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This episode, which saw the Glee Club at their last-ever Nationals competition, was one devoted solely to the group of kids at McKinley, as they not only fought to keep their National title, but to honor the memory of Finn Hudson. And the episode did a fantastic job of doing just that.
It’s clear early in the episode that the presence of Finn Hudson will be huge this episode, as it begins with Schue encouraging Sam to step up as a leader for the club as they head to L.A.--to in a way, be the new Finn.
Sam takes his role to heart, and even sneaks Finn’s memorial plaque to L.A. with him. The club sneaks onto the stage the night before the competition so he can use it to remind the club that Finn told them they would all wind up back together at Nationals. They will try to win it for him. They also sing “I Love L.A.” for motivation.
However, a member of Throat Explosion steals their Finn plaque in a move to try and demoralize them, but Sam won’t let that happen.
Cutting to the competition, the guest judges will be Marlee Matlin, Jackee, and Joanna Roarbach. After The Amazonians' sing “Vacation” and Throat Explosion, along with their leader, Jean-Baptiste, played by guest star Skylar Astin, does a nice mashup of “Mr. Roboto” and “Counting Stars,” it’s the New Directions turn. Blaine and Tina start things off with “More than a Feeling,” giving way to Artie, Kitty and Sam taking lead on “America.” Then, during “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” the show did a beautiful tribute to Cory Monteith’s character. As each member of New Directions took focus in the song they flashed back to a sequence from the first few seasons of the show, to scenes with Finn, showcasing the memories they each had with their former leader. The tribute to him is truly beautiful.
Unfortunately, it isn’t enough for the group to continue on as National Champions. While they do place second, they lose the overall top prize to Throat Explosion. and back in Ohio, Will gets the news from Sue that even though she strongly considered the fact that the club won second place, her hands are tied and due to budget concerns, she is now being forced to cut the Glee Club for good.
This phase of the episode ends in a brief flash to New York, where Rachel, Santana and Kurt are at the diner. Santana and Rachel’s fight is still going on, but both have a look of panic when Kurt informs them that the club has been officially disbanded--for real, this time. Glee Club is officially over.
MARLEY’S SWAN SONG:
In L.A., it is revealed that Marley hasn’t been successful with entering song-writing competitions, and now, she’s quitting Glee when they get back. Because of their joint feelings for her, Ryder and Jake bury the hatchet on their feud over her, and decide to help her get her confidence back. Enter Mercedes, who is now somewhat more famous, thanks to her CD being purchased by Kanye West’s housekeeper, who gave it to Kanye, who gave it to Kim Kardashian, who gave it Ryan Seacrest, who gave it to SONY Music. She does do that for Marley, giving her back her confidence, though it could be too little, too late now that the club is over.
THE RETURN OF CAROLE & BURT:
Carole and Burt returned this episode to join the club in L.A. as chaperones, and to encourage them the same way Finn would have. However, Carole realizes that it is harder to be around everyone than she thought, because of how much it reminds her that her son is gone. Though Burt tries to help her cope by whisking her away on a vacation to Laguna Beach, the two do return to L.A. in time for the competition, where Carole realizes the club is doing their entire performance in tribute to Finn by singing his favorite songs.
Next week, the show celebrates its landmark 100th episode, as the club tries one last time to save the club.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons