Glee Season 5 Review “The Untitled Rachel Berry Project”

Glee Season 5 Episode 20 The Untitled Rachel Berry Project (2)

This season of Glee was a mess, ‘The Untitled Rachel Berry Project’ included. It wasn’t really the creative team’s fault, given everything that happened over the summer and since, but it has been a trying experience for most fans of the show nonetheless. I consider myself the sort of die-hard Glee fanatic that would follow the show to the ends of the earth, defending it all the way, but I’ve entered into each week of season five holding my breath, hoping the bad doesn’t outweigh the good, that none of favorite characters are written out and that what I love about Glee isn’t lost on too regular a basis.

Season four was a disaster for a series that once had something to say about growing up, unadulterated ambition and the power of a makeshift family, and at least this band aid season of the show more or less got back to what made Glee such an important presence on television (for me at least). The McKinley stuff was still there, Kurt and Blaine were picked on for being the only long-running couple, romances were introduced just to give certain characters something to do (ahem, Mercedes) and mysterious absences like Santana’s marred the feelings of unity the show was going for, but everything else was an improvement.

This episode, for example, wasn’t the best season finale we’ve ever seen, but at least it moved things forward in a way that gets me intrigued for what’s to come in season six. Glee’s own ambition as a series has often outweighed that of its characters and, even if a lot of their creative decisions have split viewers and sent many previous devotees packing, that’s something to be admired. Yes, I worry that taking Rachel away from her Broadway dreams and keeping Kurt with Blaine together despite his repeated d*ck moves could become a huge problem as we wrap up their adventures, but at least it’s trying.

Which brings me to the very rushed, very anticlimactic season five finale – ‘The Untitled Rachel Berry Project’. The episode needed to achieve a couple of things – make Rachel’s television show feel like a good idea and have Kurt call Blaine out on all his crap before dramatically reuniting in song. Well, that kind of happened, but not in quite the way we would have hoped. A lot of people seem to feel like Rachel’s sudden commitment to television marks a major betrayal by the show, for example, sullying everything that came before and robbing us of a finale that saw her achieve her lifelong ambitions. This occurred to me back in ‘Opening Night’, and I’m no less concerned about it now.

The Kurt and Blaine stuff is similarly worrying, since the show has somehow decided that, no matter how much Blaine throws at ‘the love of his life’, Kurt’s just going to roll over and take it. That scene outside the apartment probably should have felt sweet and romantic, not to mention a relief after all the strife Klaine shippers have had to endure this season, but it instead felt pretty devastating. We started the season with a fresh start for the couple, newly engaged and ready for the future, and having Blaine repeatedly make mistakes while Kurt sleepwalks through his life doesn’t make sense. Seeing them get married next year means nothing if we no longer believe in their connection.

Having Blaine deal with a realities of the real world, where he’s not quite as beloved as he was at Dalton or McKinley, was incredibly interesting to me and a good thing to delve into at this point in the series, but we instead finish season five with him being handed fame and success yet again, redeeming himself in the eyes of his fiance by inviting him on stage but really, considering how little chastising he got for his repeated bad behavior, not really learning anything at all. They’re happy and together in New York now, but for how long before the writers decide they need conflict again? This couple deserves so much more.

Brittany’s presence in the episode was a strange one with the absence of Santana (and no mention of whether Brittana is still alive or not) and Artie is still a complete waste of space, but Sam and Mercedes’ resolution was hands-down the most awkward part of the episode. Sending the message that you can’t have a relationship if you don’t want to have sex is a terrible one, given that the show didn’t have to introduce it in the first place, and I sincerely hope this is the end we see of this misguided romance. I was on board, but there are only so many times one Glee couple can break up before it becomes redundant.

As we leave the kids, Artie, Kurt and Blaine are staying in New York, Rachel is off to L.A. to shoot her new television pilot, Mercedes is off on tour and, completing his transition into the show’s Finn stand-in, Sam has returned to Ohio for a slice of the quiet life. I say this like it’s a bad thing, but I quite like that Glee has someone representing the sort of young person who isn’t hungry for money or success like his friends. Just don’t have him become a teacher – that’d be going too far. Everyone’s scattering, which is sad, but that’s life. If the back end of season five has been about anything, it’s that.

We currently have very little idea of what might happen next season, who will be in it or where we’ll end up but, with only the core fans still sticking around the find out, let’s hope the writers decide to give us what we’ve been craving since the glee kids left McKinley. A celebration of what Glee has been, rather than more tangents, unnecessary heartbreak and rash casting decisions.

What did you think of the episode? Are you excited or nervous for season six? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.