It's time to graduate for McKinley High's class of 2012 as the glee kids look back and contemplate their futures in the Season 3 finale. Gloria Estefan guest stars!
At McKinley, Will smiles as he walks into the choir room and discovers his original glee kids singing "Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat," just as they did for him several years ago when glee club was was first beginning. He explains their theme for the week is saying goodbye to one another, and he starts by performing a slowed-down acoustic version of Rod Stewart's "Forever Young." Later, Kurt is called into the auditorium by his dad who dances with Tina and Brittany to Beyonce's "Single Ladies." Kurt is shocked and excited by the dance, which serves as his graduation gift from his father. Kurt then meets with Blaine to tell him that the two of them will figure out their long distance relationship next year, and that he's not worried about the future of their relationship. To say goodbye to the rest of his classmates, Kurt performs "I'll Remember" by Madonna.
In the hallway, Rachel, Kurt and Finn promise each other that they'll meet in the auditorium when they receive their NYADA letters and will open the envelopes together. Meanwhile, Mercedes reveals that her YouTube video has led an agent in Los Angeles to sign her as a backup singer on his Indie label. She's going to move to the west coast and pursue music while taking classes at UCLA. Mike shares the good news that he's been offered a dance scholarship by Joffrey in Chicago. As Santana hears about her friends' accomplishments, she grows worried that all she's doing is going to Kentucky next year. She sits down with her mom Maribel [Gloria Estefan] and Brittany to discuss the future. Santana reveals that she wants to go to New York but her mother says that she should pursue school instead. Brittany then excitedly reveals that she's actually flunked her senior year and will get to be a senior again next year at McKinley. Santana suggests she will stay back in Lima, too.
Back in the choir room, the senior glee clubbers sing "You Get What You Give" by The New Radicals as a goodbye to the junior students. Later, Finn walks through the McKinley halls and reflects about his high school career. He thinks positively about his future, including his recent audition with James Lipton from "Inside the Actor's Studio." Finn meets with Will who recounts the first time he heard Finn singing REO Speedwagon in the shower. Will admits that he planted marijuana in Finn's locker to blackmail him into joining New Directions. Finn thinks it's an awesome story and the two share a good laugh. Back at home, Finn reveals to his mom that he feels as though he's let his dad down by not getting him an honorable discharge from the army, and by not joining the army, himself. He feels like everything in his life has been falling into place, except for the memory of his father.
In the choir room, the juniors take the stage and thank the seniors, especially Finn, for standing by the glee club even if it wasn't the most popular thing to do. They perform "In My Life" by The Beatles. Later, Quinn walks through the halls at McKinley and reflects on her high school journey. She feels confident about returning to the top of her game, but feels badly as she watches Puck struggle to graduate. Quinn meets with Rachel and the two discuss how far they've come as friends, and that they'll stay in touch next year. When Quinn gives Rachel her blessing about marrying Finn, Rachel remarks that Quinn and Puck were perhaps destined to be together, and how Puck was always better with her as his girlfriend. Quinn visits with Puck and admits that she loves him and believes in him. The two share a kiss, which rejuvenates Puck to go back to school, conquer his test, and find out that he will graduate!
Sue takes back her spot from Roz as head coach of Cheerios, but not before Roz suggests that her and Sue think about working together to bring down Principal Figgins. Quinn shows up to return her Cheerios outfit to Sue, but Sue says that it's retired and won't accept it. The two discuss the specialness of their relationship and share an emotional goodbye hug. Later, the kids don their graduation caps and gowns as the moment for which they've been waiting has finally arrived... graduation day! The students receive their diplomas while Puck and Finn sing back and forth to Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days." Following the ceremony, Finn, Rachel and Quinn meet in the choir room to open up their New York letters. Finn opens his first and discovers that he didn't get accepted for "Inside the Actor's Studio." Next, Kurt opens his letter and discovers that he has not been accepted into NYADA. As the boys both stand there stunned, Rachel opens her letter to discover that she has been accepted into NYADA.
After hearing the news, Rachel decides to defer her acceptance to NYADA for one year and stay back in Lima to help Finn and Kurt get into their programs in New York for next year. Meanwhile, Santana's mom gives Santana a large gift of money and tells her to go ahead and move to New York. Later, Finn picks Rachel up, as the two are supposedly heading out to get married. Rachel is stunned when Finn drives her to the train station and tells her that he's booked her for the next train to New York. Finn can't stand the thought of holding Rachel back any longer. He says that he loves her too much, and that's why he is surrendering to let the universe do its thing. If they are destined to be together again, they will be together again. In the meantime, he reveals that he's going to join the army. As Rachel and Finn get emotional, they express their undying love for each other and kiss one last time. Rachel sings "Roots Before Branches" by Room for Two while Finn, joined by the rest of New Directions, walks her up to the train. They bid farewell as Finn walks, then runs, beside the moving train. Rachel finally arrives in New York City and looks around in awe as the credits start to roll.
The day we've all been looking forward to (or actually dreading) has finally arrived... McKinley High's Class of 2012 has finally walked! Ryan Murphy and company have saved the best for last, as this season's finale has proven to be something truly special. From the short-but-sweet flashbacks to Season One, to the fair amount of airtime given to each of the graduating seniors, this show was right on the money. Highlights for me included Will's sentimental rendition of "Forever Young" as well as the kiss shared by Puck and Quinn (I always thought the two were unstoppable together). Who would have guessed the real bomb of the finale, which was Finn's decision to let Rachel go as he joined the army. This certainly puts a kink in the Finchel plan while leaving us with huge wonderment about what's awaiting us Gleeks for next season. It's a ride that I can't wait to take with all of you!
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