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I started writing this a week ago and have been procrastinating daily ever since. This post is happening no matter who I have to kill. Like my sleeping tonight. That's gone.

Glee, 3x22, "Goodbye"

Okay. One month to decompress, one month for Ryan Murphy to drop three hundred or so of his allotted one thousand lies for the summer interviews, a week and a half of playing the Graduation Album on loop so I can have actual feelings about the music again, but not quite enough time for the kids to go back to work so there are no canon spoilers to color my perception yet*. We can do this.
*Damn it. I was given a deadline of Monday morning, but the news hit early on Sunday night. LET'S PRETEND IT HASN'T YET.

Also, just FYI, this is going to be way longer than it needs to be just so I can feel like I justified needing 5 weeks to wrap my head around this. It's going to be half review and half extra-long meta tangents. I threw in a boatload of pictures, if that helps.

Music & Performances
++Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat: And everybody immediately burst into tears and sobbed as we flashed back between the little babies from the pilot and the little babies all grown up, confident and performing a nostalgic reprise. I just want to hear the conversation that led up to this moment. I want to hear The Founding Glee Clubbers laughing about the sad little troupe they were in the beginning, when Kurt and Rachel were at odds instead of joined at the hip and Artie and Tina were just little freshmen trying to find their way, and how despite their discombobulation then there's something to miss about that scrappy fivesome, and wouldn't it be a treat to put that on for everyone else? (Artie: "Just try not to run me into a wall this time.")

+Forever Young: I didn't like his voice at the beginning -- too much like imitation rather than "Leaving on a Jet Plane" - but these lyrics were perfect and thoroughly applicable so I've played it incessantly to desensitize my ears until it sounds like exactly what I wanted it to be.

Also, when Kurt turns with this impossibly bright, sweet smile at Blaine, he succeeds in making me fall in love with him. GO AHEAD. ATTEMPT TO RESIST IT.

++I'll Remember: The only song that turned Instant Song Love for me in this finale. The performance was as basic as could possibly be, but the song was perfect, had a catchy melody, broke my heart, etc. I appreciated him being unable to hold back tears at the end. Everyone is in a rage because he dedicated it to the boys instead of the girls*, but meh; as far as I'm concerned it's a beautiful tribute to the entire club, Will included, and that is how I hear it.

(*but also? I can see the reason for this. Because even though he'd rather hang out with the girls most of the time, it's really important that the guys accept him, and this is one of the few times we see that he's grateful for that)

++You Get What You Give: I confused this with "Tongue Tied" for a solid month. I could only remember the melody for one of them at a given time and didn't know which was which. It's still a struggle, so I have to remember this as the older one, with the quasi-chanting list bridge. It only recently earned the second plus sign from me, thanks to the CD, but I loved them all circling the underclassmen after everyone picked a partner to pull from the chairs. And I think we can all agree that no one is more perfect than Kurt literally reeling Blaine in. Such dorks
reeling2

In My Life: It's...okay, but I do not love this song; Allison Crowe is the only one who will ever have a decent cover of it. Right now I just like looking at the juniors and wondering if Blaine can hold onto his lead singer crown, or if he will have to fight Artie's club seniority for it (OR WILL SAM SNEAK IN AS AN UPSET??), and whether Tina will inherit her rightful Queen of Glee Club crown or be shouted down by a bunch of juniors. And then I had more heart feelings as I watched how proud all the seniors looked of their little fledglings, because this song was dedicated to all of them, not just stupid Finn, and we all know it.

p.s. Kurt's not in the frame yet at the end, but LOOK WHO IS MAKING A BEELINE FOR BLAINE. Look at their matching tear gestures!

Literally the best shot I could get of the distant background. Look past Rory's dumb face.
[EDIT: Thank you, God. By which I mean the season 3 DVDs.]


#Schue approves of the Blainchel
#not a manip!


