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There was a great deal of it in this finale. People pretending they weren't in love. People pretending their love was real. People pretending their sacrifices for the greater good were deeply meaningful. And most of all, people pretending that this episode made sense or was in any way a satisfying cap to the year, except to mirror how all over the place the season as a whole was.

Glee, 2x22, "New York"
[NOTE: This is very, very, ridiculously long. Or "not atypical for a Glee review," clocking in at 3000+ words. Every time you think you must have reached the last category, bam, there's one more.]

If I may, an adaptation excerpt inspired by The Office's adaptation:

Two thousand, nine hundred and fifty-six seconds
That's how many seconds I bashed my head against the desk
For gross hookups
And heartbreak
Poor transitions and lousy pacing
Dropped plotlines
Bad songs
And dear Quinn's lost hair
Two thousand, nine hundred and fifty-six seconds
How many ways can you turn RS off a show?


I did not actually sit down and do the math, I just made a rough estimate that there were maybe 10 minutes total (in the 1-hour live viewing) that I actually enjoyed, and I passed on the rest.

Early Promise
I loved the kids in the hotel room! I bet their time hanging out in the hotel was more fun than most of the time we spent with them on screen, and I really want to read about 700 fics chronicling their hotel misadventures. Damn me not writing about my band trip, but I think I can still salvage my notes. My party-time room's activity consisted of playing cards (and not the betting kind) and then kicking the boys out promptly at 10:00 curfew as ordered, but I heard fun stories from elsewhere.

Come on, fic world. I know plenty of you went on school trips that involved hotels at some point. LET'S HEAR IT. I mean, those brief seconds with the guys talking amongst themselves, even though the conversation was boringly dominated by discussion of Finn and Rachel, I liked that vibe. (The girls, less so, as the wild pillow fight in the background makes it suddenly very apparent that this show is written by men. That is the only time in this episode that I agree with Rachel. Scorn, Rachel, scorn and disdain!)

Teacher Moments
I liked Schue's wisp of a half-hatched storyline. I'm still not clear why he doesn't just file the idea of Broadway away for fall 2012, since due to this club's ageism all the kids he loves will be gone at that point anyway -- also, didn't he already have a plan to just do a summer show? -- but...it's nice when he has internal conflict and Emma is not around to talk about it with him. I just wish we could be more subtle and rueful about it, rather than acting like he has ripped his still-beating heart out to give the kids' dreams life.

Will never tire of phrases like "I love my kids," though.

Once again proving the magic of hotel room scenes, that fun part where he told them he was staying (witness Rachel's eyes light up) and Puck immediately threw his arms around him. Whoa! Did not really care if Puck was part of my demands to have every member of the club get a hug before graduation, but thanks for throwing that in. Sam being second to join in does not count as his hug, but it was nice that it prompted an enormous and adorable group glomp-on that was one of the few things I liked in this hour.

Oh Quinn
Quinny Quinn Quinn. I don't like you when you make bad choices, and you made a lot of them in this episode, between half-heartedly attempting to destroy the club's chances (was that supposed to be her "big plan"? Although, cutting off your nose to spite your face, I get that. I do it a lot) and allowing your stupid friends to convince you to CUT YOUR HAIR OFF. It wasn't in the best shape before, but now it's just depressing. The only reason to cut it is to destroy the layers and let it all grow long again; I demand improvement by fall. This haircut has actually traumatized me.

She did have me for a second when she was crying about how she just wanted someone to love her, but then I remembered, oh wait! She's already had that. Possibly twice. She chose to throw it away both times. Remember karma? Karma remembers you.

(I say this like I did not immediately try to find gifs of her breaking down and work out some Sam/Quinn friendship-into-reconciliation scenarios based on that action)

Wayward Sam/Quinn Feelings
-Remember the first scene in the hotel room, when he orders them to work on their songs? In this moment, Quinn is perched on the edge of the bed while Sam is sprawled out directly behind her, and all I want is for random cuddling to happen. Badly.


Zoom in! Different angles! Capture everything!

-They were also sitting together on the bench in the park during the mash-up song (this is what I am reduced to. Latching onto meaningless crumbs like a common slash shipper)

-"If I was in love with a girl and I wasn't homeless, I'd totally go for it." Clearly, via subtext, this means he is in love with Quinn and merely hampered by the homelessness. (SERIOUSLY. COMMON SLASH.)

