Goodbye is the twenty-second and final episode of Glee's third season and the sixty-sixth episode overall. It premiered on May 22, 2012. It premiered at 9pm instead of the regular 8pm slot due to the finale of American Idol.
As the year comes to an end, the New Directions look back and reflect on the good and the bad memories of the year. For some, it'll be their final days at McKinley, leaving them only a limited amount of time to decide upon their futures and spend time with each other. The seniors begin to review their years here before they graduate, and Will sets up a final assignment titled, "Goodbye." With the final days coming to an end, Finn, Kurt and Rachel are to face whether they will be accepted into their selective colleges. And will Rachel be saying goodbye to just McKinley?
The episode was written and directed by Brad Falchuk.
Will enters the choir room to find the founding members of the New Directions performing Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat, the first song they performed together, to the rest of the glee club. After the performance he tells the group that there is nothing left to do this year - it's time to say goodbye, and for their final assignment they will be singing songs to say goodbye to each other. Will performs Forever Young to the group, as his way to say goodbye to the seniors.
Kurt in the hallways reflects on his years at school, thinking about how him out of the closet, has helped others be open about themselves. Burt then calls Kurt into the April Rhodes Civic Pavilion and tells him he has a gift for him, but first discusses how Kurt has grown, between 5-7 he was able to hold on to him, but when his mom passed away, he lost track and it was hard raising a kid on his own, he then asks Kurt if he can remember when they came close again, and performs Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) with Brittany and Tina dancing in the background, just like Kurt did in Preggers, Kurt of whom is shown cracking up laughing and touched. Later we see Blaine and Kurt talk before class, Blaine asking about their relationship and wondering if they're going to be okay. Kurt tells him that when he is old, he wants to talk about his first love with Blaine sitting beside him, telling that he is never saying goodbye to him, we then cut to Kurt singing I'll Remember as it's his "Goodbye" song to the club thanking them for what they have done for him.
Santana runs into Mercedes and Sam in the hallway, and finds out that Mercedes has been offered a recording contract, as a back up singer, after seeing her Disco Inferno video. She congratulates her. She talks with Mike to discover he was offered a scholarship to attend Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance in Chicago. Santana gets worried about her future. At a dinner with her mother and Brittany, she tells them that she wants to go to New York, not Louisville. Brittany shares that she isn't graduating either. After that she tells her mother that if Britt isn't graduating, she'll just stay in Lima.
Back in the choir room, the seniors perform You Get What You Give to the underclassmen and Brittany, Finn telling them it’s their glee club now and to take care of it.
Rachel and Finn are deciding on chairs that they should have at their wedding. Finn feels worried that she is settling for him, she tells him that she is marrying him and nothing will make her happier.Finn recollects his high school career, comparing the start to the finish. He feels that he "nailed" his Actor's Studio audition with James Lipton as his moderator. In Will's office, Finn comes to collect his yearbook after asking him to sign it. He asks him to redo it, but Will isn't sharing that he tried 10 times and ended up breaking down every time. Before he goes to leave, Will finally tells him that he was the one to plant the Marijuana in his locker after he heard him singing in the shower in his attempt to get Finn to join glee club. Finn tells him he is so much cooler that he thought he was.
Carole brings out Finn's gown and they talk about how he feels disappointed about not being able to get his father an honorable discharge.The Underclassmen and Will perform In My Life dedicated to Finn for being the one to make the club what it is now, ending in a teary performance.
Quinn is happy to find that she has ended high school where she started, on top, but with incredible friends. She feels worried about Puck and feels she needs to help her friend. In the bathroom, she gives Rachel a Metro North rail pass that will take her to New Haven, and she has one that will take her to New York so they can stay friends. Rachel expresses that she always thought Quinn was meant to be with Puck.
In Quinn's room, she is trying to help Puck study until he get frustrated and hops up to leave. Quinn tells him she loves him, as he was her first. She feels that they are bonded for life, going through what they went through. She kisses him, trying to boost his confidence.
Puck walks into his test more confident, feeling the kiss has brought him back.
