Episode SummaryIt's time for Nationals 2011, and New Directions' time to shine in the greatest city in the world. We start the Season 2 finale in the center of it all, Times Square. The camera pans around the sights and sounds, dating itself with all the musicals in production in the early part of '11, before finally coming to rest on Rachel's smiling face. "I made it," she announces quite happily as, for the final time this season, we hit the Title Card.
New Directions is sitting on some observation steps, talking about what they'd like to do. Party pooper Finnegan tries to remind everyone that they still have to write their songs note . Kurt calls his brother out on being bossy and says that they still have time for a song now. They cue up the obvious one, before Rachel walks up to them and announces that she got them tickets to Cats. Which is great and all, only, as Dear Lucille points out, Cats closed eleven years ago. Rachel admits that the guy who sold her the tickets did seem rather odd. (He swiped her credit card through his butt crack). Ewwww. And in what kind of world does Rachel Berry not know that Cats isn't running? Clearly, finally getting to NY threw Rachel for a loop. Cut to their hotel as Will checks ND in, admitting they could only afford two rooms. The receptionist suggests he splits the group by sexual orientation, as that is what the other teams are doing. Yeah, but the problem there is that would mean Kurt and Brittana (and Q... what?) would get the other room to themselves. Speaking of other teams, Vocal Adrenaline in particular, we see Finn ask Rachel how she and Jesse are coming along. Yeah Finn? You're in the one city Rachel's dreamed of being in since she was a kid. Do you really think she cares about romance at the moment? Nope, as we see Rachel in full combat mode, not wanting anything to distract her from getting that trophy.
Will asks where Puck and Zizes are and we of course find them at a bar in a futile attempt at wanting Manhattans. He pulls them to their room, where ND are effectively grounded - no going outside until they have those songs written. He leaves them at the hotel room claiming to need to fill out paperwork, but we cut to him arriving at the venue for "Crossrhodes". Cut back to the hotel room, where Bartie are performing their original song, "My Cup" which despite the Innocent Innuendos and Double Entendres alluding to Santana's anatomy, the song is about a cup. Opinions vary from pure amusement (Santana) to apathy (Tina) to "what the hell is this" (Rachel, who is one to talk considering how well "My Headband" came along). Lucy calls the cabin fever, being cooped up in this hotel room isn't doing them any favors. When the resident Stop Having Fun, Guys protest, Q suggests using New York City as inspiration. With persuasion, Finchel comes around and we cut to ND prancing around the city with a very obvious mashup.
Afterwards, we see Finn, after writing rhymes for "PAIN", ask the ND men (Will evidently decided split by gender) for their opinion on a Finchel duet at Nationals as it seems Finn's starting to get an idea on how to win her back. Mike says he doesn't really care as long as they win, and that Finn and Rachel are their best shot at that. Puck suggests he asks her out. Finn, apparently to try and save face or something, refuses, saying she's into Jesse, but Puck rebuts that by saying New York is the city of lovenote . In any case, Puck convinces Finn to ask Rachel out and they could have a date like those awful romantic comedies. Cut to the girls' room, where they are being less productive than the boys, forgoing any concept of work and instead making with the pillow fight while Rachel tries to focus. Said focus is broken as she receives a text from Finn, telling her to meet him at Central Park. Cut back to Will on stage at the, yes this is the name, Million Dollar Theater. Standing there, marveling at the sights gives him motivation to express, and cross promote. See, around this time, Matthew Morrison released a self-titled album, which peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot 200. To promote the album, the single from it, "Still Got Tonight", was featured herenote . After basically recording a mini-video, we see one of the theater people come up to him and says he's got talent.
As Will stands contemplating, we cut to Central Park where Finn stands in his finery, flowers in hand. We realize he's going for romantic gestures to win Rachel back, defying her wish of no distractions. We then see her looking rather striking as he hands her the flowers. He suggests that they should write a duet for Nationals, covering his ass by saying this is a work date. Cut to them at one of NY's most famous restaurants, Sardi's.note As Rachel gushes, Finn simply admires how she dreams big and that he doesn't know how to do that. Again, more unintentional Foreshadowing for Season 3. He then tries to go for the big three words, but Rachel spies Tony winner and star of Life Goes On, Patti LuPone. After a freak out, and saying she should do it for Kurt at least, she goes up to Ms. LuPone and says she's her idol. Patti thanks her and makes her promise that she'll never give up, wishes her good luck at Nationals, and leaves, but not without whispering Finn is cute. Eh. Cut to them in the streets, Rachel joking that all they need now is street singers to serenade them. Sadly, Glee wasted the budget on the trip, so the camera pans over to Mike, Sam, Puck, and Artie, who happen to be right next to them. The guys start serenading them and who knew Noah Puckerman can play the accordion? Near the end of the song, Finn leans in to kiss Rachel, but, suddenly realizing where she is and why she's there, she snaps back to attention and leaves Finn alone presumably to walk back to the hotel. And in a funny touch, the guys don't stop singing.