-Before it went to hell, I did not hate that moment where Sam hugged Mercedes after their performance. Quinn looked over and was smiling, which I can only presume is non-verbal commentary on how cute he is.

-Quinn & Sam were laughing and standing together as part of a small group in the last shot of the season. I'm clinging to that.

Jesse St. James Totally Jesse St. Rocks
First, let's rewind and re-cherish that audience moment --
"I couldn't stay away."
"From the show? Or her?"


I can't quite tell if the second line is supposed to be a sarcastic quit-stalking-her tone, or a poor-lovesick-fool, I-get-it tone. I choose the latter. Because that way, in addition to loving how obvious and blatant Jesse's sincerity is, I can spin it as Will personally understanding the magnetic draw of Rachel Berry. Work into fic accordingly.

Scene 2: Brilliant, long-winded smackdown speech to Finn by way of greeting, followed with a breezy "Hi Rachel" before he pauses to take a breath. FLAWLESS. Followed by a complete willingness to ignore what this might have meant in terms of her romantic interests. We will similarly ignore the gross way this scene does not end with her kissing Jesse, and go reread this fic about their future in New York. It's from season 1 and there is probably newer and more awesome stuff, but I am a lazy creature of habit.

*cough* This section seems to be missing something, though:
There better still be a last conversation at the end of it.

WHOOPS. NOPE. The ship of St. Berry just falls off the edge of the world, again.

Shut Up, Rachel
So Rachel's going on and on and on about how New York is her future and her dream and she must go, she must!, and I just keep saying, "what the eff, YOU ARE A JUNIOR. You are seventeen. You have an entire school year and two summers left, which incidentally is about twice as long as you have ever managed to keep a relationship alive. Why are you worrying about how Finn fits into your future? You will most likely have gotten together and split up twice by then, and you'll have been with a new boy in between -- I noticed you haven't kissed Sam yet."

Why is this show always moaning on and on about endings and futures when the real end is so far away? The first time I thought about where I was going to college was April of junior year when I took the SAT/ACT and had to figure out some schools I wanted to send the scores to. One could argue that this directionlessness is what led to my currently directionlessless life. Dear self, the only Directions we should be talking about right now are the New ones.

*cough* Anyway. Around this same time she and Kurt prance off in their nauseating friendship mode and sing a song from Wicked. I hate when they are buddies. It's worse than when he's insulting her because at least then I know she's better than him. From this point I get very scowly at Chris Colfer's ability to ruin one of the few Broadway tunes Lea Michele sounds amazing on.

I also gagged my way through Rachel's entire Support Sunshine speech in the bathroom, and consider this as much a part of why they lost as the kiss.

Finn/Rachel: Loser Like Me
Hate. Haaaaaaaaaate. Oh, my God, so much hatred for their stupid and ridiculous NON-DRAMA. Finn, have you even been broken up with Quinn for a week? She's still crying her eyes out and you're busy whining first because she Rachel's allegedly with Jesse, then because she wants to focus on the competition before she thinks about boys -- which will be in, oh, roughly TWO DAYS. You cannot wait *two days* to declare your epic love? I'm sorry your Super Date didn't end in black and white movie romance -- maybe you chose the wrong song -- but it's not exactly like she broke an egg on your face here. It's more like she tattooed "I'm in love with you, I will love you forever" across her forehead and all but gave him a promise ring.

But this is not enough for Frankenteen! No. It must be solidified in the most public and unprofessional manner possible. A kiss is never appropriate choreography, no matter how much So You Think You Can Dance tries to make it happen, and for all the smarmy things Jesse says out of spite, he had you on that one. Is it the lone reason they lost? Nah, they had a whole lot of factors working against them such as inexperience, kind of shaky songs, uninspiring choreography in general (hopping: it's like swaying in the background, except up and down), really boring costumes, and the fact that it is not particularly unbelievable that there would be ten groups in the country who could just plain outsing them, especially when the judges are competent instead of whackjobs.

But the kiss didn't help.

(Also, back to Super Date -- wtf, was anybody happy with that? Because I was pretty unhappy about the gigantic waste of time that was, but if you're going to pull out all the stops and put them back together in the end anyway, then do it right. Don't throw in a random and completely pointless speed bump that does nothing except kick the already-bruised Finchel shipper hearts before making it all better. That's abusive, Glee).

