‘Glee’ Recap: ‘The Break-Up’

by Melissa Albert

Blaine, we thought we knew thee. Tonight’s (surprisingly realistic, totally heartbreaking) episode was enough to make us forget we ever wore a Warblers blazer and made up a Klaine cheer. Why the change of heart? Just ask Eli C., the man of mystery who blew up Blaine’s phone with sexy messages on what had to be the heaviest “Glee” since Mr. Hummel had a heart attack.

When last we left the intrepid New York duo, Rachel was having an awkward reunion with Finn, and Kurt was struggling to find time and attention for Blaine. Now all of that has exploded spectacularly in their faces.

Speaking of explosions, Finn’s discharge from the army? “Semi-honorable,” after he accidentally shot himself with Rachel, his aptly named gun. The real Rachel, in a guilty flutter over her secret kiss with Brody, insists that Finn join her at NYADA, but he knows he doesn’t belong—and it’s been clear since season one that eventually, Rachel Berry’s star will have to shoot alone.

After receiving several flirtatious texts from the unknown Eli C., Blaine, too, makes a sudden trip to New York, showing up looking kinda sweaty and desperate. Is he running from temptation…or from guilt over a temptation fulfilled?

Blaine and Finn express their confused feelings with Duncan Sheik’s “Barely Breathing,” then continue the NYC reunion at Callbacks, a bar where the NYADA kids sing on Friday nights. A jealous Finn aggressively suggests that it would be so awesome for Brody and Rachel to sing together, because when you’re insanely jealous, every day is opposite day. The two sing Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break,” while Finn rues his stupid mouth’s stupid suggestion.

Then Blaine gets up to sing, and things get…intense. He chooses a song that reminds him of meeting Kurt, “the love of my life”: Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” But this is not the kind of performance you could rock a candy bra to—instead, it’s the most intimate, painful-to-watch “Glee” number yet, and nobody is quite sure why.

On the long, strange walk to the train, Blaine finally drops the bomb: He was with someone else. NOOOoooOO, ELI C.!! Kurt breaks down as, 10 yards away, Rachel admits to an angry Finn that she kissed Brody. The heartbroken couples sing No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak,” then try to fall asleep in their shared beds back in Bushwick. And that’s why you always buy an extra air mattress. Finn does a runner in the morning, slipping away without saying goodbye, and in the days that follow Kurt ignores Blaine’s repeated attempts (flowers, phone calls) to make amends.

McKinley’s lovebirds have it just as bad: Santana’s back, and Brittany invites her to a meeting of cheerleader Kitty’s “left behind” club, devoted to preparing for the imminent Rapture. It’s a pretty out-there twist on Quinn’s season-one chastity club, and if things between Kitty and religion go the way they did between Quinn and chastity, we can expect her to reveal herself as the antichrist by midseason.

Despite the full-throttle crazy of Kitty’s sadistic club, Brittany takes comfort in it because she, too, feels left behind—by Santana. After singing a gorgeous, tearful rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Mine,” Santana breaks it off with Brittany, all while insisting that they’re not breaking up…they’re just not going to be together anymore. But this is the technical definition of a breakup!

Schue reveals to Emma that he’s made it onto the Blue Ribbon arts funding panel, and invites her to join him for a few months in Washington. She overreacts like crazy, refusing to leave her career behind to watch him follow his dream…or whatever. It’s a super underwritten scene that unfolds in double time, because “Glee” doesn’t care much about Schue this season.

Marley and Jake, heedless of an inevitable future in which they sadly break up, continue their flirtation, but so far we care as much about the ill-defined Marley as the “Glee” writers do about Schue. Fingers crossed she gets an interesting plot line posthaste. She pushes Jake to break up with crazy Kitty, and he finally does—but Marley’s hopes of an insta-relationship are dashed when he doesn’t immediately go for her.

On the run from real life, Finn visits Mr. Schue for some advice, and is welcomed back to the glee club with open arms. But Rachel won’t let him off so easy. She tracks him down all the way to the McKinley auditorium and calls him out on his tendency to run and hide when things get bad. Then, she breaks up with him, rendering our complete line of Finchel memorabilia unsellable.

The four stricken couples—two broken up, two on the rocks—sing Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” while we’re subjected to painful flashbacks to their happier days. But let’s close on the episode’s single bright spot: McKinley rerun Finn’s suggestion that the glee club perform “Grease”! Looking forward to Unique’s take on Rizzo (we hope) should get us through the long, cold “Glee” hiatus. See you back here on November 9!

Song of the episode: Blaine’s “Teenage Dream” broke our freaking hearts, and “Mine” came in at a close second, because nobody knows her way around a cry-sing like Santana.

What did you think of last night’s episode Gleeks?