The next morning, Kurt tiptoes through the debris of the girls room to wake Rachel up, saying they're going to have literal breakfast at Tiffany's. Cut to them outside of said icon, bagels and water in hand. Rachel admits that Kurt is the only one who understands her love for New York, telling Kurt she's moving there after graduation. Kurt says he'll come with her and bring Blaine along, in the process setting up Seasons 4 & 5. When asked about Finnegan, Rachel says she isn't sure, and Kurt suggests to bring him along. Rachel is unsure, saying he's too much of a country boy and my god the Foreshadowing. Kurt suddenly has an epiphany on how she can choose between love and work, and brings her to the Gershwin Theater (where Wicked is performed). They break in, and a grumpy security guard lets them have their fifteen minutes of fame. Rachel and Kurt sing, and hug. Rachel reaffirms that Broadway is her true love.
Back at the hotel room, Santana and Brittany yell at Quinn for hogging the bathroom. Santana asks why Q's not helping and we see the vengeful side of Lucille Quinn Fabray. Seems that with Finn dumping her (and her own fear of not telling Rachel she loves her), Q's decided to take it out on everyone, planning to tell Will about Kurtchel's sneaking off, which will get them suspended, meaning that New Directions can't compete. Santana calls her out on it, saying that she knows Quinn is upset about her breakup with Finn. Quinn protests that she doesn't, and Santana tells her that the only person she's sabotaging is herself. The Unholy Trinity sit down, and Quinn asks why they, the supposed popular pretty girls, are single and why their dreams can't come true and admits that she just wants somebody to love her. Q? There is, if you'll let her. Santana suggests a haircut. Cut to Will apologizing about the pillow fight he wasn't there to stop when Dustin Goolsby arrives and congratulates Will on his Broadway debut, They go out for drinks, and Goolsby reveals that the news is on the Internet. Goolsby tells him not to tell New Directions, as it will shake their confidence. Good point. We then see into the mind of a VA director, as Goolsby admits that he hates his kids, seeing as they represent everything he missed out on. Will admits he loves his kids for the exact same reason, and then gets the epiphany that they are worth more than any Broadway show. He returns to the room pizzas in hand, only to find that, of course, thanks to Goolsby, they know about Will's plans, and that they're happy for him. Will tells them that he's not going, as he already had his "glorious" moment onstage, and tells them to continue writing. Puck initiates a group hug as we go to break.
And now, the stage is set. We get a breakdown on how these things work: the top fifty compete for the first round, after which the top ten move on to the next. Will tells them he thinks they have a pretty good shot at winning, although how he can think that when they pulled the songs out of their asses we do not know. In any case, after the show circle, and an all-girl show choir getting their Usher on, Will sees Goolsby leaving and follows, finding him buying shirts to send to every group Vocal Adrenaline beats. Will tells him not to send ND one, and he buys one to send to Goolsby when they win. Okay, this is too setup not to be anything but an ND loss. Cut to Rachel in a bathroom; sadly, it's not for a quickie with Lucy. She instead hears a technicolor yawn; assuming it to be Santana, Rachel is surprised to see it's Sunshine. Turns out that, surprise surprise, the VA way got to her, causing a case of Performance Anxiety and a case of her hating singing. Rachel suspect Sunshine's trying to get her to pity her so she won't be as hard on her only for Sunshine to ask why she hates her so much. She admits that she tried out for glee club because it was rumored that that was where kids felt safe. She points out that everyone was safe except for her. Sunshine's so over everything that she's going to the Philippine Embassy to have her green card revoked and go back to the Philippines where Goolsby can't get her.
