Glee recap/review: The Role You Were Born to Play

The Break Up recap/review

It’s been five weeks since Glee was last on our screens, and I’ve missed it. Even though The Role You Were Born to Play felt a little like a placeholder of an episode, I was glad to have Glee back on my screen in any form, and the episode was a fun placeholder, featuring some development and good set ups for future plot lines.

Let’s get the sad stuff out of the way first. When we last saw them, some of our Glee couples weren’t doing too well. Finn and Rachel broke up, but I don’t much care about them together, and so did Santana and Brittany, who I like but who didn’t feature in this episode.

And then there were Kurt and Blaine. The latter cheated on the former and at the end of the last episode they were in a state of limbo, with Blaine unsure they’d broken up. The small flame of hope inside me died this week when Blaine confirmed the couple had parted ways (at least for now). So Blaine was feeling sad.

If Blaine was a painting this week he’d be the sad clown with a tear running down his face. He was tragically funny this week, and that works because, remember, Glee is actually a comedy, and not a full-on drama. While I love a bit of Blangst, that mostly exists in fandom and not so much in canon, at least not continuously. Sure, Blaine’s heartbroken, but the way we see it on screen is the Glee way, not the Glee fandom way.

He did turn rather dramatic after singing Hopelessly Devoted (a not entirely appropriate song lyrically for the situation, since he cheated), but I’d have liked to see a bit more guilt for what he did alongside the sadness (since he cheated), although he does take responsibility for the break up. I’m sure he’s feeling guilty, but I don’t think that was portrayed through the writing. Still, the way it was handled fit well into the episode. 

I liked that Blaine was confiding in Sam, showing he’s making real friends outside of Kurt. I liked that he realised he couldn’t handle playing a big part in the musical, showing he’s realising he can’t be full on and who everyone wants him to be all the time, and that the role he was born to play is himself. Now I’m hoping we’ll see this development continue around Blaine becoming his own person, instead of the Blaine in KurtandBlaine.

I’m also hoping next week we’ll get to see some of Kurt’s reaction to The Break Up (yes, it takes capital letters).

So now on to happier stuff, which was mainly the rest of the episode, aside from a blip or two.

It was lovely to see Mike and Mercedes back, even though I don’t understand how these kids have the money to be flying back and forth. Their rendition of Born to Hand Jive with the McKinley gang was full of energy and had that old New Directions fizz that used to come out in the upbeat group numbers.

I thought the competition for roles in Grease was fierce, and it was good to see the right people winning out for once. Unique and Marley both deserved their roles after their rendition of Blow Me (One Last Kiss), and I liked new guy Ryder (but more on him later).

Finn as the head of New Directions isn’t something I’m entirely on board with, since I don’t really see the Finn that is constantly referred to by other characters as inspirational and brave and so on. He might have displayed it this episode by casting Unique as Rizzo, but he also displayed his insensitive, idiotic side when he called Sue’s baby something he really shouldn’t have. Yes, everyone makes mistakes, but using that word shows Finn hasn’t quite grown up yet. Perhaps, though, this opportunity to be a leader will actually be the making of him, and finally show me what the other characters are talking about when they talk about admiring Finn.

As I said before, I liked new character Ryder – he’s already displaying all the qualities Finn supposedly had and he’s only been in the show five minutes. I liked that he called Kitty out on her behaviour straight away, would Finn have done that when we first met him? No. I liked that he was throwing shapes by the side of the football field, unselfconscious about who he is. I liked that he knows he’s not academically strong, and he’s really, really trying to change that. And while Jake may have been jealous to see Ryder and Marley talking, I liked that for the moment he’s just a guy that’s a friend to everyone, and not immediately being made into one of a pair.

I even, and this is unusual for me, liked the scenes with Will and Emma. I love Emma, but I’m lukewarm when it comes to Will, and have been heading towards cooler temperatures for a while. This week he was frustrating as usual for a while, trying to force Emma to go to Washington with him even though she told him didn’t want to go. But then he finally noticed something was wrong, sat down, and listened. And the two of them worked out what they’re going to do.

As a comparison, Will and Emma’s discussion of staying together despite the distance sort of mirrored Kurt and Blaine’s discussions on the same topic. But note that Will and Emma created practical solutions about switching who visited who every weekend, meaning they’d still see each other, while Kurt and Blaine decided to rely on text and phone and Skype, all methods that link people on the surface but actually remind you that you’re apart at the same time (and Blaine’s cheating was largely down to his feelings about being physically apart from Kurt, since Blaine shows affection in a physical way).

And finally for this episode, Sue was back. Yes, she’s been in Glee all along, but Sue was back to some of her season one glory – all quips and meanness and comments about Will’s hair. But there was also some of the sensitive Sue we’ve come to love, who revealed briefly that her objection to casting Unique as Rizzo was because she didn’t want the teenager subjected to a hard time. I like this Sue, and I’m hoping she stays.

This episode, as I said right at the beginning, felt like a bit of a placeholder for me. Its purpose was to introduce a new character, change a few things around and set up for next week’s Grease episode. That’s when we’ll get the real action, but in the meantime The Role You Were Born to Play was a good homecoming for Glee after a long break.

Best scene
A difficult one this week since just one scene didn’t really stand out for me, so I’ve picked some of the cute moments I liked throughout the episode. I loved the little pieces about why certain characters were going for certain roles or not. I loved Shannon giving advice to Emma, and that the writers hadn’t forgotten about her past with Cooter. I liked the interaction between Mike and Tina, although I’d have to see more of that. As a general note, I’d like to see more Tina, but I’m almost resigned to the fact that she’s just a side role now.

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