Hello Glee. It’s been a while, so I feel like we need to greet each other once again. Luckily there are now no more hiatuses planned, so there will only be goodbyes. But let’s not dwell on that quite yet.
Instead let’s say hello to a few more things.
Hello Blaine’s backstory. As a Blaine fan I’ve been waiting a while for him to get a storyline, and it arrived with a vengeance in this week’s episode.
So hello too to Cooper Anderson, the dashing older Anderson sibling. Matt Bomer was hilarious as Blaine’s brother, complete with really bad acting tips (pointing shows drama, shouting equals intensity).
Hilarious as he was, Cooper’s arrival was a source of much angst for Blaine. So far, despite his former difficult relationship with Finn and a brief skirmish with Sam, Blaine has always been the popular, talented, good looking kid. Cooper’s arrival sends him into insecure mode – everyone loves Anderson the elder. Even Sue. Even Kurt, Blaine’s boyfriend.
The angst grows through the episode, but it’s clear from the very start, when Blaine responds unenthusiastically to Kurt’s mention of his brother, that something is the matter between the two, and has been for a while. Turns out Cooper has always pointed out what Blaine does wrong (as seen in flashback) as opposed to praising what he does right, and just generally not been a good brother.
An amusing mash up of Duran Duran’s Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf provide an opportunity for the Anderbros to show their charisma, but Cooper clearly wins with his cheesy grin and his endless optimism, while Blaine goes off to lick his wounds in the corner, unnoticed by anyone else. It’s a common theme for someone who is hurting in Glee to have their pain ignored, and Blaine was no different.
Licking his wounds gave Blaine the chance to sing Christina Aguilera’s Fighter, complete with endless clips of Cooper in his credit rating advert (really annoying ad) playing in the background. The song was sort of apt, as Blaine is fighting back against Cooper’s shadow, but sort of not, because he’s just singing to himself and no one else knows he’s fighting back. Instead, I think it was just a chance for Glee to show the lovely Darren Criss as Blaine boxing and then in the shower. I’m not complaining.
Blaine and Cooper clearly have some issues, as their rendition of Somebody That I Used To Know reveals. This is a love song, so when the lyrics are translated between two brothers, are we to assume that Cooper abandoned Blaine after the latter came out instead of sticking by him and helping Blaine through the tough times (being beaten up, his dad not quite being accepting of his sexuality)? Or did Blaine shut Cooper out completely instead of turning to his older brother for advice? We’re not likely to find out anytime soon unfortunately, as one angsty song was all it took for the Anderbros to put their differences aside. Seriously, a whole episode of angsting, nay, a lifetime of angsting, and it took one song.
I would have liked to see this storyline given a little more depth instead of crammed into one episode, which meant its conclusion felt rushed and incomplete. I don’t think the sudden Anderbros lovefest seemed realistic. Yes, I get that they’re brothers and love each other, but wouldn’t it take a little more to completely rid themselves of years of uncertainty? Still, why give Blaine a storyline when he can just look pretty and sing every episode?
So to the other goings on in this episode.
Hello to Quinn, who we briefly thought we would be saying goodbye to when she crashed her car at the end of the last episode. Luckily, although she’s in a wheelchair she’s made a miraculous recovery (not a scratch to be seen) and is determined to be out of her wheelchair by nationals. Admirable sentiments from Quinn, who comforted Rachel this episode assuaging the latter of her guilt, told numerous people about the dangers of texting while driving (and walking) and hung out with Artie, but it was only a matter of time before the optimistic mask cracked. Sure enough, she lashed out at Artie before episode’s end.
Poor Artie. He’s very sweet for helping Quinn, but he seems to unconsciously be doing it for selfish reasons as well. For the first time Artie has someone who can truly relate to him, and throughout the episode we had plenty of hints that Artie is not looking forward to going back to being the only disabled teen in glee club. His and Quinn’s interactions were lovely to see, although I’m not sure I want to see this heading towards romance because that’s boring, but Artie was perhaps a little cruel to rain so much on Quinn’s optimism, and assume that she wouldn’t get better.
And Quinn was wrong to tell Artie she wasn’t like him and that she was getting out of Lima, implying that he couldn’t because he was in a wheelchair. Quinn realises her meanness when she calls herself a “self-obsessed bitch” after having a go at Joe. This storyline was left unresolved, which is actually good, since Glee will hopefully flesh this out fully instead of rushing it through.
And finally, hello to Sue’s baby girl, her newfound love for New Directions and the return of a Sue with a mission.
Armed with a new enemy – Ros Washington – and pregnant, Sue seems to have found a purpose again. Her plan is to whip the glee club into shape to get sole control of the Cheerios again, but she’s way too impatient, and it takes Becky Jackson to make her see what it is she needs to do.
Accompanied by Will and Emma, Sue goes to her scan to discover her baby is a girl, and that some irregularities have shown up, meaning her baby could have Down’s Syndrome. Of all our characters Sue knows what it’s like to love and lose someone with Down’s, but Becky know what it’s like to live with Down’s. She offers Sue good advice for raising a child – try to work on your patience. And it’s advice Sue takes to heart and starts using with the glee kids.
The final thing to say hello to was Rachel and Finn and their endless drama that no one really cares about. They didn’t get married at the end of last episode because of Quinn’s accident, and now seem even more unsure about tying the knot. Added to that Rachel is still set on going to New York, and Finn is now thinking about California, which ticks Rachel off, because goodness me, far be it for Finn to have a mind of his own and think about his own future.
Oh, and there was senior ditch day, which didn’t look very exciting.
Lots of songs this week. I liked Somebody That I Used To Know (who doesn’t), Fighter and the Duran Duran mash up.
I’m Still Standing, sung by Artie and Quinn, was one of those songs that Glee uses and I’m never sure are meant to be clever or are wildly inappropriate. Think back to Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) sung in the episode where Karofsky tries to commit suicide.
I didn’t know Up Up Up sung by Quinn and Artie, and it didn’t really stick in the mind.
What Glee did well
There were some cute little scenes in this episode, which I enjoyed. First up was Blaine and Kurt, the stuffed dog and a joke involving Margaret Thatcher and the Queen. These boys are strange, but funny.
Second was the scene between Blaine and Cooper, which for being rushed was sweet, and involved a funny moment with Blaine reciting Cooper’s acting tips back at him.
Overall this was typical Glee, rushed, lots crammed in and nothing given the true prominence it deserved, but I’m so happy to see Glee back and was so excited about Darren Criss and Matt Bomer as the Anderbros that I overlooked it all and really enjoyed this episode.