++Glory Days: I spent a long time feeling "meh" about it, now I am inexplicably in love with this rock number just because the lyrics are perfect for these two in the future. Performance-wise, I accept that they were doing a deliberate montage, so the kids weren't supposed to be in alphabetical order, but I still thought the individual grand entrances through the curtains looked both silly and desperately inefficient. I don't know if there was another way for Glee to do it without cutting the scene, though. Meanwhile, all I could focus on was that hideous, terrifying beetle on Kurt's gown. WHY WOULD YOU EVER LET THAT MAKE A SECOND APPEARANCE. Also, ♥ for Blaine providing a handkerchief and motioning for Kurt to wipe his eyes, because of course. #married

++Roots Before Branches: No, there's no reason it couldn't have been a multi-character montage, especially when they used the whole thing. THAT SAID, while the song inexplicably needed a few plays to sink into my heart when it should have been Instant Song Love, Rachel did look super cute in her little New York outfit, and it was still a lovely way to close.

On CD, But Not Appearing In This Finale: I think they could have done something good with Finn and "Not The End" (at the very least, it feels like a response to "In My Life"), but I was really sad to see they didn't use "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)." I don't care how cliche it is, that song still has an effect on me, and while Glee's cover was not outstanding, it was perfectly serviceable and I bet it could have been a fantastic performance. Meanwhile, "Roots Before Branches" was the better closing number as well as the better Rachel solo over "I Was Here," but that is not going to stop me from imagining reflective Rachel-wandering-the-halls-of-McKinley montages.

Assorted Observations That Fit Nowhere Else
  • Quinn: "I really hope you're about to rap." Canon endorsement from my favorite, noted.
  • The following things of wonder and joy happened with Mr. Schue: Santana playfully messing up his hair (be cuter!) and Quinn flying in for yet another hug and cheek kiss; the level of physical affection in the past two episodes is beyond adorable. #all I ever wanted
  • All the proud parents and smiling teachers in the audience and glee kid hugs during the graduation montage made me a little misty.
  • But are we ever going to talk about how stupid it is that Sam is a junior? Because if that's true he literally cannot have been a stripper last fall. As a junior, you are 16 and turn 17 sometime during the year. I'm spelling this out because a lot of people seem to have trouble with ages + grade levels. Unless he got held back a year or the rules are different in other states, the earliest he could possibly turn 18 is at the very tail end of the school year, assuming school gets out late and he has a June birthday where his parents had the option of choosing which year to start him in school. Or is there not a law against hiring children for dirty dancing so long as they're not naked? Because feel like there's still a law. Like a law employers would not want to take chances with, if your rebuttal is that Sam used a fake ID/papers. #I have been incensed about this for a while now

Put A Ring On It
-I don't want to hear that Kurt is encouraging more people to act like him, because it took me years to tolerate him and parts of season 1 are still trying, but I love him solely for "Now if I can just get through the next few days without turning into a hot mess teary trainwreck." That's all I wanted. Some slight acknowledgement that he will miss something, and is not so head-over-heels giddy about New York that he forgets there were, are, good things in Ohio too.

-Burt Hummel for Father of the Year, per usual. I think we all just sat back and imitated Kurt's helpless laughter, awe and delight.

-I love when they talk about how much their relationship has improved, but do you know, I still don't think I ever finished watching the original Single Ladies dance scene. It was just so terrifically awkward and contained that awful song, and it was in the era of Skip All The Crap That Annoys You To Make The Show Watchable, that I don't think I've ever gone back.

OTP: Verbal Contracts, Signed With Flourish
At this point, I don't even care that they only got one scene with dialogue. We get to keep them for the summer, and that's all that matters after a beautiful scene like this. I have reblogged like eight million .gifs of their conversation, and feelings-exploded at it, and found a delightful summary of it, and I am still not tired of it. Kurt has now officially gone above and beyond my expectations as far as allaying my fears about a breakup. As Tumblr says, "#that was pretty much Kurt putting a ring on it." The only thing I can even find to argue in this scene is that Blaine doesn't look entirely convinced (does he think Kurt is still making it sound too easy, unwilling to admit that it might be difficult in a way that will come back to bite them?), but then I caught the little smile on Blaine's face, still looking at him even after Kurt turns away, and a warm glow spreads over everything.


