Glee, S4 Ep1 – The New Rachel

Glee returns for a fourth season.

And now for our big reunion of the episode – a sad and lonely Rachel talks to Kurt on the phone and gets a mega-terrific surprise when she turns around. Her bestie has landed in NYC and they are ready to take on their dream world together. Chris Colfer and Lea Michele have such good chemistry so I’m interested to see what Hummelberry gets up to this year together.

Our final moments of the episode set us up for the first few arcs of the season; after Marley shames the New Directions kids over their participation in mocking her mother (and brings them crashing back to earth), the gang apologizes and welcomes her to Glee, inviting her sing lead on their first group number – Adele’s “Chasing Pavements”. Benoist has a nice voice but she suffers unfortunate comparison to the many powerhouse female singers Glee has featured. Still, it’s a clear indication that Glee Club is back to being a) underdogs (Unique and Marley get christened with slushies from evil Kitty and her henchmen) and b) Nice Kids Who Care, and there are many lovely songs to be sung. And what’s that? Angry Jake, watching from the shadows?

Mr. Schue has it all under control though – he’s discovered one part of Just Jake’s secret and there’s an obvious course of action. His last name? Puckerman. Dun, dun, dun.

There were a lot of MIA folks, none of whom I particularly missed. One of the problems with such a large cast is that those who shine tend to shine brightly and eclipse some lesser talents, and that doesn’t help the tone issues that have plagued Glee since day one. New Directions, as it stands now, seems a bit more even keeled in terms of talent though some cream rises to the top (Darren Criss and Alex Newell have notable voices). It’ll be interesting to see the group numbers as more episodes pile up, particularly when the theme episodes hit and we start getting competition numbers.

One of my all-time favorite competitions was in “Hold Onto Sixteen” from season 3, where ND was decimated by defections and suspensions and relied not on the solo, but group numbers. I am certainly hoping for a similar dynamic this year. Maybe the “New Rachel” could be a rotating spot?

Mr. Schue introduces the newest New Direction member, Marley.

Welcome to Glee Club Marley – please expect slushies, romantic entanglements and crazy costuming!

The best part of the new season – and the big cast shake-up – is all that potential swimming around. New locations, new music, new pairings, new friendships. Sugar/Unique besties? Some Jake/Marley? A new romance for the new Tina? Sam and Blaine, the new dudebros on the block? How about when the grads start filtering back home? Will they be wanted or feel pushed aside?

So much fun to be had and I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Welcome back Glee.

 

Tere’s Episode Round-up:

What made me laugh: Thunderdome style! I think there’s a reality show in the making…someone tweet Ryan Murphy.

What made me sniffle: Burt Hummel being the best dad ever.

What made me side-eye: Kitty’s unrelenting evil was jarring and added nothing to the show.

What I’m listening to on repeat: “It’s Time” – because it’s fun and upbeat.

What I’m looking forward to next week: It’s Britney b*tch!

 

 

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