Did anyone really doubt that Rachel would be headed to New York?
What I was surprised by was that she is going alone (in a red pillbox hat, no less). As I watched the emotional scene between Rachel and Finn before she boards the train, I kept thinking two things 1) THIS SUCKS! and 2) So this is love.
This sucks, because the poor girl thinks she’s on the way to her wedding and Finn pulled the rug out from under her, sending her to New York while he’s headed to Boot Camp. Surprise! Rachel doesn’t know if she’s being dumped or put on hold or what to feel. Who can blame her. That situation. That one right there–traumatizing. In Glee fashion, it was handled in the most dramatic way possible and probably we will never see the emotional fallout. (In real life she would be curled in the fetal position for the whole train ride.)
But, aside from the abruptness and insensitivity of how he’s doing things, Finn’s decision demonstrates wholehearted love. I’m rooting for them as a couple, actually, but I appreciate that the show chose to portray Finn putting Rachel’s dreams first, not letting her give up or delay her next steps, as well as allowing himself the opportunity to do something for his father’s legacy. That’s kind of remarkable because, not to be rude, most teen love is selfish and immature. What makes Finn so special is his ability to look out for others’ best interests, even at his own expense (Kurt and the underclassmen pointed that out earlier in the episode). Additionally, he justifies going into the Army as a place where she couldn’t follow him, saving Rachel from her own impulses. He tells her:
“You’re going to get on that train. And you’re gonna go to New York and you’re gonna be a star. Without me. That’s how much I love you. You know what you’re gonna do? Surrender. And I know how hard that is for you because of how hard you hold onto stuff…but…but, we’re just gonna…we’re gonna sit here and we’re gonna let go and let the universe do it’s thing. And if we’re meant to be together, we’re gonna be together […]Will you do that with me? Will you surrender?”
Cheers to that. I love the way his speech (in the short and full versions) uses both the language of romance and hints of the military. He’s dead serious, but he loves her so much. Rachel’s whole send off at the train station was unexpectedly beautiful. Roots Before Branches.
And now I’m actually hooked for season four. Rats.
Also, hats off to the location scout who had Rachel emerging from the train station, standing in front of The Change Group in NYC. Well played.