It’s apt for Glee to end its final season’s premiere with a rendition of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s “Home” seeing as most of the two hours that precede it are full of resets for the cast at large. Essentially all of its major characters trek back home to Lima, Ohio for the final stretch of episodes in the show’s season opener.
Since the end of last season, Rachel has premiered on her own TV show, which lasted one tremendously awful episode before being canceled. She’s been in hiding it seems in the months since. Blaine as well, hasn’t fared much better, flaming out of NYADA after he and Kurt break up (again). In the premiere’s two-hour amalgamation of episodes, you almost feel like we’ll spend a little time before actually going back to Lima (being that the second episode’s titled “Homecoming” and all), but not five minutes and a musical solo later and Rachel’s back in her now-divorced dads’ house.
Though we’ve still got time left to cope with the end of the series, the sixth season premiere definitely felt self-aware of its imminent curtain call. It finds a nice theme, as well, when it forces half of its main cast to deal with the realities of post-college life, and learning not how to fix a failure, but how to adapt to one, to change with it and grow from it. “Do what everyone else who’s just failed miserably does,” Rachel’s former boss tells her when her show fails. “Blame everyone else, and then go home.”
The show can get in its own way sometimes, magically slotting Blaine into the Warbler’s Coach position because, literally, “Ebola,” and neatly handing Rachel the reigns of New Directions not long after (neither has a college degree). Such magical solutions to real-world problems threaten to slog down the opening moments of the premiere, but thanks to that back-to-basics vibe, and the seemingly endless charm of the show’s heightened reality, Glee rises above itself.
Elsewhere in the old cast, Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester continues to terrorize the halls of McKinley. Though Lynch could play this role in her sleep by now, she’s still a highlight. She’s a walking, talking caricature and always has been, but seems to be sitting right back in her evil chair for the final season. Between dead-pan line deliveries, calling the glee club a “tone deaf pansexual leviathan,” and attempting to bribe one of the new cast members, Spencer, with a one-of-a-kind Tom Brady Fleshlight, she remains a reminder of the show at its nimble-footed, over-the-top best.