Well that was traumatic. Long-time Glee fans have known episode four, ‘The Break-Up’ meant trouble in store for all of their favourite relationships, but I’m sure no one could have quite predicted the mass culling that we’ve been handed.
Starting with Rachel and Finn, which can be expected, the pair of them begin in much the same way as they ended things last year. Finn knows that he doesn’t belong with Rachel, whether it’s because of real issues or his own crippling insecurity, but plays along passive-aggressively anyway. Rachel, conversely, pretends everything is absolutely fine, and attempts to integrate Finn into her New York life. It doesn’t work, of course, and jealously over her brief dalliance with Brody gets the better of an already spiralling Finn. Their status is left deliberately uncertain, but not before a heartbreaking speech from Rachel in the McKinley auditorium.
Shortly after Finn and Rachel’s reunion, Blaine turns up in New York to surprise Kurt. Unlike Finn and Rachel, this relationship is one that I can’t see the writers keeping apart for too long. While Finchel are almost definitely endgame for when the series bows out, I can’t imagine fans being happy to see Kurt or Blaine with anyone else no matter how temporary their rebound relationships turn out to be. But, at the same time, their relationship is the one most badly damaged by the distance between them, as it’s quickly revealed that Blaine has cheated on Kurt with a guy called Eli. I can hear the anguished cries of Klaine fans from here.
Blaine wins the Most Heartbreaking Song award tonight, though, with a tearful rendition of ‘Teenage Dream’ that harkens back to his introduction back in season two. It’s such a treat to hear a performance on Glee that hasn’t been auto-tuned to death, and the show did a really great job at making this as heartbreaking as possible. It also does something amazing in not making Blaine an all-out hate figure for his part in the break-up. Sure, he did a horrible thing by cheating but it’s a real situation that can at least be understood if not justified. Kurt has been acting horribly over the last couple of weeks, and we’ve seen how lonely Blaine has been all year.
The episode not only reintroduces us to Finn, but Santana’s back in Lima too! Probably my favourite character, I was ecstatic to see Ms. Lopez back on my screen outside of a fuzzy webcam image. With most of the attention quite rightly focused on New York, Brittany and Santana’s flailing relationship was given limited screen time, but it was enough to make a mature and heartbreaking point on the sidelines. Instead of crying and fighting like their fellow glee club couples, Santana decides that the best thing for both of them to do is take some time apart. It’s not an official breakup, apparently, but it sure sounded like one to me. I’ve connected to these two in a huge way over the years so I hope it isn’t permanent.
One relationship that doesn’t quite break-up is Will and Emma’s, but there are certainly still some issues to iron out before they get married (if they get married?). With Will moving to Washington for a few months, and Emma refusing to dump her life and go with him, the engaged couple are included in the final song as a further example of troubled times. It may be one cherished pairing too many for fans to take, so I’m glad they didn’t rush into anything too final for this week. Time will tell whether they can make it past their problems, and we’ll find all of our answers after Glee‘s brief hiatus.
As said, it was quite a traumatic episode to watch for ardent fans of the series, and it remains to be seen whether these sudden changes to the show are a good idea. Does this mean that Santana will take even more of a backseat, for example? And where are Mike and Mercedes? Glee promised us that we hadn’t seen the last of these characters, and our expectations of a multi-layered, multi-location show have been wildly off base so far. Would it be so hard to spend a little less time with Rachel and Kurt one week, just so we could travel to Chicago, L.A. or Louisville for a while? Not everyone thinks those two characters were the be-all and end-all of the series, and it seems the writers aren’t quite delivering on their promises right now.
What did you think of the episode? Has the show been too rash in breaking up every fan-favourite couple? Let us know in the comments.
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