After the tragic death of Cory Monteith over the summer, producers and cast members made the decision to carry on with the two opening episodes they had planned, and to follow that up with a tribute episode to Monteith. These two opening episodes involved Glee’s biggest tribute to a music artist to date – the iconic band The Beatles were given the Glee tribute and they pulled it off well.
For huge fans of the Beatles music, the Glee cast singing the band’s hits probably won’t be their cup of tea, but as covers the songs work surprisingly well, particularly in the first episode. The two episodes crammed in an awful lot of storyline as well, with the 5th season picking up soon after the end of last season. Rachel is still chasing her dream of being in Funny Girl, the Glee club is busy preparing for Nationals (although when is it not busy preparing for a competition) and Blaine is still determined to propose to Kurt.
Over at McKinley, Sue is back and on form as she’s framed Figgins and gotten herself named as acting Principal, with Figgins demoted to janitor which brings some great comedy lines. The Glee club focuses on the Beatles assignment for the week, with Blaine explaining his plans of proposing to Kurt, but getting other Glee club’s involved such as Vocal Adrenaline and The Warblers. It’s great to see some familiar faces back, particularly Grant Gustin (Sebastian). Kitty and Artie draw focus in this episode as they start to become an item, after they connected last season. For me though this angle is one I don’t particularly see going anywhere; Kitty has developed as a character, and her walls of bitchiness have been broken down. However this latest progression is one that I’m just not buying and it seems that the writers are trying to pan off Artie with just about every Glee club member (Tina, Brittany and now Kitty). Over in New York, Rachel is still auditioning for Fanny and to earn that extra dollar she takes a job in a restaurant alongside Santana (and as we find out in episode 2 Kurt also takes up a job there). Whilst working Rachel runs into the two men she auditioned for at the start of the episode (guest starring Ioan Gruffudd and Peter Facinelli – two of the most gorgeous men…particularly the latter). After leaving a lasting impression, we find out in episode 2 that she indeed got the role of Fanny, in a lovely scene at the diner. Even though it is typical that she landed the first major role she went for, I do wonder if they’ll pick this up again or how it will progress.
The culmination of the first episode’s major plot point – the proposal – is a beautiful one. First, we get Mike O’Malley in a lovely moment with Kurt on the way to the ‘surprise’ proposal. Him and Chris Colfer have always had great chemistry together, and this scene is no different. After this we get the Beatles’ classic ‘All you need is love’ with Blaine in a very colourful yellow suit (which I strangely love), in a beautifully shot performance and choreography with help from New Directions and some of the other Glee clubs they’ve come across over the years. Blaine’s speech after the song as well is just gorgeous to listen to and I couldn’t help but have a tear in my eye the first time I watched it.
The first episode was quite light-hearted and good fun overall, which made me empathise with the cast and crew; having to shoot such heart-warming, light-hearted scenes in the aftermath of such a sad occasion. The second episode certainly had a sense of unity surrounding it particularly as another prom night was almost ruined for a Glee club member.
Through last season, we saw more of a selfish quality, a need to be the star from Tina, and in this episode as she’s named as one of the contenders to be prom queen, it becomes more evident and it’s certainly not an attractive quality in the character. We are also introduced to the cheerleader Bree, the new arch-nemesis of the Glee club who sabotages Tina on her big night. As a character, she’s written fantastically and the actress who plays her Erinn Westbrook is great at bringing her to life. Bree’s sabotage is having Tina win prom queen but having her moment ruined as, what I’m assuming is red slushy, is dropped on her. The aftermath is very reminiscent of Carrie, which is amusing but you do feel for Tina, and it’s certainly on a level with when Kurt was named queen in season 2. Having the entire Glee club unite around her to patch her up is lovely moment, and shows the heart that this show has.
Other strands from the second episode include the introduction of Demi Lovato’s character Dani, a new love interest for Santana is adorable to see her freak out about Lovato, as she’s usually so calm. It’ll be nice to see what Lovato can bring to the show and the inclusion of Adam Levine will bring another layer to that. One thing I did pick up on is a lot of the other character’s got pushed back this week – apart from one small mention early in the first episode, the rift and fallout from the Catfish incident between Unique and Ryder is not mentioned, despite the fact Ryder vowed to leave Glee club. It’s another example of the Glee writers perhaps juggling too many plates.
The season 5 openers are solid and feel good, a nice ease into the show’s 5th season before the emotional Finn/Cory Monteith tribute episode entitled “The Quarterback”. This will probably be one of the hardest episodes of television I have likely watched, and it’s bound to be for many fans. Get your tissues ready, I sure will have mine!
“I think my soul knew something that my body and my mind didn’t know yet. It knew that our hands were meant to hold each other, fearlessly and forever which is why it’s never really felt like I was getting to know each other it’s like I’ve nene remembering you from something. (Blaine. Glee 5.1)