Good news, Glee fans. The Bermuda Triangle school year at McKinley is actually over. Seniors Artie, Sam, Tina, Blaine, Becky, and even Brittany, back from her imprisonment at MIT, have all flipped their tassel over to the other side. They are moving on, but not before leaving us with one more iconic moment. “Don’t Stop Believin'” was quite obviously the only song to end the Glee Club’s five year run and this version does an amazing job of pulling the original characters and the newbies together in a single, meaningful act. While Kurt, played by Chris Colfer, lends his voice as the male lead and shows off his vocal range in the process, “Don’t Stop Believin'” is missing something without Finn. The chemistry between Kurt and Rachel could never mimic the sparks between her and Finn; intentional or not, the missing piece is a bittersweet tribute to both Finn Hudson and fallen actor Cory Monteith.
Many Gleeks, myself included, were a little hesitant when we heard the cast would be rehashing their past in the form of previous hit songs from the show. Well, we worried ourselves for nothing. The ballad rendition of “Loser Like Me”, meant to soothe Tina’s fear she was turning into a Lima loser, is the perfect reinvention of what was previously an upbeat performance number.
How is it possible that Tina, who is essentially first in their class, who considers an A- equivalent to an F, who was crowned prom queen, and was even wait-listed at Brown, didn’t get into Ohio State University? Apparently the Buckeyes are getting exponentially more exclusive. Still, at least she has some direction, opting not to head to New York without a plan like half of the other characters on the show. Now let’s just hope all those head injuries and fever dreams don’t prevent her from succeeding at Brown.
And speaking of Tina, Chums. Yes, please. While the laugh track is hokey and the fountain dancing leaves us all desperate to fire Friends up on Netflix, it is actually a pretty accurate view of how high school students view college life. If you don’t admit to planning, secretly or otherwise, to live in a big house with all of your friends in a strange but wonderful hippie-like commune, you are lying.
The dynamics between Kurt and Mercedes are spot on, from the tots dispute in the cafeteria to their rendition of “I Am Changing” from Dreamgirls. Their thinly veiled catty competitiveness, which is readily overshadowed by their loyalty to each other and the common good, hasn’t changed despite the time and space between them. As it should be with good friends, regardless of what’s occurred during their separation, they fall right back into step.
And that foam party club scene can’t go by without comment. Let it suffice to say it is just barely on the right side of ridiculous.
“New Directions” is the end of an era for the Glee Club. With Artie, Sam, Blaine, and Brittany headed to join Santana, Rachel, and Kurt in New York, Puck heading back to his particular military division, Mercedes on a plane back to LA, Quinn day-tripping to New Haven, and the newbies left at McKinley, this installment leaves us wondering what’s next for Glee, with characters scattering like the handful of special snowflakes they are.