Glee, S4, Ep4 “The Break-up: Couples Meta”

 

Santana and Brittany end things in "The Break-up"

Showing a lot of maturity and caring, Brittana comes to an emotional end.

Brittana (Brittany and Santana):

We know how much Britt has been missing her best friend/best girl since the beginning of the year, including a spectacular spiral on-stage.  She’s lonely and Santana is aware of this fact; she even comes up with a solution.  No laundry-doing at college – Santana comes back to Lima every few weeks to wash her clothes and see her girlfriend.  It’s a caring yet impractical attempt to bridge the growing gap, as Santana tries to live her college life while staying connected to Brittany.

Spending time together, Santana gets a full picture of Brittany’s sadness, her feeling of being left behind.  It weighs on her and finally, she makes a truly mature and heart-breaking decision.

After telling Brittany how much she means to her, how much she loves her, Santana delivers a gorgeous version of Taylor Swift’s “Mine.”  The lyrics sadly echo what Brittany’s love has meant to her but it also shows the reasoning for letting her go.  As Brittany cries, Santana confesses to a moment – a connection, a possible attraction to a woman at her school.  It was enough to remind her that they are apart and will be for four years.  She would rather end it now, with love, rather than in a rush of cheating or anger.

It’s a sad moment but shows a lot of growth for Santana, who so often rushes to react.  She’s put thought into this decision.  She’s thinking of herself yes, but also of Brittany.  And since this relationship has almost entirely focused on Santana’s needs and wants, it was truly lovely to see what growth their love wrought.  Now that’s she’s single, Brittany can hopefully focus on what she wants/needs: graduation, what happens afterwards.  Who is she without Santana?  While she’s often seen as mostly comic relief, it’ll be interesting to see her grow as well.

Do I think they’re done forever?:  50/50.  I would absolutely love to see their friendship and caring for each other carry on, no matter what happens romantically.  That is their foundation.  It would also be nice to see that sort of support from each of them going forward.  Since it was an amiable parting, one can hope!

Blaine and Kurt share an emotional moment.

Bad news is coming for Kurt as Blaine makes a confession.

Klaine (Kurt and Blaine)

We saw this coming, didn’t we?  After Kurt became consumed with his exciting success in New York at Vogue.com, Blaine was seemingly left in the dust, growing more and more lonely back in Ohio.  As they talk on the phone, Kurt absently confirms missed Skype dates and phone calls – while putting Blaine on hold repeatedly.  Blaine misses Kurt – a lot.  The longing and frustration comes to a quiet intensity when Kurt has to go take a call from someone “who always has the best gossip.”  Blaine says “I love you” to a dial tone and just like that, the cards fall.

Clearly all of Blaine’s fears from “Dance with Somebody” have come true.  Kurt has a new life, new friends and Blaine is left by himself.

Blaine – I would say – is used to being left alone.  His parents don’t seem to be around much.  His brother is consumed with his own life.  The Warblers abandoned him (literally, on the floor of a parking garage).  And now Kurt is gone, body and mind.  It’s painful and awful to watch as Blaine sings Duncan Sheik’s “Barely Breathing” – and connects with an apparent stranger on Facebook.  It becomes clearly a hook-up as Blaine leaves the school with a purpose.

Cue New York City, where Kurt is thrilled by a surprise visit from Blaine – carrying a huge bouquet of flowers and a pensive smile.  At a small piano bar, Kurt can’t but help notice his boyfriend’s morose expression, trying to buy the “tired” explanation.  But when Blaine takes center stage and offers up an emotionally wrecked version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” – the first song he sang when he met the love of his life – it’s impossible to pretend something isn’t terribly wrong.

During a walk in the park, Blaine drops his bombshell – he was with someone.

Kurt is devastated and the moment descends into an emotional back and forth that gets nothing productive said.  As No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” becomes a painful quartet with Finn and Rachel, Kurt and Blaine are seen lying in bed, not looking at each other.  In fact, their eyes don’t meet again for the rest of the episode.

The next morning, Kurt tells Finn he feels like’s going to die.  He and Blaine don’t talk; Blaine returns home and into a conversation with a similarly depressed Finn.  “Why did you do it?” is Kurt’s step-brother’s question and it’s a good one.  But Blaine doesn’t know.  And now, Kurt won’t talk to him.

Kurt, meantime, is back at work.  Flowers – the familiar red and yellow roses they’ve shared before – sit on his desk.  He stares morosely at the card: an apology from Blaine, begging for forgiveness.  Conflicted but clearly crushed, Kurt drops the card into the trash.

Ouch.

Given the parallels to “Dance with Somebody” it’s clear that the boys have a serious communication problem.  And a personality conflict.  And an expectation of perfection.

The first can be blamed on youth.  They’re not old enough to yet know about putting work into a relationship (though I think they’ve gotten a rude awakening!).  They assume the other will understand what they’re thinking and feeling and what they need without bringing it up.  The second is a difference in styles.  While both have been forced by circumstances to grow up quickly – bullying, Kurt’s mother’s death – they operate with different intimacy styles.  Blaine is needy; he requires reinforcement of someone’s feelings towards him, mostly due to the remote nature of the people around him.  He wants to feel special to someone – and he needs to hear it. Kurt, on the other hand, operates like a sturdy kite.  He is tethered by his support system – Burt, Blaine – and feels he can spread his wings in New York.  He doesn’t need constant reminders of their love; he’s sure they’ll be there when he turns around. There’s a confidence to Kurt, even as he sometimes falters.

The last flaw in this couple is the expectation of perfection.  Blaine wants to be perfect.  Kurt expects him to be.  Blaine wants to think Kurt is perfect.  They saved each other and one’s savior is generally looked at with rose-colored glasses!  Neither has taken stock of the other’s faults, which is part of the process of building a meaningful relationship. (Blaine did try in “Dance with Somebody” but he wasn’t confident enough to push the issue with Kurt IMHO.)

Do I think they’re done forever?  No.  I think the idealistic version of their relationship is over though ! The teenage dream is no more.  But if they’re both willing to face their faults – in themselves, and in each other – and work at it, this is going to end up being a story they tell their kids when they’re dealing with first love and heartbreak!

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