Rachel, finally seeing (for now) what her ego can do to someone, admits that she was only ever mean to Sunshine because she was one of the few people who could match her vocally. She tells Sunshine that she has a gift Goolsby would kill for, encourages her, and gives her a hug, saying to look for her if she gets nervous. Cut to Sunshine on stage; as she performs, she sees Rachel in the crowd, giving her a thumbs up. She gets through it and gets a well deserved ovation as we go to break. When we return, it's New Directions' turn, and backstage Finn and Rachel meet up. Rachel complements Finn on the song they're about to sing, only for Finn to ask her why she was so desperate to get back with him but now that he's practically begging at her feet for her to take her back she won't have him. And for the final time this season: Finn, you're an idiot. Rachel admits that she does want him but doesn't want anything to distract her from her dream, and that she does love him but wants to put her dreams first. Once again, Foreshadowing, and Harsher in Hindsight at that. All this seems to do is fire Finn up as the curtain raises and Finchel duet a song that, in context, could sorta apply to Faberry, just saying. Halfway through the song, Jesse arrives in the audience, and admits to Will that he couldn't stay away. Will asks from the show, or Rachel? Doesn't matter at this point, as at the end of the song, Finn and Rachel have a Held Gaze moment and, in a clear case of Finn not keeping his emotions in check at the right time, proceed to kiss in front of the crowd. Jesse asks Will if that was scripted. Will says Nope, knowing this won't end well. The rest of ND has their back to the audience, and are probably wondering why they aren't clapping as loud as they should be, even after Will's attempt to start applause. The crowd loves their second original song, though, an upbeat preppy number. At the end, New Directions hug, not knowing of the fate that awaits them.
Later, as ND wait for the results, we see Rachel tell Finn the kiss was "interesting". Finn, engorged with feelings and lack of awareness, calls it "the kiss of the century". Jesse comes up to Finn and Rachel and tells them that it was unprofessional (which it so was), saying that the judges won't like it as it was too intense/vulgar and they could lose because of it. Jerkass Has a Point; hell, he's had a point the whole time, but was too busy being an asshole about it. Finn, again, starts raving about the kiss, calling it the Superman of kisses (it came with its own cape). A sudden screaming fit by all other parties indicate the top ten results have been posted... and, to the surprise of only someone who chose to start watching Glee at that very moment, New Directions didn't make the top ten, although with a work ethic like that it's not surprising. ND, Rachel especially, are crushed as we go to break.
We start the final home stretch of the season at the Lima Bean, Kurt is filling Blaine in on all these happenings. He reveals that Jesse went on and on about the Finchel kiss - Blaine agrees with Jesse on the unprofessional part - and once they got back to the hotel, Santana snapped and went into a Foreign-Language Tirade of Gratuitous Spanish, and it took Mike, Quinn, and Sam to keep her from tearing Rachel to shreds. Yes, Rachel, not the one who kissed her in the first place. You think this protecting of Finn was bad now? Wait. Kurt is still babbling about New York, basically saying the experience overrode the loss, when out of nowhere Blaine drops the L-word. Kurt easily says it back, and they're then interrupted, surprisingly, by Sam and Mercedes. Talk of summer plans ensue before Samcedes leave. And we do mean Samcedes as Mercedes asks Sam if they know. Sam thinks not, as in a Relationship Reveal, we see them hold hands. Sadly, this is also Chord's last episode as well... for now.
Cut to McKinley, where Santana has a voodoo doll of Rachel. Wrong one, Lopez. Brittany says that this year wasn't about winning, but about acceptance, saying that New Directions will argue and tear each others heads off, but families are like that. When Santana disagrees, Brit simply says that family is where everyone loves you no matter what, and they accept you for who you are. She knows that in the future, long after high school, she'll still be in the lives of the people she loves. As far as the woman she loves, Brittany reaffirms that she loves Santana more than she loves anyone else. Brittana embrace, although sadly, Santana is still slightly closeted, quickly breaking the hug and only referring to Brittany as her best friend, The two of them go off, bond stronger, if not entirely at its strongest. Cut to the library, where Rachel discovers Finn, upset, as he should, and hiding out from the rest of the club, as he should. He admits his humiliation, asking Rachel why she's not pissed too. Rachel says an artist expresses their feelings at the moment, asking him what he felt. Finn says he felt like he loved her and he would've done anything to kiss her one more time. Rachel asks if it was worth it, and he says it was. He asks back, and she says the same thing. And then, in what will prove to be unintentional Blatant Lies, Rachel reminds him that after graduation she's going to New York and never coming back. Finn says graduation's a year away, and if she has plans until then. The immediate plan is a liplock, and gleeks, we warn you now, if you weren't a fan of them here, Season 3 will suck. Cut to Will, arm around Emma, looking up at the banner that congratulates New Directions on placing twelfth. He then goes in to celebrate with New Directions as Season 2 is in the books.
