Glee watch: hold on to the feelin'.

journey glee episode

SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers for the season finale of Glee coming up.

The first season finale of Glee was called “Journey” for a reason. At regionals, New Directions retraced their steps back to their roots, performing “Don’t Stop Believin'” as they did in the show’s pilot, as part of a Journey medley. Likewise, the show Glee itself returned to its roots, balancing its weirdness, snark and bombast with intimate stories of small-town high school life. And it, too, by showing what it can be at its best, made its case for staying around another year. (Or actually two, considering Fox has already picked up a third season.)

The episode started off shakily, by which I mean that it started off the same way that seemingly two-thirds of Glee episodes do: Will discovers a plot by Sue, Will charges into Figgins’ office, Figgins answers, “William, my hands are tied!” or something to that effect. In this case, the setup is that New Directions, by previous arrangement, must win or finish second or lose their space in the school. Setting them up to finish… third.

But rather than build to a climactic performance as in “Sectionals,” “Journey” refreshingly, and effectively, dispenses with New Directions’ Journey medley early on. This sets up one of Glee’s best and audacious musical numbers yet, and to the show’s credit, it’s in a performance by Vocal Adrenaline. The full-length “Bohemian Rhapsody,” its bombast cut with the operatics of Quinn’s delivery, was one of those examples of the weird, multivalent collision that is Glee working in every way: it was entertaining, over-the-top, risk-taking and simultanously utterly artificial and very real. Over its back nine episodes, Glee has often let the crowd-pleasing theatrical elements overwhelm the more mundane real-problems stories, but here Glee gave us both at once, making each element stronger in the process.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” raises the interesting question: who actually was better at regionals? From where I was sitting, the Journey medley was far from New Directions at its best. The Vocal Adrenaline performance was tight, inventive and well-choreographed. Watching New Directions reprise “Don’t Stop,” on the other hand—fist-pumping and jumping around on stage—felt less like watching New Directions try to win regionals and more like watching the Glee cast do a stage show: that is, it was a performance that you’re more likely to enjoy because it’s impressive (as, say, a judge would) but because you already know and like the singers (as a Glee fan would).

I don’t mean this as a criticism of the episode, by the way; just the opposite. It was important that “Journey” set the ending up so that New Directions did not seem to have been clearly cheated, but instead presented a situation where you credibly argue either group the winner. You could argue, as Rachel did, that New Directions was clearly better because they had “heart” (in which case the more “professional” Vocal Adrenaline looks, the colder and worse they are), or you could argue that this was just not New Directions’ best moment. In the end, New Directions wasn’t cheated; they just weren’t good enough to unambiguously win.

That’s important for two reasons. The first, of course, is just structurally setting up the second season: Rocky has to lose the first movie. Second, it set up the point that the show maturely made as the choir faced disbanding: that what each kid gained over the course of the season had nothing to do with winning and losing. That’s thematically important to Glee, because there’s a poignant reality at the show’s core. These kids are probably not actually going on to stardom. Most of them will go on to do other things, many of them right here in Lima, and what they can hope for is that they’ll be better, more rounded, teachers or pool cleaners or whatever else because of their experience in glee. In the end, this is just show choir, not American Idol.

Which ties into the third thing that the regionals performance set up: Sue’s about-face. We’ve spent the season seeing her as a terror wielding outsized influence at McKinley High, but that situation is funny partly because of what is brought home to her here: she’s really just a big (or tall) fish in a little Ohio pond. She lets herself write down New Directions in first place because she sees that—from the perspective of the wider world—they’re largely in the same situation. (Also because, as the entire season has gradually established, for all her arrogance and competitiveness, Sue takes being an educator very seriously.)

That doesn’t mean Sue is going to start liking Will any better, but it (hopefully) sets her up to be less of a cartoon villain in season two. You woul have to imagine that, after this, it’s going to be hard to write yet another string of “Sue has a plan that will destroy New Directions once and for all” plots. And that’s good, because Glee has gotten all the mileage out of it that it can.

An episode like “Journey” shows that Glee can move on and mature while still keeping what makes it entertaining. And even though it sets up a second season structurally like the first—another school year, another competition—in terms of characters and writing, it challenges the show to become more complex and potentially richer.

After a wildly erratic first season—including some of the TV season’s most transcendent moments and some of its most painfully wrong-headed ones—Glee is very much in the position that New Directions is in. It’s shown that it’s very good. And it’s shown that it’s capable of being better. What will make or break its next season is whether it accepts the responsibility of potential greatness, or if it decides that replaying the hits that got it where it is now is good enough.

“Journey,” like “Wheels” and “Dream On” earlier this season, was good enough that it means Glee’s makers have a high-class problem: they have to accept that they are making an actual good show, and hold themselves to the standards of one. In a year of writing about “Glee,” I’ve found that some of the people most defensive about criticism of the show—as is the case with much TV—are those who expect less of it: “It’s just entertainment, lighten up,” &c.

I disagree. “Journey” makes me want to tell Glee what a coach might tell a team. That was an excellent effort. And it was a good year. Now it’s time to take it to the next level.

Time for the hail of bullets:

* How fitting that the season should end with Sue Sylvester’s best Will’s-hair-insult of all time: “It looks like a briar patch. I expect racist animated Disney characters to pop out up and start singing songs about livin’ on the bayou.”

* Oh, and: “From Fort Wayne, Indiana, the not at all stupidly named Aural Intensity!”

* New Directions returned to the beginning with “Don’t Stop,” but with an important difference. The new version included solos for members like Puck and Santana, in the process showing that Glee, like New Directions, is much more of an ensemble now.

* Shelby’s adoption of baby Beth: Fastest TV adoption of all time? I think it takes longer to get a Congratulations card in the hospital gift shop.

* I don’t want to belabor the awesomeness of the cross-cutting in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but one brilliant moment was its contrasting a dancer dropping backwards to Quinn falling back on the hospital bed. Gorgeous, and deserves a re-watching.

* It can be uncomfortable when a show references its own zeitgeisty status, but Olivia Newton-John’s diss of New Directions was brilliant: “That whole ‘We’re inspiring! We’re a ragtag bunch of misfits!’ thing is so 2009.” Here’s to fall 2010.


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Glee season 1 episode 22: "journey" videos.

journey glee episode

Faithfully Duet

journey glee episode

Glee Finale Promo

Glee season 1 episode 22 quotes.

Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist, animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing about living on the bayou. Sue Permalink: Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist, ani... Added: June 08, 2010
I realize my cultural ascendance only serves to illuminate your own banality. But, face it, I'm legend. It's happened. Sue Permalink: I realize my cultural ascendance only serves to illuminate your ... Added: June 08, 2010

Glee Season 1 Episode 22 Music

Glee season 1 episode 22 photos.

journey glee episode

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journey glee episode

6/8/10 Glee Season 1 Episode 22 Journey

journey glee episode

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journey glee episode

Glee : "Journey"

When I signed up to review Glee , it was because I thought the show's pilot, though a mess in places, got at something I'd never seen portrayed on TV before: the sense of what it's like to perform as a teenager. When I was in high school, the arts were about the only outlet I had, the only way I could convince girls I was worth talking to, the only thing I was any good at. I spent hours playing instruments, singing, performing … not really dancing, since I've always been terrible at that, but at least trying to dance. In its pilot and in its best moments since, Glee has captured the feeling of what it's like to be 16 and need to perform, the desperation that comes when you realize that these are really the only times you're going to get to do this, the weird sense of community you build with your fellow performers. Glee gets all of that just right.

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Obviously, it gets a lot of other stuff wrong. The storytelling is sloppy, veering all over the place with little rhyme or reason. Huge plot points will be forgotten and then picked up again, as though the show has abruptly realized that, oh yeah, Quinn's been pregnant this whole time. Episodes will introduce big, potentially Earth-shattering plot developments, then shrug them off with very little in the way of logic. The show will have its sad moments, but it will veer abruptly into big, happy musical numbers or broad comedy or whatever it wants to. It's a big, hit show. It has no terrible need to moderate. It's just going to keep doing everything it wants to do, and we're expected to either hop on board for the ride or to have gotten off long ago.

On its own, "Journey" is a fantastic episode of Glee . As a capper to the season, it mostly works. As a way to tie together all of the plots the show has developed this year, it sometimes feels like it's dropped in from an alternate universe where the plot followed much more closely from the pilot. There's a moment where Will breaks down in tears in his car while listening to "Don't Stop Believin'" because he thinks the glee club - the best thing that's happened to most of his kids and the emotional constant in what's been a rough year for him - is going to go away. He's worried the kids simply aren't going to do well at regionals (where, apparently, "placing" means getting first or second). Sue Sylvester is one of the judges, and she will surely work her increasingly implausible demon magic to keep the kids from winning.

Honestly, this is a moment that would have absolutely killed if the Will of every other episode had been the Will of the whole season. You'll get little glimpses into his life, into just how adrift he is from what he really wanted, and it always gives a better sense of why this adult would be so obsessed with restarting the high school glee club. To have all of that taken away from him would be devastating to the Will of the pilot or of "Dream On" or of "Mattress." Similarly, the Will of those episodes is the kind of guy I'd buy the kids singing "To Sir With Love" to because he's changed their lives so. But the Will of the other episodes has been a frustrating idiot manchild who doesn't realize his wife is faking a pregnancy, an utter asshole, a vapid dancing soda can who tears up at everything his kids do, or any number of other things. "Journey" felt like a fantastic culmination for a phantom season, a season that didn't exist, one that earned our desire to see New Directions triumph then made us feel genuinely bad when they didn't, when they realized they were good, but they weren't good enough just yet.

