Glee Recap: Nobody Said It Was Easy

will emma glee break upIf you haven’t watched this week’s Glee, abandon this URL immédiatement! Everyone else, keep on reading and let’s get this discussion percolatin’!

Please forgive any typos or errors in this week’s Glee recap. “Allergies” seem to be making my eyes all watery, and no amount of dabbing is stopping this unfortunate display of “waterworks.”

Okay, okay…I ‘fess up! “The Break Up,” the fourth episode of Season 4, left me shattered. A wreck. Depressed. Despondent. With a mean case of the blues. Positively cream-crackered. But — I have to add — in the best possible way.

RELATED | Exclusive: Glee Boss Previews ‘Break-Up’ Fallout, Promises ‘Nothing Is Set in Stone’ – Plus: Cory Monteith ‘Sad and Nostalgic’ in Episode’s Wake

Sure, it wasn’t easy watching the show’s four central couples get pulled apart at the seams by infidelity, distance, changing life goals, expectations of obedient puppydom, and occasional indifference (nobody said it would be). But life and — let’s be honest — good television are often as much about heartache and hard choices as they are about happiness and good fortune. (And oh, those flashback scenes! THOSE FLASHBACK SCENES, I SAY!)

But let me back up for a moment. In case you were too busy reading up on “The Blue Ribbon Panel to Improve Arts Education,” here’s what you missed on Glee. (For the record, I’m going to try to give the rundown on what happened with each couple in five sentences or less — then weigh in on how successful/realistic the action actually was.)

RACHEL AND FINN | The morning after Finn’s arrival interrupted Rachel and Brody’s first kiss, Finn revealed he’d been semi-honorably discharged from the army for shooting himself in the thigh, but then avoided contacting Rachel because he felt like a “Lima loser” with no direction in life. Rachel brought Finn to all her NYADA classes in an effort to inspire him with a new direction, and then to the piano bar Callbacks for karaoke night, but things got tense when Finn declined to sing and encouraged Rachel to duet with Brody on a Demi Lovato song (nice X Factor cross-promotional synergy there). On the way home, Rachel finally admitted she and Brody had kissed — just once! — and the next morning, Finn fled the apartment and headed back to Ohio, without so much as a goodbye to the girlfriend he’d abandoned for the previous four months. Rachel hopped a plane and hunted him down, and after revealing how she’d hated him for giving her her wings in the Season 3 finale, she’d eventually realized, “This is what a man looks like. This is how a man loves.” Despite that, his lack of communication and all-around aimlessness made Rachel realize they couldn’t be together, at least for now.

Personally, I bought everything about this breakup — from Finn’s devastation that Rachel kissed another guy in the process of finding herself, to Rachel admitting that after four months with no communication, she’d taken it as a hint to move on. (The only thing I didn’t buy was Brody lurking behind the New Directions’ table during Blaine’s tearful “Teenage Dream.” Get a clue, dude!) Whether or not these two crazy kids are destined to be together, it’s clear that Finn is in no position to make anyone else happy — let alone himself — till he figures out what he wants to do with his life. It was sweet that Rachel tried to help her man find a plan in NYC, but self-discovery isn’t about fitting into someone else’s dream. It’s about defining your own. And if Rachel is still available once Finn conquers his insecurities — can we acknowledge that good, successful people can be found anywhere…even in Lima?! — maybe they’ll still have a shot. As Rachel so devastatingly put it, “You are my first love, and I want more than anything for you to be my last love, but I can’t do this anymore. We’re done.” Correct!

KURT AND BLAINE | Blaine continued to feel ignored as Kurt explored his fabulous new life in NYC, and who could blame him when his “I love you” was met with a stinging dialtone? The erstwhile Warbler found distraction by flirtatiously text-messaging with a guy named “Eli C,” and then suddenly arrived in NYC for a suprise visit, where he gave an awkwardly mournful rendition of “Teenage Dream” at Callbacks. (Kurt’s response — “You’re so emotional and weirdly sad — please stop pretending there’s nothing wrong” — was pitch perfect.) Blaine eventually admitted he’d strayed — “It didn’t mean anything. It was just a hookup, okay?” he cried. “I was lonely and I’m really sorry.” — leaving Kurt feeling like he was “gonna die.” Mr. Hummel, though, got in “to the left, to the left” mode, tossing Blaine’s “forgive me” note into the trash when a bouquet of flowers landed on his desk at work.

