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glee-season-5-episode-1‘Love Love Love’

Controversial as the show has been, my own experience of watching Glee has been tempestuous. The truth is, no matter how much non-fans hate it, they will never hate it as much as the fans do when the show doesn’t get it right. Over the years it’s creator, Ryan Murphy, has managed to develop a very rocky relationship with the fans, never taking their reasonable criticisms seriously and seemingly never putting much thought into the writing each week. That is, until now.

The fifth season of the show ended up being, by general consensus, one of the strongest season openers since…well, the pilot. A lot of this can most likely be attributed to the ‘lesson’ of the week (and the next week as well): The Beatles! As Blaine says “pretty much everyone in the world” can still relate to The Beatles, and this acts in the episodes favour.

For instance, opening with Rachel singing Yesterday as a way of her expressing her frustration at her unsuccessful chemistry reading also acts as a way of quietly, subtly and respectfully (something Glee is infamous for not doing) paying tribute to Lea Michele’s own loss when her boyfriend and co-star passed away in July.

On the whole, the episode focused on the Glee members still in Ohio, which remains to be the weakest point of the series seeing as all the interesting characters are either in New York or elsewhere (save for Blaine), and unlikely to make a proper appearance any time soon. In a nutshell, Kitty and Artie are dating now, even though he’s ‘unpopular’… THE SCANDAL (seriously the Glee Club is arguably the most successful club in the school and they’re still that wildly unpopular?). Blaine decides Tina is being mean because she’s lonely and arranges with other guys in the club to offer their hands for the homecoming dance, and she chooses Sam. Sue is back and replaces Figgins as Principal after revealing he kept weird fetish magazines in his office, proceeding to then instruct Mr. Shue and cheerleading coach Roz that if their respective teams don’t win at Nationals, they are both fired. Kurt is also back at McKinley for a picnic with Blaine and they officially get back together, with Blaine later revealing to the club that he needs ‘Help’ to plan his proposal to him.

Back in New York, Rachel begins work at the same singing Broadway diner as Santana (possibly mankind’s greatest creation if they do in fact exist) and it’s awesome if only for their adorable uniforms. There, Rachel encounters the producers of Funny Girl. “I am a star,” she tells them, to which a producer, played by Twilight’s Peter Facinelli says to look around at her fellow workers and that everyone in there wants to be on Broadway; he assures her that he’s not saying she isn’t a star, just that he isn’t sure just yet. She doesn’t miss a beat. “I understand,” she says, “I guess I’ll just have to prove it to you then.”

And prove it she does, performing Hard Day’s Night with Santana; it’s feisty, fearless and fun: everything Rachel Berry has been since the very first episode, and it’s wonderful to see that hasn’t changed. But life goes on! Immediately after the performance she grabs Santana’s hand and they both run out of the diner with “something special to do”.

Meanwhile, Burt Hummel is driving his son to Dalton Academy and Kurt admits he knows Blaine is about to propose to him. He asks his father about marriage with his mother as a way of advice on what to do and Burt reminds him of the importance of never taking your loved ones for granted and that it’s still ultimately his own choice. With all its problems, this relationship is something Glee has consistently been able to do well and this scene fully encapsulates that.

At the Dalton entrance, Kurt is met by his former Glee Club members all singing All You Need is Love. They lead him through the school until finally he arrives at the staircase and sees Blaine. It’s where they met, Blaine explains, and he makes a touching speech about waiting for Kurt his entire life (reminiscent of the speech he made when they first kissed). Kurt’s crying and Rachel’s crying and I’m crying and the episode ends with the thunderous cheer as Kurt says, “Yes.”

At last Glee seems to be remembering its roots, possibly due to last season bringing some of the lowest ratings in the show’s history, and finally Murphy is genuinely being thoughtful about what he does to his characters. With this season being rumoured to being the penultimate in the show’s run, let’s hope we see more of this focus each episode so we get back the Glee we loved in the first place.

★★★★

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