Loser Like Me/Homecoming (6×01/02)

This is what you missed on Glee…

Season Five ended on a high for just about everyone; Rachel Berry was off to LA to do her very own pilot, “That’s So Rachel”. Seems all her dreams came true! Blaine was happy too, he had just moved back into the loft with Kurt and, now that Rachel was leaving, it looked like they would spend a happy few years at NYADA, wrapped up in their own little love nest. Ahh. And oops, if you’ve read the spoilers.

Sam had moved back to Ohio, after getting his picture on the side of a bus, and was last seen strutting around McKinley high looking into the classrooms. Don’t those schools have security? Artie was happily in film school (and STD free, hopefully)

Will and Emma were blissfully happy new parents of little Daniel Finn, Quinn and Puck were trying to make a long distance relationship work (lol) and Mercedes, having broken up with Sam, was all set to go on tour; taking Santana and Brittany along with her.

So now, dear friends and Gleeks, it’s time to move on to the last ever season premiere of Glee. There will be joy, laughter, tears and disappointment, but mostly there’s going to be the sense of family that we’ve all felt in the Glee fandom; the hope and optimism that brought us together all those years ago. As Rachel said in the very last line of season five:

“If you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?”

 

Loser Like Me

The first episode of tonight’s two-part premiere. The opening scene is in a trailer; Rachel’s trailer, actually. There’s bad news on the phone and no-one’s smiling. Nancy (publicist) tells Rachel that reviewers are saying her performance in “That’s So Rachel” is “the kind that ends careers not starts them”. Ouch. As if on cue, Mr Producer walks in and tells Rachel that she is FIRED. He’s going to end up having to run another network. He’s got two families to feed. Oh, and he’d be FLOORED if Rachel ever works in TV again. Poor girl.

The opening notes of Uninvited play as we watch Rachel looking on forlornly as her sets gets dismantled, she gets driven off the lot in a buggy, and is unceremoniously handed a box of her things. Rachel places a large gold star in the box; the melodrama is laid on with a shovel. It must’ve been really cheap for Glee to film that scene though, it’s obviously the Paramount lot – I recognise the buildings.

Rachel, defeated and down, returns to Ohio – quite a while later though, we discover that she’s been in hiding – and balefully wheels her little case into her bedroom. She then has a strange conversation with one of her fathers, who tells her that a) her fathers are getting a divorce, and b) yes of course she’s welcome to stay but they’ve put the house on the market. “Oh my God, I feel like I died and now I’m in hell” says Rachel. Can we move on already, says I.

Ex-principal Figgins is now working in the Lima Bean, apparently; he surprised Rachel and Blaine (who appeared from nowhere) as they line up for drinks. Rachel is not so cleverly disguised in a floppy hat and sunglasses, but eagle-eyed Figgins recognises her immediately and loudly announces that her “humiliation makes me see that things can always get worse”. Nice.

We discover (with sadness) that Blaine is permanently back in Ohio because…yep, the spoilers were true. He and Kurt broke up. Klaine is no more. Sob. Things “got rough” after they began living together again, and Kurt decided they were too young. Blaine’s grades plummeted, he was dropped from NYADA, and now – thanks to Ebola virus amongst the Dalton faculty – is the new coach of the Warblers. Who’da thunk it?

After a mostly dull music break with Suddenly Seymour, the wonderful high-kicking back-flipping Cheerio is back on our screens and the dulcet tones of Sue Sylvester’s voice come to our ears. Yep, we’re definitely back in Ohio. We learn of Sue’s three-step plan which raised test scores and lowered BMIs. She forcibly transferred the Glee Club “transvestites”, turned the choir room into a computer lab and got rid of all arts and humanities teaching. Whew. It’s almost as if the scene was being set for intense dramatic rivalry later in the episode. Huh.

Finally! Our first sighting of the delectable Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel; my fave, your fave, everybody’s fave. He’s adorable. He’s also interning at the nursing home, and going speed-dating (not at the same time, lols). Kurt has apparently been trolling Tinder, bless. His dates are all kind of…strange, except the last guy who proclaims that “I don’t have to be psychic to see that you’re not over that guy”. Oops.

Blaine is doing his best to cheer Rachel up, even getting the Warblers to perform a cheesy rendition of Sing for her. Surprisingly, Rachel was still smiling afterwards.

Kurt is next seen going to meet a hot date at a restaurant (the date turns out to be middle aged) but all he – and we – are doing is flashing back to the Klaine breakup, which happened right there in that very same eatery. Excellent choice for a meeting place Kurt dear.

