Well Gleeks, it’s been a long summer, but our favorite musical about kids in Ohio (and now New York) is finally back, and I’m pleased to say that “Glee” is off to a very strong start. Not only have they seamlessly split the story between Rachel’s adventures in New York and the continuing saga of New Directions in Lima, but the writers have even added new cast members without making it feel like overkill. So what happened? Well read on to find out!
Note: Spoilers ahead.
Rachel in New York
Oh my, how things have changed. Once the superstar of the glee club, Rachel now has to start over at NYADA. Usually her plucky attitude would get her through anything, but not when it is up against a roommate who is bent on hooking up with the entire school and “santana-esque”dance teacher Cassandra July (a terrific Kate Hudson.) July is the very definition of mean, but there seem to be some hidden demons lurking beneath, something that Hudson hints at with great skill.
So I think it is safe to say that Rachel is miserable, and it doesn’t help that she hasn’t heard from Finn in over two months. Enter Brody (a very pleasing to the eyes Dean Geyer), who is now set up as Finn’s rival, even if the two haven’t met just yet. Now Finchel fans just hear me out before you pounce on me. I actually liked Brody (and Geyer), and would not mind if he and Rachel got a little closer.
Overall, the Rachel story really brought “Glee” back to its underdog roots, which I think is spectacular.
Kurt in Lima
Poor Kurt (Chris Colfer). He seems to be stuck. He starts classes soon at the local community college, but he can’t seem to get himself away from his old stomping grounds. I thought it was kind of cruel the way everyone made him feel a bit pathetic, but I think that some of them (even Sue) knew that he was destined for bigger and better things. So after a pep talk with boyfriend Blaine (the wonderful Darren Criss), Kurt finally manages to put his fears aside and make the move to New York.
This decision led to my favorite scene of the entire episode, with Burt (the terrific Mike O’ Malley) saying a tearful goodbye to his son. The last shot of him trying to fight back tears was probably one of the most honest moments in the entire history of the show.
Oh my, how egos have grown. Now that they have become champions, the New Directions crew is finally popular. But it comes at a price, as they soon find out when new head Cheerio Kitty expects them to take part in her name calling games. These barbs are aimed at everyone, but the focus during lunch is on the overweight lunch lady, who is hiding the fact that she is the mother of Marley (Melissa Benoist, a welcome addition.) With the fight to be the new Rachel brewing, many of the Glee members begin to question the type of people they have become. They were all about diversity at first, but now it seems to just be about fitting in and becoming a star.
Normally this kind of storyline comes with some heavy handed moralizing, but I have to say, it was handled remarkably well. Plus, it was nice to see Alex Newell again as Unique, but I am still a bit unsure of his acting (the boy can sing though, which is a plus.)
Overall, I am very excited to see if “Glee” can keep up this momentum.
What did you think of “The New Rachel”?
“Glee” airs Thursdays on Fox. For a local listing in the McAllen or San Antonio area, click here.
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