And yet, I'm going to place this episode up there with the best Glee has ever done. I think there's something very smart said in the early moments of the episode, when Puck is getting Quinn drunk and persuading her to have sex. In three years, neither of them will remember who Finn even WAS. Will says much the same to the kids in his speech to them in the choir room. They won't remember all of the specifics of regionals in even five years' time, but they will remember the high of performing with their friends, the feeling of being out there and having the crowd with them. Glee is a show that is rather smugly certain that the good stuff it does will be so good that we forget about the trashy stuff. And, honestly, while I remember not liking "Acafellas," I'm hard-pressed to remember why. But I can recall just about every moment of "Jump" from "Mattress" or the original "Don't Stop Believin'" performance. At its best, as Matt Zoller Seitz argued in a wonderful piece today, Glee is achingly sincere, and it's that sincerity that causes some to dismiss it out of hand, even as many of the rest of us find in it a certain Kryptonite that wears down critical defenses. Why are we so primed to turn away from simple, heartfelt expressions of emotion? I'm not sure, but Glee is trying to make the world safe for earnestness again, and I'm on board.

Make no mistake. There's stupid stuff in this episode. I'm not sure I completely buy that Shelby would suddenly adopt Quinn's baby out of nowhere, and while the show went to one of my favorite thematic devices to get Sue to vote for New Directions (in that she realized that she, too, was stuck in Ohio and wasn't going anywhere), I wish that her sudden change of heart had had even the slightest bit more build-up. It was obvious that she was going to relent and let Will have the choir room back for another year because this is that kind of show, but the fact that she did struck me as the show suddenly realizing that it didn't want to end on a forced cliffhanger. The scene between Will and Sue was nicely acted (Jane Lynch always does just as well with these humanizing moments as she does with the broad comedy), but it could have used a polish at the script level.

But for once in this back nine, the good stuff absolutely overwhelms the stupid stuff. I loved the choice to show all of the New Directions performance, even if I didn't think it was as good as their sectionals performance. I loved the almost documentary-like feel the show adopted backstage, capturing the kids putting their hands in to psych each other up or Finn telling Rachel he loves her or Will dancing nervously backstage, barely able to watch his kids out on stage (one of the rare "Will watches the kids" moments that absolutely worked). I loved "To Sir, With Love," which wore down my natural resistance to sap surprisingly quickly. I loved how the show wasn't afraid to let New Directions lose and wasn't afraid to let us feel the sorrow of that moment. I loved Emma's eruption to Will about how Sue must have cheated and the kids deserved to win. I loved the way the episode reoriented Quinn - one of the better story arcs of the series - at the center of everything and the way it would call back to old episodes or moments within a single shot or glance. It felt like the end of a journey, a culmination of something before we go forward.

I don't know what kind of show Glee is going to be in season two. I'm not sure how long I'll be OK with the show completely saving itself at the last minute via improbable moments unlike anything else on TV. But I know that when Glee is playing at its absolute level best, there are few shows on TV that can even go where it goes. To watch Glee is to be bashed over the head until you care, sometimes, but once you do care, oh, it's a helluva show those kids put on.

Stray observations:

  • I've saved this for the stray observations because I didn't know where else to work it in, but "Bohemian Rhapsody" was, no joke, one of the best things I've seen on television in a long, long time. I've seen a lot of grousing about it on various places around the 'net, but I think it's an incredible sequence. Consider all of the things it has to accomplish. 1.) It has to provide a justification for Vocal Adrenaline to win the whole thing going away. 2.) It has to show Quinn's baby being born. 3.) It has to tie together Puck, Quinn, Quinn's mom, and the rest of the glee club. 4.) It has to show us Rachel's unresolved feelings for Jesse. 5.) It has to put a button on Jesse's arc. Now, honestly, the sequence accomplishes all of these things, and it does so with ABSOLUTELY NO DIALOGUE. It's done entirely via music, camera movement, and editing, and it's fucking thrilling and completely audacious. I've seen some complaints about the fact that Quinn starts saying the lyrics of the song, but she's saying lyrics that would be appropriate for the point she's at in her labor, and the show wears away this initial resistance to what could feel stupid. Furthermore, the times she's not talking with the song, she's shouting at Puck that he sucks or cradling her newborn baby girl and realizing she has to give it up. It's a stunning piece of TV, it takes up an entire act, and I'm impressed that the show used its power as a hit to push for something so thrilling.
  • I did want one last moment between Rachel and Jesse. Instead, we got one between Rachel and Shelby, which wasn't bad.
  • What the hell is the show going to do with Terri next season? I don't mind that it tried to pretend she didn't exist in these back episodes, but she's presumably still under contract and getting paid for all of these episodes she doesn't appear in.
  • Pizza party at Will's house! Honestly, when I saw Quinn standing in his kitchen holding plates, I was very, very worried that they'd sprung yet another abrupt plot shift on us.
  • Preference: Pilot "Don't Stop" or finale "Don't Stop"?
  • I promise to stop with the "three shows" thing next fall, but Jane Lynch inadvertently offered even more evidence for it in this interview with CBS news. And looking over the episodes written by each creator, I'd definitely watch any of the three Glee s, but I think Brad Falchuk's Glee would probably be the most consistent and make the most sense. Conveniently, he wrote and directed the finale.
  • And that's it until the fall. I do hope that I'll be around covering the show again come September, even as I'm aware that what I enjoy out of the show (the weird sadness around its edges) is not what most enjoy out of it (the songs). Join me come fall for the inevitable decline!
  • "I realize my cultural ascendence only serves to illuminate your own banality."
  • "I keep expecting racist animated Disney characters to start popping up and sing songs about living on the bayou."
  • "I, for one, was offended that only one of the groups chose to honor me in song."
  • "Kiss my ass, Josh Groban."
  • "I spend large segments of each day picturing you choking on food. And I recently contacted an exotic animal dealer because I had a very satisfying dream that the two of us went to a zoo and I shoved your face into one of those pink, enflamed monkey butts that weeps lymph."
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Glee season finale recap: Journey to the Center of the Birth

No one stops believin' as New Directions finally heads to Regionals

journey glee episode

I’ve been trying to collect my feelings on the first season of Glee . It’s difficult. For one thing, the experience has been spread out over the course of a year. There was awe-inspiring debut back in May 2009. Then the unsteady episodes in early fall — forget all the fake pregnancies, remember ”Acafellas”? But the show found its footing, and turned into a cross-platform phenomenon. ”Sectionals” was just about perfect… right in time for a months-long hiatus.

The back nine episodes have been a mixed bag. That’s to be expected. Glee was the out-of-nowhere underdog when it debuted. A cast of unknowns, most of them shockingly normal-looking? And in a musical drama, a genre that hasn’t been successful since, lemme think, NEVER ONCE IN TV HISTORY? There’s bound to be whiplash when a show like that turns into a phenomenon. Look no further than the first words of the ”Previously On” narration on last night’s season finale: ”I dunno anyone who’d miss an episode of Glee .” Very cheeky, ”Previously On” Narrator. Hubris alert! Icarus: meet the Sun.

Don’t get me wrong. The back half had great episodes, and some of the show’s best performances. I could watch Rachel’s ”Run, Joey, Run” video a million times and never get tired of it. Of course, not everybody liked ”Run, Joey, Run,” and not everybody (myself included) liked the Madonna episode. Glee is practically designed to be as a mixed bag, when you consider how it tries to reflect something like the entire sweep of pop music history, from Judy Garland to Barbra Streisand to Madonna to Lady Gaga. Tell me how many times you’ve experienced this watching Glee : the kids start singing a song that you don’t recognize, but someone you’re watching it with says, ”Oh, I love this song!”

To me, though, the first season finale, ”Journey,” was just about perfect. Every essential plotline from the season reached a sense of closure (even the ones you might’ve wanted to forget: hello, Olivia Newton-John!) More than that, this was one of those high-energy episodes that narrowed its song focus (only four performances!) and found a just-right mix of cynicism and optimism, of banal reality and glam performance. Oh hell, I cried. How could you not?

The episode kicked off with Mr. Schue proudly posting a flyer for New Directions’ Regionals performance. Sue could sense his pride, and swooped in like a vulture: ”See you on Saturday,” she said, ”I’m one of the judges.” Schue complained to Figgins, but Figgins’ hands were tied: Don’t blame me, blame the Show Choir Governing Board, who went with celebrity judges this year.

Sue qualifies as a celebrity? Sue Sylvester, going way meta: ”I’m a legend. It’s happened.” Sue then created a new watershed moment in the history of jokes about Schuester’s hair: ”I’m having a really difficult time hearing anything you have to say today, because your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing songs about living on the bayou.”

