Okay, I’m well aware that I just talked about Glee yesterday, but get over it because we’re talking about it again today. Specifically, we’re going to talk about Rachel Berry and Jesse St. James. So buckle up, babies! Because I had a lot more thoughts and feelings about Jesse’s return than I thought I was going to and I’m going to share them with you whether you want it or not.
First off, I want to get this out right away. I do not think it is essential for every character, particularly every main character, to end up in a romantic relationship. Love and companionship is an important part of most people’s lives, but it is not the ultimate ending for every story. Rory Gilmore choosing not to marry Logan Huntzberger and instead joining the Obama campaign trail? A great ending for her.
But when it comes to Rachel Berry, I find it pretty essential for her to have love in her life at the end of her story. So much of her story was about needing and searching for love, in all its forms. She wanted to be popular and have the love and adoration of her peers. She wanted to find her mother and share a relationship with her. And from basically episode one, she wanted a boyfriend, someone to look at her and see that she’s more than the loser that everyone else saw. Someone who could see all of her talents and all of her flaws and love them both.
She found that love in Finn. They had their problems, but they did truly love each other. And maybe if he had lived they would have been able to have that last reunion and settle down. But sadly, that’s not how the story panned out. Finn died.
But the thing that’s important to remember is that Rachel didn’t.
I’ve seen a lot of people saying they want Rachel to end the series alone. Not because she doesn’t need a man to be successful and happy (which I kind of roll my eyes at anyway, because though she may not need one she has made it clear throughout the show that she wants one), but because Finn was her True Love. That her being with anyone else is a slap in the face, to Finn and to fans of Finn and Rachel. That she should focus on Broadway and keep Finn in her heart, devoted to her man until the end.
To be honest, I think that’s pretty gross. Rachel Berry is a young, vibrant, passionate, and fully alive person. She is capable of great love and deserves to be loved fiercely in return. She is barely 21 years old and has her whole life ahead of her. And people want to doom her to a loveless, widows existence, shrouded in the shadows of grief for the rest of her life? No. Absolutely not.
Finn may have been the love of her life. But – just like Burt said when he talked about his marriage to Kurt’s mom and then his marriage to Carole – he doesn’t have to be the only love of her life.
Which brings me to why I was so happy with Jesse’s return.
Rachel has mourned Finn’s loss for about a year and half by this point (he died May of 2013, right after prom, and now it’s Sectionals so I’m estimating it’s November 2014), not to mention the fact that it’s been over two years since they were even dating. She dated Sam a little bit, but it was never going to be anything real. Sam liked her just fine, but she was always going to be a placeholder for Mercedes. And Rachel liked him just fine, but he was a safe, comfortable set of water-wings as she dipped her toes back in the world of love. But Jesse? Jesse is something real.
I don’t need Rachel and Jesse to pledge eternal devotion to each other. I don’t even need to see them date. I don’t need her to be settled with someone. I just want her to have possibilities, and not just in an “anything is possible, the sky’s the limit!” way, but real, tangible possibilities. Just the kiss they shared and the hints at something more to come is all I needed.
And Jesse’s a good choice. He understands her in a way that no one else really will, even Kurt or Finn. The love of the dramatic, the ego and drive. They’re similar in so many ways. And they’ve had similar experiences. Both of them started out the most talented kid in class, a fact they well knew and one which could sometimes be a burden. And while they still believe in their talents, they’ve both significantly mellowed throughout the years. They’re now willing to see the talent in others. They both assumed that their talents would write them a ticket to anywhere they needed to go, but they’ve learned that hard work and paying your dues and checking your ego can be just as important. Rachel crashed and burned in her sitcom, and Jesse was rejected from NYADA and kicked out of UCLA. Both came home to coach their respective glee clubs in order to lick their wounds and regroup. And both are still going strong.
Jesse and Rachel have a past together. He knew Finn, knew his importance to Rachel. Klaineandbiscuits on tumblr made some great points about that, about Jesse not feeling threatened by this great love of Rachel’s. Finn’s not some white knight casting a shadow over him, he’s the goober Jesse got in a fight with at prom. That guy who could never dance. And the guy who first held out his hand and welcomed Jesse to the New Directions. Rachel and Jesse have seen some great moments from each other. And they’ve seen each other in some not-so-great moments. Rachel can forgive him for the eggs (forgave him for that a long time ago) and appreciate him for helping reunite her with her mother. And they can root for each other in New York.
I’m not saying that Jesse St. James is the new love of Rachel’s life. Just that he could be.