Glee: Season 1, Episode 13
After 13 weeks, nearly as many stupid plotlines, and about a zillion songs more than they would need, the Glee Club has made it to sectionals. And, after just as long, the show is disappearing off into the sunset until April. Its smart television making to treat the 13th episode of a first season (usually the end of the original order a network makes) like it is a series finale, and Glee does that here, effectively wrapping up most of its plotlines and leaving viewers satisfied in the event that it wasn't renewed. Of course it was, and it will return this spring, but for now let's unpack the fall finale for all its good, bad, and shamelessly unnecessary.

I don't get to say this as much as I'd like while reviewing Glee, but last night was mostly good. As the gang prepared for sectionals, Mr. Shue had to sit out as coach, and Finn finally discovered that Puck is the father of Quinn's baby. I have never had a problem with this storyline, especially not as compared to Terri's fake pregnancy, but it wrapped up exactly as it should. No quick resolve here, even as Finn inevitably returned to the club he had abandoned about 10 minutes earlier--things are not ok with he and Quinn, nor with he and Puck, and that is just as it should be. Terri also appeared for one scene tonight, as Will prepared to go to Emma's wedding, and Will was just as cold and cruel as he needed to be. The biggest difference between the two plotlines to me (other than the idiocy of Will not knowing his wife wasn't pregnant for that long) was that while both Quinn and Terri were doing awful things to the men in their lives, the show managed to make Quinn a believeable and even sympathetic character in spite of what she was doing. Instead of making her into an oversized villain, Quinn remained a person who was fully capable of making mistakes, and that made her contribution to the show vastly more interesting.

So the gang got to Sectionals, only to discover what we already knew. Their set list had been leaked, and their competitors were doing all of their songs. This should have been a huge dramatic moment, as the Club rushed to throw somthing together on the fly, except for one thing: Every week throughout the show's run, the Glee Club manages to throw together an insanely overproduced number basically out of thin air. Thus, the suspense of them having to do it again was pretty nil. Additionally, while it might have been more interesting for the Club to lose at sectionals from a small picture viewpoint (they can try and fail, plus it gives them something to aspire to next season) it was clear from viewing the big picture that New Directions was coming out on top. If the club lost, there would be nothing to do but mope over the nine episodes we will get this spring, so there wasn't really suspense as to whether or not they would win.

In terms of the other big plotlines, we got to see Sue Sylvester temporarily defeated, de-throned as Cheerios coach, and suspended from the school. As satisfying as that was, I feel it will be even more satisfying to watch her tanned, triumphant return this spring as she is even more obsessed with Will's destruction. Finally, the Will and Emma plotlien was wrapped up, and honestly that one felt a little bit rushed and very cliched. I would have liked the show to toy with them a bit more first, but at the same time, they were a foregone conclusion from episode one, so there really wasn't any point to building up suspense as to whether they would end up together. Could I have done without the slow motion hallway run? Yes. But at the same time, I'll allow a little cliche to seep in, especially considering Will is the kind of guy who would love that sort of thing.

So Glee has wrapped up its first run, and its fall finale was really about as good as I could have expected from the show (and considering its batting average, much better than I did expect). There are still plenty of danglong plotlines to explore when the show comes back, and I'm sure plenty more aggravating stumbles as the show tries to find its footing and become as good as it has the potential to be. Either way, come April, I'll be here, overly criticizing it when it fails, and overly praising it when it succeeds. That's just how I roll.

Grade: A-


-Some very solid musical choices tonight. Mercedes rocked the shit out of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not GOing" a song that begs to have the shit rocked out of it. I thought it was a little obvious how Mercedes basically said "I've already had a number this episode, Rachel, you sing it" but then Rachel just destroyed "Don't Rain on My Parade" proving why she is the Glee Club star, and providing a seriously cool entrance for the rest of the club while simultaneously working as a song her character would sing. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is a phenomenal song, and it was done well here, proving yet again that the show should let Artie sing more.

-I like the idea that Brittany and Santana are in a secret lesbian relationship, mostly because their characters are so flat and poorly acted, they need some zaniness thrown in, and Brittany's mentally deficient inability to hide a secret and torrid affair might be just the right stuff.

-I thought the judges had some pretty hilarious stuff. Those panels are always made up of random personages, and these three were all winners. Plus, I sort of (insensitive though it may be) agree with the beauty queen that deaf kids in show choir is a bit ridiculous.

-"I've never told you guys this before...but I'm a little psychic."

-"Artie keeps ramming himself into the wall."

-"I'm reasonably confident you will be adding revenge to the long list of things that you are no good at. Right next to marriage, running a high school glee club, and finding a hairstyle that doesn't make you look like a lesbian." I'll say it again. Jane Lynch is this show's mvp, and by a mile.

-"You are about to board the Sue Sylvester express. Destination? HORROR." I loved that, and how she just shoved kids out of her way as she exited. The more insanely evil she becomes, the more hilarious she is.
Tags: Glee
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