Welcome back to Lima…and hello New York…as Glee returns for a fourth season.
Titled “The New Rachel”, we see the obvious and subtle references of this through out the episode. Who will be the new Rachel in Lima; the one with the focus and the solos and the individual glory? A nice spot and there’s some competition – Blaine, Tina (who’s undergone some serious changes over the summer by losing Mike as her boyfriend and gaining an attitude and an assistant), Brittany and transfer student Wade/Unique (Alex Newell, who brings it within the first three seconds), toting her MVP Nationals trophy as a reminder of just who they’re up against.
The underwhelming response from the current ND’ers to Wade reminded me of Blaine’s transfer in last year’s opening episode. Everyone knows the talent level, everyone is a little uncomfortable with the competition.
So what’s the answer? The snipey foursome decide that Artie – who never passes up the opportunity to boss people around – will judge a “Thunderdome” sing-off in the auditorium.
I actually loved this snarky version of “Call Me Maybe” – the summer’s ear worm from Carly Rae Jepson – because while there’s an edge of divaness to all, they’re about as mean and threatening to each other as a basket of puppies. If “The New Rachel” was a chew toy and the four were Golden Retrievers, you’d have an inkling of the level of true anger. But one must be chosen and the result (“meticulous decision making and an on-line poll”) is both a surprise and not, and Blaine is chosen. I have a feeling we’ll see this ebb and flow through out the season as to who sings lead in various numbers, in the name of fairness and solidarity, but Blaine was an easy choice. As Finn reminded us in “Hold Onto Sixteen” last season, after Rachel, Blaine is the most well-rounded member of New Directions. He also has experience (soloist for The Warblers) and, despite his edge in this episode, is one of the nicest people at McKinley. A good choice from Artie – though Tina, Unique and Brittany aren’t pleased at all.