You can find the moving-picture version in the last link above.
Besides which, I get a gorgeous handhold out of it all. There is a reason that I tag those under "this is my intimacy."


Full Circle: Premiere To Finale
#no but look at the parallels in hand-squeezing


Oh, The Places You'll Go!
Mercedes: No. She had a perfectly basic year lined up at a state college, and I loved that she was going to be the only kid besides Rick The Stick following a normal post-high school plan of going to a nearby 4-year college. Her dashing off to LA as a signed backup singer right now is garbage. I will allow it, but only if it means I don't have to see her more than twice next year.

Mike: I just spent way too much time trying to figure out what kind of degree or other upper education one gets from the Joffrey. Alvin Ailey, at least, had clear information about a B.F.A. The only thing I can see that fits the bill at the Joffrey, if I am looking at the right site, is the professional training program. That said, proud of him, and let us chuckle at the accurate TWoP review: Who told Mike Chang he was allowed to have more than one prospective future lined up? I have it on good authority that one of the laws of the Glee-verse is that you pick one and only one school, employer, or improbable career path and you pursue it with all your might. How dare you, Mike Chang! How very dare you have a plan B!

Santana: I am so frustrated with her having wads of money and opportunity just literally handed to her. What is this sudden dream of New York? This sucks partly because I don't want to see her ever again, and partly because once I got over her having a scholarship, I actually liked the idea of her going to a school in Kentucky. I hate that right now, Quinn is the only one of our seniors going to a real college (NYADA: college, but not normal). I mean, I love it for Quinn, but it isn't realistic that they would all go straight into performing, or even want to. Plus, you still have plenty of opportunities to perform in college (hey there, Darren Criss). I got attached to the idea of Santana becoming a star cheerleader, making new friends and going to competitions on a university level. I'm sorry Brittany doesn't fit into this plan at all, but maybe you should have thought of that before you went gay for a moron.

Gloria Estefan
No on everything; bring back Santana's awesomely disdainful abuela instead. I mean, what is this crap?
"Reasons Mama Lopez Should Have Known Her Daughter Was Gay: when she was 8, she grew her hair into a mullet so she could go trick-or-treating as Uncle Jesse from Full House."

Really? How about "Reasons Mama Lopez Rightfully Assumed Her Daughter Was Straight: the endless parade of boys she fooled around with."

Otherwise, in the Breadstix scene I'm just going to pretend that Brittany wasn't planning to work in a slaughterhouse, and focus on her extremely relatable words: "I was kind of glad when I found out I was flunking, because it'll give me a chance to do my senior year all over again." I would have happily done this.

Bros For Life
...I'm sorry, but with scenes like this I will always be stupidly enchanted by Will & Finn's relationship. I swear they bring out the best in each other.

Finn: "Dear Finn, great knowing you, Will Schuester" -- are you kidding me? I'm like the best man at your wedding.
Will: It's not that bad. And you can't dictate what I write in your yearbook.
Finn: Yes I can! I want a little emotion in there, some "son I never had" or "little brother" garbage or something...
(Hee!  And then out of nowhere, Will sobers up and punches me right in the heart muscle.)
Will: I wanted to. I started ten times and I couldn't get two words out without falling apart.

Hang on, I'm having a strange rush of feelings where I remember why Will was once the perfect teacher. His huge grin by the end of this scene is just a delight. I was kind of worried they'd ruin the magic with the "whoops I blackmailed you" confession, but that proved unfounded.

Finn: You are so much cooler than I ever thought you were.
Will: =D, ♥!
And then he chucks stuff at Finn to get back on track and oh my god they are such overgrown goofs, and I can't stop envisioning future glee club reunion parties in about 4 years' time where they hang out in the back yard after a cookout, drinking beer and catching up. 

Quinn For Queen Of The World
"This freshman just gave me a hug and told me to never change. Poor thing doesn't realize that change can be so good." Flagrant falsehood, and yet another depressing confirmation of how completely Quinn is going to become that person I hate, the one who finishes college talking about how much they've changed and grown since they started, but I'll allow it since it's true that the Quinn/Rachel friendship was a change for the better.

