Aww, poor "freshmen" of Glee. Have any of them had any substantial screen time since the show's return from hiatus? Glee itself seemed to mock that idea this week by pointing out that Rachel didn't know Ryder's name (though, as a senior who graduated before he arrived at McKinley, why would she know his name?), but while that sucks for the new kids, "100" presented those of us who've been longing for some old-school Glee TV with a goofy love-letter to the best parts of the series. The milestone 100th episode managed to transform what was essentially a wake for the disbanded New Directions into a passionate celebration of everything the club ever accomplished, as well as the the role McKinley had in shaping its alumni before tossing them out into the world.
That said: New Directions totally isn't going anywhere. It may have ended up with the least likely and most demented guardian angels ever in Holly Holliday and April Rhodes, and things may still look bleak as of the end of "100," but I still believe that this is effing Glee.
With the series' looming expiration date and a confirmed move to New York by the end of this season, Glee has quite a few loose ends to tie up in Ohio. I entered "100" with no delusions that much of anything would be addressed, but ended up pleasantly surprised by just how much McKinley baggage was unpacked:
Puck and Quinn
Quinn showed up with a fancy old-money boyfriend and a slight Betty Draper attitude in her manic desperation to play the part of a bland, blonde Stepford girlfriend at all costs. Puck showed up in an Air Force uniform and through the magic of song, they came to realize that they are, in fact, soul mates.
Speaking of soul mates: Quinn acknowledging Rachel as Finn's and Puck wondering if Finn forgave them for all of their baby-bullshit back in the day was not okay and by "not okay" I mean that it was perfect.
Brittany and Santana
Brittany escaped the prison of her accidental genius to make the trip back to McKinley and Santana tagged along with Rachel because I guess it's no problem at all to put Funny Girl rehearsals on hold in the name of some dinky high school in Ohio. Brittany was clearly unhappy with her life at MIT and as much as Santana protested that it took a lot of time and heartache to get over Brittany and she was so not going to move backward—she totally did. Sort of. Also: FONDUE FOR TWO!
Rachel and Mercedes
Yep, still the actual worst people ever. They immediately started bickering over who was the "best" and even forced us to sit through another diva-off so that the glee-club-that-probably-has-more-important-stuff-to-think-about could take a moment to stroke their egos. When Santana was mean to Rachel (the gift of truth hurts sometimes), Mercedes and Rachel bonded in the ladies' room by conceding that they're equals with each other, but still better than everyone else.
Anyway, I'm coming around to the idea that on Glee, everyone is the worst person ever at any given time, which could've been a brilliant writing decision except that Glee habitually confuses "complicated" characterization with "inconsistent" characterization.
"100" deliberately shunned any efforts to be meaningful outside the context of Glee's own little bubble, but in a weird way, it worked. Schue openly rejected the notion of giving a pep talk or lesson at the end of "100," arguing that in the end, the most important thing anyone can take away from an experience as encompassing as New Directions was for its alumni is the memories.
Glee itself still has a season and some change to grace our televisions and I'm still not buying the notion that "100" marks the end of New Directions for good (they'll find a way!). But as far as goodbyes go, "100" was a good one. It hit all the sweet spots—with more (more?!) on the way!
– Glee playlist: I kind of dug everything this week.
– OMG @ Brittany's cats making out.
– April Rhodes is ridiculous and I <3 her.
– I'm still not sure how I feel about covers of covers. I mean, they were fine, but they were covers of covers. What do you think about the approach?
What'd you think of "100"? Were you happy to see so many familiar faces return?
AIRED ON 3/20/2015
Season 6 : Episode 13