Glee – Recap & Review – The New Rachel

photo: fox

The New Rachel

Original Air Date: Sep 13, 2012

Alyssa – Associate Staff Writer

I went into this with low expectations and at least one half(ish) of the show kept me interested. It’s not a secret that Glee has just become a mockery of itself since Season Two. So when I heard about the new direction (pun intended) RIB wanted to steer the show towards I was expecting a self-indulgent implosion.

Thankfully you’ll be glad to hear that the powers that be, have, unexpectedly delivered a premiere that even a cynical, jaded fan like me enjoyed (one half mostly, but we’ll get to that below).

The New Rachel

About half the show focused on Rachel’s new life in New York and it was everything the show should be. It really felt like a pilot as we got a glimpse into Rachel’s NYADA initiation. I re-watched the original Glee pilot and it was such a contrast between the Rachel Berry of old and this small fish in a big pond. She’s unsure and she feels like throwing up all the time. She’s miserable between a roommate who feels like banging every guy she meets and Kate Hudson’s evil-with-a-heart-of-gold dance instructor. But we all know how hard and how much Rachel has wanted NYADA so she’s putting up with the criticism and homesickness. It doesn’t help that Brody (he of the 80s shower song and small towel) has taken an interest in Rachel. She’s still ‘together’ with Finn but I’m optimistic.

THIS Glee is interesting, not the one back at McKinley. I want to see more of THIS. Now that Kurt has ditched his minimum wage job at the Lima Bean to take a chance in New York, the added bonus of Hummelberry will make this mini New York spin off even better. It’s always difficult to transition a show that’s established, especially one that has dug its own hole of ridiculousness. But after switching back and forth between New York and Ohio I couldn’t help but wish that we had left Ohio behind entirely. Season Three felt like a chapter closing and the flash backs to McKinley felt like an unwelcome guest who just wouldn’t leave.

Cutting back and forth between both New York and Ohio is fine for one episode, but are they going to do this for the rest of the season? How will they keep the balance? I’m not expecting a story or thematic arc – that’s entirely too ambitious for the show, which is sad in and of itself – but I would find it jarring to live in both worlds halfway. Glee needs to pick a Rachel to lead the show, and I vote for New York Rachel because she’s where the show needs to be in order to progress out of its mire.

Meanwhile, back in the past…

Since becoming National Champions New Directions are now popular, and this has made them forget who they’re supposed to be. It seems the remaining members of the club believe that Rachel’s shoes need to be filled and honestly, poor Tina will never get her day in the sun so long as Ryan Murphy is in charge (Blaine got picked). The Ohio half of the premiere was just a prop to introduce the “new” (read replacement) members of New Directions:

Wade/Unique (replacing Mercedes) – YES! The only thing that made this half tolerable was Unique gliding into the halls of McKinley and establishing herself as the new Beyonce of New Directions. Apparently Unique decided transferring to McKinley from Vocal Adrenaline was necessary because these people accept her for who she is (this is after an awkward moment at the start where Unique is told by Artie, Sam and Blaine in Game of Thrones terminology to lay off the make up and conform a bit).

Kitty (replacing Quinn) – Cliched evil cheerleader. No opinion thus far. She isn’t part of New Directions but for your information…

Jake Puckerman (replacing Noah Puckerman?) – Puck doesn’t know that he has a half-brother, and that Jake went to the same high school as him. Mr Schue recognizes the anger issues and chip on his shoulder and believes Glee can help him the way it did Noah. There were a few lingering looks between him and Marley. I can’t blame her. This lovechild of Jacob Black and Noah Puckerman has glowing, mocha skin that just sings a siren song.

Marley Rose (not really replacing Rachel) – Marley wants to sing on the radio and she’s the daughter of the lunch lady. Her revelation of the latter is what prompts a moral reawakening of the Glee club away from the venom of popularity. She’s got a good voice and she can act, but my opinion is still reserved for now.

The Songs

The good

Americano/Dance Again – Kate Hudson is a fistful of awesome. I didn’t really enjoy the mash up but she sung it well and it was good because that woman could dance. And did you see her body? I felt guilty watching her toned legs and behind while eating a cookies and cream cheesecake.

Never Say Never – He was good. And pretty. And then he got angry like Noah. Love.

New York State of Mind – LEA MICHELE WAS SINGING! OMGG! I wish she had sung a solo. The transition between her and Melissa Benoist was obvious. It just highlighted to me how powerful and distinctive Lea’s voice is and while Melissa has a good voice, she’s just not the new Rachel of Glee.

The meh

Chasing Pavements – Melissa Benoist underwhelmed me. Naya, Amber and Lea have all done Adele and done it better. Melissa’s just felt like she was going through the motions.

The bad

Call Me Maybe – Good lord what happened to this song? Individually the four didn’t sound too bad but once the chorus hit, and they sang together, it just went horribly, horribly wrong. Also in what universe does Brittany even attempt to fill Rachel’s shoes?

What did you think of the Season Four premiere? Did you like seeing Rachel in New York, or preferred the hallowed halls of McKinley? Which of the new characters caught your fancy? Are you excited for Hummelberry conquering Manhatten? Give me your TwoCents below or over on Twitter!

Next Week: Britney 2.0

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26 Responses to Glee – Recap & Review – The New Rachel

  1. Raybelle13 says:

    I think my one ~huge~ disappointment in the McKinley show is that the creators/casting directors didn’t think we could figure out parallels without characters looking exactly the same. Why did the new HBIC Cheerio have to be blonde? And the young ingenue brunette and kind of (for TV) homely? and the diva a big black [person]? and the new golden boy a tall Finn-look alike?
    I would have loved to see some new diversity in the show– where’s that Indian kid that was replaced with Kurt? or a bitchy ginger Cheerio? or a black Golden Boy? We see the point you’re trying to make Glee (even if you’re not really succeeding, *cough* Marley *cough*)– you don’t have to draw the big obvious arrows…

    This does not apply to Jake, because I loved Jacob Artist and don’t care if he’s exactly the same as Puck.

    • Alyssa says:

      You know i have been waiting for Glee to introduce an Indian kid as well but alas. I sincerely believe that the writers don’t really believe that their viewers are that smart.

      Agreed. Jake can be as alike as Noah as possible because unlike his older brother, Jake seems to be a main character.

  2. KP says:

    I liked Marley. I thought she was fresh and had a great smile. The voice is very good, not Lea Michele, but very few are. I’m interested in the Marley story (although I think it was already done on Camp Rock – no?)

  3. Julia says:

    Did anybody else notice Kate Hudson calling Rachel “Miss David Schwimmer”? That amused me to no end.

    As for the new kids, I like Marley, although I guess neither her voice nor her story are very original.

    • Alyssa says:

      I did catch the reference don’t worry! Look if the new characters were introduced from the start I think Marley would have been okay. But Jake is the most interesting so far and I think Blaine might start to grate soon…

      • Julia says:

        It’s such a shame that they have Darren Criss on their show and don’t use his full potential. (Same for Chris Colfer, lately – I mean, he applied for NYADA just like Rachel, but did he ever get any solos that “look good on his applications”? No!) Seriously, when Blaine joined New Directions in season 3 (I still don’t understand why his parents let him, though), Finn went and brought Sam back? I like Sam, but Blaine was the Warblers’s star performer, and now he’s what?

  4. Alyssa says:

    I think Blaine as a character was much better when he wasn’t tainted by the McKinley soapbox. He’s essentially the new Finn now isn’t he?

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