And then comes the end, where Rachel is STILL going on about her stupid future, and I am alternately gagging and smacking my head repeatedly against my notebook, because really? Really? THIS is the big culminating storyline of the season? The Exquisite Woe of Finn & Rachel's Uncertain Relationship Status? OH MY GOD. THIS IS ME, NOT CARING.

Other Couples Wrap It Up
All right! *fist pump* Blaine and Kurt officially pulled off one successful season of being the perfect couple, and aside from the simmering rage I keep trying to repress over the subtle message of "look, this relationship is much more solid and real than your flimsy het ones," I could not be happier with the low-key note of sweet perfection on which we left them. I've been trying to figure out why Blaine's very simple "I love you" thrilled me to the degree it did, and I realized it reminded me of Chuck Bartowski's, with the gazing beforehand. Except in this case, with immediate reciprocation.

Sam/Mercedes: Emphatically not shippin' it; will kill Murphy if he tries anything,
Apparently I forgot to specify that I would kill anyone if they tried anything. Why in GOD'S NAME do I have to have Sam/Mercedes thoughts in my brain all summer? Summer! The longest possible period of the year in which couples can happily stay together! Summer, where I should get to think happy thoughts of Sam and Quinn on beach picnics with him horn-doggedly ogling her in a bikini! Urge to kill, rising. I'm done with this, I'm done with all of this! *kicks over a chair*

No, actually, not done. I appreciate that Sam is a nice guy. He's just not supposed to be that nice. They have not been friends nearly long enough for me to believe in a relationship based on that. More than that, I don't see them having any chemistry or compatibility whatsoever. They're wildly opposite ends of the spectrum in every way. I always think of her as being younger than everyone because she's so immature -- even more than the rest of them, she just comes across as juvenile all the time -- and his intermittent bouts of stupidity aside, "Rumours" established him as pretty darn mature.

And yet, not enough to where I feel like she'd actually grow up being with him, because no matter how many things they write about him not knowing how to tie his shoelaces or whatever, I still think that he seems intelligent and Mercedes just...does not seem that bright. Ugh. So many good things can happen during summer, with no school/homework interruptions or interfering writers, and this is what we're left to work with? Some people have mentioned that they see it as a cute, quasi puppy-love romance like a pair of middle schoolers, but I can't even see that much without violently rejecting the notion. She's not fun enough. It is just a bad idea all around. I even revoke my love of the friendship at this point.

Brittany/Santana: No idea what they were talking about. By that point I had my eyes shut and my hands clapped over my ears, humming loudly to drown them out and squinting at a corner of the screen to determine when this insufferable talk might end and move onto the next scene. Of course, the next scene involved Finn, so it was not a big improvement.

Last Scene
Speaking of ridiculous pacing -- it was bad enough that the end of Nationals was obliterated and briefly summarized by Kurt and a pair of flashbacks. (Not that I did not temporarily love the hell out of Santana for attempting to claw Rachel's face off while screaming in Spanish) I do expect fanfic to fill in the gaps. But what a brief and unsatisfying, what, fifteen seconds in the choir room for their last Glee meeting, to do little more than cheer at their tiny trophy? Meh. I guess I should be glad they got anything instead of just ending with them staring at the placings.

Leftover/Random
-I am cultivating a weird obsession with Sam in that red/gray shirt. It's not even a nice shirt. But every time he wears it, my eyes are drawn to it like a magnet just for recognition factor.

-Cracked up when Schue had to drag his unruly kids off by the ear away from the bar

-One of my favorite characters in this episode is the pretty bay horse ridden by the police officer who follows behind them as they run out of the frame. The horse tosses its head like it wants to be a star too. No useful shots of Brittany asking to rub its nose? :( Brittany's the only one who could get away with that.

-I only know Patti LuPone by name, but remember that delightful time Rachel was convinced she might be her birth mother? That was what made this meeting worthwhile for me. Now, if only Jesse had been dining with Rachel at the time...

Music
Wow, there was a lot of it, and so little was worth it. And no, I'm not counting the embarrassment that was "My Cup" as a song.

- I Love New York/New York New York: In the early part of this episode, I was none too enthused, but it seemed fresh and fun enough to watch in context without skipping over. In the post-episode haze of hatred, it's just a fine mess of half-shouting where a melody from either song is scarcely recognizable

- Still Got Tonight:  Hey, quick question, does Morrison ever sing songs that do not involve getting it on and which I might in turn find palatable?

