by Josh Batchelder
Glee is back from its long long hiatus and just as much bubbly fun as ever. Tonight saw a huge rift form between Rachel and Santana, the repercussions of which we might be feeling for the remainder of the season.
Santana starts out the episode by being verbally bullied by some prim-and-proper white middle-aged woman who’s super picky about her eggs. I was really hoping this would be a moment of inner dialogue that Glee always does so well, but instead she brings her complaints over to Rachel. It just so happens that Rachel has made it to the cover of the New York Magazine and is utterly beaming about her new role in Funny Girl. She even offers Santana a spot in the background of her photoshoot, which seems nice but only in a Rachel-Berry-ish kind of way. It’s clear during the photoshoot that Santana is pining for something much more, wanting her moment in the spotlight too. “Brave” is a fun Rachel and Santana duet and the glamorous visuals really compliment the song well.
Tina and Artie try to play it nice with each other as Tina admits she’s been wait-listed at Brown. They sing a cutesy, if forgettable, rendition of “Whenever I Call You Friend.” This feels like the first time they’ve acknowledged their relationship in quite some time. When Sue drops the bombshell that BOTH Tina and Artie are the school valedictorians, however, things quickly change between the two of them. Sue tells them that the two must compete with each other in preparing a speech, and the person who gives the better speech will be school valedictorian. Tina advises Artie to quietly bow out as the two make some pretty deep digs at each other, my favorite of which is Artie calling Tina the school’s biggest bitch. I’d stand by that sentiment.
“Unlike some members of the Glee club who come and go for months at a time with no explanation, you two losers are always in that choir room.” -Sue Sylvester
On the Klaine side of things, Kurt sounds a wee bit desperate on the phone with Blaine as he’s bitching about Starchild’s newfound starpower, but Blaine gives some pretty simple advice: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Maybe it’s just me, but the split-screen Klaine phone calls are some of my favorite parts in any episode. Kurt takes the advice to heart, going into full-on creeper mode and doing everything imaginable to suck up to Starchild. The cucumber sandwiches seemed especially odd. Kurt convinces Starchild to take him searching for a guitar, which leads to an awesome rock number “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. I especially adored the part on the stripper pole. Obviously, Starchild can easily outsing Kurt but their voices play off each other with a particularly nice harmony.
Rachel bows out of her commitments to Pamela Lansbury for the day, as does Santana, though the name-dropping of an understudy rehearsal is quick to get to Santana’s head. Santana shows up to the audition for Funny Girl understudy and, much to Rachel’s horror, she easily snags the part. She sings Rachel’s trademark number, “Don’t Rain On My Parade”, naturally.
“It’s really hard being a star.” -Rachel Berry
Back in the choir room, the team is deciding on what to sing for nationals. They have two solos, and since Blaine is “the new Rachel”, that leaves Artie and Tina to scratch their way to the top. “My Lovin’ You’re Never Gonna Get It” is fun and classic Glee. Love me those close-up camera angles. Lets be real, though: Artie can outsing Tina any day of the week. It all ends rather tragically as Tina shows her true bitch colors and knocks the kid in the wheelchair onto the ground. Really, Tina? Have some class.
Santana and Rachel really go at each other’s throats over the whole audition thing. Rachel claims that nothing is personal, but Santana nails down the fact that she’s just jealous someone with a lack of theater experience could become her understudy so easily. The caddy verbal fights quickly lead to one of the show’s juiciest slaps as Rachel smacks Santana. Hard.
The speech debate between Artie and Tina takes an odd turn in the auditorium as the two rivals praise each other to high heaven rather than get nasty. It turns out just beforehand they made up in the hallway. The speeches give the two a nice chance to brush up some of the past, like Artie’s hour-long Christmas-miracle mechanical legs or Tina’s terribly embarrassing fake-stutter.
“Allow me to present absolutely no one’s favorite New Direction, Tina Cohen-Chang.” -Sue
Rachel and Santana take their rivalry to rehearsals, where the two instantly clash in Rachel’s makeup room. Their director takes the time to remind them that they have to work together as a team because the two of them together are what’s really going to sell. Fame over all else, eh? The moment is a nice branch off into my favorite musical number of the night, the classic “Every Breath You Take.” In tonight’s context, the lyrics are less stalker-y and fit surprisingly well with Rachel and Santana’s constant back-and-forth antics.
After all the fake-friend behavior Kurt displays toward Starchild, Starchild comes clean and tells him that he’s really happy he met Kurt and wants things between the two of them to stay genuine because he could tell that Kurt was being fake. The two decided to take a trademark “Pamela Lansbury selfie” to commemorate the occasion, which could end up biting Kurt in the ass next episode as Starchild gives him a risque kiss on the cheek for all eyes on Facebook to see.
Things with Tina and Artie end in the least-expected way: Blaine is now valedictorian due to their race resulting in a tie. Blaine’s blissful moment is interrupted as an obnoxious Becky cuts in with the Kurt and Starchild selfie. Blaine is definitely jealous, even as he announces to the others that Kurt and Starchild are just friends. Blaine shakes it off when he heads back into the choir room, though. He want to do a song instead of a valedictorian speech (did you really expect anything less?) and he wants both Tina and Artie to join him. What better way to end the episode that with a touching version of “Breakaway” that gives the three gleeks each a moment in the spotlight.
“I feel like sometimes things just get handed to me.” “Really, Hmm, I never noticed that.” -Blaine and Artie
But wait, there’s more!! Interspersed with “Breakaway”, we have a pretty emotional Rachel duke it out once more with Santana. She demands Kurt to pick a side, and when he refuses, she commits to moving out herself. On the way out of the apartment her and Kurt shaped together, Rachel takes a cute snapshot of she and Santana, rips it to pieces, and throws it dramatically in the air behind her as she storms off. Looks like this feud won’t be ending anytime soon?
I loved this week’s comeback episode. I can’t wait to see what the reminder of the season has in store, and I’m especially excited for the two-part 100th episode special coming in March. Glee is back!!