The Faberry shippers cannot handle this scene appropriately, so I will mute them and talk about the real significance of her buying this train pass. Because it's true, it is hard to keep in touch after you reach your post-grad destinations. (of course, Facebook wasn't a thing until I was a college sophomore, so I'm not sure my experience still applies...ugh, what is this age gulf between TV and my life) Per my headcanon, Quinn is not going to be nostalgic for any part of high school for a good long time, and she won't mind when the casual friendships - Brittany and Santana included - fade and are replaced by new ones. But Rachel Berry is a friend worth hanging onto. She's the kind of person Quinn was at her old school. (look at me, in a rare instance of admitting her horrible backstory as canon!) Only, because they haven't been friends as long, they have less of a foundation to draw on as far as keeping them connected -- hence, the deliberate plans to see each other. I can attest to the fact that if you don't make plans, you might as well say goodbye forever.

Everything else about this conversation where they declare Finn and Puck to be the apparent endgame ships in each other's lives is extra dumb, so we're ignoring it, but the goodbye with Sue was really sweet. Also, here seems as good a place as any to restate my firm belief that Quinn will become a seriously involved, activist feminist in college. To take it a step further, in my personal canon, she is taking a women's studies course for one of her required humanities courses first semester - it's actually the class she's most excited for - and I think it's possible she ends up minoring in it. Other people see this too, right? At least the increasingly-feminist part of it?

I can't help wondering if or how long she'll continue singing, though. It seems like of everyone, she'd be most likely to leave that life behind. As sad as that makes me, I'm not sure her heart's ever totally been in it, as opposed to joining because of other people.

Quick: Kill It With Fire
(misleading category title is misleading)
My disgust knows no bounds, so instead of actually talking about this grossness with Puck, I'm going to stomp off and think about how I want the summer to go for her, dating-wise, instead. Because in my mind, Quinn and Joe make a sort of standing date appointment once or twice a week. Not sure if Quinn will officially allow it to be called dating, or just more hanging out. Something new. I see ice cream, a local summer festival, maybe some cheesy stargazing (all Joe's doing, that one). They get involved in a summer youth program at church, so there are volunteer opportunities (and here is where I regret growing up with a virulent hatred of both church and church youth groups). Midway through summer, she lets him kiss her for the first time. It's sweet, liberating fun. Quinn is not in love with him. That much is very clear. And when it's time to leave, she won't look back. But it will have been a diversion worth having.

I wish I weren't so desperately unqualified to write this. I have ideeaaaaas. Can I commision things? I will pay you in compliments. In the meantime, let's just look at some cute visual evidence of what could be:


♥♥♥

Spinoff in New York: CANCELED

"I got in."
#happiest acceptance letter reactions ever

I need to remember these scenes, because I may not want Finn to be one of the two most important people in Rachel's life, but with Kurt in the mix, there is something wonderful about the idea of the three of them being family. I'm reading all my ironic old posts from the beginning of the year, where I raged against the possibility of Kurt getting into NYADA and Rachel not, and still struggling with the idea of now wanting that and not getting it. But the rage I initially felt here has cooled considerably.

It still stings that he and Rachel won't ever be sharing classes, but if I can at least be allowed to hope they'll live near each other, I can mine this scene for the emotional gold it is: Kurt's face. Just Kurt's face, the whole way through after "I didn't get in." I particularly like Finn's arm around him, not just the main scene, but even after that, he pulls him closer to offer comfort.
kinnbg2kinnbg
You will appreciate the Tumblr efforts I went through in order to find something I was not aware I cared about that much.

And now for the rush of Kurt-focused meta + fic reactions. Well, actually just meta. Because I have several post-ep options, but I don't like most of them because either Blaine is disproportionately angry (especially at the idea that Rachel got in, which, she's his friend too) or Kurt breaks down too early (you see how numb and detached he is here, right? Part of that is trying not to trample on Rachel's good news, but part of that is real. He is eventually going to cry, but it is not going to be full blown sobbing). Letters From Titan has, once again, provided the key to what you should write in your over-time reaction fic.

