After the demise of New Directions last week, the story will move to New York City to follow graduates, Rachel, Kurt, Blaine, Artie, Sam and Mercedes as they follow their dreams in the big city.
Big dreams, of course, mean big struggles. Will Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) find domestic bliss in Bushwick? Or will Elliott Gilbert (Adam Lambert returns!) come between them. Sam (Chord Overstreet) is ready to set the world on fire, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Artie (Kevin McHale) takes enthusiastically to film school, but not without mishaps. And will Rachel (Lea Michele) remain the same as she begins living the life of a star, with her own town car? Also, Mercedes (Amber Riley) comes to town to record her major label debut.
Recap and performance videos later! In the meantime…discuss.
Last week’s series ending-like “New Directions” concluded with the Glee club being disbanded by Sue Sylvester, and a slew of cast members graduating from McKinley. The story of Glee now moves to New York City to follow some of those grads as they chase their dreams in the big city.
After season 2, there was talk of a New York City spin-off. Too bad that didn’t happen. It would have hastened the end of Glee, but that would not have necessarily been a bad thing. The “split narrative” the producers eventually settled on to keep the graduates part of the story, ended up being an unwieldy mess, resulting in bad press and a ratings bleed out.
The best part of the new Glee, is the focus on just a handful of characters. Finally, their lives are explored with some depth, instead of in snippets here and there. Finally, character development is taking place on camera instead of off! I feel like I’ve learned more about all of them in one episode than I did in the previous 4 1/2 years of Glee. Better late than never, Ryan Murphy.
Our story begins months into the new school year. Kurt referring to Sam living in the loft for “months and months” coupled with winter jackets, indicate that it’s post Christmas, second semester, 2014.
Rachel is back in New York City, after a string of out of town tryouts for Funny Girl. If you haven’t been following along, she is set for stardom, having snagged the lead role in a new revival of the iconic musical. The show’s producer is so grateful for the hard work she’s put in, that he gifts her with 24 hour car service. No more subways and taxis for our burgeoning superstar! Also, the driver, Dmitri, is SUPER HOT.
With her head out the window and the wind blowing through her hair, Rachel belts out the classic 60s hit, “Downtown. ” Out pops Kurt from the subway. He meets Blaine who buys him a cup of coffee. They’re strolling through Washington Square Park where Artie and Sam meet them. It’s exhilarating! The perfect way for the graduates’ New York City adventure to begin.
Downtown – Rachel, Blaine, Kurt, Artie, Sam
Rachel , who is back living in the Brooklyn loft, can’t wait to take her friends out to lunch at Odeon. But when it turns out there’s no room for Artie and Sam in the car, the other three take off without them. It’s a first sign that maybe all is not perfect in paradise.
It’s the next morning. Blaine quietly leaves the bed where he was curled up with Kurt, padding to the kitchen to make breakfast. It’s a picture of perfect domestic bliss! Which means, of course, it won’t last. Not even to the end of the episode.
Glee has always been weird about allowing their gay characters to show affection to each other. But with the new Glee, that’s changed completely. Maybe FOX, or whoever was censoring the gay PDA on the show, are fine with it now that the characters are over 18 and out of high school. In any case, the relationship finally feels realistic, with the two cuddling, kissing, holding hands, talking about sex. There’s more PDA in one episode than there had been in all the episodes since Kurt and Blaine met in season 2.
We also actually get to watch them involved in a conflict that unfolds and resolves in an unhurried and satisfying way. Finally, Glee interactions that don’t feel contrived and superficial!
But back to our story! Blaine is still in the honeymoon stage, enamored with the idea of playing house. When Kurt wonders if they’re turning into an old married couple, Blaine croons the Frank Sinatra standard, “You Make Me Feel So Young” to illustrate. Still in their jammies, the two dance and sing and twirl as they go about their morning routine. It’s the cutest thing ever, and a perfect bookend to their very first duet “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Back then, Kurt and Blaine were still tentative, in the flirting stage. But the chemistry was undeniable. It’s 3 years later, and they’re flirty still, but layered with a self-assurance that comes with a deep connection developed over time.
