I'm not sure there has ever been a more controversial storyline on Glee than the Samchel budding relationship... and that's saying something from a show that's tackled two transgender storylines, teen pregnancy, and a fake school shooting. But the idea of who Rachel Berry will end up with after the tragic death of her fiancé (both on the show and in Lea Michele's actual life) is understandably a touchy subject. Viewers loyal to Finn Hudson/Cory Monteith's memory are often against the coupling of Rachel with Sam Evans — not to mention the Samcedes fans who just want Sam and Mercedes to get back together, dammit.
Between those two factions, there is a very vocal contingent of Glee's fan base that loathe the idea of Samchel being "endgame" on Glee. And yet the writers appear to be pushing full steam ahead. With the series finale only six weeks away, there's no time to introduce another love interest for the show's star. So at this point it seems like Rachel is going to end up with Sam or nobody... and "with Sam" seems to be the option the writers have chosen, given that the summary for next week's episode, "Transitioning," involves "the romantic tension that has been brewing between Sam and Rachel finally boil[ing] over."
If we accept that Samchel is inevitable at this point, we can start analyzing the pros and cons of their relationship:
PRO: They're Adorable Together
That scene in "The Hurt Locker, Part One" where a friendly piano lesson turned into a flirty tickle moment? I mean, come on. It's hard to get more adorable than Rachel's delighted grin in that moment. It's clear that she enjoys the company of the goofy football coach.
CON: They Moved Too Fast
One of the biggest problems many viewers have with this 'ship is that the writers jumped into it too soon. In last season's Billy Joel tribute episode, "Movin' Out," Blaine and Sam visited Rachel/Santana/Kurt in NYC... and sparks flew between Samchel during both a photoshoot and a rendition of the Piano Man's "Just The Way You Are." Coming a mere three episodes after the touching Finn tribute episode "The Quarterback," it was undeniably too much too soon. The writers wisely put the brakes on the pairing for the rest of Season 5, but the damage was already done in many viewers' minds.
PRO: They Have History
If the writers wanted to give Rachel a love interest this season, it makes sense that it's someone she went to school with and knows very well. The final season was already shortened from the normal 22 to a too-brief 13 episodes — introducing a new character, getting us invested in him, and having us believe that Rachel has fallen in love with him is a tall order given everything else the writers have to wrap up in those 13 hours. It makes more sense to pair her with someone she already has history with. Remember when she asked Sam to be her prom date way back in Season 2? That moment echoed sweetly during "The Hurt Locker, Part One" when Rachel asked Sam out on a date.
CON: Sam Can Never Replace Finn
If Rachel and Sam started dating, that would be one thing; but it's the sense that the writers are actually trying to turn Sam into Finn that has some viewers up in arms. This season Sam has become the sensitive football coach/New Directions recruiter/Rachel boyfriend that Finn was clearly supposed to be. In "The Hurt Locker, Part Two," while under Sue's hypnosis, Sam even declared himself to be Rachel's "future husband." This statement angered viewers who saw this as a direct parallel to when Finn confronted Brody in Season 4 and warned him, "Stay away from my future wife." (In my opinion, those who are angry about this forget how creepy that line was considered to be by most people at the time.)
PRO: Their Chemistry Is Sizzling
And not just their physical chemistry, either (although that kiss was pretty steamy). Lea Michele and Chord Overstreet also have terrific musical chemistry, as evidenced by their duet to Vanessa Carlton's "Thousand Miles." Fortunately, that's far from the only time they'll be singing together this season; they'll be duetting again on Dionne Warwick's "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" in this Friday's Burt Bacharach tribute episode, "What The World Needs Now," and then they'll sing Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" together in next week's episode, "Transitioning."
CON: Sam Is... A Little Dumb
Let's not mince words here: Sam isn't the sharpest crayon in the box. This wasn't always the case — when he was first introduced, Sam was a slightly doofy but well-intentioned jock who had a thing for bad celebrity impressions. But when the writers paired him up with Brittany in Season 4, they dumbed him down to match the ditzy cheerleader, and his intellect has never quite recovered. This is the man who fake-married Brittany because he though the Mayan calendar predicted an asteroid was coming to destroy the world, and who was capable of being hypnotized by Sue with nothing more than a pocket watch. You could certainly make the argument that Rachel deserves someone more on her intellectual level.
PRO: They Have Mercedes' Blessing
One of the biggest obstacles Samchel faces is the ire of Samcedes shippers. But what if Mercedes herself gave the couple her blessing? That appears to be exactly what happens in this week's episode, "What The World Needs Now." The summary for the episode says that, "despite agreeing to stay just friends, Rachel and Sam try to negotiate bigger feelings they may or may not have for each other, but it takes the advice of an interested third party to move things along." The promo shows Mercedes asking Rachel, "What's going on between you and Sam?" Clearly Mercedes is that interested third party and, judging by this sneak of her performance of The Shirelles' "Baby It's You," she's fully in support of the couple.
CON: Rachel Has Never Really Been Single
Finn Hudson. Noah Puckerman. Jesse St. James. Brody Weston. Sam Evans. Ever since she was a sophomore in high school, Rachel has been in relationships far more than she's been single. Being on your own is a crucial part of discovering who you are as a person, especially in your formative younger years, and Rachel never really did that. Wouldn't it be a more empowering message if Rachel ended up independent and happy? Rachel Berry is a strong, ambitious woman; she doesn't need a man to have a happy ending.
PRO: Rachel Deserves To Be In A Fulfilling Relationship
While Rachel ending up single would certainly be a positive message, I understand it wouldn't be the most attractive option for the writers. She's been through a lot in six years; is it so terrible to want to see her in a stable, loving relationship before the show takes its final bow? While on a non-date with Sam in "The Hurt Locker, Part One," Rachel stated that, "I just realized I haven't spent time alone with a guy in a long time, and it feels good to do it with someone I feel so safe with." Rachel Berry feeling safe, loved, and happy is an ending I think most people can get behind.