s episode started as if we would go around the table and find out what was happening to everyone, it didn’t end up that way.

We don’t know what Santana is doing, because she doesn’t know. We don’t know what Kurt is doing, because he got lost somewhere behind “Casablanca.”

Presumably Santana and Kurt could both stay in Lima with their love interests, Brittany and Blaine, who will be back at McKinley High next year. Since both Kurt and Santana were so driven to get out, it seems unlikely they will downshift their dreams that much.

But hey, God created summer break to resolve these cliffhanger questions for series television.

The last scene in Tuesday’s show had Rachel getting on the train to New York and loudly singing “Roots Before Branches.” Fortunately, no one else on the train seemed to hear her, because ordinarily train riders go into a homicidal frenzy if some jerk even talks for more than 30 seconds on his cell phone.

She was still singing the song when she got to New York. Think of it as the club mix. She walked past the marquees of Broadway, beaming and singing in her red suit with her pink suitcase.

They say the neon lights are bright, on Broadway.