The episode kicked off documentary-style with the always too-inquisitive Jacob asking New Directions members what they’ve been up to all summer. There was the obvious news (Finn and Rachel are madly in love), some over sharing (Puck had a vasectomy), an “Oh no!” revelation (Tina and Mike are dating, leaving our Artie all alone) and, well, Brittany (she spent her summer lost in the sewers.) You’ve got to hand it to Jacob for doling out some Sue Sylvester-like jabs and commentary (we thought we were the only ones hoping that Mr. Schue would stop rapping!)
But forget the oldies, let’s meet the newbies! First up, the replacement football coach (poor Coach Tanaka, it seems that broken engagement from Emma gave him a nervous breakdown) named Shannon Biste (pronounced “beast”). Biste (Dot Jones) immediately becomes a threat to Will and Sue when it’s discovered her team will get more funding than glee club and the Cheerios, whose budgets will actually be slashed. At first, Will and Sue join forces (I sort of loved their friendly dynamic) to bring down the Biste, but Mr. Schue’s conscience gets the better of him, much to Sue’s dismay, and he realizes the new coach is just an outsider who wants in.
In the midst of the budget worries, the glee club kids decide they need new members to excel at Nationals and get more funding. Turns out, there just so happens to be two very talented, new singers ready to give Vocal Adrenaline a run for their money. Enter, Sunshine (guest star Charice), an unnervingly little girl with a big voice. She would have been an amazing addition to the gang, but a freaked-out Rachel didn’t want to lose the spotlight to her (you could see the terror on her face during Sunshine’s terrific rendition of “Listen” from “Dreamgirls“). With Rachel’s sabotage (note: don’t send anyone to a crack house, even if you think it’s inactive) and Sue’s sinister revenge, little miss Sunshine got recruited to Vocal Adrenaline by their new coach Dustin Goolsby (oh, hi, Cheyenne Jackson!).
Last, but not least, there’s Sam (Chord Overstreet), the Bieber-hair-cut-sporting, sharp-witted, big-mouthed (no, literally) football player who has an impressive set of pipes to match. Finn immediately takes to him, hoping he’s got a new fan/prodigy on his hands. But, all does not go according to plan when Biest kicks Finn off the football team (she was convinced his idea to get Artie on the team was a cruel joke, when really, Artie did just want to win Tina back), and Sam takes over as quarterback and opts not to join New Directions.
Those weren’t the only lines drawn in the sand, though. Tina let Artie know his bad boyfriend antics (and, okay, Mike’s abs) are why she split with him, reappointed head cheerleader Quinn got into a nasty scrape with a newly reconstructed Santana, and Sue had her sights set once again on making Will’s life a living hell.
Now, on to what you’ve all been waiting for…the music! Sunshine’s “Dreamgirls” number was a showstopper to say the least, and her and Rachel’s bathroom rendition of Beyonce and Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” was fun enough (hey, they can auto-tune themselves, that’s no small feat), but I admit I laughed out loud (and agreed a little) when Sue barged in to tell them to “Shut up!” Speaking of famous duets, the whole gang tackled Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” which, honestly, should have inspired all of their classmates to join glee club. We’re always wowed by Rachel’s solos (her final number of “What I Did For Love” from “A Chorus Line” was no exception), and Sam’s understated performance of Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” makes us hope he changes his mind about being in New Directions sooner rather than later.
Before you bounce, make sure to check out Jim Cantiello’s hilarious musical “Glee”-cap below!
What did you think of the season premiere, Gleeks? Do you love or hate the new characters? Will Artie ever catch a break? Has Rachel become too self-centered? Are your eyes still burning from Finn’s lumbering Cheerios tryout? Will Brittany ever be able to “stop the violence”? Let us know below!