All right, Gleeks, how many hankies did you soak through during tonight's episode? The writers at Glee might have dubbed the 99th episode "City of Angels," but it might as well have been dubbed tribute to Cory Monteith take two. The New Directions returned to nationals tonight for their second try at the top trophy, but they had a lot more at stake than just holding onto their title.
Not only was Sue Sylvester threatening to can the program if they didn't repeat at nationals, but Finn Hudson's mom and stepdad were invited to join them as chaperones ... and watch the New Directions finish what he started way back at the beginning of the school year (hard to believe that was actually a whole season ago).
The writers tried to keep the episode from getting too melancholy, what with some bizarre choices for judges -- really, the Prancercise woman? -- and a face-off with this year's big competition, Throat Explosion (fronted by Pitch Perfect star Skylar Astin).
But, come on, how much could they really do? The last of the original cast were at their very last nationals competition. As Finn's mom, Carol, said, seeing them go is like saying goodbye to him all over again.
Every moment was emotionally charged -- from Tina whining about her last competition only to have Carol blurt out that at least she's lucky to be alive to Mr. Schue telling Sam it was time he take on the mantle of being team leader in Finn's place.
Sam carried Finn's picture all the way out to LA so he could "really" be there to see the team he'd coached make it all the way. They even sang his favorite songs, including U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Alas, in true Glee fashion, it didn't work out the way the kids planned. Even doing it "for Finn," they ended up with a second place trophy, losing to Throat Explosion.
It was another two-tissue moment, but really, it seemed just right. Giving it all and not quite making it was often Finn's style. He was Mr. All-American, but he was far from perfect ... and that's what the other kids loved about him.
Of course now that the New Directions have gone to nationals ... and lost ... Sue Sylvester is officially pulling the plug on the glee club. That ought to make for one interesting 100th episode next week!
What did you think of the second Finn tribute? Was it appropriate to bring Cory Monteith's character back up again?
Image via Adam Rose/FOX