Next Season: Change is on the horizon, as half of New Directions enter senior year, we get new members from a reality show (not kidding), a shocking return, a daughter from the future, and the most emotionally revolting moment in the series' history. Plus, we'll see what it looks like when the creator of the show has a vendetta against a main cast member for daring to do her job better than he thought she could. Till then, gleeks.
- "Still Got Tonight" by Matthew Morrison. Sung by duh.
- "My Cup," an original song. Sung by Brittany and Artie.
- "I Love New York/New York New York," by Madonna/"On The Town." Sung by New Directions.
- "Bella Notte" from Lady and the Tramp. Sung by Puck, Artie, Sam, and Mike.
- "For Good" from Wicked. Sung by Rachel and Kurt.
- "Yeah" by Usher. Sung by an unnamed all-girl show-choir.
- "As Long As You're There," an original song. Sung by Sunshine and Vocal Adrenaline.
- "Pretending," an original song. Sung by Rachel and Finn.
- "Light Up The World," an original song. Sung by New Directions.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Aesop Amnesia: Having a Rachel/Finn duet could be considered this. They have won every competition they did not do a Finchel duet. They lost last year's regionals with "Faithfully". And now, even after a whole season of avoiding it, they do it again. They lose. They sure know how stuff works.
- Big Applesauce: The episode's name is "New York."
- Call-Back: In "Silly Love Songs," Blaine says "That was the most embarrassing thing I've ever doneand I've performed at theme parks." In the final scene of "New York," he says that he's trying out for the summer gig at Six Flags. The line itself was a callback to his performance of "Baby It's Cold Outside" at King's Island.
- Additionally, the scene with Sunshine and Rachel in a bathroom is a call back to the S2 premiere, "Audition," with the "Telephone" duet.
- The Cameo: Patti LuPone as herself.
- Celebrity Paradox: So, who originally sang "Still Got Tonight," and who originated the roles of Elphalba and Glinda on Wicked and thus originally sang "For Good?" Matthew Morrison, Idina Menzel, and Kristin Chenowith, obviously. Will Schuester, Shelby Corcoran, and April Rhodes just look and sound exactly like them.
- Concert Kiss: Between Finn and Rachel, complete with Held Gaze. Subverted in that the audience didn't like it and barely clapped, and Blaine, Jesse, and Santana are firmly of the opinion that it was unprofessional.
- Crazy Homeless People: Rachel meets one who sold her Cats tickets and swiped her credit card through his butt crack.
- Duet Bonding: "For Good." Also a not-exactly Counterpoint Duet.
- Foreign-Language Tirade: Santana, after Nationals.Santana: Escucha! Soy de Lima Heights Adjacent y yo tengo orgullo, ¿Sabes lo que pasa en Lima Heights Adjacent? Cosas Malas! //"Listen! I am from Lima Heights Adjacent and I am proud; you know what happens in Lima Heights Adjacent? Bad things!"
- Gratuitous Spanish: See Foreign-Language Tirade
- I Just Want to Be Loved: Quinn, said nearly word for word.
- Important Haircut: Quinn.
- Innocent Innuendo / Double Entendre: Peppers the beginning of "My Cup."
- Little Black Dress: What the female half of New Directions wears to Nationals. Again.
- "Not Important to This Episode" Camp: Sue gets a jump on summer vacation.
- Out-of-Character Moment: In what world does Rachel Berry not know when Cats is running?
- Pair the Spares: Sam and Mercedes, who, admittedly, had next to no interaction before "Prom Queen."
- Performance Anxiety: Sunshine.
- Put on a Bus: This was Ashley Fink's swan song as a regular cast member, she would cameo in Seasons 3 & 4.
- This was also Chord Overstreet's farewell as well, or so we thought.
- Relationship Reveal: Sam and Mercedes at the end of the episode.
- Season Finale
- Secret Relationship: Sam and Mercedes decide to keep their relationship a secret from the rest of the glee club.
- Shipper on Deck: The New Directions' guys are shippers on deck for Finn and Rachel.
- Stylistic Suck: "My Cup."