When Glee’s third season ended with Rachel in New York without Finn, and the rest of the graduates dispersed across the US, with only half a National winning Glee club remaining at McKinley, it’s safe to say the fans were more than a little concerned – will there be an entire new cast now that most of the originals have graduated? How were they going to work being at McKinley and seeing how Rachel was getting along at NYADA?
Glee season four could well have been a bit of a car crash, what with the amount of storylines the Glee writers were juggling, but actually the new additions to the cast fit in beautifully and they had nice mixture of Ohio and New York, and managed to fit content in for the other graduates that made regular guest star appearances.
A brief rundown; Rachel started at NYADA and found it to be very different from McKinley, perhaps something to do with no-nonsense dance teacher Cassandra July (played magnificently by Kate Hudson – who knew she could sing and dance like that?!). Kurt soon joins her in the Big Apple, landing a job at a fashion magazine (queue another great guest star in the form of Sarah Jessica Parker) but soon lands a second chance saloon audition to join NYADA, thrown by Whoopi Goldberg.
Back at McKinley, Will sets about recruiting new members for the Glee club stumbling across Jake (who happens to be Puck’s younger half-brother, played by Jacob Artist) and sweet-natured Marley (played by Melissa Benoist), later picking up Ryder (played by season 2’s The Glee Project winner, Blake Jenner, who I definitely pinned from the start as a contender!) All three are fantastic new additions to the Glee cast; they have brilliant voices and bring a new energy to the group that means the show can certainly move forward.
Another new face appears at NYADA in the form of the handsome Brody (played by the delicious Dean Geyer), who becomes a new love interest for Rachel. The show’s couples go through quite a turbulent year with 3 of the shows integral duo’s breaking up in the episode aptly named ‘The Break-up’ – Rachel and Finn, Kurt and Blaine and Brittany and Santana all go their separate ways, but throughout the first two still bounce off each other, with both reconciling a few times but never fully re-connecting. Brittany becomes involved with Sam and the dup create an adorable couple.
Will and Emma (finally) tie the knot this season but not as fans expected in their wedding episode as Emma fled the church. The ceremony is instead in the season finale – a small intimate affair with the Glee club present, a ceremony that even brought a little tear to my eye. The season ends with Blaine thinking about proposing to Kurt and Rachel waiting to see if she got the job of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.
Along the season, the show kept up with popular culture, and represented its own themes with what was happening in America and around the world – most particularly that was felt when an apparent school shooting took place in McKinley (it was accidental and no was harmed) but still the episode caused great controversy when it aired because of how current the topic was (the school shooting at Sandy Hook happened 3 months prior to the episode being aired.) The show also tackled anorexia/bulimia, male prostitution and ‘catfishing’ in other storylines.
The season also had its fair share of ups and downs outside in the real life world of its actors – Heather Morris became pregnant and the writers wrote out the character of Brittany in its season finale, with the character going off to MIT. Whether Heather Morris returns to Glee after the birth of her child, it’s unclear but it was an emotional goodbye to the character which again left me a little teary. Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) also was written out of the season finale having voluntarily checked into rehab for substance abuse. Following his time in rehab, the actor was unfortunately found dead in his hotel room 3 weeks ago after an accidental heroin and alcohol overdose.
Since then more has become clear on what director the show will be taking – when it returns in September there are 3 episodes planned: a double Beatles tribute episode and a Cory tribute episode which will deal with the issue of drug abuse. After this the show will take a hiatus to figure out what their future plans are. Lea Michele, who dated the Canadian actor for over a year and his fellow Glee cast and crew have spoken out about his death and it’s clear their loss is still very fresh in their minds. It’s fair to say when the show returns in September, and certainly for Cory’s tribute episode, there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
I saw something in you. That first day, and I thought to myself ‘This one is special. This one might make it.’ And that’s why I’m so relentless. (Cassandra to Rachel Wonder-ful, Glee)