Again, this trip to Splitsville seemed very well-handled, and realistically telegraphed. Blaine is a nice, bowtie-wearing prepster, sure, but he’s also a randy high-school senior who was getting almost entirely ignored by a boyfriend who’d fled their small-town life and wasn’t making any long-term plans to come back. What’s more, as we saw last season in his flirtation with Sebastian, Mr. Anderson hasn’t always had a one-track eye (even if he isn’t always full aware of the fact). And furthermore, as hurt as Kurt seemed by Blaine’s infidelity, I can’t help but wonder if he didn’t feel a sense of relief. With his new job, new city, and the promise of endless new experiences, it seemed like those texts and Skype sessions with his old beau were more out of obligation than desire, no? I just wished we’d had a scene or two explaining the emergence of this mystery Eli. Is he a McKinley student? A glee clubber from another district? Inquiring minds want to know if he’s hot or not.

BRITTANY AND SANTANA | Santana returned to Lima to do her laundry and discovered Brittany was reading Desecration: Antichrist Takes the Throne, the ninth book in the Left Behind series, as part of her involvement with a new religious group at McKinley. Agreeing to attend one of the meetings at Breadstix, Santana watched as mean-girl Kitty staged a rapture hoax on an unsuspecting underclassman, but it inevitably led to Brittany admitting she’d been feeling left behind and hurt by her girlfriend’s move to college. After an emotional, intimate rendition rendition of “Mine” in the choir room, Santana told Brittany she didn’t want them to become one of those long-distance couples who hang in there for a few months, then “break up when someone eventually cheats or things get weird.” (“I would never cheat on you,” Brittany responded with incredible haste and heatbreaking earnestness.) But Santana, insisting it wasn’t “an official breakup,” reasoned they should “just do the mature thing here” and give each other space, even though, as she put it (activating my tear ducts in the process), “You know I will always love you the most.”

Brittana was probably the least fleshed-out of the breakups this week, but for me, it was also the saddest. Maybe that’s because I can’t help but feel that whip-smart Santana, in her new life at college, will only grow further and further estranged from Brit in the years to come. There’s always been something young and innocent about the connection between these Cheerios, but intellectually and emotionally, Brittany simply isn’t a match for Santana right now. Looking at the week’s three breakups, I’d deem this one Least Likely to Get Back Together. (Just please, don’t let it lead to Brittany covering Taylor Swift’s latest single. I love that song, if I’m being honest, but no.) And who’d have thunk Brittany would be the one to verbalize what Santana couldn’t bring herself to say: “This sounds a lot like a breakup to me.” Mmm-hmm.

WILL AND EMMA | Good news, Wemma fans, the enagement still appears to be on. (I think?) But Will weirdly assumed that Emma would take a sabbatical from her job and join him in DC when he went to work on “The Blue Ribbon Panel to Improve Arts Education” — Oh Em Gee, Schue, stop spelling it out! — and she was not having it, informing her man that she wasn’t about to sit around in a hotel room while he went off and fulfilled his dreams. “This is not that I’m afraid of losing my job. It’s that I like my job,” Emma said, indignant. (Preach, sister!) And when Will insisted they still needed to talk through their decision, Emma dropped this icy (and brilliant) retort: “We just did. You just don’t like what I have to say!”

KITTY AND JAKE | Don’t burst into tears all at once, folks, but Puckerman 2.0 dumped Nasty McBitchytongue after she made fun of Marley’s mom again.

And with that, let’s recount the episode’s best zinger (we’ll keep it to one, since comedy mostly took the week off):

* “I mean, I’m not jealous. I just think it’s insane that all Porcelain had to do to get an internship at Vogue.com is take photos of every ridiculous outfit he’s ever paired with a Cossack hat and a see-through raincoat, and then show up at an interview where he’s lauded as a visionary because his jodhpurs happen to match his riding crop.” –Santana, speaking for everyone everytime everywhere while discussing Kurt’s new job

Before I hand things off to you, let me also grade this week’s musical numbers:

* Blaine and Finn, “Barely Breathing”: A- (Finn sounded great, no?)

* Rachel and Brody, “Give Your Heart a Break”: A (not an endorsement of this duo, but dang they gave the song an upgrade!)

* Blaine, “Teenage Dream”: N/A (How can I grade something I wasn’t really supposed to enjoy? Sniff.)

* Finn, Rachel, Kurt, and Blaine, “Don’t Speak”: B- (Didn’t pop for me emotionally, given how much s— was going down as it was sung)

* Santana, “Mine”: B+

* Finn, Rachel, Blaine, Kurt, Santana, Brittany, Will and Emma: “The Scientist”: A (Yowza, the flashbacks to our couples’ first meetings/kisses were really perfectly selected and placed.)

And with that, it’s your turn. What did you think of “The Break Up”? Whose problems hit you hardest? Which split made the most sense? And which one (if any) didn’t make any sense at all? Take our poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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283 Comments
  1. Teresa says:

    The couple storyline that I enjoyed most was the Tina/Mike one. Oh wait. There was no Tina/Mike story. I guess they don’t matter.

