It’s hard not to think that this is Heather Morris‘ swan song along with Brittany’s, which makes her goodbyes even sadder. She tells them all how much she loves them, individually, even though she can’t remember some of their names and compares the Marley and Jake and Ryder and Kitty to foster kids and Artie to the robot building boy-next-door whose virginity you take for fun. And then she gets to Santana and they both know there’s nothing she can say because the universe has never conceived the words that will allow them to say goodbye to one another.
The Hoosier Daddies kill it with Zedd feat. Foxes’ “Clarity” and Little Mix’s “Wings.” And then New Directions — well, they don’t exactly kill it. It’s more like they beat it with a baseball bat and it almost dies, but it lives to fight another day. They do The Scripts’ “Hall Of Fame,” the choreography of which is basically just all the guys walking around slapping high fives. And then the ladies bust in with Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” which, speaking of killing it, is auto-tuned to within an inch of its life. They close it out with a Marley Rose original that is actually quite lovely. “All or Nothing” is what it is called, and it’s an apt wrap-up for season four.
When it’s over, the Hoosier Daddies take second place, which means that New Directions win again! It’s a slow-mo celebration: Artie hoisting his very last Regionals trophy above his head, Sam chest-bumping everyone in sight, Ryder and Unique hugging and breaking apart. And then it’s just fireworks. And then it’s just Brittany.
If story gives the universe structure, music gives the universe soul. If story is the way we tie together unrelated points of light and call them constellations, music is the bruised night sky healing apricot in the sunrise — the cacophony of color that gives beauty to the form we’ve constructed from the nothingness. The meeting of story and song is the collision of our most ancient needs, the place where our imaginations and our heart’s affections unite. It’s an intersection Keats called holy.
That’s where Glee exists. Not always. Not often. But when Glee manages to stitch together honest narrative with authentic music, it reaches a place inside of us that most TV shows could never hope to touch. And what’s more, the way Glee reaches for us is unapologetically queer.
In this episode, alone, we saw two young gay soul mates being counseled by two elderly lesbian soul mates about the decision to get married. We saw a straight white guy trying to come to terms with the relationship he’d developed with a transgender black woman. We saw a bisexual teenager saying goodbye to a boyfriend and a girlfriend, both of whom she truly loved.
Glee hasn’t gotten any of those stories right all of the time. It hasn’t even gotten most of those stories right most of the time. But it has had its moments of white hot glory, of pure holiness. And this is one of those times.
Brittany sits alone and Santana walks to meet her. She pulls Brittany to her feet and embraces her. They join hands. They walk off the stage, silently, together.
Fandom conceived Brittana. Fandom nurtured Brittana. Fandom advocated for Brittana, and demanded for Brittana, and understood Brittana. In a lot of ways, Santana’s relationship with Brittany is an accidental allegory for fandom’s relationship with this couple. When the rest of the world wrote off Brittany as a moron, Santana looked right into her eyes and called her a genius. When the rest of the world scoffed at Brittany’s naivete, Santana explained that she was a unicorn. Santana saw in Brittany not the shell of an idea of the shadow of a person, but a woman who was intrinsically good and wholly beautiful and wonderfully complicated. She examined every one of Brittany’s layers lovingly, reverently. And the more she discovered, the deeper she loved.
And then Santana let Brittany unravel her. She let Brittany speak truths that cut through her hard, bitchy exterior. She let Brittany sing songs that acted as a balm to her tortured soul. They said it was just sex, but they knew it was more than sex. They said it was just Cheerios, but they knew it was more than Cheerios. It was more than friends. It was more than girlfriends. And in the end, they stopped saying anything at all, because they finally understood that their truth transcends words.
My friends and family always mock me for sticking with Glee, but this is the reason why I do. These rare and wonderful moments of holiness. There’s a beauty here and a truth here that I don’t experience anywhere else. I know that’s not a cool thing to say, apathy and snark being the order of the day and all that. And it’s especially weird with Glee because people expect you not only to love the exact things they love, but they also expect you to hate the exact things they hate. But I didn’t hate this. I didn’t hate it at all.
The only thing that expresses the inexpressible better than music is silence. Or as our buddy Keats would say: “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.”
Backstage, Emma and Will get swept up in the euphoria of victory and finally say “I do.” It’s very sweet. As the camera pans away from the celebration, Blaine clutches an engagement ring behind his back.
The promotion for this finale was built around Kurt and Blaine, and I do understand the fandom disappointment that there was no real proposal, and in fact no real scenes between the two of them. But I think that’s actually the right choice for these two for right now. Kurt Hummel is Glee. His story, his triumphs, his journey: they are the true heart of this show, and even though he was wildly underused this year, I think the writers know that to be the truth. And so his most important relationship, his engagement, his wedding, it deserves more than to be shoehorned into a jam-packed finale. “Endgame” seems like the silliest thing to me because people act like it’s science or something, but Kurt Hummel is Glee‘s endgame. And I think Kurt Hummel’s wedding is the way this show will end its era. And we deserve that, don’t you think? We deserve to see Kurt and Blaine reconnect in every way, we deserve to see Kurt and Blaine carve out their lives in New York, individually and together. And Kurt deserves to have some autonomy, some say in the when and how and where of his engagement. ‘Cause once he says yes to Blaine Warbler, ain’t nobody running away from the altar.
I just want to thank you guys, sincerely, for allowing me to recap Glee for you this season. It’s been ludicrous and it’s been moving. It’s been infuriating and it’s been soul-sustaining. But on its best days, it has been holy. And I don’t know about you, but those days are the ones that will keep me coming back for more.