It’s time for graduation, which means lots of sappy songs and nostalgic memories. Everybody sings lots of songs to say goodbye, and we get some nice flashbacks to first season scenes. A few actual plot developments happen. First, we learn that Mercedes has been offered a gig as a backup singer in L.A., so she plans to move there and study part-time while singing. Second, Santana really doesn’t want to go to Kentucky to be a cheerleader, especially after learning that Brit isn’t going to graduate (what with her 0.0 GPA). Santana’s fabulous mother, played by Gloria Estefan, is reluctant to support Santana’s dream of going to NY to pursue a show-biz career, but she eventually comes around. Puck, inspired by a magic kiss from Quinn, regains his confidence and passes his exam, allowing him to graduate. And Burt’s graduation gift to Kurt is a recreation of Kurt’s famous “All the Single Ladies” dance performance. And they all graduate.
The biggest plot development is that Finn and Kurt both fail to get into their chosen New York schools, while Rachel is accepted to the Fictional New York Theater School. Rachel decides she doesn’t want to leave Finn behind or be in New York without Kurt, so she elects to defer her admission for a year to stick around and help them perfect their auditions so they can all go together. But Finn finally develops some kind of a brain, and on the way to their wedding he ambushes her by bringing her to the train to New York, where her fathers are waiting to look at the dorms with her. Finn insists that she go to New York, and to be certain she doesn’t hang around waiting for him, he’s joined the army. So, no wedding, and a tear-filled Amtrak solo from Rachel.
Featuring: Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young,” performed by Will; Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” performed by Puck during the graduation ceremony; Madonna’s “I’ll Remember,” performed by Kurt; The Beatles’ “In My Life,” performed by the underclasspersons; Room for Two’s “Roots Before Branches,” performed by Rachel; and the New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give,” performed by the graduating seniors. Oh, and a reprise of “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat,” from the very first episode.