    • Mitch says:

      Yeah! What’s up with that!? I hate how much the show ignores Tina. She got one episode in Season 3 to shine with some other minor story lines here and there and Season 4 has yet to give her anything again. It’s not really very fair considering she is one of the original members! I wasn’t a huge fan of Mike and Tina other than some very hilarious comedic scenes (Wanna see my abs? I guess…) Classic! But I wanna know what happened there! Hopefully the story comes out!

  2. Chris says:

    I know I’m probably the only one, but I was not at all impressed with Darren’s Teenage Dream performance. I just don’t care for his voice at all and didn’t feel anything while watching it.

  3. Mitch says:

    I loved (and hated) this episode. It was done very well and I feel like all the relationships were handled realistically. Rachel, Kurt, and Santana all have this sense of maturity at this point that each of their partners lack. I thought this was really accurate. The first year out of high school, you grow so much and change so much with the realization of how the world actually works. Rachel especially seems like a much older version of herself and when Finn returned, he seemed like the same kid walking the halls of McKinley. That break up was amazing and bound to happen. You can’t drop out of someone’s life for four months and come back expecting everything to be “okay” again.

    I have to admit that I was crying during both Blaine’s Teenage Dream and Santana’s Mine. The words “I can be your teenage dream” coming from Blaine as he cried them to his older boyfriend were truly heart wrenching and Santana’s performance reminded me of her early songs to Brittany when she was just admitting her true feelings for her best friend. Overall though, I think Blaine’s performance stole the show. I really hope they can reunite, but I’m excited to see how Blaine reacts to being in McKinley without Kurt as even his boyfriend anymore. I just hope he doesn’t up and leave!!!

  4. Lopez says:

    The couple truest and gorgeous of Glee. They can not stop it! If Brittana end, Glee will end too! BRITTANA FOREVER!

  5. anthony says:

    I am not remotely shocked that Blaine cheated on Kurt. I knew it would happen eventually. I was even less shocked that he tried to blame Kurt for it. And I’m even less shocked that some Blaine fans are trying to justify Blaine’s cheating. Klaine will probably be back together by the end of the season unfortunately. I want Kurt to either stay single or find a new man who isn’t whiny and over-dependent and hypocritical like Blaine is. I don’t care for any of the couples on Glee but I really just can’t stand Klaine.

    • Samantha says:

      THIS!!!!! Especially the part about people trying to justify Blaine’s cheating and blaming it on Kurt. It’s completely ridiculous. And I agree, Blaine is a hypocrite. He makes a huge deal about Kurt texting another boy, then goes and hooks up with another boy as soon as Kurt’s not around. Blaine used to be my favorite character but now I just can’t stand him. I hope Kurt doesn’t take him back too.

  6. Sonny says:

    The break up that I didn’t expect to give a crap about was the Brittana break up which hit me the hardest. The things that Santana said to Brittany about counting the times Brittany smiled at her and always loving her the most were really sweet and touching. And Naya Rivera sang “Mine”so beautifully and the emotion she put into it actually touched my heart. It was a very good performance from both her and Heather Morris. The Brittana break up broke my heart the most and I don’t even ship Brittana.

    • DeeKayTee says:

      THIS!

    • brittanaforever says:

      it was unexpected… i believe everybody who watched glee that night, didnt expect them to break up. i mean… singing ‘mine’ by taylor swift.. isnt exactly the kinda thing you want to sing to your boyfriend/girlfriend right before your about to break up with them. brittana hit me the hardest too.

  7. KD says:

    Rachel and Finn – Honestly, this was the most grown-up and realistic break up in the episode. It was nice to see Rachel not all whiney and hopeless and stick up for herself for once.

  8. Heidi says:

    Yeah…..watching this episode while being pregnant/hormonal, was maybe NOT such a good idea.

  9. Craig says:

    Devastated. Just devastated.

  10. DeeKayTee says:

    The ONLY thing you didn’t buy about these breakups was Brody lurking behind the table of the people he was hanging out with??? Although I thought the breakups were all pretty realistic,what I didn’t buy was the fact that these no job having high school/ college students could all fly back and forth between Ohio and New York at the drop of a hat! Thats all. :-)

  11. Sara says:

    Noooooo finchel can’t be over :( I really like brochel as a friendship but Finn and Rachel were so good for each other but now Rachel has changed /: I’m a hard core brittana shippe (more than finchel) and I seriously any believe they broke up! After all Santana went through, coming out of the closet to finally be with Brittany and then the writers throw that all away just cause she had an ‘attraction’ and lives like 2 hrs away from Brittany. I don’t want the to be the Least Likely To Get BackTogether couple but I think that’s what they are </3 hopefully they can reconcile though.

