September 13, 2012

Episode Review: GLEE, "The New Rachel"

I think the biggest question I had going into the Season 4 premiere of Glee was whether "The New Rachel" was going to be the show reinventing itself or doing more of the same, and ultimately it was somewhere in the middle. Honestly, I have decided if that's a good or bad thing yet, but I did enjoy most of the episode.

The episode opened up right where we expected it to; with Rachel starting her NYADA journey in Cassandra July's dance class. Of course, Cassandra was an acid-tongued ex-performer turned teacher and had some choice words for our favorite ingenue. The combination of tough love, homesickness and feeling alone started to weigh Rachel until she came across some hot guy singing in shower of her school's co-ed bathroom. Brody was an instant fan of Miss Berry's and offered support and advice, and yet another love triangle was born.

Meanwhile, back in Ohio the remaining members of New Directions duked it out to see who would be the "new" Rachel (i.e. the groups star soloist). Since Will was delusional enough to think that the group didn't win because of one person, he didn't name a successor, so they decided to compete amongst themselves with Artie crowning a winner. After Blaine, Tina, Brittany and Wade sang that annoying song everyone sang during the Olympics, Blaine was named New Directions' newest lead. Not only did the group need a new star, but it needed new members, so we got to see the auditions of Marley Rose and Jake Puckerman.

Marley was your typical cute brunette who just wanted to belong and figured that the best way to do that was to join McKinley's newest champions/popular kids. After her impressive tryout, she made the team but quickly learned how fame could go to one's head as the New Directions kid made fun of an overweight lunch lady who happened to be Marley's mother. When Sugar made one joke too many, Marley told them who her mother was and stormed off, but Sam Evans chased her down, apologized and asked her to stay. She decided to stick around while watching New Directions rehearse a number and even caught Jake's eye as he watched from the stands.

You see, Jake's an angry kid  who took a chance by trying out for the glee club, but he didn't take it well when Will interrupted him. His temper took over, he threw a stand and stormed off. Thankfully, Schue didn't give up on Jake and did some research to learn that he was Puck's half brother. Will told Jake that the reason he cut him off was because he didn't need to hear any more. He thought he was good and wanted him to join New Directions because he thought it'd be good for him just like it was good for Noah, but he' have to get rid of the chip on his shoulder. When push came to shove, Jake refused to change even if it meant he was in the club.

Elsewhere, Kurt was stuck middling in Lima as the rest of the seniors moved on, and he was even caught wondering the halls, attending glee club auditions and working at the Lima Bean. Blaine had to drop a truth bomb on Kurt and told him that he needed to get himself to New York with or without NYADA, and Burt agreed. So, the episode ended with a tearful Rachel on the phone with her bestie who magically appeared behind her.

Let's start off with what worked best this time around. Even though I still don't think that Rachel should have gotten into NYADA, I am interested to see her life in the big city, and I did feel that they got that uneasy feeling to comes with going to college somewhat right (even though I've yet to see a dorm with co-ed bathrooms). And sure, Kurt just showing up was a little too convenient, but I'm excited to see how their lives change. Speaking of other new developments that I'm excited about, I was instantly smitten with Marley even though vocally she can keep up with the female voices that left. She's cute, accessible and talented. Plus, we already know more about her home life than we do about Tina's, so she's already ten steps ahead of the competition. Even Jake was impressive while he was on stage, but his hard exterior bit's already played out.

Now, on to the not so successful parts. I was willing to let the newbies stand on their own, but Kitty's so one-dimensional that she did just scream "Quinn 2.0," although she did come off as a tad bit meaner. I also wasn't won over by Brody, but that's probably my Finn allegiance coming out. As for Finn, he was the only member of the old guard that I missed, and I hope we have him check-in sooner than later. Another new character that didn't wow me, Cassandra. While I don't mind seeing Kate Hudson in skimpy dance outfits (and those abs), the show's already trying too hard to humanize her and it didn't quite land for me.

On the music front: I couldn't stand "Call Me Maybe" but that had more to do with the actual song, Kate Hudson's mash-up kind of brought everything to a halt, Jake's "Never Say Never" was pretty amazing, Marley and Rachel's "New York State of Mind" was solid and Blaine's version of "It's Time" was just weird. The 11 o'clock number, "Cashing Pavements" was good, but Marley's voice cannot come close to Adele's.

Other Odds and Ends
  • I get that the JBI intros function as info dumps, but they're getting really old. It was funny the first time, but the last two have been duds.
  • Speaking of things that didn't work, Tina's new attitude. No wonder she's STILL not the lead.
  • Brittany really thinks she's good enough to be the new Rachel?
  • I think the writers have finally figured out Sue. Just have her rants be meta commentaries about how nuts the show is and there you have it.
  • Not that I mind, but why wasn't Artie up for "new" Rachel?
  • Burt and Kurt are still knocking it out of the park.
  • I know that Marley's already linked with Jake (ugh, Puckleberry 2.0), but I'm already on board the Marley/Sam ship.
  • So, we even have Azimio and Karofsky clones? How long until one of them is hate kissing Unique?
  • As for Unique; the jury's still out.
  • "She's like a young Quinn Fabray except she's not pregnant, manic depressive or in and out of a wheelchair."
  • "I'm actually very proud of you, Twinkle Tush. You're a real trailblazer. You know, it used to be that just straight ex-football players would lurk the halls of high schools after graduation, but you've that gay ex-show choir champs can also be depressive sad-sacks desperately clinging to the past."
"The New Rachel" was just fresh enough to make it seems like things are going to be different, but it was still plagued with elements that felt all too familiar. Now, I don't think it's the end of the world that pieces didn't stray too far from the show's comfort zone, but it cannot just go through the motions. I'm confident that it won't, but you never quite know when it comes to Glee.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail