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Glee, Ep. 5.17, “Opening Night” is everything we didn’t know we wanted for Rachel

Glee, Ep. 5.17, “Opening Night” is everything we didn’t know we wanted for Rachel

Glee S05E17 promo pic

Glee, Season 5, Episode 17, “Opening Night”
Written by Michael Hitchcock
Directed by Eric Stoltz
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on Fox

Glee’s “Opening Night” is everything we didn’t know we wanted for Rachel Berry. Despite her faults, somehow we still find ourselves rooting for Rachel. Maybe it’s the fact that losing Finn seemed like more than any one person, or character, should have to bear. Whatever the reason, this episode is a welcome relief for the often frustrating character.

Rachel’s nightmare is genuinely weird, like dreams always are. It’s over the top in true nightmare fashion, where nothing really makes sense but it feels like it does when you are dreaming. Despite Rachel’s obvious pre-stage fright, it is fun to see some familiar faces, especially Max Adler as Karofsky in that stupid beret and Blaine in his Warbler uniform, making the audience’s collective heart go pitter patter. There are also nice little throwbacks to Tina with a stutter and Kurt in that weird blue sweater.

It seems the writers have finally decided on a characterization for Tina and are sticking with it. She is that character that is somehow smart enough to get into Brown University but lacks common sense enough that she keeps sticking her foot in her mouth. Tina’s strange attempt at making Rachel feel better is the farthest thing from it, which seems to be her specialty. Kurt once again proves he’s the best friend a girl could have. He rallies the troops, he calms the nerves, he is what everyone needs him to be. His characterization is the most consistent on the show right now. As I watch him build Rachel up again and again, I can’t help but wonder when he’ll have to opportunity to shine.

Even though it’s a stretch for Sue to have a reason to be in New York, I fully support finding new and inventive ways to  perpetuate Jane Lynch’s role on the show now that it has made the leap to NYC. Her presence is worth the stretches. While we are talking about unexpected occurrences, Santana is back and she’s being kind of nice. Has Brittany mellowed her out enough to be human half the time? Regardless of the innumerable cat fights between Berry and Lopez, the idea of Santana being the only one capable of pulling Rachel from her funk seems believable and serves the purpose of rekindling a broken friendship.

Rachel buying Finn a seat on opening night is sweet and one of many ways the writers and creators are working through Finn’s story line despite his absence. I can’t be the only one surprised by the grace with which Glee continues to explore the ways each character is handing their grief. Speaking of, can we just talk about this baby situation? What is with Glee and having babies during pivotal performances? Remember when Quinn had a baby during an important show choir competition? Still, learning Mr. Schue and his bride have given the baby Finn as a middle name is a very sentimental way to secondarily weave Finn’s story into the narrative. On the whole, this is an entertaining episode that continues Glee‘s transition to New York without forgetting the show’s past.

Rachel Brandt