In the pouring rain, past-Kurt sits at the table as past-Blaine rushes in and excitedly tells him that he’s found a place that is free for their wedding on Labor Day. Past-Kurt is unimpressed and explodes at past-Blaine about a three-hour fight over toothpaste on a towel (yeah, I know). Past-Kurt then says that he doesn’t want to get married, and they should “call it quits before we completely hate each other”. “I’ll never forgive you for this” sobs past-Blaine. Both Colfer and Darren Criss as Blaine are so good at this emotional stuff, I just wish their characters were being angsty with other people and not each other.

We meet Sam, who is the new assistant football coach at McKinley, and the team has really improved since the school started recruiting out of state and buying apartment blocks for the player’s families. We also meet the “post-Glee gay” Spencer. Yeah, he seems like an asshat. Rachel then goes to beg Sue to reopen the Glee Club, and meets her new secretary, an ex-con chained to the desk who is fashioning a shiv for Rachel, unsurprisingly.

More new people! And I mean really new. Will explains to his adorable baby Danny all about his new team Vocal Adrenaline and how they don’t need his pep talks or dance moves. Ah Will, do you miss New Directions? A very silly segue into Dance The Night Away follows. I hope the guy from The Wanted was only booked for one episode.

Because this is Glee, Will, Sam and Rachel’s dad decide to stage an intervention, where she is basically begged to stop messing around and do something. This is very effective, mostly because they force her to watch the one episode of “That’s So Rachel”. Yeah, it’s pretty hideous. Imagine Friends on crack with no humour, everything offensive and a large, middle-aged Kurt. It’s worse.

Of course Rachel ends up with the new Glee Club, after asking the school superintendent and offering to pay for it herself. That was one heck of an intervention.

Kurt arrives at Rachel’s house, and tells how he went to the assigned spot in New York, six months after the performance of Pompeii, but was the only one there. Also, he’s back in Lima to get Blaine back. “I threw away the best thing that ever happened to me” he says. Ah Kurt, I just want to cuddle you and feed you ice cream. And cake.

Kurt, like the good “friend” to Rachel that he’s always been, helps her set up the choir room. Sue walks in, throws around some homophobic insults and sheet music, and steals a poster. If they think that’s all she’s got, they’re sadly mistaken.

The next scene is pretty much every Klainer’s nightmare, so feel free to skip my dears. Kurt is at Scandals, looking gorgeous as ever, hoping to win Blaine back. However, Blaine has other ideas; “I’m seeing someone” he says. Kurt immediately thinks it’s Sebastian Smythe but no, it’s his tormentor, his bully, his nemesis of the first couple of seasons, Dave Karofsky. Hiss. Blaine goes on to say how they met at a “Country Bear Night” at Scandals, and starting hanging out as friends. I know it’s just a show, and I’ve met Max Adler and he’s a lovely guy, but Blainofsky interaction is just a little nauseating. However, the scene with Kurt sobbing his heart out in the bathroom – heart-wrenching acting Colfer. A+.

So, Rachel moves into Will’s old office at McKinley, and it’s nice to hear them mention Finn. Will give her his “PRIORITY Help The Kids” sign, which another nice nod to the past. There’s very much a sense of the baton being handed on here. Rachel’s version of Let It Go closes the show, and there we have it – the first episode of the last season.

Songs

Uninvited (Alanis Morissette) – Rachel Berry B

Lea sounds as plaintive as Morissette at times during this song, and those times are pretty good. I didn’t like the weepy Rachel faces, but that couldn’t be helped I guess. All in all a good start to season six, Ms Michele.

Suddenly Seymour (from Little Shop of Horrors) – Blaine Anderson & Rachel Berry B-

Yeah, these two sound good together as always but the song is just meh for me. It looks pretty enough with the sets but I may have dozed off in the middle.

Sing (Ed Sheeran) – The Warblers/Blaine Anderson C

More Blaine Warbler and less Other Warbler would’ve been better. Even the dance moves were off for me, lots of grabbing themselves and leaping about. Where has the old Warbler magic gone? Probably with the old Warblers, duh.

Dance The Night Away (Van Halen) – Vocal Adrenaline C-

Despite (or maybe because of) having a real-life pop star in Max George from The Wanted this version falls flat on vocals. The dance moves were pretty awesome though, if a little convoluted. We only got a very short performance, which, looking back, is actually a good thing.

Let It Go (from Frozen) – Rachel Berry B-

Disclaimer: I’ve never liked this song, or Frozen, or Idina Menzel (sorry). But, although Lea looks lovely in the frock, this version isn’t as good as others I’ve heard. However, as a metaphor for the return of Rachel Berry to conquer all, it’s fantastic. Just have the mute button on.