  12. Claireys21 says:

    I know it may be unrealistic for all of them to get back together but this is Glee remember – not exactly known for being that realistic! Also, I disagree about Brittana being least likely to get back together – out of all the couples they have the strongest history and Santana isn’t going to be in college for much longer, everyone knows shes moving to NYC so I can see Brittany moving there too once she graduates. Also, Ryan Murphy said a few weels ago Brittana was forever and Brad Falchuk has said on numerous occasions they are endgame – that’s why I’m not overly sad about their separation (Santana did say it wasn’t an official break-up).

    I’m not really bothered about Finchel getting back together – I know they prob will because they are the shows ‘Ross and Rachel’ – but I’ve always prefered Rachel when she’s not in a relationship, she’s actually at her best with Kurt, so hopefully they’ll keep her single for a while. Not really sure about Brody – he’s a bit of a walking Cliche….

    I’ve never been sure of Klaine – I always though Kurt liked the idea of having a dreamboat boyfriend but is too self-obsessed to notice his feelings. Strangely though, he seemed to understand Karofsky more than Blaine – but these 2 will prob be fine as well since Ryan Murphy adores them.

    So unless they pull a Shonda Rhimes and kill a few off, I can see all of them getting back together – screw reality, its a TV show!

  13. jean says:

    this was actually the first time in many many months that glee has actually made me cry. The acting was amazing, the songs very well fitted and I actually felt for Klaine for the very first time.

  14. Tony says:

    I was happy to see Rachel and Finn go kaput. He had been an apendage to her for way too long. However, it still was a bit sad to watch.

    Overall, this episode was proof that what Ryan Murphy has done with the show was the best thing for Glee. I’m not one of those haters who thinks the show has been ruined or isn’t good. Its very inconsistent, yes. But compared to alot of other dreck on TV, it has always had more heart and gumption than alot of others. However, the season finale of last year almost pushed me away and made me resent the character of Rachel on an entirely different level. Now, its nice to see her out of high school and in a more mature context. In all, I am loving how this season is shaping up to be.

    And while Kitty and Jacob’s breakup wasn’t that earth shattering, I am starting to warm up to the noobs more. Along with that, I thought Kitty’s prank on that girl during the Left Behind meeting was absolutely hysterical. Mean and borderline offensive, yes. But it was funny. And her comment about President Obama not winning after being dumped got a chuckle out of me as well.

    Great episode. I hope Murphy and Co. can keep it up

  15. brittanaforever says:

    honestly, finn and rachel wasnt a suprise, we saw that coming after she kissed brody. but i have to say, i knew in advance that Santana was going to sing ‘mine’ by taylor swift to brittany.. and i actually thought that they were going to stay together. i guess they sort of are still together.. Santana did say it wasnt an ‘official break up’, but boy, did it sound like one. Santana kinda mislead us, why would she sing mine if she going to “take a break” with brittany. The Brittana break up hit me the worst… I never saw it coming. but if you think about it.. how many times has Rachel and Finn broke up and got back together….. a lot. so this might just be a bump in the Brittana relationship. Sure, they might see other people for a little bit… but im pretty sure that Santana and Brittany will just end back up together. Haha, we ALL know that Santana can do better then that ugly chick reading all the Virginia Wolfe books. Brittany and Santana are soul-mates.. and they will come to realize that soon.

  16. kristhian says:

    i really hope Klaine stay apart they need to grow have other couples, i want to see Kurt in a full slut spiral with all the hot guys in NY

  17. Tgirl says:

    Brittana definetly :(((((((((((((((((((((

  18. Maddy. says:

    In an interview Blaine said “I doubt Kurt and Blaine will ever really break-up. Every show needs it’s Rachel and Ross.” but Finn and Rachel breaking up hurt me the most. They were like this couple throughout the whole show. One always liked the other, and you could always tell they’d somehow end up back together. And come on, they were ENGAGED people. Brittany and Santana’s was sad, but it deffinetely could be seen coming, like Kurt and Blaines. Kurt ignored Blaine, no wonder Blaie felt abandoned. And Brittany seemed to be a little flirty with Sam if you ask me.

  19. NoHeart says:

    I didn’t expect it but the Brittany and Santana break up made me feel the most sad. Watching them cry especially Brittany made my heartbreak. Mine was beautiful!
    Rachel speech at the end made me proud.

  20. gaby says:

    how is this even a valid question?! Did you not see the way Heather was weeping? She and Naya blew everyone else out of the water.
    All the awards to Heather Morris.

  21. I think that finn(Cory) should maybe show more emotion or fight for his girl at least and Rachel aka lea doesn’t have all the rights to be mad at Finn aka Cory she kissed Brody and technically they were in a relationship still at that time the lines they were given didn’t much emotion but how they acted it out rocked.

    Note : Ryan Murphy write better scripts but to see finches break is sad…. Never the less they r probably gonna make up ……. (Looking forward 2 that)

    Oh and the scientist A +++++++

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