With only two episodes remaining in Glee's fourth season, the Fox musical is setting the stage for a finale that showrunner Ryan Murphy has said will feature a cliffhanger.
Among them, the future for Chord Overstreet's Sam Evans, the senior with a flare for impersonations who has risen to become one of the primary leaders within New Directions. This week, Sam and the rest of the glee club will get a helpful hand (or two) when grads Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) return to prep the squad for Regionals.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Overstreet to preview the final two hours of season four and get the scoop on what's ahead in season five, which will likely feature the second half of Sam's senior year as Glee's academic year will not commence when this season wraps. Here are eight things to know about what's ahead (and not).
1. The traditional end of the school year will have to wait -- for season five. "The final two episodes are more toward gearing up for Regionals," Overstreet says. "The school year is half this year and the other half next year." Among the story lines set to bleed into next season: Becky (Lauren Potter) and what comes of Sam and Blaine's (Darren Criss) efforts to get to the bottom of the school shooting that cost Sue (Jane Lynch) her job. "That will go into next year so a lot of it will be resolved next season."
2. Wonder-ful Regionals support. This week's Stevie Wonder tribute episode will feature Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) enlisting Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) and Mercedes (Amber Riley) to better prepare New Directions for Regionals, which arrives May 9. "Amber comes back and fills us in on what Mercedes has been up to as she and Harry help New Directions gear up and get ready for Regionals," Overstreet says. "It's a lead-up for Regionals and Harry's working on everyone's dancing and Mercedes is fine-tuning the girls." And for the loyal "Samcedes" fans, Overstreet says Sam is happy to see Mercedes, but he's moved on romantically with Brittany. "It's friendship," he says of Sam's former flame.
3. Big news for Artie. Kevin McHale's aspiring film student learns some big news about his future during "Wonder-ful," which also features the arrival of Katey Sagal as Artie's mom, Nancy Abrams. "Artie receives some sort of college news and he's a little troubled by the idea of going out into the real world," Overstreet says. "The reality is that New Directions is always supportive of anybody's decision with what they want to do. Artie has a lot of hesitance toward going into the real world and having to deal with the reality of going to school, being alone and growing up on his own; it's pretty big for someone who hasn't had that challenge yet."
4. The Regionals competition is small but mighty. New Directions will be facing the Hoosierdaddies and lead singer Frida Romero -- played by American Idol's Jessica Sanchez. "It's pretty intimidating for New Directions," Overstreet says of listening to Sanchez sing on set. "She's big weapon for her squad and we're not really prepared for that. But I think we'll hold our own, but it's definitely something where we're all freaking out and scrambling at the last minute."
5. Cliffhangers? Resolution? The season four finale will provide lots of both. "The season finale is more of a midpoint storyline," Overstreet previews. "This season has been more of a journey and emotional roller coaster and one that needed more time." Overstreet says next season will continue where this year left off -- but "you will find out who wins Regionals." Also settled in the finale: Who's "Catfishing" Ryder (Blake Jenner), which Overstreet says will provide for plenty of dramatic moments. On the flipside, "There's a cliffhanger with Blaine which is pretty interesting, and another cliffhanger with a few other characters that are going to leave people wondering what's next. It's one of those finales that's going to be picked right up when season five begins."
6. Brittany's future … resolved! Sam's apparently brainy girlfriend Brittany (Heather Morris) is being wooed by MIT after her impressive SAT scores. "Brittany's story line will conclude and you'll figure out where she's going," Overstreet teases of his on-screen partner. "She comes in and out of MIT and goes back and forth and you'll see where she's headed and what's going to happen with her. It'll be an emotional episode but it will be fun." In terms of how that will impact the couple, Overstreet says that's something for season five. "It's going to be what ever is best for Brittany," he explains.
7. Speaking of the future… Overstreet says Sam is purely focused on Regionals in the final two episodes of season four -- and not on his academic challenges. "I don't know what's coming next for Sam, it could be anything," he says of the story that will flow into season five. "We'll get into all that next season."
8. Sam's wise words. As his best friend Blaine prepares to pop the question to Kurt (Chris Colfer), Overstreet -- whose Sam faux married Brittany earlier this season -- will be his support system. "Sam is one of those guys who's a sweet guy and is always there for people -- he's encouraging and he's wise beyond his years. He's always supportive but he does try to be the voice of reason," Overstreet says, noting that people change a lot between the ages of 18 and 25. "If it were me and it was my friend about to propose in high school, I'd tell him to wait and see."
As for what Overstreet plans to do during the Fox musical's hiatus, it's all about going country. "I’m going to Nashville to write a bunch of music with my dad," he tells THR, noting he'll also finish up a few passion projects he's been working on for the past year.
What are you looking forward to seeing on the final two episodes of Glee? Hit the comments below with your thoughts. Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
- Chord Overstreet