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Glee 5.20 "The Untitled Rachel Berry Project" Review and Favorite Song Poll: So Long New York?

    The Glee season finale, “The Untitled Rachel Berry Project,” was written by Matthew Hodgson and directed by Brad Falchuk. I have to say that I was very surprised that the season finale wasn’t written by any of the showrunners. Have Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Falchuk had enough of their own show? This comes at a point when the show is seeing its lowest ever ratings, and the show’s run next season is under question. A full 23 +1 episodes were originally ordered for what is to be the show’s last season, but at the upfronts this past week, the show doesn’t appear on the FOX schedule until mid-season sometime. Does that mean all the episodes will still be filmed and possibly air without a break? Or does that mean it will once again be a reduced order?

    The characters all go through tremendous change in this episode, even labeling the end of the episode as an end to an era. It seems very likely that the show will continue to mimic Lea Michele’s life as Rachel now moves from a successful Broadway run to Los Angeles to star in a show about her life. The future of the other characters is not so clear. Sam (Chord Overstreet) achieves his dream of seeing his abs on a bus in an ad, so he decides to quit his lucrative career to go back to Lima, and the last we see of him is him back at McKinley. Um, what? Artie (Kevin McHale)  is continuing at film school and Mercedes (Amber Riley) is going on tour with Brittany (Heather Morris) as back up dancer and Santana (a mysteriously absent Naya Rivera) as back up singer. Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) are both now under June’s (Shirley MacLaine’s wing and continuing at Nyada – maybe...

     One of the things that I did really like about the episode was how it made fun of the Hollywood television writing process, the network system, and ultimately, themselves. Mary Halloran (Kristen Schaal) shows up to write Rachel’s Unnamed Project, and she’s a complete flake. Not surprisingly, the only one who can understand her – or stand her at all! – is Brittany. Mary is supposed to be basing the show on Rachel’s story, but she changes it completely to make it artsy and depressing so as to be able to sell it to the network – who is only interested in fat girls and boys who kill. Rachel is finally able to make Mary see that there might be a show about making people not hate themselves by singing to her. Mary is convinced that the network will never buy the show, but of course they do!

     Just as the Glee cast started out singing in malls, Mercedes’s big debut is singing at a mall, with Brittany dancing backup. It was great to see Morris back and dancing. But please, just like a good fight scene, dance scenes need to be seen with fewer close-ups and more wide, continuous shots to really appreciate the choreography! Of course, the sudden return of Morris and the sudden departure of Santana can only fuel recent rumors that Rivera has had enough of Michele’s diva behavior and has been fired or suspended...

     Kurt and Blaine have some more growing pains as Blaine finally reveals that June never wanted Kurt in the showcase. Kurt acts like a spoiled child at first, but quickly comes to his senses and supports Blaine. He tells Blaine that trust is a choice, and he chooses to trust Blaine. Once again, they become the voices of reason on the show. And when the big day comes, Blaine invites Kurt to help his sing the duet he’s chosen for his encore. June finally sees that Kurt has that certain something too and admits that she was wrong.

     As Blaine and Kurt’s relationship is strengthened, Sam and Mercedes’ comes apart – at least for now. And while I like them as a couple, I think this was a bold move on the part of the show and a good one. Mercedes actually releases Sam from the relationship, wisely telling him that if their love is to be, then they’ll find their way back to each other when the time is right. I’m still puzzled, however, by Sam’s choice to go back to McKinley. He comes from a severely impoverished family – how could he give up the kind of money he’d make as a male model? And why go back to the high school he barely graduated from?

   What did you think of the finale? Are you happy to see most of the New York storylines finish? Are you looking forward to following Rachel to LA next year? What would you like to see in season six? Let me know your thought on the episode, and don’t forget to vote for you favorite song in the poll below!

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