Just as they’re about to make out, Sam bursts into the room. Kurt is visibly annoyed. After, Kurt makes Blaine promise that he’ll ask Sam, who has been sprawled on the couch playing video games for months, to find somewhere else to live.
You Make Me Feel So Young – Blaine and Kurt
Meanwhile, Artie is conquering the mean streets of New York, If you’re in his way, pedestrian? Be very very afraid! “I’m rolling here!” he yells at a woman who is unfortunate enough to cross his path. He could take a bus or taxi, but he prefers the subway, where a guy on crutches swipes his backpack. Oh noes. Everything Artie owns, including his laptop with the screenplay he’s been working on, is in there. And nobody even stops to help him as the thief hobbles up the stairs. A guy on crutches ripping off a guy in a wheelchair. There’s some sort of weird irony at work there.
Back in the loft, Blaine confronts Sam about his living situation. Sam guesses correctly that he’s being asked to leave. Blaine softens the blow by couching the discussion in concern for Sam’s well being. He doesn’t leave the loft much. Truth be told, he hasn’t been able to find work as a model, and he’s in an emotional slump. He hates New York and is ready to head back to Lima. Blaine forces him to dress, and they head to Time Square where they, and a dancing, drum playing crew, literally take over the entire square with a performance of “Best Day Of My Life. ”
“I don’t know why they call it Times Square,” says Sam, “I don’t see any clocks.” Ha. Sam is so inspired, that he gets a trendy new hair cut and sets out to find him some modeling jobs!
Best Day of My Life – Blaine and Sam
Cut to NYADA and Kurt’s winter mime master class, taught by the illegitimate nephew of Marcel Marceau. When Kurt discovers that freshman Blaine has wheedled his way into the class, he’s not delightfully surprised, as you might expect. He’s annoyed and even more so when he discovers that Blaine is in 6 of his 8 classes. “Are you sure it’s not me that’s crowding you?” asks a concerned Blaine. “I was really worried that I was suffocating you.” As Kurt, flattens his hands, and mimes himself into a smaller and smaller box, he looks as if he’s about to pass out.
Back at the loft, where Artie is on the phone with the police, frantic about his stolen laptop. He’s learning that NYC can be a cold cold town. In the meantime, Blaine is obsessed with his homemade soda machine, which is annoying Kurt to no end. Rachel enters the loft in full diva mode. When she learns of Artie’s plight, she tells a crazy story of mistakenly giving a homeless person 10 bucks in the subway, then being hassled by passersby when she tried to get change. Somehow, this is supposed to be a story Artie can identify with. He doesn’t. He calls her out for allowing the trappings of stardom to change her. He accuses her of “not even being a real person anymore…with her limousine and lemon water.”
“It’s a town car, not a limousine!” Rachel whines, as Kurt looks as if he could kill somebody.
In the next scene, Kurt meets Elliott Gilbert (played by Adam Lambert) at the guitar shop for a little rehearsal, and some advice. It turns out, Blaine had bought a used couch that had bed bugs. A very comic flashback ensues, with Kurt screeching and the two cleaning and fumigating like mad. As a result, Kurt didn’t get much sleep the night before. He’s beginning to think that the couch was an omen. Blaine’s constant presence is beginning to feel claustrophobic.
Elliott confesses that he had his doubts about their engagement, but as the months passed he came to admire and even be a little jealous of their relationship. They have something worth keeping, explains Elliott. Kurt just needs to lay down some boundaries. And at that moment, they launch into a performance of “Rockstar” by A Great Big World.
During the song, it’s as if Kurt lets out a big breath he’s been holding in for a very long time. When the dancers hoist him up over their heads to crowd surf, Kurt, his arms extended, has the most, beautiful, blissful look on his face. “Let’s take a ticket and get off the line,” he sings. It’s not either or. There’s freedom in every situation. Kurt just has to get behind the wheel and drive.