NEXT: Mr. Schue’s man-tears

Unexpectedly, we jumped to a flashback to many months ago: Puck trying to convince Quinn to sleep with him. This scene was striking, and not just because of Puck’s totally bananas Flashback Mohawk. (Did it really used to look like that?) Glee can go absurd, but the show is often surprisingly direct when it deals with sex. Puck’s key line — ”You think either one of us is gonna give a damn about Finn in three years?” — was unflinchingly cynical. (When Quinn asked about protection, he actually managed to make ”I got it, trust me,” sound romantic, albeit idiotic.)

Jump cut to the modern day, with Quinn rubbing at her pregnant belly. The mood was grim at New Directions’ pre-Regionals pizza party. (Did they learn nothing from that lesson about funk last week?) Sue Sylvester was going to crush them. It was obvious. Tina cried. Schuester didn’t get all the fuss. Mercedes tried to explain. ”Do you think Puck and Santana will even look at me once we’re not in glee club anymore?” Puck: ”She has a point.”

Mr. Schue couldn’t figure out how to inspire his kids. Thank heavens for Emma Pillsbury, who spoke to Will this week for the first time since her epic bitchslap five episodes ago. I was glad to see her return in such a big way. I don’t hate Will Schuester as much as others may , but the guy’s become mighty insufferable in this second half of this season. He becomes noticeably less annoying whenever Emma’s around, if only because she’s more believable as a voice of moral reason. She reminded him of the moment in the series premiere, when she showed him a picture of himself performing as a high schooler. It was the happiest moment in his life ”because I loved what I was doing.”

Will loves it when a woman tells him about himself. He was feeling romantic. Hands off, Schuester! Emma was dating a dentist with the decidedly dentist-like name Carl Howell (they bonded over their shared love of sterilizing tools.) Mr. Schue fled to his awful car. He was feeling low. And like so many other people in American history, only one thing could rescue him: accidentally turning on a radio station playing ”Don’t Stop Believin’.” He cried, but it was a good cry, a manful cry. (I should point out that my girlfriend found this scene deeply unmoving. Maybe it’s a guy thing?)

Meanwhile, in the land of teenagers, Finn chased down Rachel in the hallway. He tried to inspire her. ”You’re a leader, Rachel! The way you’re on everyone all the time is annoying, but it’s also what keeps us going!” I was all set for this plotline to drag on (we’ve seen variations on this all season), but Shazam! Rachel just kissed him, and smiled.

NEXT: The Journey begins

At this point, Mr. Schue gave a speech. Again, minor wince: how many inspiring speeches has this guy given this season? (Since there have been 22 episodes, I’m going to ballpark it: 22?) But by gum, this one actually was inspiring! ”One day, all of you are gonna be gone, and all of this, all of us, will be nothing but a hazy memory.” I always find it interesting, and sad, when characters in fiction briefly pause to consider the possibility that everything they’ve experienced while we’ve been watching them will fade away into memory. (Not to get mega-meta, but some of what Will was talking about almost sounded like a unified theory of television: ”Life only really has one beginning and one end, and the rest is just a whole lot of middle.”)

It’s the journey, not the destination, and so, friends, there was only one way the New Directions gang could take Regionals:

Journey Medley (”Faithfully,” ”Any Way You Want It,” ”Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” ”Don’t Stop Believin’)

Those goons from Aural Intensity got the judge lineup ahead of time: how else to explain the Olivia Newton-John/Josh Groban mash-up? Nerves backstage ran high. Mr. Schue made a funny about Finn’s dancing, so at least someone has noticed besides us viewers. (The black-and-gold outfits: I want them.) [More on the finale’s costumes here ]. Finn and Rachel prepared for their big entrance. Rachel, adorably: ”Break a leg.” Finn, adorably: ”I love you.”

It’s difficult for me to imagine when Journey was an actual famous band. I’ve only known them at various stages of their retro-resurrection: their semi-ironic rebirth as the Great American Drunk-Singing Band ( as portrayed brilliantly on Family Guy ), the fully ironic choice to make them into the apocalyptic chorus at the end of The Sopranos , and their ecstatic re-rebirth as the first Glee megahit. I have the vague sense that Journey are fading back into the mists of pop culture: I just attended a wedding where more people sang along to ”Bad Romance” than ”Don’t Stop Believin’.”

But man, did this medley freaking rock, or what? (I thought about grading it in three parts, but every part would have just gotten an A, except for ”Faithfully,” which would get an A+.) This episode was directed by series co-creator Brad Falchuk, and he clearly took some notes from Joss Whedon: note all the long takes, like the one which followed Finn into the auditorium, then tracked over to find Rachel awaiting him.

The little touches were great here, too. the Bearded One’s red piano. The intermingling of ”Any Way You Want It” and ”Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin”’ as a boys vs. girls song fight. Puck momentarily taking over Finn’s solo. Brittany spinning Artie. The brief cut to Quinn’s mom in the audience. (If I wasn’t already bawling, that would’ve done the trick.) The way that everyone in the audience stood up to clap along. And that key change in ”Don’t Stop Believin”’! Swoon.

NEXT: The best ”Bohemian Rhapsody” since Wayne’s World ? Maybe.

The medley was so good it cured world hunger and solved Quinn’s parental problems. Quinn’s mom apologized for missing all her other performances, and said she left Quinn’s father: ”Kicked him out, actually. He was having an affair with some tattooed freak.” (I found this line incredibly funny.) The medley and confession were so powerful they made Quinn’s water break.

”Bohemian Rhapsody”

Now, this is interesting. The final episode of the season, and the most eye-popping performance was given over to the opposing team. The Journey Medley certainly wins for pure emotional reaction, but I think the Glee creators were forcing us to see something: the Vocal Adrenaline people genuinely were better, more clinically proficient. This was a showcase for Jonathan Groff and a whole host of incredible background dancers, and they just crushed it.

And the choice to intercut this performance with Quinn’s labor? Brilliant. Terrible. Then brilliant again. While Vocal Adrenaline danced up and down the stairs in various impressive ways, Quinn said, ”I want Mercedes to come with me, too!” While Jesse crooned ”Mother! Just killed a man!” Quinn screeched though labor. (”Puck! You suck! You suck!” she screamed.) At some points, the lyrics of the song merged with what Quinn was saying. And then there was The Moment: Vocal Adrenaline formed a circle with Jesse in the middle, right as little Baby Beth entered the world.

It was weird, your honor. If nothing else, it was definitely the most visually arresting way to represent the birthing process I’ve ever seen outside of The Miracle of Life . But I kind of liked it. Somewhere, Freddie Mercury is nodding proudly, and saying, ”World, I forgive you for We Will Rock You .”

Rachel went to see her Birth Mama Shelby. She had a proposal. ”Come and teach at McKinley. You and Mr. Schuester could be co-directors!” (Pause to imagine Ryan Murphy having roughly this same conversation in real life with Idina Menzel.) But Shelby wanted out of this crazy show-choir game. ”I need a house, and a garden, and a dog.” Shelby strolled over to the baby wing of the local hospital to chat it up with Quinn and Puck. I was worried that her appearance would send Quinn into some kind of shame spiral, leading her to end up keeping Baby Beth. But no! In an act of storytelling alchemy that makes me love television, Glee merged two so-so plotlines into one beautiful finish: Shelby ended up claiming Beth as her own daughter. (Yes, this was ridiculous, but I’ll buy that for a dollar.)

Now, though, we have to talk about the judges’ room. As despairingly cynical as the judges were in ”Sectionals,” the situation here was positively dystopian. Sue Sylvester, who has spent the entire season as the Great Anti-Glee Club Villain, was the least of New Directions’ problems. Rod Remington was lost in memory of partying with Freddie Mercury back in the ’70s, a time when people weren’t so obsessed with labels. Josh Groban liked New Directions, but really wanted to learn more about Sue’s relationship situation. (Remember when he slept with Mr. Schue’s mom, or something? Seriously, did ”Acafellas” take place in a parallel universe?)

NEXT: An unexpected overlap between Glee and The Wire

But full props here to Olivia Newton-John, who totally made up for playing herself a few episodes ago as a lame self-obsessed bore. This time, she gamely played herself as the Cruel Voice of Showbiz: ”Talk about blatant tokenism. That whole ragtag bunch of misfits thing is so 2009… are they a poor person’s school?”

This put Sue in the strange, utterly unexpected position of defending the glee club: ”Not all kids are afforded the same things as others.” Poppycock, said the real celebrities, who linked Sue to the kids’ inherent loserdom. Oooh, a nationally-recognized cheerleading coach? A local TV personality? Big deal! You’re still in Ohio, still a Lima loser. ”Some people just simply don’t have talent,” said ONJ. ”You have a lot in common with those kids: underachievers with delusions of grandeur.”

I understand if some of you viewers feel like this twist was a bit silly or over-the-top. To me, it felt a bit like those rare moments in The Wire when some of that show’s characters, who spent their whole lives struggling, would get a hint of just how meaningless their lives were to the people in power. (It was the Glee version of ”And I’m not even Greek,” a brief peek at the dispassionately cruel great powers that run the world.)

I find Glee insufferable when it suggests that music and togetherness can solve every problem. (See a couple weeks ago, when we learned a valuable lesson about bullying and friendship and Gaga, or something.) This felt a lot more complex. Music and friendship don’t necessarily turn losers into winners. But that doesn’t make those things worthless. So it was sad to see New Directions get the Bad News Bears ending: defeated by the Vocal Adrenaline automatons and the Aural Intensity goon patrol. But it felt real.

