FOX’s Glee ends its season by sending the New Directions to “New York” City to compete in the Nationals for show choirs. The kids are excited, and have a hard time focusing on writing their original songs for competition, instead wanting to explore the city. Finn (Cory Monteith) takes Rachel (Lea Michele) on a romantic date, only to have her reject him because she knows her future is in NYC, and doesn’t think his is. Kurt (Chris Colfer) reaffirms Rachel’s belief by helping her live out some dreams. Will (Matthew Morrison) makes a decision between performing on Broadway and continuing to teach at McKinley. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the New Directions do not place high, but emotions are dwelt upon, and most characters are satisfied with the trip.
The New Directions’s competition performance is exactly what it needs to be. The duet will be discussed later on, but their showpiece is “Light Up the World.” It is not a perfect song, but given that the kids didn’t write it until after their arrival in New York, it is good enough. What’s more, there is never much expectation that they will win. This episode is about getting to the big time, while next season, when most of the star characters are seniors, they will likely take home the 1st place trophy in a triumphant swan song.
“Yeah!” is a little bit of filler, but gives some comparison point for the New Directions. It is well executed, and a pleasure to watch, even though it will not win, either. The costumes and choreography are bizarre, and bring the performance down enough that it is easy to imagine the glee kids beating them. They ultimately do not because of a lack of professionalism, but that’s OK. Showing “Yeah!” gives viewers confidence the New Direction can easily conquer that level of song next year, and proves that not everyone at Nationals is brilliant.
“My Cup” is a goofy little number, reuniting Brittany (Heather Morris) with Artie (Kevin McHale). Far superior to Rachel’s ode to a hair brush, it isn’t especially catchy, but the lyrics are funny. While Brittany works better with one-liners, it’s nice the writers decide to experiment with something a little more lengthy, similar to her Fondue for Two bit a couple of weeks ago.
For two years, Mercedes’s (Amber Riley) lack of love life has been frustrating. Light breaks the horizon as she is revealed to be having a secret fling with Sam (Chord Overstreet). While this development is hinted at in “Prom,” and the two actually make a nice couple, the need to keep things secret is confusing. Sam is a relatively private person, but Mercedes has been complaining about her lack of man for awhile, and all of a sudden, she can’t even tell Kurt? Weird. But forgiven, because of how awesome it is to see Mercedes with a good man.
Kurt and Blaine (Darren Criss) take things to the next level by exchanging “I love you”s over coffee as Kurt enthusiastically recounts his trip to Blaine. This is perfect timing, and as a couple, these two work very, very well together. Obviously, Blaine is moved by Kurt’s passion to express himself, and enjoying seeing someone happy is a hallmark of true love. Yay for them!
In an otherwise excellent episode, two glaring issues stand out. Number one is Will’s quick abandonment of his Broadway dreams after rival coach Dustin Goolsby (Cheyenne Jackson) outs Will’s plans to the New Directions. Will feels totally at home after taking the Crossrhodes stage to sing “Still Got Tonight,” a surprisingly decent song written by American Idol Kris Allen. Although the series chooses to forgo another tasty Kristen Chenoweth guest spot, it is an almost perfect scene, moving in a way Will does not often achieve.
Will has mentioned before that he always wanted to sing on Broadway. He can do April’s show in between glee club seasons, because they are done with Nationals, and he can perform through the summer. Why give up that chance? He can do both. It’s not an either / or type of choice. I expected a phone call with Emma (Jayma Mays), where she convinces him to do Broadway, or at least a show of encouragement from the kids as long as Will promises to return in the fall. Surely, at least Kurt and Rachel understand Will’s urge. Why cop out so easily by having Will decide not to do it as soon as the kids find out?