MICHAEL-KUN DO THIS
That wasn’t a season finale, and it wasn’t meant to be
So everyone keeps getting annoyed when Ryan Murphy says “We’re doing something that’s never been done on television before” because we have assumed he’s meant splitting the location of the show as they have for S4, or splitting the school year as they are in S4/S5. Neither of which, frankly, seem particularly innovative.
But I’m fairly certain that’s not actually quite what he’s talking about it. What I think he’s talking about is seasons as the structural unit of American television.
Back during S3 when Glee’s ratings were tanking and they were negotiating for S4, there was a persistent rumor that because of the split season plan Murphy wanted 30-ish episodes. That would, among other things, have gotten Glee close to the magic 100 episode number for syndication and allow both NYC and Lima stories to get equal time.
That didn’t happen, and S4 was 22 episodes.
But S4 wasn’t written like a 22 episode season. It was written like 22 episodes of a 30ish-episode season.
My belief, especially with Glee’s frequent/constant hiatuses, is that Murphy has jettisoned seasons as a narrative unit of measurement.
No one would be particularly pissed about this episode if it wasn’t the season finale.
And while it may be the season finale in the sense of now the hiatus is a long one and this is how Fox marketed it, I don’t think that’s what we just saw.
5.01 will actually be 4.23. And Murphy hasn’t been full of shit. He’s narratively jettisoned the typical structural unit of US TV and we’ve been rolling our eyes at his huge, ground-breaking change, because nothing on the business and marketing end has lent itself to us being told this or hearing it when we’re told it.
And the shocking two season deal? Not really about two seasons. Just about the space it takes to finish the story. Which is really the rest of the 30ish episode S4 and a 30ish episode S5.
Bolding mine. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.