Talk about coming full circle, Gleeks. The hit-and-miss second season of "Glee" started with a nod to New York City by covering Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' anthem "Empire State of Mind" in the premiere and wrapped things up with a love letter to the Big Apple. The gang from Lima, Ohio, packed their bags and headed to the bright lights of NYC for Nationals and took Gleeks right along for the wild ride with them.
It's been debated all season whether "Glee" is a comedy or a drama, but I'd argue that it fits in the fantasy genre, especially if you consider the version of Manhattan they experienced. Need proof? "Glee" New York included a quiet Times Square, romantic dates while Gershwin and "Lady and the Tramp" songs playing in the background, celebrity encounters with Patti LuPone at Sardi's, having actual breakfast at Tiffany's and performing impromptu musical numbers that include a mash-up of the classic "New York, New York" with Madonna's "I Love New York." As a New York resident I hate to break it to you non-NY Gleeks, but most days living in this wonderful city rarely resembles that.
That said, it is most definitely a place where dreams come true. Mr. Schuester was there not only to help guide his students to a Nationals victory, but to chase his lifelong goal of becoming a Broadway sensation. Mr. Schue found himself on the stage of April Rhodes' upcoming show called "Crossrhodes" and belted out a Matthew Morrison tune (hmm...what a strange coincidence) called "Still Got Tonight." Apparently all he needed was the seal of approval from a kind stagehand and a little sparring with rival coach Goolsby (an especially hilarious Cheyenne Jackson) for Mr. Schue to decide he wants to stay a teacher instead. Not only is this is a disappointment to the one blog in the Broadway blogosphere, but plenty of Gleeks as well. How are the McKinley kids supposed to learn to follow their dreams if the adults don't even try to?
So while Mr. Schue decided to leave his Broadway dreams behind, Rachel realized she was going to go for it with full force after she graduates from high school. Of course, that became all the more difficult when her other true love, Finn, wooed her in NYC. But Rachel is still undeterred in her ambition to follow her dreams as she got quite a taste for the spotlight when she and Kurt snuck into the "Wicked" theater and performed the show-stopper "For Good."
However, things were about to change for Finchel, and the rest of the gang for that matter, on the day of Nationals. After dealing with some drama (an upset Quinn's big threat was to rat out Finn and Rachel for sneaking out, but opted to just cut her hair instead) and coming up with some lukewarm original numbers (sorry, Brit, we love you, but not "My Cup"), New Directions went up against some fierce competition including an all-girl group who nailed Usher's "Yeah!" and a Sunshine Corazon-lead Vocal Adrenaline number (Charice sang her own original tune, "As Long As You're There").
While it may have been in their best interest to sing the catchy "Loser Like Me" again, they gave Gleeks (and Nationals judges) their own take on the love ballad (the song was called "Pretending" but Rachel and Finn's smooch during it was anything but) and an uplifting, if not rather lackluster pop song ("Light Up the World"). Sadly, it didn't do the trick and New Directions came in 12th place. Still, considering it was out of 50 groups and they never once practiced these new songs before their big performance, it's a rather impressive feat, wouldn't you say?
When they returned to Lima things definitely heated up between some McKinley couples. Rachel and Finn decided to give their tumultuous love one more year before her looming NYC deadline, Santana and Brit made amends, Kurt and Blaine exchanged "I Love You"s and.... Mercedes and Sam are a couple?! Wait...what?! But, hey, like I said, when it came to this season of "Glee" it was best to just abandon all reason and just indulge in the fantasy world of it all.
Check out Jim Cantiello's musical "Glee"-cap below!
What did you think of the second season finale of "Glee," Crushers? Were you expecting Quinn to do something more drastic? Are you surprised Mr. Schuester gave up on his goal so quickly? Do you buy Sam and Mercedes as a couple? Do you think this is the end of the road for Jonathan Groff's scheming Jesse St. James who made a brief finale appearance? And most importantly, what did you think of those new original songs? Let us know in the comments section below and on Twitter!