Elliott, for all of his outrageous guylining ways, has served as the emotionally stable center of this crazy crew. I wish he could stick around. But alas, this is Adam Lambert’s last episode, at least for this season.
Cut to Rachel, back in her TOWN CAR. Sitting in the back, she has a revelation. Like Kurt, she’s also feeling claustrophobic, sealed up in a luxury car as life goes on beyond the glass. “Artie is right,” says Rachel, “I am isolated!” How is she going to be a real Broadway actress without real life experiences to pull from? She orders the driver to let her off in Chinatown, a neighborhood she’s never explored before, where she plans to find exotic gifts for her friends back in Lima.
Back at the loft, Blaine is feeling really bad that he brought bed bugs into the house. Still feeling as if he’s living in someone else’s home, he is designing a workspace for himself, looking to create his very own “Corner in the Sky” to quote a song from the Broadway musical Pippin. He’s sure Kurt’s going to love it.
Sam bursts into the room with news that he’s found his first modeling job! But first, he freaks out, when he mistakes the yellow tape Blaine is marking the floor with for police markings. “DID SOMEBODY DIE IN HERE,” Sam asks in a panic. After Blaine assures him that nobody died, Sam explains that he’ll be modeling “Bubble.” It’s underwear that gives guys the nice, juicy round onion butt they’ve always dreamed of. Just as Blaine is wrapping his head around that, he learns that his bestie will be moving in with a bunch of other models. But instead of being relieved, Blaine is conflicted, worried that Sam won’t come back to visit them. Maybe Kurt isn’t the only one feeling a little hemmed in.
Despite his expectations, Kurt is not happy when he sees Blaine’s new design idea. He’s pissed that he didn’t even consult him before he went ahead and created a hideous workspace that would be the very first thing a person sees when he enters the room, in HIS HOME. Blaine thought it was his home too, and what’s more, it’s not like all of Kurt’s design decisions are so brilliant. Both are attempting to control the relationship in unhealthy ways, and it just ain’t working.
“Elliott was right,” says Kurt, “We’re losing our boundaries.” That sets Blaine right off. “He’s my friend,” says Kurt, “I bet he’s your friend,” says Blaine. “Calm down psycho!” screams Kurt. Blaine storms out when Kurt insists that he put everything back where it belongs.
Blaine’s next stop is Elliott’s apartment, where he confronts him about his feelings for Kurt. “Admit it,” says Blaine, “You’re trying to steal Kurt away from me.” Blaine has been on to him, ever since the cinnamon roll selfie! An “oh yeah…” look crosses Elliott’s face when Blaine mentions that. And all Kurt does is talk about him and his great hair that doesn’t need gel. “I may not be a cool, steam punk, glitter rock vampire with tats and guyliner,” says Blaine, right up in Elliott’s face, “But you know what? I love Kurt. He’s my fiancé, not yours! so back off!”
Elliott puts a guitar in Blaine’s hands to comfort him, forcing him to sit. Only a musician knows what will calm a fellow musician. No. He’s not after Kurt. He’s a cute guy, but he doesn’t think of him like that. Anyway, all Kurt does is talk about Blaine! It’s so obvious, how much he loves him. Blaine admits that they had been apart for so long, he’s trying hard to catch up to him. Too hard. “I just want to make it real,” he says. In crowded New York, people need their space, more than in other places, explains Elliott. “I guess I always think of boundaries as walls,” says Blaine, “Instead of places to grow.” And with that, Elliott teaches Blaine his first lesson in How Not To Be A Clingy Co-Dependent. Seriously. Elliott could teach a seminar.
The two make up, jamming as Blaine strums the guitar. It’s a little ditty on being a Glitter Rock Vampire, which Elliott kind of likes! “Gonna bite ya!” he sings.
