Glee, Season 5, Episode 1, “Love, Love, Love ”
Written by Brad Falchuk
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Airs Thursday 9pm ET on Fox
Last season wore many Glee fans down. Blow after emotional blow, we watched the best and the brightest characters crumble under life’s pressures. The Rachel/Finn, aka Finchel, and Kurt/Blaine, aka Klaine, breakups were both particularly cruel and many fans spent the majority of season four wishing and hoping to see both couples reconcile. Despite the angst of broken dreams, infidelity, cancer, and teenage heart break that Gleeks suffered through last season, it’s clear at some point during the summer hiatus, the writers decided to get back to the glee in Glee, and this season opener is proof of that.
Klainers across the globe are rejoicing. Perhaps the most steadfast shippers on this planet earth, each has been waiting un-patiently for the couple’s reunion. Blaine takes it a step further by recruiting their show choir’s adversaries, Warblers included, to prove to Kurt “All You Need Is Love”. The final performance of the episode, complete with four show choirs, a sea of red rose petals, and one familiar staircase harkens back to the couple’s meeting and the unspoiled innocence they shared. It’s almost enough to make us all forget that Blaine cheated on Kurt with a lighthouse named Eli. Glee fans everywhere are advised to store up some of this week’s warm fuzzies for later episodes, one in particular which is sure to be emotionally taxing for the cast, crew, and fan base alike.
Surprisingly enough, the most satisfying scene of the entire episode is the least intricate. There is no song and dance. It is simple but poignant, just Burt and Kurt talking in the front seat of an Jeep, flashes of sun and the reflection of overhead trees on the windshield. Their honest and open conversation contains more authenticity and emotion than the first 50 minutes of the episode combined. Mike O’Malley and Chris Colfer always manage to play off each other effortlessly and this scene is no exception. They are a joy to watch.
Despite the overall strength of the first episode, most of the scenes featuring Rachel are cringe worthy for different reasons. The opening scene, featuring a really beautiful version of “Yesterday”, is obvious foreshadowing to the upcoming Finn slash Cory Monteith tribute episode, which will air after next week’s second Beatles installment. As Rachel wanders the Finchel haunts familiar to fans from the season two finale episode “New York”, it’s impossible not to feel the void Finn’s absence is already leaving. The diner number featuring the casting director of the Funny Girl Broadway revival (played by Peter Facinelli), while fun to watch due to the dance-heavy rendition of “Hard Day’s Night”, is awkward in standard overbearing, unfiltered Rachel Berry fashion. If you wished you could pause live TV to give your second-hand embarrassment a minute to cool down, you weren’t alone. I was right there with you.
Overall, the episode is a worthy start to what is sure to be a season with an unsure footing as it learns to find a new character balance; one devoid of McKinley’s goofy but loveable quarterback turned teacher and mentor, Finn Hudson. The writing is more solid than we’ve seen in the recent past, with the exception of Kitty’s choir room love profession, which is awkward and sweet but more in a word-choice way than a teenage innocent way, the song choices are an eclectic mix of greatest hits such as “Help!” and some of the lesser known songs from The Beatles lexicon, such as “Got to Get Your Back In My Life”, and the smattering of Beatles references sprinkled throughout, such as the Warblers tucked into the phone booths, are amusing shout outs to lifelong Beatles fans everywhere. I look forward to seeing the cast and crew explore The Beatles middle years next week.