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Old February 13th, 2012 (7:15 AM). Edited February 13th, 2012 by Forever.
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Glee - New York (2011)

Season Two was a year of ups and downs for Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan's Glee, with new characters, departures and new experiences for the New Directions. However, the season finale, New York did not disappoint (which took over $6 million to produce), managing to tie up any questions about the romance between Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) and Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), as well as show original songs performed by the characters.

In the usual Glee-spirit, the New Directions prepared for their upcoming performance by motivating themselves, starting the song line-up with a mashup between "I Love New York" and "New York, New York". Not really a bad choice, when you consider how in the first episode of this season when New Directions performed "Empire State of Mind", the characters were determined to reach New York, so what's better than singing a song all about it? While that's good and all, the characters seemed too enthusiastic about New York, leaving viewers to assume that they have never left their suburb let alone their city, considering how they acted like none of them had ever seen tall buildings before. What's worse is that it carried on. For the entire episode. Wow breakfast at Tiffany's, wow Patti LuPone, yeah Rachel guess what, Finn wants you ask you out and you care more about someone famous than him. Oh well!

In an interesting foreshadowing, Rachel said early on in the episode, "No boys, no distractions, not until we win that trophy," which left the viewers only to assume that the entire episode would be centralised around Rachel – what a surprise!

I found it interesting how it was mentioned that the song choices were early on. "My Cup" was a hilarious reminder of Rachel's previous attempts at song writing where she wrote about a hair clip earlier on in the season. I find the way that they did decide to explore New York as if it was some magical city in order to get inspiration for their songs was somewhat how to put it in sophisticated words.... dumb. Sure that makes sense for Paris or somewhere like that, but come on, you're still in the same country! I know I certainly wouldn't get that excited if I visited other cities in Australia and assume that they would suddenly be inspirational.

The solo which Will Shuester (Matthew Morrison) performed early on, "Still Got Tonight" was really a long time coming. He barely gets any solos throughout the normal season so it makes sense that he at least gets one solo (being an original song, which is somewhat relevant to the theme of the episode) within the season finale.

About mid-way through when Finn invited Rachel to a date, covered up as a “work date”, you could really see by that point the episode was going to take the stereotypical movie approach, aka boy asks girl out, girl falls for him, they end up in love. Well no, leave it up to Rachel to make everything more complicated, who said she couldn't take a chance on Finn. The stereotypical movie approach reminded me of Lady and the Tramp when Artie (Kevin McHale), Puck (Mark Salling) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) started to sing Bella Notte behind Rachel and Finn which is when I began to wonder where the spaghetti and candles were.

I found the mini-arc within the episode where Kurt (Chris Colfer) helped Rachel choose between love or her career also as yet again, something you would find in a movie. Really, the entire episode was pretty much a movie condensed into an hour, because it had pretty much every element of a movie. The incorporation of Wicked was a positive though, since it gave some light to their obsession with New York (and ultimately Rachel's decision to move to New York after graduation) due to the cultural aspect.

Quinn (Dianna Agron) was up to her usual tricks, threatening to ruin New Directions' chances of winning Nationals. Interestingly, her plans were stopped by Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris), who didn't care that much for New Directions 23 episodes ago. The way they changed their tune is a good thing though – because if not them, it would have been Rachel, and Lea Michele already had enough screen time as it was by then.

I really enjoyed Lea Michele's scene with Charice Pempengco, who played Sunshine. I felt that showing Rachel as a good character at that point really made up for how she acted earlier in the season, to put it in her words, when she sent Sunshine to “the crack house”. Charice's performance of "As Long As You're There" was really good though – and if not for "Pretending", could have easily been the best performance of the entire episode, simply from how well she performed the song.

The highlight of the whole episode for me (and in fact, the entire series), however, was when.... you guessed it! When Rachel and Finn performed "Pretending". It was the perfect song for their relationship, considering throughout the entire Glee series, you keep wondering whether they're holding in their feelings, whether they're pretending and finally you know that they're really not pretending at the end of the scene when Rachel and Finn kiss. Personally I feel that New Directions should have won, even though they kissed which apparently they weren't meant to do and were judged harshly for it, with them placing 12th, only just missing out on top 10. In fact, I felt that was pretty necessary, because just ending the song and waiting to kiss afterwards would've just lost all meaning, for it to happen immediately after performance, then you know the feelings really are there in that moment.

I felt the next song, "Light Up the World" wasn't really necessary. I think if it ended on the kiss, and the direct aftermath of that with Jesse (Jonathan Groff) would have been a much more exciting conclusion to the episode.

Despite being disappointed that New Directions ultimately didn't place in the top 10, it was something that could have been expected, considering that they still had a whole year left and Glee certainly doesn't like letting New Directions win, because no, instead they must perform at Sectionals, Regionals and Nationals at least once before until they finally win.

The scenes back at McKinley High were what really summed up the season, where it was said that it wasn't about winning, rather than accepting each other and realising that New Directions is more than a club - it's a family.

The conclusion of the episode, with Rachel and Finn talking about the kiss was the perfect end, where they agreed that it was worth giving it all up for one kiss.

Overall I felt this episode was pretty good, despite the emphasis on New York being the greatest thing ever for New Directions, but Pretending definitely was the selling point of the episode. Otherwise other than that, it was really just another cliche finale episode from Glee. Despite that, I think that the episode could have been a lot worse, had the writers written it differently (and the obsession with New York was really minor even though it was annoying), so I rate it...


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