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Glee, 2009/Dreams Come True

FOX

We're ready to cry all the tears. 

One week from today, Glee closes out for good with a two-hour finale. And tonight, at the Paley Festival in Hollywood, Fox screened the finale's first hour, "2009" before fans. 

It did NOT disappoint. 

The episode flashes back to show the backstory right before we met the Glee kids in the show's 2009 pilot, and fills in some of the gaps of the story we already saw.

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of the final days of filming on Glee

Glee, 2009/Dreams Come True

FOX

It's a sweet, and sometimes hilarious, look at what made us fall in love with Glee so very hard in its first season, as we see Lea Michele in all her pilot-episode glory once more, with her bushier eyebrows, annoying competitveness, and ill-fitting clothing "toddler chic" clothing.

"I can't believe I ever talked that fast!" Michele said tonight of slipping back into Rachel Berry 1.0, adding that the "clothes were so tight!"

Without giving too much away, because this is one of those TV events you want to truly experience on your own, it's worth noting that this first hour is a love letter to the fans who have been with the show since season one--even those who didn't stick with it.

It's also an emotional look at what Kurt was going through with his dad and at school before we really knew him. (HInt: Dark times.)

Most notably, however, is the final minutes of "2009" in which producers show how they were able to cope with doing a flashback episode to a time with Finn (Cory Monteith) was very much in the mix.

Cory Monteith, Glee Gallery

FOX

There's a sweet and poignant scene with the New Directions kids talking about FInn, offering up a litte info we didn't know prior, and then a great final scene that effectively uses some old pilot footage, and reminds us why, when we first watched this show's premiere 6 years ago, we all lept off our couches and cheered for this new merry band of misfits. Our new TV character spirit guides who made us all feel like we could celebrate our differences and accomplish anything with a little help from friends. 

That sense of vulnerability and root-for-the-underdog satisfaction has been lesser than in the latter seasons, and it was just so gratifying to see it back again for one of Glee's final hours. Well done, Glee writers.

Also tonight at Paley, we learned the following tidbits:

  • Lea Michele fell to her knees and wept while shooting the finale, and specifically a song that Darren Criss wrote for her called, "This Time." It is the last song she sings.
  • Lea was the most emotional. Jane Lynch was the least.
  • Mark Salling lied about his age in order to land his role on Glee
  • Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale gave Chris Colfer his first drink while he was on Glee. (He started the show soon after graduating high school, the wee bebeh.)
  •  "Oprah!" the cast all shouted in unison when asked if Oprah of The Obamas were more intimidating. 

The two-hour finale of Glee airs Friday, March 20. Bring buckets of tissues and the knowledge Darren Criss told me tonight, "How can anyone not get a happy ending on Glee?!"

The second hour of the finale will jump ahead five years into the future.

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