Meanwhile, Rachel meets Artie on the street. Her plan is to lure him back into the subway, but he’s afraid. She admits that he had been right about her changing. She doesn’t want to be sheltered from the world anymore. She’s given up her town car. What if they ride the subway together from now on? They sing “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” to celebrate. Aw. This is great! I do believe it’s the first opportunity Rachel and Artie have had to bond. The choreography in this number is pretty cool too, with the dancers surrounding them with an underground ballet.
Don’t Sleep in the Subway – Rachel and Artie
Blaine finally comes back to the loft, where Kurt has been waiting for him, ever since Elliott texted him that he left. Blaine has spent the last 6 hours at the Statue of Liberty, figuring out what to do next, and he’s decided that he should move out. Not break up. Move out. Kurt’s not sure he wants that. But in the end, they both realize it’s for the best. I’ve never been on board with the engagement plotline. It seemed so dumb to have teenagers making that kind of serious commitment. But here, at least, there’s some acknowledgement that relationships are a serious business. And living together isn’t a game. They both acknowledge that they rushed into things, and that it was time to step back and give each other some space.
The scene is moving. Heartwrenching. Both of them tearful as they make a difficult decision. Blaine says the move isn’t going backwards. It’s being smart. Kurt adds that they are, “protecting something that’s very precious to me. You know that right?” Blaine knows it. They fall into each other’s arms and kiss. “We’ll always belong to each other,” Kurt says before declaring that they are about to have the hottest makeup sex ever. Yay. Klaine.
Sam doesn’t last long at the Hotel Model, where he discovers his hot, female roommate–also named Sam–is the stereotypical pill popping, eating disorder plagued model. Before you know it, he’s outta there.
Back at the loft, Artie and Rachel burst in with the craziest story. On the subway, they spotted the guy who mugged Artie. Using Rachel’s pepper spray, Artie took down the guy before he could mug the sweet little old lady, with the pricey designer bag, sitting next to him. Dude gets arrested, and it turns out he hoards all the stuff he steals. The police find and return Artie’s laptop to him. Score!
Meanwhile, Blaine announces to the group that he’s moving out, and suggests he and Sam–who has decided to pursue his modeling dream without puking, pills or eating cotton balls–find a place together.
And right at that moment…in bursts Mercedes! She’s back bitches! Doesn’t anybody around there knock? LA is a lonely place ya’ll. She’s convinced the label honchos to let her record her album on the east coast. Cut to her super cute new apartment, as Blaine and Kurt struggle to move in her furniture, while Sam chats her up inside. She’s got two bedrooms and she’s thinking the second might be perfect for the two super-nerds she knew in high school. And there are your new living arrangements! Rachel and Kurt in the loft. Mercedes, Blaine and Sam in the super-cute apartment.
Sam is worried that their undeniable chemistry might interfere with the new living arrangements. Mercedes puts her foot down. No way. Been there done that. When he goes in for a kiss, she grabs his face aggressively and pushes it away. “I will bite your wax lips off,” warns Mercedes. Don’t mess with her. At least not before you wear her down…
Rachel heads off to rehearsal, reminding her friends of their “annual Monday night dinner” later that day. They’re family now. Like the weekly dinners Kurt had with his dad on Friday night, you don’t miss weekly dinner. Sidenote: Rachel hailing a cab is a scary, scary, yet hilarious thing.
The episode ends with Rachel singing “People,” alone on a bare stage, cut with montages of her friends: Kurt and Blaine, holding hands, buying flowers. Mercedes and Sam getting the apartment set up. Artie conquering the subway by himself.
Finally, the whole gang is assembled at the loft, enjoying one another’s company with a toast. The last shot is Rachel, happily lost in a crowded New York street.
People – Rachel
Glee is a completely different show now. But let’s face it, the Lima stories had already been told many times over. With a guaranteed 6th season, it was time to take things in another direction. It probably won’t help the ratings much, but at least Glee now has a chance to end it’s storied run on a high note.