There followed a genuine Emma Pillsbury outburst: she gave Figgins a piece of her mind about handing over the choir room to the Model UN. Mr. Schue responded to her fiery passion with a patented Will Schuester Inappropriate Hallway Kiss. (That’s just where they kiss, viewers: in the school hallways.) ”Dentist or no, this thing isn’t over between us!” he proclaimed. Witness the return of Romantic Schuester, and not the guy who fake-seduces people!

”To Sir, With Love”

The kids went around the room and listed off the single character trait that defined them when the show began. Tina had a stutter, Puck tossed kids into dumpsters, Santana and Brittany were elitist cheerleaders who hated all non-popular peons. Matt and Mike were even gifted with meager personalities, here at the end of all things. Matt: ”I was just another football player!” Mike: ”I was afraid to dance outside of my room!” (I realize I’m just parsing needles in haystacks here, but whereas Matt seems kind of dull, I really want to see more of Mike. Other Asian: speak!)

NEXT: Oh, Sue

I realize that Finn is kind of a manic character who wavers regularly between submental doddering and nobility, but I lost it when he said, ”I didn’t have a father. Someone I could look up to, model myself after. Someone who could show me what it really meant to be a man.” (Message to Finn: Do as Schue says, not as he does.)

The performance that followed was the polar opposite of the Journey medley: quiet, violin-heavy, with the bare minimum of choreography. But it was heart-grabbing, especially when Sue Sylvester appeared in the shadows. (She stood up there way back in the first episode, too, under very different circumstances.) You could already kind of guess how Sue was going to hand New Directions a second chance, but that didn’t stop this requiem from being altogether moving. Glee can go intimate, too.

Sue walked into the choir practice room to chat it up with Mr. Schue. ”It’s as barren as me in here, Will.” She refused a handshake: ”I’ve seen that car you drive. I don’t want to catch poor.” It occurred to me, watching her throw great dialogue in Schue’s face, that after a whole season of loving Sue Sylvester’s every moment onscreen, I have never once really believed her as the show’s villain. When Tim Stack talked to the Glee people for EW’s cover story , Ryan Murphy noted that Sue wasn’t even in the original pilot script. Her creation was suggested very strongly by Fox Entertainment prez Kevin Reilly. (Put this decision on the shelf next to former ABC Chairman Lloyd Braun’s notion of making a fictional version of Survivor , which eventually turned into Lost . Studio execs aren’t all bad!)

The funny thing is, even though Sue was specifically added to be a villain, her villainy has always been the most nonsensical part of the show. There’s no concrete reason for her to hate the glee club. Okay, blah blah blah school budget, but that seems a pretty meager consideration for the megafunded Cheerios. Then you’re just left with more abstract reasons. Sue hates music? The Madonna episode proved that untrue. Sue hates inspiring people? Also since proven untrue: she just inspires people in her own way. Sue just hates Schuester and wants to crush him? Possible, but a weird arc to hang a show around.

Really, the only reason Sue Sylvester works as a character is because of Jane Lynch, and boy, she made this last face-off speak volumes. I found the brief flash to the judges’ voting incredibly moving. Sue said, ”I voted exactly how I felt in my heart about which team should win,” in her typically sarcastic delivery. Schuester clearly registered that as, ”I put New Directions in last place!”

NEXT: We relish the thought of next year, too

So Sue played the Benevolent Despot and told Schuester that she had convinced Figgins to give the Glee kids another year. For one moment, the veil fell: ”You’re a good teacher, Will. I admire you, and the work you’re doing with your kids.” Then it was back to Sue Sylvester, National Champion and author of the upcoming memoir, ”I am a Winner, and You’re Fat.” ”I relish the thought of another full year of constantly besting you.”

”Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

Will Schuester singing Israel Kamakawiwo’ole singing Judy Garland: did not see this one coming! Glee went out of its first season with one of its quietest performances yet. Will played the ukulele. Puck played guitar. The camera moved around the faces of the cast. Rachel put her head on Finn’s shoulder. Artie and Tina looked in each other’s eyes. Quinn smiled at Puck. Santana and Brittany held hands. Kurt wore a beret. (He also shared an unreadable glance with Finn.) Mute Mike and Mute Matt gave each other a mute high five. Somewhere, Josh Groban and Olivia Newton-John were sitting in a first-class cabin, living soulless lives and drinking soulless cocktails.

Message to Matthew Morrison: I never want to see you do hip-hop ever again. But this was beautiful.

How did you feel about ”Journey,” Glee fans? And, taking the long view for a moment, how did you feel about this madcap first season? Do you agree with Ken Tucker that the show needs to make some fixes during the summer hiatus? What was the more encouraging trend this season: the rise of Brittany, the fall of Terri, or the canonization of Kurt? What will Glee look like in season 2, and beyond? Sound off below!

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Glee (TV Series)

Journey to regionals (2010), olivia newton-john: olivia newton-john, quotes .

Sue Sylvester : Newton-John? You're dead to me. Remington, Horsey, have a seat and listen up. I don't care who comes in first, I don't care who places second, but I have a very strong opinion about who comes in third.

Rod Remington : Sue, if I may. That "Bohemian Rhapsody" had me a-movin' and a-shakin', and I'm talking old school. You know, I partied with Freddie Mercury back in the '70s, and I partied... hard, if you know what I mean. Back then, people weren't so obsessed with labels.

Olivia Newton-John : I, for one, was offended that only one of the groups chose to honor me in song. I think Aural Intensity should win.

Sue Sylvester : [Josh raises his hand]  Yes?

Josh Groban : Two questions. One, are you single? And two, how about those New Directions? I liked them. I thought they had a lot of... heart.

Olivia Newton-John : Heart? Oh, please. Talk about blatant tokenism. That whole "we're inspiring, we're a ragtag bunch of misfits" thing is so 2009.

Sue Sylvester : I couldn't agree more. Let's vote.

Josh Groban : I thought that brunette had an amazing voice.

Olivia Newton-John : Brunettes have no place in show business.

Sue Sylvester : Come on. They're just kids.

Olivia Newton-John : That's no excuse. By the time I was fourteen, I'd already formed a band. When Josh Groban was their age, he was already in the Mickey Mouse Club or something.

Sue Sylvester : Well, as the only educator here, let me point out that not all kids are afforded the same opportunities as others.

Olivia Newton-John : Is that what you tell yourself to get to sleep at night? Some people just simply don't have talent. You think you're a celebrity. You're not. You just try hard. That's about it.

Rod Remington : Olivia Newton-John has a valid point here. You have a lot in common with those kids at your school, Sue. Underachievers with delusions of grandeur.

Josh Groban : Dagnabbit! Now even I have to admit I'm a little confused as to what Sue is doing in this room. Wasn't the theme tonight supposed to be celebrity judges?

Sue Sylvester : Kiss my ass, Josh Groban! I am an internationally ranked cheerleading coach!

Olivia Newton-John : Who lives in Ohio. When this is done today, Josh and I are flying back to L.A. first class. You'll be staying here. Just like those kids. I think we've all made up our minds. Let's vote.

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10 Episodes of ‘Glee’ to Watch Before It Leaves Netflix

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If there was ever a time to sing an emotional ballad against an elaborate background no one else will see, it would be now. At the end of the month, Glee will be leaving Netflix.

Glee first premiered in May of 2009. Over the course of its six seasons and 121 episodes, it changed the pop culture landscape. It wasn’t long before the music of the show was topping the Billboard Hot 100. At a certain point, the series became so popular and successful that it had its own spinoff reality show, concert tour, movie and five albums. All that for a show about outcast high schoolers and endless Journey covers.

We all need a dose of optimism from time to time, and that’s what Glee has always offered. Want to experience the joys and sorrows of McKinley before this gem leaves Netflix? We have you covered. Here are the 10 episodes of Glee you absolutely have to watch before the series disappears from this streaming giant.

Season 1, Episode 1: 'Pilot'


Has a show ever come out of the gate swinging as hard as Glee ? Directed by Ryan Murphy and written by Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan, the pilot immediately captured the cutthroat loneliness of high school in its own signature, exaggerated way. In this world run by cruel Cheerios and marked by red slushies, Glee’s first episode did what it did best. Among this dark cynicism, it offered a quiet pinprick of hope and acceptance for a group of chronic outsiders. Watch New Directions’ first performance of “Don’t Stop Believin'” and just try not to get goosebumps.

Watch Glee , "Pilot" on Netflix

Season 1, Episode 11: "Journey to Regionals"


Glee started it’s all-encompassing obsession with Sectionals, Regionals, and Nationals early. But no episode better captured the underdog ethos of competitive show choir than this early installment written and directed by Falchuk. Heading into Regionals, things have never looked more dire for the New Directions. Quinn (Dianna Agron) the powerhouse is close to giving birth to her daughter which will kick her out of the competition; longtime rival Sue (Jane Lynch) is one of the judges; and to add to the stress, whether or not New Directions wins will determine the future of the club. It’s a perfect episode that pits everything against our heroes only to see them triumph. Plus, it contains some truly excellent songs.

