Glee season 5, episode 1 “Love, Love, Love” aired last night – we have a full recap of the Beatles-centric premiere along with a sneak peek of next week’s episode!
Season 5 opens on Rachel at her Funny Girl “chemistry read” callback with a Big Name Star (Ioan Gruffudd) for a Big Name Director (Peter Facinelli). It falls rather flat, and she overhears the Broadway veterans discuss her inexperience. She wanders New York morosely afterwards – the token on-location shots feature Sardi’s and the Bow Bridge, places very significant to her relationship with Finn – but if this is intentional, it isn’t addressed further. Her psychic powers must tell her that it’s Beatles week back home in Lima because she sings “Yesterday” as she re-visits the landmarks and stares at a picture of her old friends.
Meanwhile, in the choir room, after the cheesiest and yet wooden motivational speech possible from Schuester about how everyone on the planet can relate to the Fab Four, we learn that since we last saw our little gang, Kitty and Artie have given in to the heated looks they passed back and forth for all of season 4. They’ve become some sort of flirty item, which really works for me because they’re both kind of mean and awful so hearing them throw shade at each other while grinning into each other’s faces is super adorable. Artie invites Kitty on a date to the local carnival, and busts out “Drive My Car” on his iPhone so they can sing themselves into the future.
The entire glee club participates in this funfair date, and someone’s clearly bribed the carnies, because riding a rotor while sitting in a wheelchair is definitely a big no-no on the occupational health and safety front. This season’s token bitch, a new Cheerio called Bree, accosts Kitty and Artie right in the middle of their cuteness, quizzing them about their relationship. Apparently her evil is the “spin everything so sweetly that no one can pin anything on me, ever” variety, and she plans to destroy Kitty, so Kitty decides to keep her relationship with Artie on the down-low due to status or reputation or whatever. I don’t know how much of a secret it is when the whole school just saw you being wheeled around on his lap, Kitty, but you know. Whatever makes you happy.
Santana scores Rachel a job at her workplace – the Spotlight Diner, an homage to the real-life Ellen’s Stardust Diner and their Broadway-in-training singing wait-staff. The girls get to have super cute uniforms and this location will become a plot point later.
Back at McKinley, it’s the mandatory season premiere courtyard bleachers Klaine musical number – a tradition seasons on and still going strong. Kurt and Blaine have gotten to the point where they’re now very comfortable, even talking about their break-up in a blunt and humorous fashion. However, they’re sharing a romantic picnic and they both know where it’s all headed… The second that Kurt – who’s clearly been doing some soul searching in private and decided on what he wants, because he’s real smug about the whole scenario – stops teasing and genuinely throws Blaine a bone, Blaine falls on it desperately, promising no further misconduct, ever, cross his heart, hope to die, and they agree to get back together.
The entire conversation is refreshingly chill and natural compared to the past two seasons of awkward, unhealthy scenes which felt like the couple didn’t have any other conversations off-screen, but the best bit is when Blaine tries to pull off yet another over-dramatic public performance and Kurt literally stops him in his tracks by saying “No, that’s not going to happen, okay, I’m not sitting down and listening to you sing to me any more.” God, yes, this is a Klaine I can work with, and it’s only made more awesome when Kurt breaks out his best smirk and gets one up on Blaine by having his very own musical number up his sleeve – “Got To Get You Into My Life,” complete with marching band and moments for Blaine to join in on, screaming the lyrics at each other joyfully. Kurt’s organization of the performance shows that he’s pretty invested in getting back together, but in case that wasn’t made clear enough, he bends Blaine back in a kiss while they’re stood atop a lunch table.
Sue’s back at McKinley – as principal – for… reasons. She planted unsavoury items on Figgins, who, while incompetent, is not actually a sex pest or a Nazi, so I feel pretty sorry for him. I have no idea where this plot is going, why it is necessary, why Sue even wants to be principal, or, seeing as the police think that Figgins is a Nazi sex pest, why they’d allow him back into a school environment, even as a janitor. There’s a scene where Will and Roz Washington think Sue’s going to fire them, but she actually tells them they have to win their respective championships so that she can give the school a good rep. I don’t care. The only part of this entire plot that moved me in any way was Figgins’s concern and appreciation for his long-term secretary, so I’m all for, like, an poignant look into Figgins’s character, or something. It would be more interesting than yet another round of Sue Sylvester is Crazy! And Evil! But she Helps the Glee Club!
Kitty and Artie get another performance number – “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” which sounds amazing vocally, but is one of those really forced “singing the situation at hand” moments where the lyrics fit too closely to the situation in a way that takes away emotional depth, rather than adding to it. It’s a shame, because both the song and the scenes shot to go with it are gorgeous. I love Kitty’s notes for Artie to follow, and them messing around in the astronomy room, but I just can’t with the singing in hallways when it isn’t necessary. What I would have done is have the actual song take place as a choir room assignment – given that they are doing the Beatles in class, it’s a bit odd that the episode contains exactly zero actual glee club performances – and had the number cut between singing scenes in the classroom, and those same scenes of the couple interacting privately – talking, kissing and stuff – with the vocal track laid over the top. It could have achieved the same end, which is Tina noticing something is up, and confronting Artie about it, but oh well.
Blaine, his ego stoked by his no-longer-single-ness, tells everyone that he’s still planning to propose to Kurt, and that he wants to pull off something spectacular involving not only their glee club but their competitors too – the Warblers, Vocal Adrenaline, and the Haverbrook Deaf Choir. The idea that he’s proposing leaves the room in a disapproving silence – despite Sam’s adorable attempts to get everyone enthused (“It’s my best friend! Gay marriage good! It’s good things! They’re all happening so fast!”) – and the inclusion of the other choirs makes everyone pretty angry, but always slightly delusional, always idealistic Blaine makes an impassioned speech about how he wants to make a cultural statement, because of course he does.