Actual fic recs to follow later this week.

I Seem To Be Having Chest Pains
See also, feelings explosion post. (same as before, if you didn't click then)

I have been on a campaign to break Finn and Rachel up as long as they have been together. Why, then, does the car scene so utterly destroy me? The simple answer is that I only love them when they're miserable (it's an extremely unhealthy relationship I have with them). The complicated answer is that this is beautifully done.

I still don't know if I see Rachel's love, but I was crying by the time she got out of the car because she made me feel all those gutwrenching, horrible things you would feel if this were happening to you. Everything Finn says is awful to hear, they're things about independence that I hate and usually when people say them in movies I want to punch their lights out, but it's also the best set of things he's ever said to her. And it's heartbreaking and kills me too much to quote because his love, I finally feel. Choosing the one place Rachel can't follow - ugh, here, enjoy the ripped up pieces of my heart.

I don't know who wins in a scene like this. It looks like a breakup and it sucks like a breakup, and given how scared I was of having to spend the summer without even the comfort of knowing my ship had a summer together, I can sympathize. (although it also seems like something between a breakup and a simple temporary-cancel button on wedding, pause on everything else)

But it's not a victory for the other side, as I also have no faith in this supposed breakup's ability to last past Christmas if at all, because this looks exactly like the massive separation that endgame couples supposedly need in order to validate their endgame-ness. The problem is, it scares me that after the fic recs I've found, I maybe won't hate that. (Still rooting for a hot college boy to sweep her off her feet, though. C'mon, Berry, you can do even better than Jesse. I believe in you.)

P.S. Obligatory sidebar to cheer for Finn going to the army instead of The Actor's Studio.

Roots Before Branches
Yes, if you think about it too hard, you realize how ridiculous it is that everyone turned up for a Great Big Showy Goodbye when she's only going to visit for a weekend and then coming right back here. And then you have to realize that Finn had to tell everyone else he was calling off the wedding in order to make sure they showed up for this sendoff. But let's go with it because:

a) Oh, I forgot there was a Kurt/Rachel hug! Aw, they're going to be okay.


b) CHECK OUT THIS WILL/RACHEL, which I am pretty sure halted my tears in their tracks on the night of original airing, because the fact that he was there at all - then a hug - that lasted more than a second - and oh, no, definitely, you definitely want to stroke her hair before you let go. (oh, you're going to keep your hand on her back and walk her the last few steps to the platform along with Kurt? Funny, I don't remember promising my firstborn child to anyone lately...)

You're spoiling me silly here.

c) Rachel's bright eyed expression as she looks around the city - okay, you're right, I would have been mad if she'd deferred. Rachel/New York = OTP. Oh, season 4, I am going to like you, aren't I? [edit: NO. I WILL NOT.]

(Also, I need fic to support my headcanon where Kurt overhears Finn crying in his room, and it kills him that he can't do anything about it, but reminds him to be absurdly grateful that he isn't going through the same thing. Expand on that as necessary.)

In Conclusion: I'm probably giving it too much credit, but I still don't think it was the fiery trainwreck everyone thought it was. Its only problems were Roz, Puck/Quinn, James Lipton (that is a should-be-deleted scene if I ever saw one), and - for me - that boring 2-part Santana segment. People were mad about Rachel getting into NYADA and Kurt getting no storyline conclusion at all, but those stop being problems as soon as you know what's in store for season 4. They were temporary grievances, and I am over them. This was a satisfying conclusion, a fitting tribute to our graduating kids, and my clear favorite of the three finales thus far.

So now it's over, and I have to start facing the fact that they'll never all be in the choir room together again. I've been successfully repressing these feelings on the strength of "but I'll only miss Quinn, as long as I can still see Kurt and Rachel," but I think as we draw closer to fall, those twin pleasures of homesickness and abandonment feelings are going to come back full force. I'm a tad nervous, especially given Glee's 2-year history of epically disappointing me in the early episodes.

COMING SOON: Spoiler speculation, post-ep fic recs, episode rankings, and various other data rankings. That's right, this post could have been longer.

[updated: epilogue]

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