‘Glee’ Season 3 Finale ‘Goodbye’ Recap: Leaving the Past Behind

Glee season 3 comes to an end with the very emotional finale, “Goodbye,” episode 22. After walking in on a performance of “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” which leads to him reminiscing, Will announces the final assignment: saying goodbye. He kicks it off with “Forever Young.”

Saying Goodbye

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOXKurt thinks of how far he’s come—from being in the closet to setting a good example. He’s stronger now, and he just has to get through graduation. Burt brings him to the auditorium for his graduation present. Burt’s proud of him and reminds Kurt of when they started walking towards each other instead of butting heads: in the basement of their old house. Tina and Brittany join Burt on stage for “Single Ladies,” with flashes to the first performance.

Blaine refuses to let them put it off much longer, and he and Kurt talk about the future. Long-distance relationships are hard, but Kurt reassures Blaine by telling him that when he sees himself talking about his high school sweetheart at the end of his life, he’s there with him. They’re going to be okay, and they’ll figure it out. He may not be saying goodbye to Blaine, but he will be to everyone else—with “I’ll Remember.”

Rachel finds Kurt and Finn and tells them their acceptance letters should be on the way. They plan to open them together. Santana watches as everyone celebrates their future plans—Mercedes has a contract as a backup singer thanks to the video Sam posted, Mike got a scholarship—and reconsiders Kentucky since she wants to be a star. When she and Brittany have dinner with her mother, Maribel, Santana says she wants to go to New York. Maribel suggests she go to college first. Brittany reveals that she’s not graduating, but she plans to do her senior year better the second time. Santana wonders if she should stay too.

The seniors perform “You Get What You Give” for those not graduating. Rachel and Finn have been compromising a lot during wedding planning, and during a discussion about chairs, he wonders if she’s compromising about him. She reassures him that she’s not and says he’s just worried about his future. Finn remembers being terrified of the future at the beginning of the year. He’s not anymore because he’s certain he nailed his audition. When he gets his yearbook from Will, Will admits he couldn’t say much without falling apart. He brings up how he blackmailed Finn into joining glee club, but that’s all in the past. At home, Finn admits to Carole that he feels like he let his father down. He’s not sure how becoming an actor will redeem his father and everything he did.

Things Change

The underclassmen perform “In My Life,” dedicated to Finn. When everyone gets up to hug them at the end, Puck stays seated. His future is still uncertain. Quinn’s ending high school where she started: on top. She’s worried about Puck, who’s still studying for that test. She finds Rachel and gives her a Metro-North pass from New York to New Haven. She wants to make sure they stay in touch and lets her know she’s happy she and Finn are together since they’re meant to be. Rachel comments that she always thought Quinn and Puck were meant to be and that’s when he was at his best. So Quinn tries to help Puck study because she loves him. He needs to get his confidence back and remember the guy he used to be. They kiss, and that kiss stays with him as he sits down to take the test.

Quinn brings her Cheerios uniform to Sue, who tells her to keep it. She admires her and says she’s going to go far. Quinn hugs her and tells her she’s going to miss her. Everyone gathers around as Puck gets his test back. He’s graduating.

Puck and Finn sing “Glory Days” as the seniors get their diplomas, and after, it’s time for Rachel, Kurt, and Finn to find out their futures. Finn and Kurt are both rejected, but Rachel gets in. So what does this mean for the future? Rachel may have gotten exactly what she wanted, but she has a new plan: to defer for a year and help Finn and Kurt with their applications for next year.

Maribel gives Santana her graduation present. She’d been saving up for college tuition, but Santana tells her to keep it. Maribel tells her to use it to go to New York because she trusts her dreams.

Rachel gets in the car with Finn, thinking they’re going to their wedding. They’re not. He’s taking her to the train station because she’s going to meet her fathers in New York to look at dorms. She’s not deferring, and they’re not getting married. Although he wants to, he’s setting her free. He has also decided his future: He’s joining the Army. She’s going to go to New York and be a star without him. That’s how much he loves her, and if they’re meant to be, they’ll be together.

Everyone’s waiting as Finn walks Rachel to the train to see her off as the two sing “Roots Before Branches.” Rachel kisses Finn goodbye and boards. He runs alongside the train as it leaves the station. The episode ends with Rachel in New York.

What did you think of Glee season 3 episode 22, “Goodbye,” the finale?

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX

© Meredith Jacobs 2012

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