(Spoilers lurk below.)
Well, it’s the beginning of a season that is destined to be indelibly colored by the death of Cory Monteith. But you wouldn’t know it (mostly) by the season premiere, which is as upbeat as any episode that Glee has ever done. Relationships begin and reignite, Rachel’s career strides forward confidently, and even Sue is presented as a mostly-benign entity. Welcome to Glee plus love times three.
Season four left us with two cliffhangers: the fate of Rachel’s Funny Girl audition, and the status of Blaine’s marriage proposal to Kurt. “Love Love Love” all but admits that the cliffhangers were a mistake, as it begins by pulling back from the cliff. Rachel is still auditioning for her role: the decision has not been made yet. Blaine chickened out in the choir room after regionals, and is still planning his proposal (sans Liz and Jan). Well, if they’re willing to forget “All or Nothing,” then I certainly am.
This episode was long on feel-good moments, but short on plot. You had to love seeing Kitty publicly admit her love for Artie; Tina willingly get cheered up by Sam, Blaine, Ryder, and Jake; Rachel fearlessly submit an impromptu second audition to the producers of Funny Girl (along with a wink to let them know she overheard them saying they thought she was too young); Will being told by Sue that she wanted him to be a winner; and Blaine proposing to Kurt and getting a “yes” with not even a second of discernible hesitation. In the end, however… not a whole lot really happened.
This episode felt a lot like season three, in that it consisted largely of a melange of subplots. Nothing forced its way to the forefront, despite valiant efforts by the Kitty/Artie (Kirtie?) relationship and the Kurt/Blaine relationship.
It was actually nice to see Kitty and Artie getting together with a minimum of drama. Of course in my “Wonder-ful” review I denied that there were any sparks of romance between the two of them, but it makes sense that they might come up. And they do feel like a high school couple in this episode. No real sense of deep love or anything, but they like each other and might as well lock lips while they can. What drama there was in their relationship came from Kitty’s worry about its effect on her status in the school, so Artie and Kitty were a secret couple for about half the episode. Despite all the relationship shenanigans in Glee, I think that this is the first secret relationship not involving cheating that we’ve had on this show since a couple of pointless seconds in season two’s “New York.” Unfortunately, not much was done with it. Tina made a scene about it (since she’s bitter beyond her youth) and Kitty responded by publicly fessing up to being way into Artie. All is well.
It was also very nice to see Kitty showing evidence of having a heart. Maybe we’ve grown beyond the sociopath Kitty who was all over season four. The one with real human emotions is much more interesting. Now we just have to wait and see how she interacts with Marley, who had pretty much nothing to do here.
Meanwhile, Kurt and Blaine also got back together early in the episode with a minimum or drama because… convenience? Kurt was deeply hurt by what Blaine did in season four, and they even went through hooking up (“Bros helping bros”) in “I Do” without Kurt showing much interest in renewing their relationship. But hey, it’s season five so: time to move on. What’s more shocking than that is how quickly the writers and producers decided to advance their newly renewed relationship. By the end of the first episode of season five, Blaine has successfully gotten back together with Kurt and proposed and Kurt has accepted. They even did a dance around Burt’s opposition to the idea last season by having Burt bring it up to his son, only to say that this is entirely Kurt’s decision and it doesn’t matter what he thinks. Judging from the last season, the implication is “if you want to screw up your life, go ahead!”, but it seems to be put in a more positive light in this episode, to the point that Burt allows the specter of his dead wife to give her tacit acceptance of Kurt and Blaine’s union. It just seems like a really weird change of tone, going from full opposition to full acceptance. That’s not to say it’s not in character: season one’s Burt gave every appearance of being a homophobe but for his gay son (a condition known as Cheney-Portman Syndrome). It’s just jarring, especially in light of his resistance to Finn and Rachel’s marriage in season three.