He begs the group for their help, breaking into – who’s shocked – “Help!” as he leads the gang out on a recruiting montage. Their flailing around, and the cinematography of some shots, is an homage to a scene from one of the Beatles movies, I’m pretty sure, but I can’t place it because I’m not Darren Criss and I don’t have encyclopaedic knowledge on the subject. But I recognise it. Anyway, Blaine gets what he wants from the other choirs, because it’s impossible to live in a world where Blaine doesn’t eventually get what he wants. Plus, Glee’s most neglected, could-have-been-complex, wasted opportunity character Sebastian is there, and he and Blaine totally hug in an adorably platonic way.
At this point, everything in the episode starts gearing up to this massive proposal. Rachel gets a text about it and is about to drag Santana back to Lima in the middle of their shift at the diner when she notices her Big Name Star and Big Name Director eating at the restaurant. She tells them what she overheard, and though they’re kind to her, she continues to try to prove to them how much of a star she is by singing “A Hard Day’s Night,” and then drags Santana back to Lima in the middle of their shift, which would get them fired in non-Glee-world.
At the end of the week, Schuester is praising everyone’s work – of which we technically saw none – on the early Beatles period when Tina interrupts and outs Kitty and Artie. She gives a sanctimonious speech about how Artie deserves to be loved openly, and when she finishes, Kitty completely agrees with her. When Tina asks if Kitty was ashamed, she explains her reasons for wanting to keep the situation private, sarcastically citing the social hierarchy issue and expanding on it to tell them her actual reasoning – that before she came out with something that would lose her that “status,” she wanted to be sure of her feelings for Artie – she was willing to risk it once she knew for sure that she wanted him. Which – not telling people about something until you figure out your own feelings privately – seems valid enough, actually, so I’m pretty pro-Kitty at the moment.
I’m certainly not pro-Tina, and neither is the rest of the club, apparently, as Blaine calls a meeting of all the boys to discuss the fact that Tina used to be sweet and is now an mean, bitter hell-bitch. Blaine takes a trip to the department of back story that he wasn’t even around for, but the others are more focused on the chocolate cakes Tina was aggressively eating at the latest “Too Young To Be Bitter” club (of which she is now the only member.) The fixation on the cakes might be my favorite joke of the whole episode, because I now have a mental image of Sam, Ryder, Jake and Blaine getting together on weekend afternoons to smoke a bowl and eat trays of cake. Glee, it’s Beatles week, thank you for the happy stoner implication.
Their best solution to Tina’s teen angst is a magnanimous, non-romantic offer of a prom date. She gets to take her pick from Sam, Blaine or Ryder, after they perform “I Saw Her Standing There” for her in the style of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan – Blaine, naturally, is Paul. Keep an eye on the girls acting out full-blown Beatlemania. Marley’s hysterical sobbing faces, in particular, are a work of art – I hope to see something that good at the One Direction concert I’m attending next week. Tina picks Sam as her date, in order to break away from her past patterns – because he is, out of the available men, the “least gay and least Asian.” That is actually a thing that was said. I’m just going to leave that there.
Finally, the episode culminates with Blaine’s big proposal. My first favorite thing about it is that Kurt knows exactly what’s going on, and says as much to his father, as Burt drives him there, pretending to be taking a short cut to the airport. Kurt’s very anxious about the situation, despite the fact he’s happy to be with Blaine again, and very much in love. He has all the correct concerns about being too young, and my second favorite thing is the way that Burt shares his own story of marrying Kurt’s mother in their early twenties, managing to hit the nail on the head of both why it could be a problem and why it could be a legitimate life choice, depending on the people and their relationship. My third favorite thing about it is the rainbow support pin Burt is wearing on his plaid shirt, and my fourth favorite thing about how Kurt genuinely doesn’t know whether he wants to say yes, no or maybe, and that that’s okay. My fifth favorite thing is Kurt’s ridiculous suit, my fifth and a halfth favorite thing is Blaine’s ridiculous suit.
My sixth favorite thing about it is the entire performance, “All You Need Is Love,” with all the different harmonies and people popping up everywhere. My seventh favorite thing is Mercedes is there with Rachel and Santana to support her boy and be a part of the moment. My eighth favorite thing is that it’s Rachel, totally thrilled for Kurt despite her own past young-person wedding problems, who leads Kurt to that goddamn beautiful staircase where he first met Blaine – Klaine at Dalton has always been my Achilles heel, it was when they left Gay Hogwarts that stuff got awful, but everything Dalton was always golden and perfect and gorgeous.
My ninth favorite thing is what Blaine says when he proposes – words that should, on paper, come across over-dramatic, or cheesy, or even histrionic, but just come across as true, and throw back so strongly to the look on Blaine’s face, the tiny jaw-drop that occurred the first time he saw Kurt. And my tenth favorite thing is the way Kurt says yes – not the fact that he says it, which, until Blaine spoke, I wasn’t sure I wanted him to – but the way he says it, like he needs to say it to keep breathing.
Ugh. Glee. Welcome back, you beautiful disaster.
Next week, in “Tina in the Sky With Diamonds,” it’s the trippy Beatles period, it’s prom, and we meet Demi Lovato’s character, who apparently makes Santana’s boobs sweaty!
Glee season 5, episode 2 “Tina in the Sky With Diamonds,” airs Thursday, October 3 at 9 p.m ET on Fox.