‘Glee’ Graduation Finale: A Tying Up of Loose Ends and New Directions

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Graduation is here, a national championship is in the bag and all that's left are messy goodbyes and new beginnings. "Glee's" Season 3 finale opens in the music room where New Directions had its rocky beginnings from a group of six, socially awkward outcasts into a winning team with unbreakable bonds.

Each senior has an unforgettable journey of personal evolution and education behind them, and the final episode is a tying up of loose ends and new directions. There is a marked absence of slushee-throwing and John Stamos appearances (although an Uncle Jessie jab is squeezed in by Gloria Estefan); but the understated, emotional goodbyes, and musical performances are a sobering peak at reality once the high school bubble has popped.

Evolution

Kurt is one of many seniors who found himself through New Directions. He started the series fearfully coming out to his dad and ends it with his dad's full acceptance. The surprise performance of "All the Single Ladies" by Burt (Mike O'Malley) for his son is a perfect graduation gift. It's the anthem that ended the football team's losing streak and gave Kurt the fortitude to be himself. It's an encouraging example for viewers and future generations at McKinley High.

New Directions

Some "Glee" seniors have heartrending decisions to make and others have more defined futures. Mercedes (Amber Riley) is being signed to an indie label in L.A. as a backup singer, Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) is joining Chicago's Joffrey Ballet, Santana (Naya Rivera) knows she definitely doesn't see college in her future, Quinn (Dianna Agron) finds compassion and the Ivy League, and Brittany is resigned to repeating senior year.

Two major finale shockers come with Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel's (Lea Michele) marred marriage plans and the chink Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) finally shows in her armor. Finn learns that love means letting go, and sacrifice might be the most honorable road to take. Sue's heart-to-heart with Quinn illustrates she recognizes her own defects and can appreciate the good in others.

The cameo by "Inside the Actor's Studio's" James Lipton is a treat for fans of his celebrity retrospectives. It also ties in with the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, where Kurt, Finn, and Rachel are hoping to gain admission.

New Beginnings

"Glee" kicked off this wild ride of musical remakes and hormonal melodrama in 2009 with Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and retires its senior class to Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen's "Glory Days." It's a succinct summation of growing up and a nod to the legacy the founding members of New Directions leave behind.

The torch is passed off to the next generation of song birds, and viewers will likely adapt. Much like the U.K. series "Skins," which changes casts every two seasons, "Glee" could maintain its popularity for many more seasons. Besides, the clash of the titans between mega villain coaches Sue and Roz ("The Real Housewives of Atlanta's" NeNe Leakes) is one attraction few fans want to miss in the already confirmed fourth season.

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