Watch Glee , "Journey to Regionals" on Netflix

Season 2, Episode 2: "Brittany/Britney"


Fox’s juggernaut often walked the line between heartfelt drama and a celebration of the sheer joy of music. This episode was all about fun. Written and directed by Murphy, this one centers around the greatest dancer on the show, Heather Morris’ Brittany. While under anesthesia from Dr. Carl (John Stamos), Brittany starts to hallucinate starring in various Britney Spears music videos. It takes her all of 10 seconds before she pulls her bestie Santana (Naya Rivera) into her drug-addled daydreams, and it isn’t long before the rest of the glee club follows. Long before praising Britney Spears was in vogue, Glee was celebrating her as the iconic goddess she is. Spears herself even cameos in the episode, which is all the more reason to watch.

Watch Glee , "Brittany/Britney" on Netflix

Season 2, Episode 6: "Never Been Kissed"


For all the truly excellent moments in Glee , there’s a lot of “What the heck just happened?” Enter “Never Been Kissed”, director Bradley Buecker and writer Falchuk’s episode that just barely tips its way to the good side of Glee . On the WTF front, this episode revolves around the glee club using Coach Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones) to cool off their sex drives as well as Beiste’s shocking first kiss. But on the other swoon-worthy front, it contains the introduction of dreamboat Blaine (Darren Criss). Blaine’s cover of “Teenage Dream” was so well-received that it was the first Glee song to top the Billboard Digital Songs chart. No wonder Kurt (Chris Colfer) fell for him.

Watch Glee , "Never Been Kissed" on Netflix

Season 2, Episode 18: "Born This Way"


Madonna. Britney Spears. And once again Lady Gaga. In Season 2, Glee once again bowed down to pop goddesses in this second tribute to Gaga written by Falchuk and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. After Santana uses Rachel’s broken nose as an excuse to mock every member’s physical flaws, Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) tries to do damage control. That means the glee club performing “Born This Way” wearing T-shirts that spell out their biggest insecurities. As Ms. Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) comes to terms with her OCD, Santana slowly starts to admit that she’s a lesbian, accepting a “Lebanese” shirt from Brittany. It’s an episode that’s equally sweet, silly, and uplifting.

Watch Glee , "Born This Way" on Netflix

Season 3, Episode 6: "Mash Off"


Though it was short-lived, the Troubletones were a welcome and powerful addition to this show. No one could ever say that Mercedes (Amber Riley), Santana, Brittany, Quinn (Dianna Agron), and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) were properly utilized in New Directions. This rival glee club gave them a chance to shine under the direction of Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel). Directed by Eric Stoltz and written by Michael Hitchcock, this episode is a great showcase for the endless talent standing in the background of Glee .

Watch Glee , "Mash Off" on Netflix

Season 3, Episode 21: "Nationals"


It finally happened. After 64 episodes, the New Directions finally won Nationals. Glee’ s first massive win honestly works best if you watch every episode up to “Nationals.” That’s how you can best appreciate the hard work, bullying, and self-evaluation that went into this victory. But seven episodes into this curated binge watch, you can still get the same effect. Be sure to grab some tissues. Director Eric Eric Stoltz and writer Aki Adler’s celebration will make you happy cry.

Watch Glee , "Nationals" on Netflix

Season 5, Episode 3: "The Quarterback"


There is truly no episode of this Fox drama more profound than this one. Following the tragic death of Cory Monteith, the episode revolved around the death of Finn Hudson. Brilliantly, Murphy, Brennan, and Falchuk’s “The Quarterback” never reveals how Finn dies. Rather, it focuses on the tragedy of this needless loss of a young man’s life as well as his friends and family’s reaction to his death. In its focus on the bizarre nature of grief, the episode serves as one of the most honest reflections on death to ever grace television.

Watch Glee , "The Quarterback" on Netflix

Season 5, Episode 12: "100"


It’s the 100th episode, and once again the glee club is in jeopardy of being shut down by principal Sue Sylvester. Directed by Paris Barclay and written by Murphy, Brennan, and Falchuk, “100” sees the return of fan favorites Holly Holliday (Gwyneth Paltrow) and April Rhodes (Kristin Chenoweth). Both episodes in this two-parter are worth your time, but this one does an excellent job of capturing the musical magic that made Glee a hit. Also, who doesn’t love a Rachel versus Mercedes diva off?

Watch Glee , "100" on Netflix

Season 6, Episode 12: "2009"


It’s another Barclay, Murphy, Falchuk, and Brennan collaboration. In Glee ‘s second to last episode, the dramedy goes back to when it all started: the year 2009. Revisiting the insecurities of our favorites after we’ve spent six seasons watching them grow is a truly lovely experience. It also serves as a nice reminder for life. Sometimes to really appreciate where you are, you have to look backwards.

Watch Glee, "2009" on Netflix

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Glee's 7 Best And 7 Worst Episodes Ranked

Cory Monteith smiling

Though "Glee" has been off the air for years, it remains relevant. Music fans, misfits, and curious newbies alike all flock to the series, which follows the triumphs and tragedies of the New Directions, an Ohio high school's ever-unlucky glee club. The show is packed with incredible musical performances of everything from pop hits to Broadway standards, performed by colorful characters like self-centered diva Rachel, combative cheerleader Santana, and dictatorial coach Sue Sylvester. It has also gained fame (some might say infamy) for its boundary-pushing humor, vivid theme episodes, and eccentric flights of fancy.

One question emerges from the many surreal dream sequences, elaborately-costumed auditions, and countless questionable choices of "Glee" : Which episodes truly stand out? The "Glee" audience is used to chaos, but for good or for ill, certain installments do manage to set themselves apart. Some are distinguished by sensitive handling of tough topics and excellent performances. Some are so ludicrous, it's hard to believe they were ever aired. Get ready McKinley High fans: With the help of IMDb, we're ranking the seven best and seven worst episodes of "Glee."

14. Worst: The End of Twerk

The best of the worst episodes is Season 5, Episode 5, "The End Of Twerk." The fact that this is the best of the worst is truly saying something — this is a dire episode. A powerful Unique storyline earns it some points, but overall, it's still brutal.

"The End of Twerk" follows the glee club as they integrate twerking into their setlist while battling Sue Sylvester and the twerking nay-sayers. There are performances of songs like "Blurred Lines," "Wrecking Ball," and more. Marley and Jake break up, Rachel practices for "Funny Girl," and Unique struggles with the question of which restroom to use.

As Marc Snetiker put it for Entertainment Weekly , "The 'Blurred Lines' performance that nobody has been waiting for has arrived, and it's just as ridiculous as you think it will be." This is basically the case with the entire episode. From smaller points like Marley and Jake's breakup to larger plots like Mr. Schue's incessant need to see his largely underage students twerk, there is little here that makes you want to rewatch. The only saving grace comes from Unique's struggle, which sheds light on an important issue. Otherwise, this episode is just plain uncomfortable.

13. Best: 100

The worst of the best episodes is a gem from one of the worst seasons: Season 5, Episode 12, "100."  Here, the old glee club members come back to do renditions of their favorite songs. There's a classic diva-off, a rekindling of old relationships, and many "Glee" soundtrack favorites. They perform songs like "Raise Your Glass," "Valerie," and "Keep Holding On." There are even some surprise guests when April Rhodes and Holly Holliday show up. Though they try to keep in high spirits, a brutal truth looms over the proceedings: Everyone is gathering because Sue is shutting the glee club down.

Though the nostalgia and music are what really make this episode great, the fact that it's the 100th episode is also deeply gratifying. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly , Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt, said, "We were always the little show that could. When the first episode aired, everyone said, 'Oh, it's cute, but it'll never last,' 'cause a musical could never work on television, so it's really validating to be here." Even years after "100" first hit the airwaves, this fact still manages to make it sparkle.

12. Worst: Tested

Season 5, Episode 16, "Tested," sees "Glee" attempt to raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases. Its lackluster reception comes from its poor handling of this sensitive issue. The boys all get tested for STDs, and Artie finds out that he does indeed have one. Though he's hesitant to reveal the truth, he does the right thing and alerts the girls he's been with. Sadly, instead of treating him compassionately, most people — including all of his friends — shame him. Elsewhere, similarly intense topics are being handled ineptly. Mercedes tells Sam she wants to remain a virgin until marriage, which causes a rift in their relationship, while Blaine and Kurt struggle with diet culture. 

Though "Tested" attempts to treat its subjects with kindness, it trips over its own feet by directly shaming Artie, Mercedes, and Blaine in a variety of ways. "Glee" just can't resist going for the laziest jokes, even when it undermines the message it's trying to send. What results is extremely awkward, rough to get through, and badly paced.

11. Best: 2009

Few of the best episodes of "Glee" come from the post-Season 4 era. However, nostalgia really works for  Season 6, Episode 12, "2009."  As you might guess, this episode throws the audience back to McKinley High circa 2009, where Will Schuester decides to take over the glee club. Kurt struggles with his mental health and finding a place to fit in, while Rachel and Mercedes begin their show-long competition for the title of most talented glee club member. Tina and Artie become friends, and finally reveal how they ended up auditioning for glee club in the first place.

This episode gives original "Glee" fans a chance to remember who these characters were before glee club changed them. It's fascinating to see the actors revert to this earlier era, and the costume and makeup departments truly succeed in de-aging them. The best part of the episode, though, is going back to the roots of the characters' conflicts. Watching Kurt and Burt talk in the autobody shop and Rachel admit that she struggles to make friends captures what makes "Glee" truly special: hilarity balanced with real emotion.

