After a joy-filled Nationals triumph, McKinley High graduation, and gradual farewells to Mercedes, Mike, Quinn, Puck, Santana and Kurt, we all knew that the last five minutes of Glee's season three finale would bring the hardest "goodbyes" of all.
Still, those closing scenes hit me like that truck into Quinn Fabray's car earlier this year.
I've always planned to conclude my analysis of Glee at the end of this season, and so had been hoping for an ending a bit less unsettling than this one.
My frustrations with the ending - to "Goodbye" and to the three seasons I've been invested in for the past three years - related to the mid-series conclusion that, as far as we know, Finn will be joining the army. I don't mind Finn and Rachel spending some time apart - I think that aspect of the ending was a smart move. I just think Finn deserved a more promising new beginning.
You could say that season three ended with Kurt also facing an uncertain future, and that's true. Here's the difference - Kurt is not joining the army. Plain and simple. Nor would it make sense for him to, given our understanding of his character. When we next see Kurt, he will probably be taking classes at a local college and applying to transfer elsewhere mid-semester. But why couldn't Finn have had the same opportunity? Because otherwise, Rachel wouldn't have gone to New York?
Rachel showed strength in saying goodbye to Finn, trusting in him and in their relationship, and going to New York. But I think the moment would have been even more powerful if she had an honest choice to make, because practically, she didn't. Even more tragically, after years of being Finn's at times only supporter, she was left unable to do anything but leave him to face his grim future. And it isn't anyone's "fault" and no one took away the other's agency or anything like that. It's just not the best ending that could have been chosen, for either character.
Imagine how differently we would feel if Rachel and Finn were saying goodbye to one another on the same terms as they did, but instead of Finn joining the army, he was going to visit a college or looking into a post-high school plan that may not have been his dream, but would show promise that he might find it in season four.
It wasn’t even that the ending in and of itself was that much of a letdown. I just felt led on, as someone who watched loyally, detour after detour for the past three seasons. I expected those frustrations would build to something, particularly after the emotional payoff that Nationals and graduation had provided,and I was disappointed.
That said, it is what it is. Further, having had a couple of weeks to process my initial emotional reactions, I feel better about the fates of Rachel and Finn and the rest of our beloved characters. Because their stories aren't over yet, and hopefully the series finale will bring that closure. While I don't know what will happen for certain, I can step away from writing about this show and move into new projects. Which I am certain is something I need to do right now.
To everyone who has supported me in this first writing endeavor - thank you. I hope you've gotten something out of what I've said, and that you continue reading as I explore new stories and ideas.
Glee: Senior Year
A Guide to Glee: Senior Year