Notes with spoilers after the jump.
There were things I could do without. Iz's "Over the Rainbow" is such a cliche at this point (lovely cliche though it is) that having Will replicate it was weak. And the minute the strings hit the opening bars of "To Sir With Love," I cringed some -- even if it was nicely done. And the Journey medley? What happened to the funk throwdown that went right at Vocal Adrenaline's weak spot?
But overall I found the episode a satisfying end to the season.
And why? Well, the Journey medley at regionals was a nice way of bringing us back to where the season began. Both before and after regionals, the show reminded us that it's been less about success in competition than finding joy in life, and the recitation of how the kids have changed was an effective touch.
I liked the way that the show spread the vocal lines (and closeups) around through all the New Directions, so the finale reminded us, as the show has occasionally, that it's not just about a few kids. And that not only did the group lose at regionals, but it did so before the end of the show, avoiding some kind of cheeseball cliffhanger.
While I have expressed some concern about the overuse of Sue, tonight did go back to a note that it has hit before -- that Sue is damaged, and vulnerable, and as was noted during the regionals judging, she has more in common with the glee kids than she would like to admit. So the occasional decent act is not beyond the realm of possibility -- even if it would have been more plausible to make Will suffer some before giving him another chance.
Even so, "Glee" is a musical comedy, and the happy ending is a musical-comedy tradition. And "Glee" is at heart a traditional show -- one that wants us to overcome adversity, find new friends and love, never stop believin' and leave the theater smiling and humming a song. I still have reservations -- if the kids have come this far in a season, where do they go in the next? -- but I have my smile.