10. Worst: The Back-Up Plan

Season 5, Episode 18, "The Back-Up Plan," totally changes Rachel's character and has too much of an industry focus. Rachel has been playing Fanny Brice on Broadway for three weeks. Everything is going well, until she gets bored of the routine. As a result, she auditions for a television pilot in Los Angeles and lies to her boss about needing a rest day. But when her understudy injures herself and her boss asks her to come in, Rachel finds herself in a terrible situation — and Santana finds herself playing the lead.

This episode is one of the worst not only for the endlessly cringe-worthy moments, but for the way it completely rewrites Rachel's core motivation. Rachel has always wanted to be on Broadway — Kurt even says this to her during the episode. But for some reason, now that she has her dream role, she wants to give it all up. There's no way this is the Rachel we've watched for five seasons. However, this episode is a win for Santana, who proves she can do anything Rachel can and saves her from being sued. She can't save "The Back-Up Plan" as a whole, though: Watching Rachel act like even more of a brat than usual is exhausting.

9. Best: Dreams Come True

Season 6, Episode 13, "Dreams Come True," brings a wonderfully heart-wrenching end to "Glee." Will is the new principal of the William McKinley Performing Arts School. He's created several glee clubs, with the New Directions being the crown jewel. The old gang is back to celebrate their newest victory and say some bittersweet goodbyes. Mercedes goes on tour with Beyoncé, and Sam takes over the New Directions. Then we jump ahead five years. Kurt and Blaine are successful performers, and Rachel is the surrogate mother to their child. Tina and Artie are happy together and embarking on a career in film. Rachel, who has ended up with Jesse St. James, wins a Tony Award and thanks Mr. Schue in her speech.

"Dreams Come True" wraps "Glee" up in a neat little bow with its heartfelt performances and farewells. It might also be one of Jane Lynch's best episodes, which is really saying something, as her portrayal of Sue Sylvester is a huge part of what makes the show amazing. Her performance of "The Winner Takes It All" and her reunion with Becky are key highlights.

8. Worst: Sadie Hawkins

Season 4, Episode 11, "Sadie Hawkins," is packed with cringe-inducing humor. The girls are asking the guys to the titular dance, and Finn decides to make it the musical assignment for the week. The ensuing serenades are uncomfortable, particularly when Tina asks Blaine and he says no. Marley struggles to ask Jake, and Brittany helps Marley get her confidence up. The group eventually goes to the dance and has a great time. They also figure out that the Warblers cheated at their last competition, which could change everything. Meanwhile, Kurt and Rachel struggle to navigate college and get what they're looking for.

This episode is just plain tough to watch. As The AV Club's Brandon Nowalk pointed out , "A lingering shot of Blaine bending over in his dark jeans is one thing. Then someone's dad starts singing Jonathan Coulton's arrangement of 'Baby Got Back' while backing that thang up, and it's the fifth least ridiculous element to the scene." This butt-related humor never stops being dumb at best and hideously awkward at worst. Still, performances of "Locked Out Of Heaven" and "No Scrubs" keep the episode from being totally unwatchable.

7. Best: Sectionals

Season 1, Episode 13, "Sectionals," sees the New Directions face their first big competition without Mr. Schue, who is ineligible to help with sectionals in any capacity. While they prepare, Rachel finds out that Puck is the real father of Quinn's baby, and tells Finn. He's so hurt that he decides not to perform at sectionals. The group realizes that the other competitors stole their setlist after Sue leaked it, and must perform on the fly. They end up winning, and Will and Emma finally get together.

"Sectionals" is the blueprint for every other competition-themed episode. The commentary from the judges, improvised performances, and iconic songs all make it truly memorable. Mercedes gets in a tremendous performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," while Rachel performs a show-stopping rendition of "Don't Rain On My Parade." This episode is also a huge turning point for the characters, as Finn finally finds out the truth about the baby, which implodes his friendship with Puck. Though most competition episodes are exciting, there's something about this very first one that stands out from the rest.

6. Worst: A Katy or a Gaga

Season 5, Episode 4, "A Katy or a Gaga," has few redeeming qualities. The glee club is divided in two: Half the students are Katys (as in Katy Perry), which signifies their lack of edge, while the other half are Gagas (as in Lady Gaga), which signifies their risk-taking artistry. For this week's assignment, they must perform as though they were members of the opposite group. But some of them are uncomfortable with this, particularly Marley, who struggles to tap into her wild side. She is ultimately suspended for not adhering to the rules of the assignment.

This episode's performances are really well done, but it has too many issues to ignore. Firstly, the students are not only chastised, but suspended if they don't follow Mr. Schue's rules, which in Marley's case means wearing a bikini she's very uncomfortable with. This is ludicrous. Additionally, there is an absurd argument over whether or not Jake is in the wrong for wanting to have sex with Marley, and if Marley is in the wrong for not wanting to have sex with Jake. Then there's the Nurse Penny side plot, which is useless. Characters played by Demi Lovato and Adam Lambert are the only bright spots here.

5. Best: Journey to Regionals

Season 1, Episode 22, "Journey to Regionals," closes out Glee's inaugural season in high style. The New Directions are heading to regionals, and the stakes are high: If they don't place, the club is kaput. When they discover Sue is one of the judges, they know they're going to lose. Undaunted, they decide to put all their effort into making their performance amazing. They do so well, even Sue votes for the New Directions, despite the other judges' incredible rudeness. Meanwhile, Quinn goes into labor and has a baby girl. Shelby Corcoran takes an immediate interest in adopting her. In the end, Sue saves the glee club by talking to Figgins and getting them another year.

Is there anything that sums up the chaos of "Glee" more than Quinn giving birth to the sounds of Vocal Adrenaline performing "Bohemian Rhapsody"? This episode is so brilliantly crafted, it makes even the most jaded fan remember why "Glee" gained the popularity it did. The New Directions' Journey medley is among the show's best-ever performances; it splendidly sets the tone for later competition-centric episodes. This is "Glee" at its most spectacular.

4. Worst: Lights Out

The power is out in Season 4, Episode 20, "Lights Out," and so is the show's appeal. As McKinley High suffers an electricity outage, the glee club spills secrets and performs unplugged. Ryder reveals he was assaulted by his babysitter, in part because he wants to open up but also because he wants to find out who's catfishing him. He doesn't get any answers and also ends up pushing away Kitty, who is eager to get to know him better.

This episode has three terrible storylines. Firstly, Ryder's catfishing story is off-putting and out-of-character. Secondly, his confession is met with confusion and disdain from the guys. It's a really disgusting way to handle such a sensitive topic. Thirdly, this episode sees Kurt get an internship with Vogue.com. "Glee" really expects the audience to believe that someone with no experience or connections could get such a coveted position, and even gets Sarah Jessica Parker to play his mentor.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

3. Best: Nationals

The competition-centric episodes of "Glee" are some of the best, and Season 3, Episode 21, "Nationals," is the greatest of all. After all their hard work, the New Directions have finally made it to the National Show Choir Championships. Though they're up against tough competition from Vocal Adrenaline, they end up clinching first place. Rachel also gets a second chance at NYADA, and Mr. Schue wins Teacher of the Year. Though the younger glee club members still have time left at McKinley, the rest are graduating and moving on.

This episode is bittersweet, as it marks the end of an era.  After Season 3, "Glee" simply isn't the same. Some later episodes are certainly well done and manage to shine through, but generally, things get scattershot and lose a lot of heart at this point. Though this is sad, it's nice to see the New Directions get rewarded for all their hard work. It's also wonderful to see pretty much everyone triumph, sans drama.

2. Worst: Previously Unaired Christmas

There's no doubt that Season 5, Episode 8, "Previously Unaired Christmas," is the worst episode of "Glee." The holidays are here, and the glee club is working to reduce their carbon footprint by participating in a tree decorating competition with the Earth in mind. All the girls are also vying to play the Virgin Mary in the school's nativity scene. Meanwhile, Santana, Kurt, and Rachel perform as mall elves to get some exposure.

This episode is too meta by half. "Glee" thinks making fun of its terrible writing will somehow redeem it, but in fact, it's just awkward and confusing. Jane Lynch literally begins the episode by laying out the episode's cooked-up backstory: "Previously Unaired Christmas" was, allegedly, originally suppressed by the network. This doesn't make sense, and doesn't matter — the episode is bad either way. It's also a pretty creepy episode, from Mr. Schue cheering as the girls take articles of clothing off to Becky trying to force people to kiss her to the elves' performance at the mall. Everything about "Previously Unaired Christmas" screams, "Skip me!"

1. Best: The Quarterback

Season 5, Episode 3, "The Quarterback," is the best episode of "Glee." This touching tribute to Finn is also a tribute to his  actor, Cory Monteith, who passed away in 2013 . Members of the old cast and the new come together to remember Finn through the songs he sang and the ones that simply remind them of him. Their grief is raw, and so are the performances they pour it into.