 

Homecoming

“Nothing in life is certain except death, taxes and Dalton Academy” Blaine voiceovers as he walks through Dalton. He then talks about seeing a therapist after breaking up with Kurt, going “out of the box” by dating Karofsky and even stopping with the hair gel. Cue a couple of funny shots of a fuzzy, “bushy haired” Blaine and he’s back to gelling. As are all of the Warblers, apparently.

We also meet Jane at Dalton, her father and grandfather were at Dalton and they sued the school to take her, too. Isn’t the way it’s done with your alma mater? Jane wants to be a Warbler, Blaine dismissively says no. Jane frowns. Blaine leaves.

Meanwhile, over at McKinley, Rachel is slushied by Becky Jackson. All’s right with the world.

We’re at Will’s house, again (more times than the last few seasons put together I think) this time with a get-together to talk show choir. Blaine arrives late – that seems to be his thing nowadays – and Kurt, Rachel and Sam are already there. After the “we won’t poach or cheat” love-fest, Blaine explains the Jane problem. Everybody pretty much says that it’s 2015 and you need to move with the times, fella. Blaine is unimpressed.

Meanwhile, over at McKinley, Rachel hears a voice singing through the vents (yes really) and runs off in search of it, straight to the men’s shower room.

Surprisingly, the Warblers aren’t as progressive as one would hope (pupils in a boys-only private school – ya don’t say?!) and are vehemently opposed to Jane joining. Cat Warblers, dog Warblers, even squirrel Warblers are mentioned as prospective candidates should Jane get in, because yes women are comparable to animals. Sure.

Meanwhile, over at McKinley (last time I’ll do that, I promise) Kurt and Rachel are fussing over sheet music and what’s Kurt’s title will be. What, these two squabbling I hear you cry? Never. Kurt seems very happy at finding the “God mic” in the auditorium, when who should walk in but the entire cast of old New Directions! Well how about that. In a funny nod to the “forget about Tina” thing she runs in last, left to park the car by herself. It’s great to see the old gang again, but Puck, please, you don’t wear your service dress (blues) every bloody day. My dad was in the air force, I was in the air force reserve; I know this. Please stop.

Take on Me gives me a good excuse to put the kettle on, and we’re back. Roderick is another newbie, and he’s walking through the halls with his headphones as his voiceover explains that he’s a transfer from Chicago who nobody knows, and he’s just fine with that. Prime New New Direction material!

The Warblers, who have apparently been going since 1812 and hummed behind Francis Scott Key, have decided to let Jane audition before they kick her out. Because, you know, that’s fair. Blaine takes her to meet Rachel, “the greatest performer I’ve known” *cough*Kurt*cough* for a pep talk. You’ll regret it Blainey, mark my words.

Back to the men’s locker room again, only now it’s Kurt trying to recruit Spencer. However, Spencer’s not having any of it; you see, he’s a post-Glee gay who doesn’t like Lady Gaga or Archie and Jughead fanfiction. Okay then. Also, he’s actually a post-Modern Family gay because it’s thanks to that show that he’s free to be the asshat that he is. Good to know.

“You’re naïve if you think you’re not standing on our shoulders” says Kurt. “Glee Club sucks” say post-gay.

Jane’s Warbler audition is Tightrope, and she nails it, of course. And all the very straight “we all have girlfriends!!” Warblers just love everything about her. Well, she is kind of adorable.

The rage to recruit New New (wait – should it be three News?) Directions continues, with the alumni invaded the “Tea Party Club”. I prefer the name “teabaggers”, coined by Sam. After its president insults Barack Hussein Obama, gay people and several other groups, Sam gleefully (see what I did there?) tells them how lovely Quinn, former head of the celibacy club, “had sex with a Latina lesbian”. Oh Glee writers, what’s with all this continuity? It’s slightly unnerving.

Predictably, because you know the 1812 mind-set, the Warblers don’t want to let Jane join them. Blaine is incensed and declares he will threaten to resign if they won’t relent (wait, I thought you were just filling in anyway, dear?)

More New New New Directions recruiting, this time on the football field with the Unholy Trinity in their Cheerios alumni uniforms. Their version of Problem was awesome, I gotta say. Kitty is still at McKinley, and back to the hateful girl she was when first we met, but considering how Artie treated her when he left I don’t blame her. We don’t know exactly what he did (apart from sleep with a lot of girls) but she’s not happy. However, there are two new auditionees for the Glee Club, the “incest twins”, two very strange, well, twins. We’ll see more of them later.