In Sue's office, Roz shares her plan to get rid of Figgins, feeling that he is an idiot. She asks that they join forces to bring him down, but Sue doesn't say anything further about it. When Roz leaves, Quinn comes to give her uniform back. Sue gives it back, telling her she is retiring the uniform. Sue shares that she thought Quinn reminded her of herself, but knows how different she is. Knowing that she will go far and can’t wait to be able to say she knew her back in the day. Quinn hugs Sue as her way of saying goodbye, both crying.
All seniors wait outside Puck’s classroom waiting for his test to be graded. He snatches the test to discover he got a C-, which he declares triumphantly "is a Puckerman A+." His friends celebrate the fact that he will get to graduate after all.
Puck and Finn perform Glory Days as the New Directions' Seniors are given the diplomas, their parents, the underclassmen, Will, Sue, Shannon, and the rest of the faculty all watching proudly. The order being Mike, Quinn, Mercedes, Puck, Santana, Kurt, Finn and then Rachel.
In the choir room; Kurt, Finn and Rachel have their letters from their colleges. Finn opens his first, finding he wasn't accepted. Kurt follows and also finds he wasn't accepted. Rachel turns away as she opens hers to find that she was accepted.
Rachel feels that she is happy to have deferred her acceptance into NYADA so she can wait a year for Kurt and Finn to apply again, as she doesn't feel it would be right.
As Santana cleans her locker out, Maribel gives her money that she had saved for her to go to college. Telling her do what she wants with it, it's up to her.
Finn picks Rachel up to take them to their wedding. He takes her to a train station instead, telling her she is on the 4:25 train to New York, her dads waiting to see her. He tells her he isn't going to marry her if she is giving up her dreams to be with him. He tells her he is setting her free as he is joining the Army to change his dad's discharge status. As she breaks down, he tells her that she will be a star, but she has to let go of him. Before they get out of the car, she tells him she loves him so much to which he replies "I love you forever."
Roots Before Branches is performed by Finn and Rachel as they walk towards the station. Will, Emma and the rest of the glee club standing on the platform as they say their farewells to Rachel before she boards the train. While everyone from the Glee Club, all wave at Rachel, Finn runs after the train, until the trains becomes too fast to keep up with and waves a final goodbye to her. The song is continued when she arrives in New York, coming out of Grand Central Station. The episode ends as Rachel joins the crowds of people on the streets of New York, her pink suitcase trailing behind her.
|Song Title||Original Artist||Performer(s)|
|Forever Young||Rod Stewart||Will Schuester|
|I'll Remember||Madonna||Kurt Hummel with New Directions|
|You Get What You Give||New Radicals||New Directions Upperclassmen|
|In My Life||The Beatles||New Directions Underclassmen|
|Glory Days||Bruce Springsteen||Finn Hudson and Noah Puckerman|
|Roots Before Branches||Room For Two||Rachel Berry with Finn Hudson|
- Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat from Guys and Dolls. Sung by New Directions
- Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon. Sung by Finn Hudson
- Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) by Beyoncé - Danced to by Burt, Tina, and Brittany for Kurt.
Special Guest Star
- Mike O'Malley as Burt Hummel
- Iqbal Theba as Principal Figgins
- Dot-Marie Jones as Shannon Beiste
- Romy Rosemont as Carole Hudson-Hummel
- Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans
- NeNe Leakes as Roz Washington
- Samuel Larsen as Joe Hart
- Damian McGinty as Rory Flanagan
- Vanessa Lengies as Sugar Motta
- Kathleen M. Darcy as Eleanor Doosenbury
- Keong Sim as Mike Chang Sr
- Tamlyn Tomita as Julia Chang
- Charlotte Ross as Judy Fabray
- Gina Hecht as Mrs. Puckerman
- James Lipton as Himself
- A scene between Puck and Quinn studying in the library was cut.
- This is the first finale not to contain New Directions competing in a show choir competition.
- Kurt's graduation cape is accessorized with an insect brooch that he wore on his striped sweater when he sang Defying Gravity in Season One.
- Rachel's pink suitcase is identical as the one that was in Showmance, where Finn helps her to carry the case.
