Glee S5 Ep13 – “New Directions”

Let's gather round the choir room for one more song...

Let’s gather round the choir room for one more song…

It’s time to say goodbye (for now at least) to McKinley High School of Lima, Ohio – and Glee celebrates its 101st episode with “New Directions,” as the Glee Club is no more.

When Holly and April’s last attempt to incorporate music into existing clubs fails, Will decides to spend the last few days concentrating on graduation and saying farewell with his kids.

There are songs – a few more remixes, some new – and a touching video to celebrate the impact Will had on his Glee Clubbers, as the curtain comes down on the New Directions for one last time.

With the passing of Finn (the late Cory Monteith), the new New Directions became like an orphan plot, left into the wind to wither and die on the vine. This was supposed to be Finn’s journey, much like the one his mentor Will Schuester took all those seasons ago. They would help him find himself and his dreams, and eventually his way back to Rachel. Unfortunately that’s a journey we’ll never take and it was that ghost that I felt most strongly in this episode. What might have been, as much as what was.

Kurt and Mercedes teach an important lesson in friendship through tater tots and diva singing.

Kurt and Mercedes teach an important lesson in friendship through tater tots and diva singing.

Kurt and Mercedes decide to reconcile Santana and Rachel by doing a little skit about how their friendship was tested by tater tots (vegetable versus not even close!), followed by a fine diva Broadway duet of “I Am Changing” from Dreamgirls. While the Santana/Rachel feud is deflated like a sad balloon, this is a great reminder of how well Kurt and Mercedes work together as friends and singing partners. Let’s get Mercedes to New York, okay?

Tina’s struggling – she’s still wait-listed at Brown, she wasn’t accepted to Ohio State, and her application lies to Mitvah University have left her directionless. At least we get some gems out of her stress. Sam clonks her over the head with a trophy and Tina dreams of life in New York as a sitcom called “CHUMS.” Friends fans can delight to the delicious send up.

Highlights include: Rachel with a bad spray tan from a Vietnamese donut shop, Sam forgetting to get dressed, Kurt and Blaine making out like fiends on a bunk bed, and surprise appearances by Mike (who’s come to feed the homeless and win Tina back), Mercedes, Puck, and Brittany at the diner where they all work.

Can we have CHUMS on the Fall schedule?

When things get really low, the boys try to cheer her up with a song – a gorgeous remix of “Loser Like Me” stripped down to vocals, Blaine on piano, and Sam on guitar. Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale, Chord Overstreet, and Darren Criss harmonized beautifully together in this stand out number.

Santana continues to cut a wide swath through McKinley, focusing as much venom at Rachel as she can manage. And when she’s not doing that, she’s spending time with Brittany. Neither girl is very happy with their current situations; Britt hates being a mathematical genius at MIT and Santana wants to be a star by stealing Rachel’s thunder. Brittany proposes they run off to the island of Lesbos together and Santana considers it. In fact, she goes to Rachel (after shooting down her attempts to make peace by offering Santana ten performances as the lead in Funny Girl) and lets her know she’s resigning as her understudy. Truth is, this isn’t what she wants and she shouldn’t be sucking the enjoyment out of something Rachel has been dreaming of since before she was born.

They sing “Be Okay” by Oh Honey to cement the truce, thereby ending a storyline so abruptly I have whiplash. At least they sound great together!

Holly gets her bud Sue to agree to a plan: one week to try to incorporate music into existing McKinley Clubs, thereby saving Glee Club. This somehow turns into Holly addressing the animal husbandry club (various students including people who have graduated and Blaine) as Temple Grandin, who was autistic and discovered ways to kill animals more humanely. What’s stranger is the American Hustle: The Musical number that breaks out soon afterwards, complete with a disco club, foam machine, gold lame, and bumpin’ n’ grindin’. To the surprise of no one, this does not go over well with anyone and the volume of hate mail Sue gets shuts down Holly’s plan.

Silly plan, but at least we got to see Gwyneth Paltrow perform Eddie Murphy’s “Party All the Time” in really tight pants! And wasn’t that worth it in the end?

No really, Glee Club is over. For the tenth time.

Quinn and Puck get a moment to sing a duet in the choir room – Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” – and announce they are going to be together – the military,  Yale, distance, and issues aside. Applause, applause. While I enjoy Mark Salling’s Puck a great deal and it was nice to see them get a happy ending, this part of the episode felt like filler. Bad filler. Especially when Will announces this is the last song being sung in the choir room.

I’m pretty sure we can think of about a hundred songs that could have been sung by a number of other people to better occupy that honor.

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