Making it through this episode without crying is almost impossible: Finn was the glue of the group and a stirring example of grace and kindness. The same can also be said of Monteith. It's hard not to wonder if the cast is truly acting, or if we're seeing their genuine reactions to losing one of the show's brightest stars and a true-blue friend. The greatest gut punch comes from Rachel, who performs a crushing rendition of "Make You Feel My Love." This is a beautiful episode that truly captures both Finn and Monteith's impact on the world.

Glee Wiki

  • Songs sung by Artie Abrams
  • Songs sung by Finn Hudson
  • Songs sung by Kurt Hummel
  • Songs sung by Mercedes Jones
  • Songs sung by Noah Puckerman
  • Songs sung by Quinn Fabray
  • Songs sung by Rachel Berry
  • Songs sung by Santana Lopez
  • Songs sung by New Directions
  • Songs sung at Regionals
  • Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One
  • Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals
  • Glee Wiki Awards Winner
  • Journey songs
  • Journey versions

Any Way You Want It/Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'

  • View history

This song marks the second part of the New Directions' Journey Medley at Regionals, which follows Finn and Rachel's rendition of Faithfully  and precedes  Don't Stop Believin' . It is also the seventh and final mash-up of Season One.

  • 5 Navigational


Rachel with New Directions: Any way you want it That's the way you need it Any way you want it Finn (with Kurt): She loves to laugh She loves to sing (She loves everything) She loves to move She loves to groove (She loves the lovin' things) Rachel (Mercedes): It won't be long, yeah 'Til you're alone When your lover ( Mercedes: Lover) Oh he hasn't come home (Ooh, home) 'Cause he's lovin' ( Mercedes with New Directions Girls: Lovin') He's touchin' (Touchin') ( New Directions Girls: Touchin') Mercedes and Rachel with New Directions: He's squeezin' Finn and Rachel with New Directions: Another ( Mercedes: Another!) Artie, Finn, and Rachel with New Directions: Any way you want it That's the way you need it Any way you want it ( New Direction Girls: Any way you want it!) ( Rachel: He said) any way you want it That's the way you need it Any way you want it ( New Directions: Oh) Finn with New Directions: Na, na, na-na, na, na Na-na, na-na, na Na, na, na-na, na Na-na, na-na, na-na Puck: I was alone I never knew What good love could do Finn and Rachel: ( Finn: Oooh) then we touched Then we sang About the lovin' things Rachel (Mercedes): 'Cause he's lovin' ( Mercedes with New Directions Girls: Lovin') He's touchin' (Touchin') Mercedes and Rachel with New Directions: He's squeezin' Finn and Rachel with New Directions: Another ( Rachel: Yeah!) ( Mercedes: Another!) Artie, Finn, and Rachel with New Directions: Any way you want it That's the way you need it Any way you want it ( New Directions Girls: Any way you want it!) ( Rachel: He said) any way you want it That's the way you need it Any way you want it ( New Directions: Oh) Finn with New Directions: Na, na, na-na, na-na Na-na, na-na, na Na, na, na-na, na Na-na, na-na, na-na Artie, Finn, and Rachel with New Directions: Any way you want it That's the way you need it Any way you want it Artie, Finn, and Rachel with New Directions and Santana vocalizing: ( Rachel: He said any way!) Any way you want it  That's the way you need it ( Mercedes: Yeah) ( Rachel: Any way!) Any way you want it ( Mercedes: Yeah yeah!) Any way you want it That's the way you need it Any way you want it ( New Directions: Oh) ( Mercedes: Yeah) Finn with New Directions: Na, na, na-na, na-na ( Mercedes: Na na na na!) Na-na, na-na, na ( Mercedes: Ohhh) Na, na, na-na, na ( Mercedes: Yeah yeah) Na-na, na-na, na-na ( Mercedes: Na na na na!) Artie and Rachel with New Directions: Any way you want it ( Finn: Na, na) That's the way you need it ( Finn: Na-na, na-na) Any way you want it ( Finn: Na, na, na-na, na) ( Mercedes: Ooh) Artie and Rachel with New Directions: ( Rachel: He said) any way you want it ( Finn: Na, na) That's the way you need it ( Finn: Na-na, na, na) Any way you want it ( Finn: Na, na-na, na-na) ( Mercedes: Ooh) Artie, Finn, Rachel and Mercedes with New Directions: Any way you want it That's the way you need it

  • This is the second of six mashups in which both songs are from the same artist, the others being:  Borderline/Open Your Heart by Madonna ,  I Can't Go for That/You Make My Dreams by  Daryl Hall & John Oates , Rumor Has It/Someone Like You by Adele , Hungry Like the Wolf/Rio by Duran Duran and Nasty/Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson .
  • The original version of Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' is first heard in the Pilot , during Finn's flashback with Darren , while they are spraying the lawn green as Finn speaks about singing.
  • This is the last mash-up of Season One.
  • This is the first time   Kurt , Puck  and Santana sing in a competition.
  • This song is featured in Chapter 2 of the Glee Forever! app.

Gallery [ ]

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Journey - Any Way You Want It


Journey - Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'


GLEE- Anyway You Want it Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' (Full Performance) (Official Music Video) HD


Glee - Any Way You Want It Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' (HQ FULL STUDIO) lyrics


Glee - Any Way You Want It Lovin' Touchin Squeezin (Acapella)


Glee - Faithfully Anyway You Want It Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin Live

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  • 1 Quinn Fabray
  • 2 Rachel Berry
  • 3 Santana Lopez

journey glee episode

10 Best 'Glee' Covers, Ranked

Love it or hate it, Glee 's pop culture status just 14 years ago felt untouchable , with many citing the birth of the series as the moment that propelled show choir into the mainstream. From its dedication to popular music to its tackling of some of the late noughties' toughest young-adult themes, no matter how awkward the tackling of those themes may look today , Glee more than earned its title as one of the most influential shows for a generation of teenagers.

Everyone has their favorite Glee cover, whether it is from one of the show's legendary tribute episodes or perhaps a clever cover of an early-2010s number-one, with the worldwide appeal of the show's music following each episode's release translating into huge financial success for FOX. Managing to enter the Billboard Hot 100 an eye-watering 207 times across its six seasons , Glee Cast is technically one of the most successful artists of all time, and, with such a large back catalog, it sure is difficult to pick which of the many songs is the most iconic.

A group of ambitious misfits try to escape the harsh realities of high school by joining a glee club headed by a passionate Spanish teacher.

Release Date May 19, 2009

Creator Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan

Cast Matthew Morrison, Chris Colfer, Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, Darren Criss

Main Genre Comedy

Genres Music Video, Comedy

Rating TV-PG

"Singin' in the Rain/Umbrella"

Season 2, episode 7.

By the time Glee was into its second season, it had already become a worldwide phenomenon . Because of this, expectations of the levels the show was going to reach continued to increase. No longer happy with seeing the same bright-eyed young cast perform show tunes each week, viewers waited patiently to see if any famous faces would next turn up at McKinley High .

Buried in the middle of Season 2, the episode "The Substitute" saw the ever-brilliant Gwyneth Paltrow join the cast as Holly Holliday, a substitute teacher for the sick Mr. Schuester ( Matthew Morrison ). By the end of the episode, both teachers had joined forces to bring fans of Glee this upbeat number that sees old and new collide with an unlikely mash-up of Gene Kelly 's "Singin' in the Rain", a song Mr. Schue loved to listen to it when sick, and Rihanna 's "Umbrella". Featuring a sparking rain-covered stage and some genuinely impressive choreography with umbrellas , this stands as one of the show's best mash-ups.

Listen on Spotify

"Bohemian Rhapsody"

Season 1, episode 22.

Music is used best on television when it is conveying a story , and nowhere else in Glee is that more true than in the Season 1 cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody". With the devilishly talented Vocal Adrenaline set to take to the stage to perform at Regionals, panic breaks out for the New Directions as Quinn's ( Dianna Agron ) waters break, and she is rushed to hospital, with an unhealthy number of her school friends by her side.

What then unfolds is some of the show's most unforgettable television , with the crescendoing performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" juxtaposed ever-so excitingly with Quinn's labor. Like Jonathan Groff 's Jesse St. James bellows the song's immortal lyrics whilst emerging from a particularly provocative piece of choreography, Quinn's screaming and cries of "No, no, no" make for an uncannily comical and wildly entertaining number . Unlike anything the show has done before or since, the sheer boldness needed to pull this off makes for one of the series' most iconic covers.


Season 2, episode 16.

Just as well as they can do lively show tunes, Glee can also produce touching tearjerkers . In Season 2, Episode 16, "Original Song", Kurt ( Chris Colfer ) has officially moved to Dalton Academy but struggles with both finding the spotlight and suppressing his ever-growing feelings for Blaine ( Darren Criss ). This episode also introduces a new character in the form of canary Pavarotti, the Warbler's mascot, with this number being sung following the sudden death of the bird.

One of the show's most heartbreaking numbers , to think that this song is sung about a canary is almost mind-blowing, such is the depth of feeling expressed in the performance. Once again, Colfer's angelic vocals are superbly suited to a song requiring this level of tenderness, with the vocal accompaniment of the velvet-like Warblers making for an unforgettable addition to a great Season 2 episode. Not only this, but the song also furthers an important development in the series, with this the moment that Blaine develops feelings for Kurt, and, with vocals like that, who can blame him?

"Hey, Soul Sister"

Season 2, episode 9.