The gang of old New Directions finally catch up with The Voice From The Vent, and of course it’s Roderick. They all surround him in the library like hungry hyenas. There’s lot of gushing about how wonderful Glee Club is and how much they still love it and you know he’s only going to audition to get them to leave him alone.

Sue, who now has a duodenal ulcer thanks to Rachel et al, tries to get post-gay to infiltrate the Glee Club, just like Quinn did all those years ago. New ideas Sue, please! She tries to bribe him with a Tom Brady flesh light (don’t think I’ll ever need to type those words again) but it’s to no avail. Post-gay is having none of her shenanigans, proudly stating “I’m not for sale!” Wait, where have we heard that before…

Mustang Sally is Roderick’s pretty awesome audition, he blows everyone away with his voice, even Rachel. We learn why Becky is back – she is the Grand Marshal of Homecoming. Makes sense. She tells everyone to bring books to burn on the bonfire. Oh Sue, what have you done to her? She used to be so sweet and not book-hating at all.

Rachel and Kurt are having the “very first meeting of the new Glee Club” in the auditorium when Blaine storms in, looking slight ruffled but acting very annoyed. You see, after her rejection by the Warblers Jane ran back to Rachel and asked to join New New New Directions (yeah, that’s the last time I’m writing that). She’s already transferred and everything. Blaine is not pleased, and snaps at Kurt, blaming him for the whole thing “after you saw me with Dave”. Oh Blaine, dear, do shut up.

Glee serves us up a treat at the end of the show with Home, one of those great group numbers we love them for. It’s also the incest twins’ audition piece, and yes they can sing but they are definitely weird. We see Santana and Brittany holding hands and skipping at the bonfire, we see post-gay singing in the shower (of course). We see Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes and everyone else having fun and dancing around with their friends. We also see Blaine tailgating with Karofsky’s arm around him but we won’t talk about that.

Episode two of thirteen done and dusted my friends, next!

Songs

Home (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) – Alumni & New Directions A+

This was great, a real feel-good song featuring the low tones of the divine Mr Colfer. Oh Chris, how I have missed thee. The other people who sang were good, too. The shots of the Homecoming and the bonfire, lots of happy friends just like the Glee we used to know. And no, I’m not talking about the two in the pickup truck.

Take On Me (Take That) – Alumni A-

The more I hear this song, the more I like it. Although I have to wear my shades because of the brightness, it’s the kind of fun Glee group song they used to do so well. I really love Kevin’s lines, too. Not a big fan of the copying-the real-music-video thing, not with Marley Rose’s Wrecking Ball or the thongfest that was Roar. Here, it’s just okay.

Tightrope (Janelle Monáe) – Jane A

No doubt about it, Samantha Ware has a fantastic voice, and she looks cute in a Warblers blazer though her hair is always a bit wild, but in a cool sort of way. Of course the boys love her (we ALL have girlfriends!!) and joined in with their signature jaunty dance moves. Nice.

Problem (Ariana Grande) – The Unholy Trinity & Artie A+

I would say something snarky about the producers giving Naya an Ariana Grande song, but I won’t. As usual, Naya’s vocals are on point – she was made to sing this kind of music. But Brittany – honey who knew you could sing like that! Quinn was her fantastic self as usual; I really enjoyed this especially with the Cheerios as reluctant backup dancers. Heh.

Mustang Sally (Wilson Pickett) – Roderick A+

Wow just…wow. This guy has an amazing bluesy voice and such power! With backups provided by the Unholy Trinity this was a great performance. Roderick can stay.

 

Kurt’s Blurts & Shirts

This is my section to celebrate the wonderful Kurt Hummel and what he says and wears during each episode. Because really, the wittiest fashionista on television deserves his own section, don’t you think?

“…where I will spend the year directing a stage production of Real Housewives, that I wrote myself”

“…you were clearly in the midst of a nervous breakdown” (to Rachel)

“We promise to learn your names” (to the AV club)

“Well I never agreed to be your assistant” (to Rachel)

“You’re naive if you don’t think you’re standing on our shoulders” (to Spencer)

 

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And last but not least, and because we all need to hear more of Mr Colfer’s fabulous voice, each week you’re going to get a blast from the past of Kurt’s best performances, just to remind you how good Glee can be. Aren’t you lucky? I know I am.

This week, behold the wonder that Is Chris Colfer’s version of Being Alive. Settle in, grab some chocolate and tissues, and indulge. Repeatedly.