Glee kicked off their fifth series with a tribute to The Beatles. Not only that, but they’re stretching it into two episodes. The second will be focusing on the later years, the first on the early. After these, there’s another tribute episode, this one to the late Cory Monteith. Following on from my Addiction Returns posts, I’ve been posting about the first episodes of each of the shows I mentioned there. But because of the way Glee is doing the first three episodes of this series, and because of the large effect on the show Monteith’s death will have, I’ll most likely be writing about each of them.
Anyway, onto the actual show.
The episode starts off with a chemistry audition between Rachel and Ioan Gruffudd. As she sits backstage, she hears the actor and director talking about her, discussing how green she is and how she may not be right for the role she thinks she is born to play. Well, to be fair, yeah, they’re right. I get why Rachel wants the role so badly, but surely she should be doing smaller, minor roles before going for Fanny Bryce in Funny Girl? It’s an amazing part, and it’s not like Rachel has actually paid her dues. Anyway. Rachel then breaks into Yesterday, introducing the series with a fairly sad song that packs a strong sense of emotion. And there’s a tinge to it, as viewers will be all too aware of what’s happened between the last series and this one.
The opening is kind of sad and sombre, and it feels like it might be an episode that could play out in that way. Or, at least, an episode that should have a balance of sadness and happiness. Instead, we get dragged to the high school where the Glee club are told they’re going to be doing two weeks of The Beatles, and suddenly it’s all bright, happy and cheerful. It’s a really sudden shift in the mood, and it doesn’t feel like it works. It feels like the emotion has just been pushed aside and ignored.
So what does happen in this episode? Well, the guys figure out that Tina is acting bitter because she points out to Artie that he shouldn’t settle for a secret relationship. Wait, WHAT? She’s trying to help a friend, seeing that yeah, he really doesn’t deserve to be treated like that by Kitty, and suddenly the guys are all “Oh, she’s so bitter now! We must do something and ride to the rescue.” Kurt agrees to get back together with Blaine and, suddenly, PROPOSAL! Blaine, using The Beatles’ brilliant Help, runs around and gathers three other show choirs – all former rivals of New Directions – to help him with his epic proposal to Kurt. Okay, I get it. He loves Kurt. He doesn’t want to live without him. But Kurt DOES have a new life in New York, and Blaine is still in high school and, seriously, why are these Glee kids obsessed with doing everything so fast?
The songs are done okay, though it’s The Beatles and any sort of tribute is going to fall just a little short when compared to the original. But still, the cast do a good job with the material they’re given, bouncing off each other when they need to. But…seriously, can Blaine just STOP, for like, two minutes? The majority of the songs in the episode had him in it, even the one Kurt sang FOR him. Kurt starts off and it turns into a big number with a marching band and then, of course, Blaine is up and singing and Blaine is really starting to get on my nerves. Anyone else feeling it? I’d like to see some of the other male characters take over a little bit, especially Sam. That guy doesn’t get enough.
As an introduction to the fifth season, which is airing four episodes before taking a long break, it was all right. Don’t get me wrong, I love Glee and I think I always will, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see that it has its flaws and they seem to be getting bigger as the show goes on. They can’t seem to get the balance right between focusing on one or two main characters, which was annoying when it felt like the Rachel Berry show, and stretching out to include everyone. The episode jumped between a fair few of the characters while feeling like it was ignoring some of the others. It’d be better if they could focus on just one or two strands per episode, rather than cramming everything – proposals, New York, Sue becoming headmaster, Tina being bitter – into forty-five minutes. Just…slow it down a bit.
Hopefully, once the fifth season gets into its stride, things might change. But, well, it’s the fifth season. It shouldn’t have to get into its stride. Still, fingers crossed. We’ll just have to see what the next few episodes bring.