For many, the Dalton Academy Warblers were the most consistent performers in the entire series . With the rivalry between the Dalton Academy and the New Directions heightened to new levels thanks to Kurt's transfer to the former from the latter, the day has finally come for the two to compete at Sectionals. By this point in the season, fans had been treated to more than a fair share of gorgeous performances from both glee clubs, making for the first competition episode in the entire series where it is likely many were rooting for a team other than the New Directions.

For those non-Warbler converts, this performance of Train 's "Hey, Soul Sister" is the best chance for their hearts and minds to change, with Blaine's lead performance one of his best in the entire six seasons of Glee . For some, this rendition of the song is even more iconic than the original thanks to the sheer talent of those involved, with an impressive 11.68 million American viewers tuning in to watch the episode upon its first airing.

"Thriller/Heads Will Roll"

Season 2, episode 11.

Glee 's best mash-up came in the show's second season , with the football team and Glee club joining forces to produce this iconic spooky number. Broadcast immediately following Super Bowl XLV, Season 2, Episode 11, "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle", would need to do something special to celebrate the major sporting event, and what better way than to combine football with what Glee does best - perform.

For some time, the football players had bullied the New Directions for simply liking to sing, with the coming together of the rivals making for a performance iconic in more ways than just its spectacle . However, it is the spectacle that makes this cover stand out, with the "Thriller"-inspired makeup and dance moves one of the show's best routines. Although their allegiance wouldn't last long, for this one episode it was a whole heap of fun that makes many wonder what might have happened if they joined forces more.

"Smooth Criminal"

Season 3, episode 11.

Glee 's most innovative cover came in their tribute episode to Michael Jackson , with the late Naya Rivera and Grant Gustin producing this memorable musical tête-à-tête. Glee 's tribute to the King of Pop was always going to be special, with this dual cello-driven cover of "Smooth Criminal" the best in the episode, and perhaps even the best in Season 3.

After challenging Santana to a duel following a rock salt-infused slushie attack, she, of course, accepts, leading to this legendary scene. Choreographed to perfection, this song is a perfect blend of story and song , with the pair going back and forth with both verses and choral harmonies in a vocal arrangement that takes Jackson's original and evolves it into a Glee -ready, brooding cover.

When given the spotlight, there was perhaps no better performer on Glee than Santana . Rivera's popstar-like qualities made her stand out among the myriad of Broadway-ready performers in the Glee club, with the show sadly taking until the middle of Season 2 to f inally give her the performance she deserved . As mentioned previously, in this episode of Glee , "Special Education", the Warblers and the New Directions finally come head-to-head in a competition, with the New Directions having to play their wildcard, Santana, to eventually tie for first place.

A song first released by The Zutons and made even more famous by the legendary combination of Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse , this tune felt custom-made for Rivera, with her silky vocal ability and surprising power lending itself to a performance equal parts impressive and joyous . A life sadly taken far too soon, Rivera's legacy would have been admired even without this number , but, for the millions of fans who loved her and her character, thankfully, they can go back and listen to this whenever they like in both remembrance and celebration of one of Glee 's best talents.

"Don't Rain on My Parade"

Season 1, episode 13.

At its heart, Glee is a series all about show tunes, with this their most iconic . As the New Directions gear up for their first competition as a fully-fledged show choir, and already with the odds stacked against them, it soon becomes clear that the dastardly Sue Sylvester ( Jane Lynch ) has given their opponents their set list, meaning they will have to change all of their numbers at the last minute. Fear not, however, as the Glee Club has an ace up its sleeve in the form of Rachel Berry ( Lea Michele ) and her remarkable performative resemblance to Barbra Streisand 's Fanny Brice.

Despite performing the song multiple times throughout the series, the Season 1, Episode 13 version of "Don't Rain on My Parade" still stands as the best, with a young Michele delivering one of her most captivating vocal performances . Ironically, this song would soon become an example of how life can imitate art, with Michele making her Broadway debut in Funny Girl some 13 years after this Glee performance.

"I Wanna Hold Your Hand"

Season 2, episode 3.

Expectations were subverted and tissues were required in this early Season 2 cover of a Beatles classic. Once again, Colfer's tender vocals strike the perfect emotional chord , with the subject-matter at heart one of the show's most gutwrenching - Burt Hummel's ( Mike O'Malley ) heart attack.

In one of the stranger episodes of early Glee , "Grilled Cheesus", initially the plot revolves around Finn ( Cory Monteith ) finding the face of Jesus in his grilled cheese sandwich, which sparks a child-like reaction to religion from the Glee club. However, upon hearing of the news of Kurt's father, the New Directions turn to faith as a healer, with their quick maturity a wonderfully touching subversion of their characters that leads to some tearjerking performances. Despite all their best efforts, no performance was going to even come close to the sheer depth of emotion felt by Kurt's rendition of The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", with the choice to slow the pace and emphasize the lyrics making for a version of the classic that offers something completely new.

"Don't Stop Believin"

Season 1, episode 1.

Without question, this is Glee 's most iconic cover and the cover that propelled the series and its stars into worldwide fame . Glee 's first episode, "The Pilot", is, to many, the best episode in the entire series , and was even named the second-best television episode of 2009 by TIME . From its quirky comedy to clever camera work, many factors led to this success, not least this end-of-episode performance that left all who watched it with a smile lingering long on their face.

Reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 , this version of the classic Journey song showcased the best of Glee 's central pair, Finn and Rachel. What made the cover so iconic was its accessibility, with the simple dance moves and easy-to-remember vocal arrangement leading to millions of teenagers across the world creating their own renditions at school. A touchstone moment for a once-beloved series , there simply is no cover more iconic than this one.

Every season of Glee are available to stream on Hulu.

Watch on Hulu

NEXT: The 10 Worst 'Glee' Covers, Ranked

10 Best 'Glee' Covers, Ranked


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  1. Journey

    Journey, also known as Journey to Regionals, is the twenty-second and final episode of Glee's first season and the twenty-second episode overall. It premiered on June 8, 2010. The moment the New Directions have been waiting for has finally arrived: it's time for Regionals. When Sue pulls a fast one on Will and the Glee Clubbers, becoming one of the judges, their chances at the title could be ...

  2. Journey to Regionals

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  3. "Glee" Journey to Regionals (TV Episode 2010)

    Journey to Regionals: Directed by Brad Falchuk. With Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jane Lynch. When Regionals finally arrive, Sue pulls a fast one on the Glee Club, and their chances at the title could be compromised.

  4. Glee Cast

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  5. Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals

    Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals is the second extended play (EP) by the cast of musical television series Glee.Containing six songs from the season one finale "Journey to Regionals", it was released on June 8, 2010, the same day the episode aired.Half of the tracks are cover versions of songs by American rock band Journey.The EP debuted at the top of the US Billboard 200 and Soundtrack ...

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    An episode like "Journey" shows that Glee can move on and mature while still keeping what makes it entertaining. And even though it sets up a second season structurally like the first—another school year, another competition—in terms of characters and writing, it challenges the show to become more complex and potentially richer. ...

  8. "Glee" Journey to Regionals (TV Episode 2010)

    "Glee" Journey to Regionals (TV Episode 2010) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. Menu. ... Glee: Best Episodes a list of 45 titles created 12 Feb 2018 See all related lists » Share this page: Clear your history. Recently Viewed . Get the IMDb App ...

  9. Watch Glee Season 1 Episode 22 Online

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  12. Glee: "Journey"

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  14. Bohemian Rhapsody

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    Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson performed together with the New Directions the Journey Hit "Don´t Stop Believin 'in Season 01x01

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    You're dead to me. Remington, Horsey, have a seat and listen up. I don't care who comes in first, I don't care who places second, but I have a very strong opinion about who comes in third. Rod Remington : Sue, if I may.

  17. Don't Stop Believin'

    Don't Stop Believin' by Journey is featured in Pilot, the first episode of Season One. It is also the final performance of the first part of the series finale, in Season Six. It is sung by the New Directions with solos by Finn and Rachel. The New Directions sing this song in the McKinley auditorium to show their unity as a group while Will watches them from afar with a gleeful smile on his ...

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    Seasons 1-6 episodes (121) 1 Season 1, Episode 1 Pilot. 5/19/09. Season-only. In a special preview of new one-hour comedy musical series, GLEE, optimistic high school teacher Will Schuester tries to refuel his own passion while reinventing the McKinley High School's glee club and challenging a group of outcasts to realize their star potential.

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  21. Faithfully

    Faithfully by Journey is featured in Journey, the twenty-second and final episode of Season One. It is sung by Finn and Rachel with the New Directions performing back-up vocals. It was the opening song of New Directions' journey medley performed at Regionals. After Faithfully, New Directions perform Any Way You Want It/Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' and they close their performance with Don't Stop ...

  22. Any Way You Want It/Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'

    Journey. Any Way You Want It/Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' by Journey is a mash-up featured in Journey, the twenty-second and final episode of Season One. It is sung by the New Directions, with solos from Artie, Finn, Kurt, Mercedes, Puck, and Rachel. This song marks the second part of the New Directions' Journey Medley at Regionals, which follows ...

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    Glee's first episode, "The Pilot", is, ... Reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100, this version of the classic Journey song showcased the best of Glee's central pair, Finn and Rachel. What ...

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