Glee returned last night, and after all the news about contractual disputes, departing cast members, new haircuts and everything else under the sun it was refreshing to see the familiar hallways of William H. McKinley High School again. If nothing else the introductions let us know exactly what year some of the New Directions were in (Senior: Rachel, Finn, Kurt, Mike. Junior: Tina, Artie).
Once the catching up was over it was obvious that a few notables were not in attendance. Lauren ditched the club after her “rep” suffered after nationals. Sam’s father got a job “out of state” so I suppose that means Sam followed…for now. Quinn Fabray had gone “punk” and found a new crew to hang with, their handle the “Skanks” of course.
We got our first taste of the talent from The Glee Project with Lindsay portraying Harmony. The biggest news was of the bittersweet variety, with Blaine becoming a full-fledged member of the New Directions and Santana has been banned until she can completely commit herself to the group. Season three is here “Gleeks”!!!
Was I a tad exasperated that it took so long into the episode for Glee to give me the kick-off performance I have been craving all summer? Certainly. Not only did it further heighten my expectations, but also it made me realized this episode might be a little more story-focused. Obviously necessary when there’s been a full summer between then and now, but I’m impatient. I’ll work on that.
We Got the Beat – New Directions (emphasis on the ladies)
I loved the showcasing of the non-Rachel talent. The overall performance had all theatrical size of last year’s Empire State of Mind opener. The food fight at the end brought a hint of reality to everything, which sometimes escapes Glee.
Solid B rating….good, but not great.
Hey Big Spender – Sugar
This was horrible. But it was musical (kinda?), so it fits the basic criteria. I would have loved to hear Santana belt this out for real. Sugar may have vocally destroyed this song in the worse way, but she had tons of bravado.
Solid D rating…it was a good intro to a new character, so points for that.
Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead! – Kurt and Rachel
A shining example of the many benefits of Kurt and Rachel’s newfound bestie-hood. They do such a great job of playing off each other, both in showmanship and sound. I couldn’t help but be reminded of their season one “diva-off” when they sang another Wicked standard, Defying Gravity.
Solid B rating…I liked, but did not love this performance
It’s Not Unusual – Blaine
I’ve missed Blaine’s face. But his ability to combine Carlton’s corny almost perfectly with Tom Jones’ style reminded me of how much I missed his ability to infuse personality into everything. This was the perfect way to introduce Blaine to his new school and was it just me, or was there something there between him and Santana? Obviously not of the romantic variety, but maybe a musical match in the making?
Solid A rating…Blaine minus the Warblers is still (pitch) perfect
Anything Goes – Harmony and the Not Rachel(s) and Not Kurt(s)
We mentioned when this blog first started that we weren’t above blatant bias. With that being said, although the performance was great and it served as another strong intro for yet another new character, I wasn’t moved. Yes, I saw the tap-dancing and heard Harmony’s magical voice, but that’s how bias works. I can’t wait to see Harmony and Rachel interact, fight, “diva-off” and perhaps end it all with a friendly duet.
Solid C rating…I know it deserved a B
You Can’t Stop the Beat – New Directions
Rachel’s opening really set the stage for this episode’s final number. Perfect selection to remind them (and us) to have a little confidence that Nationals isn’t a pipe dream. This performance gave me chills and I couldn’t figure out why, but I think I just love seeing them do what they love. It has a different effect when they perform just for fun and aren’t burdened with trying to get new members or win any awards. Also, Brittany and Mike Chang should really get a duet this season, she has the sound and they dance together so well!
Solid A rating…Quinn watching longingly from the rafters would probably agree.
Santana – “Senior year is all about being the Cheerios top ho and modeling my fierceness after my numero uno Latina, Paula Abdul.
Jacob – “Paula Abdul is an Arab…”
Jacob – “Brittany, what are your plans or the future?”
Brittany – “You’re working on a time machine too?”
Puck – “She’s the one that got away…really really slowly.” (Referring to Lauren breaking up with him)
Mr. Shuester – “For many of you this is your last year. Let’s make it special.”
Brittany – “C’mon Quinn, you know we use to be like the Three Musketeers. Santana and I are like Almond Joy and you’re like a Jolly Rancher that fell in the ashtray.”
Rachel – “Who doesn’t love the Go-Gos?!”
The weird, not Mercedes – “I prefer the Bangles.”
Mr. Shuester – “Ladies and Gentleman, let’s hear it for Glee Club’s newest member, Blaine Anderson!”
Even though the food fight did bring a hint of reality into the mix, it also made apparent that even though some of the people in the cafeteria seemed to be enjoying the performance, no one stood up for the glee club when they were done singing — not even the band that helped them with the performance!
The songs were good in this episode, and the more story-centric side of things made me realize that I really do like watching Kurt and Rachel play off of one another. It’s nice to see them work together instead of fighting each other for the lead or solo in everything. Hopefully their friendly relationship will stick around.
For more of my take on this episode, see my blog post on this episode of “Glee” by clicking on my name.