Stars: Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Chord Overstreet, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Mark Salling, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Whoopi Goldberg, Kate Hudson
Writer: Ryan Murphy
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Network: Fox, airs Thursdays
Original Telecast: October 4, 2012
“Break Up” episode of GLEE was inevitable, as the series begins dividing its time between New York and Ohio – and having couples dealing with long-distance relationships.
However, like many noble GLEE attempts, there’s a heavy-handedness to it all – and with five couples feeling the burn of moving apart, it’s actually way too coincidental and convenient at times.
Still, there are emotions galore bubbling underneath the surface and when “The Break Up” gets it right, it gets it right.
BREAK-UP #1: After a long absence Finn (Cory Monteith) arrives in New York to visit Rachel (Lea Michele). Finn was discharged from the Army after shooting himself in the leg. Kinda of lame, but, let’s move past that. Finn realizes Rachel has grown apart and likes someone new. Rachel realizes she’s moved on and Finn feels like a loser and goes back to Ohio to help out Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) in glee club.
BREAK-UP #2: Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) are also feeling the pain. Blaine is lonely and misses Kurt and knows it’s not going to work. He arrives in New York to break up with him, claiming he cheated on him. Criss singing a heartfelt piano rendition of “Teenage Dream” (the first song he ever sang to Curt) is heart-breaking and one of the more tragic moments in the entire episode.
BREAK-UP #3: Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris) realize they’ve grown apart too. Brittany equates being “left behind” to the LEFT BEHIND Christian books. It’s over for them too
BREAK-UP #4: Mr. Schue wants Emma (Jayma Mayes) to come with him to Washington and take a sabbatical. She doesn’t want to and gets weirdly offended. There’s a break up involved here, sort of, but this one is the most contrived and the most ridiculous. It’s dumb and totally out of character. They’re engaged. Come on. I can get that Rachel and Finn were stupidly going to get married last season (and thankfully didn’t), but to destroy the Mr. Schue and Emma story over something as contrived and desperate.
BREAK-UP #5: Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist) obviously like Marley (Melissa Benoist) and she does too, but he’s seeing the head cheerleader Christian nightmare. Oh, but he breaks up with her because he realizes what a horrible person he is. So naturally, this opens the door for a Jake/Marley thing – but now Marley is disappointed in Jake. Ugh!
The songs are once again underwhelming, though the reprise of “Teenage Dream” was great and the end group song “The Scientist” by Coldplay is very emotional.
With all the break-ups out of the way, now we can allow all the characters to move on and find love elsewhere. I’m also betting on Finn taking over for Mr. Schue in the glee club while he’s gone – and maybe this may be the excuse to keep him at the school permanently (maybe he’ll get a teaching degree or something).
The episode is well-directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and Murphy’s script is good at times, but falls into traditional GLEE traps of painting Christians as evil and ridiculous (and angry too). This is a show about diversity and accepting everyone, yet the show desperately grasps at straws for villains, and this one sadly never works.
Otherwise, “The Break Up” is a new beginning for New Directions and the characters. Let’s hope this gets the show out of the depressing “oh I miss you mode” and back to making great music and putting on a fabulous show.
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