‘Glee’ Recap: The Seniors Say ‘Goodbye’ to McKinley High
It’s finally here, the farewell episode that bids a fond goodbye to the graduating seniors of McKinley High. While the bulk of the ‘Glee’ seniors won’t be leaving the show completely, the episode takes the time to track the graduates’ trajectories from the past three seasons.
The episode open begins with Will (Matthew Morrison) walking in to the music room to see the students performing one of their older numbers, ‘Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.’ As in episodes past, he gives the Glee club an assignment; this time it’s to say goodbye to one another. Through song of course. Will starts things off with Rod Stewart’s ‘Forever Young.’
Kurt (Chris Colfer) fondly remembers his high school progression, from the denial of his own sexuality to his legacy, which allows gay students to be themselves without fear. He heads to the auditorium where his father (Mike O'Malley) is waiting to give him his graduation present. Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Brittany (Heather Morris) emerge onto the stage and Burt Hummel proceeds to dance to Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies.’ Kurt and Blaine (Darren Criss) discuss their impending long distance relationship, and Kurt sings his goodbye song, ‘I’ll Remember’ by Madonna.
Things seem to be moving in a forward direction for everyone but Santana (Naya Rivera). Rachel (Lea Michele) and Kurt are eagerly awaiting their NYADA acceptance letters, Mercedes (Amber Riley) got an offer to be a backup singer in Los Angeles and Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) received a scholarship, while Santana is less than enthused to be going to Kentucky for on a cheering scholarship.
At dinner with her mother (Gloria Estefan) and Brittany, Santana reveals that she wants to move to New York and her mother tells her she wishes she would go to college. In a not so surprising turn of events, Brittany tells them she has a 0.0 GPA and won’t be graduating with the rest of her class. She is entirely unconcerned about this.
The seniors sing their song, ‘You Get What You Give’ by the New Radicals and we cut to Rachel and Finn (Cory Monteith) picking out chairs for their wedding, with a worried Finn upset that Rachel might be second-guessing their impending nuptials. Finn is confident in his future, particularly his audition with James Lipton, and goes to pick up his yearbook from Mr. Schuester, who admits that he planted weed in Finn’s locker to get him to join New Directions, which just makes him cooler in Finn’s eyes. At home, Finn is worried that he hasn’t lived up to his father’s expectations.
After the other students sing The Beatles ‘In My Life’ to the seniors, Quinn (Diana Agron) is given the focus. Since the high school has been so kind to her she wants to return the favor to others. First she visits Rachel, giving her a train pass so the two can visit one another. She also tells Rachel that her relationship with Finn is meant to be, and Rachel replies that she always felt the same way about Quinn and Puck (Mark Salling).
Continuing her trend of goodwill, Quinn attempts to help a disheartened Puck with his test. She gets his spirits up by telling him how amazing he is, admits her love for him and the two kiss. A newly energized Puck swaggers back into school, ready to take his test.
Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is polishing her trophy when Roz (NeNe Leakes) suggests they should join forces and take down Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba). Quinn drops by with her Cheerios uniform, but Sue tells her to keep it, admitting that she admires Quinn for her perseverance and the women hug each other and cry while saying their goodbyes.
Puck and friends eagerly await the return of his test and he proudly presents his C-minus, which allows him to graduate. The scene is immediately followed by graduation, where Finn and Puck sing ‘Glory Days’ by Bruce Springsteen as the seniors happily accept their diplomas
After graduation, Finn, Rachel and Kurt meet up to open their recently arrived letters. Both Finn and Kurt open up rejections, but despite her small envelope, Rachel reveals she has been accepted into NYADA. She decides to defer her acceptance for the year to work with Finn and Kurt on reaching their dreams.
Santana is cleaning out her locker when her mother arrives and hands her an envelope. Inside is all the money she has been saving since Santana was born to put towards college. However, since Santana does not want to go to college, her mother suggests that she use it to get to New York.
In the final moments of the episode, Finn picks up Rachel for what she thinks is their wedding day, but an upset Finn drives her to the train station instead. He has already purchased a ticket for her to start NYADA in New York and the only way for Rachel to do this is be on her own. Finn reveals that he’s joined the army and they will be together again when it’s meant to be. A crying Rachel is met on the platform by all her friends and takes the train into New York while tearfully singing Room for Two’s ‘Roots Before Branches.’
Despite the troubles and tears along the way, the majority of the seniors seem to be on the path to fulfilling their dreams, even if it means saying goodbye to the people they love. Thankfully, if ‘Glee’ has taught us anything, it’s to reach for the stars. No matter what.