- This is the last episode in which Rory Flanagan appears physically. He reappeared as part of Artie's dream during Glee, Actually in Season Four.
- This is the last episode in which Dianna Agron and Jayma Mays are part of the main cast.
- Due to the whole cast crying during the filming of the entire episode, they had to use waterproof mascara.
- There was no First Listen Friday for this episode as most of the songs were already out due to the Graduation Album. In My Life was released just a day before the episode instead of the airing day, as they intended to release it during that day.
- This is the second time New York is featured on Glee as well as being in the Season Finale.
- The first finale where Finn and Rachel do not get together. Instead, their relationship is put on hold.
- A few things were heavily hinted in Sue's office:
- Roz Washington proposed a new mission to join forces with Sue to take Figgins down as Sue looks in interest. This would've been one of their new goals for Season Four, but it wasn't introduced. Instead, starting Season Five, we know Sue has already achieved this by herself.
- Sue's baby's celebrity father was yet to be revealed. Sue said it'll be shown in a magazine in "September." That's when Season 4 aired, but despite Season 4 having aired and September 2012 already past, the "celebrity father" of Sue's baby was yet to be revealed. It was later revealed to be Michael Bolton by Brittany in the fourth season finale, All or Nothing.
- However, it was proven false in The Rise and Fall of Sue Sylvester.
- This episode contained three flashbacks:
- The "Priority #1: Help the Kids" flyer from Pilot reappears in Will's office in this episode.
- This episode drew a 2.9 rating 18 - 49 with 7.460 million total viewers, up significantly from previous episode. Source
- This episode marks the second time where Finn breaks up with his girlfriend in his car. The first time was in Funeral when he broke up with Quinn.
- The first Season Finale so far where the final scene is not in the choir room, instead, it is in New York. The second one is the Season Five finale.
- Apart from Lea and Cory, the rest of the cast did not get the last couple pages of the script, and therefore did not know about the Finchel breakup, only finding out about it when the episode aired.
- On August 6, 2012, Ryan Murphy uploaded a deleted scene from this episode where Rachel shows Kurt what she signed for in his yearbook. 
- On August 9, 2012, Murphy uploaded another deleted scene in which Mike Chang's parents give him his graduation present. 
- Santana's mother mentions that Santana used to dress up as Uncle Jesse from "Full House" on Halloween. It just so happens that Uncle Jesse was played by John Stamos, who appeared in three episodes of Season Two as Emma's husband, Carl.
- This episode is Finn's final season finale due to Cory Monteith's rehab in April 2013 and death in July 2013.
- The scene where Rachel boards the train was included in Glee's Top 6 Touching Moments countdown.
- Finn's line, "I love you forever" to Rachel from a promo is cut in their break up scene.
- Just before Roots Before Branches, Rachel and Finn are talking in the car as Rachel is in tears. When Rachel is crying, she is looking forward but in the next shot, her head is already facing Finn's.
- When Rachel arrives in New York, she is shown leaving Grand Central Station—which is used for commuter trains. Amtrak trains, which Rachel would have taken to go from Lima to New York, use Penn Station.
- In the scene where Quinn hugs Puck and tells him that she is proud of him for getting a C-, you can see Kurt hugging Mrs. Doosenbury, but in the next shot, you see him hugging her again.
- During the locker scene between Santana and her mother where her mother gives her the graduation gift, pictures in Santana's locker disappear and reappear as the shot changed.
- In the scene where Finn and his mother are discussing Finn's father's service in the Army, Finn is holding a picture of his father, whose uniform has a U.S. Marines tab sewed above the pocket and the Marine Corps sergeant pin insignia with the distinctive crossed rifles beneath the chevrons.
You're going to get on that train, and you're going to go to New York, and you're going to be a star. Without me.
You're so much cooler than I thought you were
C-! That's a Puckerman A+! I'm graduating!
You're nothing like me. You're better. Sure I'm as smart as you are and every bit as pretty, but somehow you're slightly less evil, and I admire that. I admire you Quinn Fabray.