October 4, 2012

Episode Review: GLEE, "The Break-Up"

I really wanted to love "The Break-Up," but I couldn't help but feel slightly let down by it. While I think all of the storylines worked individually, they didn't make a cohesive whole when they were all stitched together. That said, I still think it was a good episode, just not a great one.

Long distance started to take its toll on some of Glee's most beloved 'ships and it was clear that most, if not all of them, would be able to take much more. Now that Kurt's the most important intern in the world, his schedule has become more and more packed, and he wasn't able to make time for Blaine who was pushed to make two very rash decisions. First, his loneliness led him to stray, and then he had the need to book a plane to NYC to surprise his beau. After breaking down while singing "Teenage Dream" at a piano bar, our favorite Warbler came clean to Kurt before heading back to Lima. Immediately regretting his actions, Blaine tried to apologize by sending flowers to Vogue, but it didn't look like they were enough.

Out of all of the splits, Blaine and Kurt's was probably the one that roused up conflicting emotions. On the one hand, it's been clear for a while that Kurt didn't deserve Blaine especially when he started to ignore him. Sure, Kurt's inaction was somewhat understandable now that he's fashion's new wunderkind and he has new and exciting things going on, but it always felt like he took Blaine for granted and these last few episodes were the final straw, so I was glad that Blaine confronted him. On the flipside, I never would have thought that he'd cheat on Kurt and that move was very out of character. It was one of those classic moments where character was sacrificed for conflict, and it didn't come off as genuine. Other than the hollowness of it all, Blaine's new version of "Teenage Dream" was heartbreaking and brilliantly performed by Darren Criss.

Another long distance relationship bit the dust when Brittany and Santana parted ways, but this one was only given the smallest of lip-service. Santana was back in Ohio to do laundry because of suspect Kentucky water and because it was a reason to go home and see Brit. Things have obviously changed since she was in Lima, like Brittany joining a left behind club that played a mean-spirited Rapture joke on someone we barely know. It's okay though because the prank was a not-so subtle way for Brittany to open up to Santana and say that being left behind sucks. Get it? The two took a step back, and Santana admitted that while she didn't cheat on Brit, she did have a flirtatious exchange with someone in Louisville, and figured that the right thing to do was to part ways.

Honestly, I've never been a huge fan of Brittana so I wasn't too upset when they broke up, but I do have to give Naya Rivera and Heather Morris some credit for their scene. It was honest and mature, and a good example of how some relationships run their course and the time comes when the people involved need to move on. It sucks, and it hurts, but sometimes it is for the best, and while I was a little surprised that these were the characters to be the mature ones, it was good to see it go down. Plus, now Brittany's freed up to be with Sam.

Elsewhere, Rachel and Finn tried to pick up where they left off now that he just showed up in New York. It looked like Finchel was back, but Finn's lack of direction once again reared its head and complicated everything. Since he couldn't cut it in the Army, he was ignoring Rachel because he didn't want her to see him as the screw-up that he's become. Instead of being honest with her, his distance only pushed her closer to Brody, and it dawned on him that he no longer has a place in her life. But rather than tell her this, he just ran away... again. He took solace in the choir room, but she was able to catch up with him. They put their cards on the table, and when it was over, Rachel admitted that she will always love him and hopes that he'll be her first and final love, but she cannot keep going around and around with him, so she broke it off once and for all.

Since I'm kind of invested in Finchel, I have to say that their split was the most anti-climactic because it played out exactly as it was supposed to, and we all saw how it was going to end when he showed up at her door last week. They were the two people who have out grown one another in spite of their feelings, and like Brittany and Santana, it was time to walk away. Admittedly, some of their scenes were heart-wrenching, but it all came off as predicable. Kudos to Rachel though for calling Finn out on his crap, but I was once again upset with the way he was portrayed. Yes, he's always been an insecure little boy, but I was hoping that he would get to grow up sooner rather than later. I guess Ryan Murphy refuses to give us a reason to root for Finn, which is a shame.

On the Music Front: This might be one of the few times when I loved most of the music. Some of the songs were a bit on the nose ("Give Your Heart a Break") and some I refuse to like ("Mine") but for the most part I enjoyed the numbers. Blaine's "Teenage Dream" was by far the highlight of the night, but "Don't Speak" was great just because I've been waiting for that song to show up for a while now. And that last number, "The Scientist," was just a great moment.

Other Odds and Ends
  • While I still like Marley and Jake, I don't care about their little triangle involving Kitty.
  • Speaking of Kitty, she continues to bring nothing to the table. As of right now, she's just a crazier, meaner version of Quinn and she's a just a reminder of how much I miss seeing Diana Agron week in and week out.
  • That whole Left Behind joke was stupid, and I wonder if Brittany and Sam were in on it because that always would be a betrayal of characterization.
  • Being multi-racial myself, I did appreciate the show being open about Jake's background and the struggles that it brings.
  • In a hastily discarded sub-plot that only lasted a scene, Will got on the blue ribbon panel and expected Emma to follow him. Of course, she wasn't happy with that idea and we got another Wemma fight caused by Will's inability to think things through. I'm sure we'll get more of this one, but I don't know why it needed to be crammed in this episode.
  • As for other things that were shoe-horned in, this was the first episode that made me wish that we stayed in New York because all of the Lima scenes stuck out and halted momentum.
  • "...about the ends times and the rise of the anti-Christ whose name is Nicolae Carpathia or Barack Obama depending on who you ask."
  • "And don't tell me that Mr. Schue is doing Christian music week."
  • "Everyone graduated and things go weird."
"The Break-Up" was being touted as one of the Glee's best episodes ever and while I thought it was good, it was far from great due to elements that didn't quite flow together and a tendency to walk familiar ground. For me, it couldn't live up to the hype and was another example of the show continuing to be its own worst enemy. Again, that's not to say that it was bad... it just wasn't the "best."


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