Glee: Season 2 - New York (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
SO, the hit-and-miss second season of Glee came to an end with a suitably hit-and-miss final episode set in New York.
If ever a show summed up both its brilliance and its frustrations in one hour, then this was that hour!
The episode chronicled New Directions’ attempts to win Nationals and beat arch-rivals Vocal Adrenaline and was, predictably, crammed full of songs and dramatic devices designed to leave viewers hanging for the inevitable third season.
Some of these were successful, others weren’t. And to cap it all off, the episode concluded with a ‘twee’ overview style round-up of what the past year had meant to several students.
Brittany (Heather Morris) led the way by declaring that it was all about acceptance – a point that didn’t really need underlining for anyone who has endured some of the more heavy-handed episodes about sexuality, religion and self-esteem.
Indeed, in its over-eagerness to have something relevant to say, Glee has often tripped over itself this season in labouring the point.
Cut to Chris Colfer’s Kurt Hummel looking very pleased with himself and declaring love, once more, for Blaine (Darren Criss) in what has proved to be one of the more laboured will they/won’t they stories of the season. It came as little surprise to hear him declaring that he’d had a good year, given the show’s decision to focus so much of its attention on his personal struggles.
There followed a token shot of Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) holding hands in a relationship that’s apparently come out of nowhere (presumably to set up a meaningful look at race-relations next season), and then a final parting shot with all the Glee members coming together to receive their trophy for coming 12th at Nationals.
It was an overly sentimental, self-congratulatory send-off that threatened to undermine some of the great work that had come before it.
While in New York the episode mostly thrived (save for a dodgy cover version of Madonna’s New York).
And, somewhat deservedly, it was Lea Michele’s Rachel and Cory Monteith’s Finn who took centre stage, grabbing the best and most emotional moments.
Finn’s attempts to win Rachel back were great, especially when taking her out to dinner on Broadway and then getting his Glee buddies to serenade Bella Notte to them while walking on the street. It was such a romantic gesture, in fact, that Rachel’s refusal to kiss him was all the more devastating.
They did kiss – at the climax of their thrilling duet to Pretending – but that cost them their shot at the trophy. Nevertheless, it was another of the episode’s supremely well handled moments – likewise, the big Glee cast send-off to Light Up The World (which lit up the stage).
Rachel and Kurt also enjoyed a lovely moment on the stage of Wicked, while Matthew Morrison’s ever-endearing Will Schuester came to some big decisions and even got to showcase a song from his debut solo album.
Indeed, Glee‘s best work continues to come during its musical interludes, when the songs often get to say so much more than the script.
It remains to be seen whether the show will learn from some of the more negative moments from its sophomore run – in terms of both the preachiness and some of its more ‘out there’ elements – or even whether it thinks it needs to.
But for now, Glee heads off for its summer break with its reputation tarnished but still intact, having mostly captured our imagination during the big season finale.
What did you think?
- Buy it (Amazon)
- Glee: The Music Presents The Warblers
- Glee: The Music - Volume 1
- Glee: The Music - Volume 2
- Glee: The Music - Volume 3 (Showstoppers)
- Glee: The Music - Volume 4
- Glee: The Power of Madonna EP
- Glee: The Christmas Album