Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Always Be Closing". Glee again makes up for flawed middle with grand finale.

In a day when Lost can't wrap up their six-year run without negating everything that came before it, and even 24 can't end with a bang thanks to an upcoming movie version (the series finale was remarkably similar to the finale of season four), it's nice to see a final episode, even just a season finale, go out with a little style. Yes, the Glee mid-season finale was sharper and better paced, especially as two of the dramatic highlights (the kids doing a song for their teacher and Will making one last play for Emma) were reruns of last year's mid-season climax. Yes most of the break-out characters were put on the sidelines to focus to the original leads: Will, Sue, Finn, and Rachel. Yes, it's absolutely absurd that a character who has confessed to attempting to fix a dance competition just months ago would be allowed to judge a higher level of said competition. And the insertion of Rachel's long-lost mother proved to be a big fat deus ex machina to allow a known character to adapt Quinn and Puck's newborn.

But, in terms of entertainment-value, this was a pretty solid finale, giving the core fans what they wanted while allowing for apparent forward progression to the core character relationships. This was in many ways a return to the basic appeal of the original pilot, with idealistic Will battling the cynically-realistic Sue while Finn and Rachel looked quite hot while making goo-goo eyes at each other and singing power ballads. The music sequences were all pretty solid (using stuff as knee-tappingly fun as Journey is almost cheating), the cast was game, and kudos to Ryan Murphy for having the guts to have the big performance in the first act of the episode. Alas, the climactic Somewhere Over the Rainbow only proved that Sam Lloyd may be a better singer than Matthew Morrison. A show like Glee is often a beginning and end with a struggle to stay interesting in the middle. That's the advantage of having colorful supporting characters (Artie, Mercedes, Kurt) to focus on. But, similar to the earlier seasons of Smallville (which once had the very best cliffhanger finales on network television), it was the sheer forward momentum of beginning and ending that allowed this quirky, flawed, but fascinatingly watchable pop-experiment to thrive. After all, everything else is just the journey.

Scott Mendelson


Ken said...

Lost's ending negated all six seasons before it? Huh? The plane wreckage in the end credits wasn't connected to the story.

Scott Mendelson said...

I wrote extensively about the Lost finale last month. My issues had nothing to do with the end-credits footage.


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