'Glee' Goes Big Before It Goes Home

Last night was Glee at its Glee-est, a two-hour orgiastic explosion of feelings and plotlines and songs and guest stars and more feelings.

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Last night was Glee at its Glee-est, a two-hour orgiastic explosion of feelings and plotlines and songs and guest stars and more feelings. Normally this would send us into a sad blue rage, Glee so shamelessly not just grabbing for our heartstrings but aiming to take our whole ribcage, but for whatever reason, blame spring, it sort of worked last night.

Maybe we're just too inculcated into the American cult of high school, that sentiment that tells us that something big and significant happens when May or June of senior year rolls around and it's time to think about leaving. In reality it's sort of an anticlimax, just a series of days that feel a little weird but you still wake up and go to sleep same as ever. But on TV or in movies the graduation season is such a wistful, wonderful time, one spent considering the progress of one's past and the great wide arch of the future. Everyone has moments of closure and togetherness and there's usually one last party or dance or something done in slow motion so we the viewers can see our beloved characters young and carefree and impossibly alive one last time while we sit on our couches and, I dunno, eat potatoes (this is all hypothetical). It's an American myth cycle, a sacred ritual.

And so Glee has been entering that territory recently, with a lot of the main kids getting ready to bust out of McKinley High and jazz hands out into the bigger world. But first they had to do Nationals which [SPOILER GLEE-LERT] they did and won last night. Yeah, the writers finally let them have their victory, just when it counted the most. There was some plot about funding for the program that made a win necessary, so it satisfied that, but it was also a chance to see all the kids happy and unified and, yes, in slow motion as is required. The moments of their victory — the initial shock on stage, the triumphant hometown return — got us, we must admit. There was something both exciting and wistfully final about it, a bittersweet moment of joy before it all ends. Probably it was just that music they always play when everything else goes silent and slows down on this show, but whatever the reason, ya did it, Glee, ya went and got us.

Beyond all that stuff, the two episodes they showed back-to-back last night featured guest turns from Whoopi Goldberg, Lindsay Lohan, and Perez Hilton, a devil's triumvirate if ever there was one. Plus we had moments from Jonathan Groff and NeNe Leakes and a bizarre sequence where, after Tina hit her head, everyone played different characters. Meaning, Kurt was Finn and Finn was Kurt and it was deeply creepy and I hope they do it again sometime. There was also another appearance by that Unique character from The Glee Project or whatever the story is with her that involved a number from Tommy, which was oddly exciting. Emma and Will had sex, which is a horrific thing to imagine but whatever good for them, Puck got a second chance at life, Beiste left her abusive husband, Rachel got Whoopi to listen to her sing again, Kurt and Blaine finally had that threesome with the Irish kid (kidding!), and Will won teacher of the year while all the sing-dopes blasted out "We Are the Champions." Basically everything happened in those two hours and it was, against the odds, a circus that worked.

Next week is the big graduation season finale, but I suspect this was really the conclusion to this season. Next week will be all setup for the future plus singing and crying in gowns. Oh what an emotional time of year! Though, don't expect to get our emotion goats again next week, Glee. We expended it all last night. There's no more. There's nothing left.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.