-- Bella Notte: I fell into a coma.

- For Good: The first line sounded lovely! And then I shut that down because I don't want to hear it unless there is a pure and untainted Lea Michele solo track like there was for "Defying Gravity." I think I've heard this song once before, though -- it seemed familiar -- so I will maybe check out the original soundtrack version of it later. [edit: like a year later. Which will then upgrade this version to a ++]

+ Yeah! -- Oh, so that's the title this music goes to. By virtue of being Usher's, this is a terrible song, but the girls killed it. Most fun performance of the night. I am not being facetious. The rest were that bad. (now I'm being facetious) I maintain forever that show choirs work best when everyone trades parts and generally sings TOGETHER, AS A CHOIR rather than building around a lead singer(s). Solos and featured duets for the lose.

-- As Long As You're There: Yeah, I'm not listening to anything featuring Sunshine. *skipped*

Pretending -- I listened to the lyrics and I really liked them, but the fact that this was a song written for and about Finn/Rachel just kind of taints it with this sour distastefulness. I keep pulling faces like an angry cat.

+ Light Up the World -- I heard this one early and I kinda like it, but at the same time, its lyrics are so flat and lifeless, with no meaning at all. It's just a bland dance track. Fun listening, but...eh. It also has way too much Brittany & Santana vocalizing, which adds to the cheap and meaningless effect.

Still. You know I'm going to put them both on the Music List eventually. Probably by the time I post this. And even though I ragged on the choreography, I did love this performance, which is going down as my 3rd or 4th favorite competition performance from them.

IN SUM
+ Jesse St. James
+ Blaine
+ Group hug/other group hotel room scenes
+ A couple of songs
- Everything else sucked

a/k/a, Terribly disappointing, dull and low quality all around. There was nothing faith-shattering about it and I'm already hopeful for the next episode, but I am also pretty okay with taking a nice little summer break from the series.
~~~~~~~~~~~
And because this is my favorite part for the year for select show, an episode ranking list. They are in order (although the numbers correspond to episode number rather than list rank), just barely and with much agonizing, but also come in categories, so sharply divisive has this season been.

AWESOME
19 - Rumours (last-minute champion! Because if i could only see one episode from season 2, it'd be this.)
10 - A Very Glee Christmas
16 - Original Song
13 - Comeback
7 - The Substitute

PRETTY GOOD
6 - Never Been Kissed
20 - Prom Queen  (wait what. how did you get this high? Are you a sneaky better-with-age devil like "Funk?") [edit: LOL YES]
12 - Silly Love Songs [edit: swapped spots with 11, post-Blaine & Kurt/Blaine obsession]
11 - The Sue Sylvester Shuffle
17 - A Night of Neglect
4 - Duets [edit: based on a rewatch after deciding I loved Sam...this gets quite a promotion.]

POOR
22 - New York (wait, how did you get this high?)
21 - Funeral
8 - Furt
9 - Special Education
3 - Grilled Cheesus
1 - Audition
2 - Britney/Brittany (but frankly, 1-3 all blend together in hellish dislike)

SPECIAL CIRCLE OF HELL
14 - Blame It On the Alcohol (I know. Somehow RHG still ended up worse, based on suckier music and traumatizing Will/Emma)
18 - Born This Way [edit: it's a process, okay; in retrospect, this moved up one spot because it has several individual bright scenes whereas I never want to see any part of RHG again]
5 - Rocky Horror Glee
15 - Sexy (still most consistently and strongly offensive)

Second conclusion: After a last minute adjustment, yes! The year is perfectly split between good and bad. And wow, just realized that's two years in a row that episodes 19 and 10 have hit numbers 1 and 2, respectively. I expect great things, season 3.

Dear Glee-watchers: it would make me really happy if you'd at least tell me your favorite and least favorite episode of the season in the comments. Pretty please?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOTALLY UNRELATED PARTING NOTES
-Dear Supernatural fans: does this pass your characterization test? It seems like it might suck a little less than normal TV tie-in novels, having been written with the express purpose of filling in a canon timeline gap, and be more like actual published fanfic. But I've never seen the show, I can't judge the excerpt properly. It just sounded cool at first glance.

-Dear American Idol voters: I love you.

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