June 8, 2010

Episode Review: GLEE, "Journey"

Predictable plot points aside, the season 1 finale of Glee was a pretty good hour of television, even though "Journey" was still a little disjointed like the rest of its back-9 cohorts.

Within minutes we go from New Directions being all depressed because Sue was going to be a judge to them at Regionals with very little build up. I suffered from whiplash after trying to figure out what was going on. I know that they wanted to spend as much time at Regionals as possible, but fast forwarding from Will's motivational speech to the competition was too rushed, especially since we didn't get to see them prepare at all during the previous eight episodes. A few scenes of the club rehearsing would have been nice. Then again, pacing really hasn't been Glee's strong suit.

Once the competition starts though, things started to look up. The Journey medley worked better than I expected, and I was really jazzed once New Directions was done, mostly because I was glad that Santana and Puck were given the opportunity to shine. Too bad everything came to a screeching halt once Quinn went into labor. I knew that she was going to have the baby during this episode, I just wasn't expecting her to have it in the middle of freaking Regionals. I guess that little plot twist didn't land for me. Also, the Queen/birthing montage was just odd. Hopefully now that Quinn has had her baby she won't be subjected to really awkward scenes.

No one should have been shocked that New Directions didn't win because it wouldn't have been an underdog story if they had. Going  from losers to the best glee club ever, would have left very little drama to build off of. Now, they have a new goal to strive for. What was a little unexpected was Sue's change of heart, how she voted for New Directions, and helped save the club. I'm glad that the show runners continue to flesh of Sue's character by making her human, but I'm hoping that she'll be able to maintain her edge come season 2.

Another plot point that we should have seen from a mile away was Shelby adopting Beth since that's the road she was headed down since day one. It was a little trite, but a nice way to wrap up both Shelby storyline and Quinn's pregnancy. Plus, now that Shelby's done with coaching glee, we can get a new big bad next year in the form of the next Vocal Adrenaline coach (part of my hopes that Bryan Ryan comes back to fill the role).

The scene in the auditorium where the kids thank Mr. Shue with their rendition of "To Sir, With Love" was the straw that broke my back and that's when I started tearing up...I'm man enough to admit it. Flashy musical numbers and cheesy melodrama aside, Glee is ultimately about teaching and the impact a good teacher/mentor can have on a person. That scene was the perfect way to say thank you to someone who truly believes in the development on young people.

The funny thing about "Journey" was that it was full of predictable moments, had very little plot, progressed at a breakneck speed, but it was still able to suck me in. The musical numbers were great (with the exception of "Bohemian Rhapsody"), and I couldn't help but cheer on this rag-tag bunch of kids that we've watched grow up since last May. Yes, they're still underdeveloped, but that's what season 2 is for; to continue to journey *rimshot*.

The ups and downs on Glee's first season has been well documented (although I think some are quick to jump ship and hate on the show after a few mediocre episodes), but "Journey" was a nice way to wrap up the season and send it off on a high note. Ryan Murphy and Co. still have their work cut out for them in order to keep the momentum going, but I'm confident that Season 2 will be just as good if not better than the freshman outing.


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