What are we to make of Kurt accepting Blaine back into his life? Kurt brushes off season four’s Adam, saying that it never got serious (I’m guessing that Kurt just couldn’t be with someone who stole from Jonathan Coulton). Blaine sidesteps the question of his loyalty, saying that he cheated because he thought that he and Kurt were “done” (hard to buy, considering that Blaine flew out to New York to see Kurt, greeting him with a kiss, shortly after the illicit sex occurred). In the end, it really just seems like the writers and producers decided that Kurt and Blaine should be together this season, and so be it. It makes large swaths of season four feel like a waste of time, and I really think they should have given it some more justification.
Also happening in this episode: Rachel and Santana are working as singing waitresses in a restaurant on Broadway. Other than how great it was to see Santana again, there really wasn’t much to this. Plotwise, it gave Rachel a chance to throw another audition at her producers, but it didn’t really add anything to Rachel’s struggles that we didn’t see last season.
Meanwhile, Sue finally remembered that she vowed to overthrow Figgins again at the end of season three, and she planted all kinds of incriminating evidence in his office, managing to get him fired and get herself hired on as interim principal. Becky apparently fessed up to bringing the gun to school and received a one-month suspension (for bringing a gun to school) while Sue was fully forgiven for her role (in covering up for a student bringing a gun to school).
Let us never speak of this again.
Anyway, Sue is fully in favor of Will’s glee club and Roz’s cheerios doing well, since it would make her look good, and old Figgins is still around the school working as a janitor, since that’s something that totally makes sense.
Not a great episode overall, but not exactly bad either. Plotwise, I give it a meh-plus.
What really made this episode worth watching was the music. It’s the Beatles, so come on: it had to be good. Even though it did seem a bit musically bloated, every song in the episode was entertaining, at least to some degree reminding me of why I watch this show in the first place. The first number, “Yesterday,” came with weird overtones of the death of Cory Monteith/Finn, something that won’t be fully addressed until this season’s third episode, as Rachel sadly looked towards a past that is very real but which can never come again. “Got to Get You into my Life” was a fun-but-pointless way to restart Kurt and Blaine, though it was a great performance. “You’ve Got to Hide your Love Away” was cute: a better way of selling Kitty and Artie’s relationship than the earlier “Drive My Car,” which honestly could have been cut. “Help” had a ton of energy, though it and the superior followup “All You Need is Love” kinda minimized the efforts of the other groups that Blaine enlisted in helping him propose to Kurt. Give them some solos, yo. The latter, however, has to be the highlight of the episode. As sappy as it is, and as silly as Blaine’s proposing to Kurt is at this point in their lives, it was a fantastic production, a great cover, clearly all that Kurt ever wanted out of a marriage proposal, and it was great to see Rachel, Mercedes, and Santana there for the big moment. “I Saw Her Standing There” was good, and made for a nice moment with Tina, but one wonders if her subplot got lost on the way to the episode it was supposed to be in, since it didn’t have a lot of focus here. This could have been cut. “A Hard Day’s Night” was a great way of showcasing Rachel and Santana’s confidence and friendship, and a really fun number.
The neckbrace cheerio seems to still be in a neckbrace. What’s her story, anyway?
Not only where there a ton on numbers in this episode, but most of them were imaginary. Glee is kinda drifting from its roots again. The best numbers were also the ones that were least imaginary: “All You Need is Love,” “Got to get You into my Life,” and “A Hard Day’s Night.”
I’d make fun of Kitty for suddenly having a heart, but it actually feels like they earned it after “Shooting Star” and “Wonder-ful.” Character development!
From Tina’s comments, we can gather than Ryder is somehow gayer and/or more Asian than Sam?
I do like that they didn’t try to milk any drama out of Kurt’s answer to Blaine. He just said yes right away.
Speaking of which, where are they going with Kurt and Blaine deciding to get married? Going a route similar to Finn and Rachel’s in season three would be pretty boring. Are they just going to… stay together?