With the exception of the Christmas specials, there has never been an episode of Glee which did not move me in some way.
Even when the stories and plots were so convoluted and silly as to be overly ridiculous, I still found a reason to smile each week.
Glee Season 6 has been one roller coaster of enjoy-ability. The time spent focused on the new New Directions was wasted when what it felt like we needed was more time with our core cast members. Tonight the finale gave us that gift. Mostly.
The flashback episode, "2009," should have been placed earlier this season. How they got started from a different perspective wasn't really necessary, particularly not at the end. We knew they fought, so seeing them fight about who got the first solo wasn't especially new. And Blaine's scene in the coffee shop was completely extraneous and unnecessary.
It would have been better suited to an earlier slot this season, perhaps as the season opener. Placing it there would have more greatly highlighted Rachel's rise and fall and why that fall happened. She got cocky, just as she did once upon a time when the glee club started.
But if it had happened anywhere else, Cory Monteith's inclusion, via spliced footage from the very first full-group performance of "Don't Stop Believin'" wouldn't have worked, and that was the gut punch moment of that episode.
As Will walked down the hall and overheard the sounds of singing coming from the choir room, I felt my stomach tense up. Would they cut to the footage? Just tease us with the music in the background? I didn't know. I was happy with the result.
Cory Monteith's absence from the show has been palpable, since his death most certainly, but especially this season. It's hard to say goodbye when you didn't really get the chance to say goodbye, you know?
I mean, we did get to say goodbye. Glee Season 5 Episode 3, "The Quarterback" was a beautifully done tribute to both Finn and Cory, but there was something about seeing him again tonight that helped bring more closure to the character since we already know how his story ended.
The parallel scenes in the episodes helped that along. First, we were reminded in the final moments of "2009" that Finn Hudson was a vital part of the glee club. We got to relive that joy from their first performance together. At the close of "Dreams Come True" we were shown that his life mattered. He made a difference. His memory will continue to do that for generations of glee kids to come. And the joy was still there.
These episodes became touching tributes to not only Finn Hudson but also to Will Schuester. It was unexpected but perfect.
All season, for the past three seasons, really, things have been all about Rachel Berry. She had her moment to shine tonight, but Will Schuester's impact on the students at McKinley was front and center.
Those are the parts that made me cry. I couldn't help it. Once a teacher, always a teacher, and stories about teachers who make a difference will almost always hit me in the feels. Rachel's Tony Awards speech was where I lost it. I couldn't help it. All of his cheesy heart to hearts were super heavy on the cheddar but that didn't make them any less poignant in the moment. Tonight felt like a culmination of every inspiring thing he's ever said.
Maybe I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. (I totally am.)
As for how everyone ended up, Rachel married Jesse and won a Tony. Loved it. She also decided to be a surrogate for Blaine and Kurt. I loved that, too. (I didn't love that she wasn't pregnant and there was no baby in the final scene, but maybe Holly Holliday was babysitting or something...)
Mercedes is a big-time recording star. Opening for Beyonce put her on the map and now she cannot be stopped. Artie and Tina decided not to wait until they're 30 to get together. He's making movies and she's his leading lady.
Sam Evans has taken over Will's teaching responsibilities and is the new coach of the New Directions. Kurt and Blaine are living a fabulous New York life. Will and Emma have a dozen ginger children (or just four). Sue is the Vice President of the United States.
It was all so perfect and perfectly Glee.
Glee has a history of tying up loose ends neatly, of finishing up story arcs as soon as they begin. Some of the time, the payoff is minimal, but in this case, it's exactly what was expected. There were no cliffhangers. No one has an unhappy ending. That may not be real life but in real life, people don't randomly burst into song either, so there's that.
I can't help but feel a little sad that Glee is over, even though it was well past time for it to end. I'll miss the random songs, the snarky one-liners, Sue's whacky stories, Will's vests.
What's that saying again? Don't be sad because it's over but smile because it happened? I'm smiling, Glee. Well done.
What did you think of the Glee series finale? Are you sad that it's over? What's been your happiest Glee memory over the past six seasons? Just because it's over doesn't mean it's gone for good. You can watch Glee online any time!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.