Glee "The Break-up" Review: Welcome to Splitsville (Population: Everyone)

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Oct 05, 2012

Glee S04E04 “The Break-up”

Tonight, Puck Jr. and Marley bonded over their free lunch status while Brittany and Blaine watched young love blossom from across the cafeteria and reminisced about the beginnings of their own relationships. It was the only moment in “The Break-up” that didn’t stomp all over my soul, and considering Brittany’s observation that she and Blaine are still young and shouldn’t feel as sad and nostalgic as they do was still kind of a downer, that’s saying a lot.

The stresses of life apart and life in general have finally caught up to some of Glee’s most prominent couples. Finn left the army after accidentally shooting himself in the leg with his rifle—which he called “Rachel” (so appropriate)—and arrived on Rachel’s doorstep hoping to find himself. Despite seemingly overcoming the worst of her inability to cope with Santana being in college during “Britney 2.0,” Brittany still struggled to fill the space left by Santana’s absence, specifically with the slightly insane Left Behind Club created by Kitty. Blaine faced a similar problem, longing for his long-distance boyfriend, but unlike Santana—who admitted that she'd LOOKED at another woman, but resisted the temptation—Blaine gave in and Kurt was less than forgiving. And finally, Mr. Schue and Miss Pillsbury faced yet another roadblock in their never-ending engagement when Schue received confirmation of his placement on the Blue Ribbon Panel and asked Emma to take a sabbatical from her position in Lima to accompany him to Washington D.C. She likened his expectation that she would just drop everything to follow him to the behavior one might expect from a clingy puppy.

Of the four troubled relationships, Schue and Emma’s is the only one that appears to have any life left in it. The other three are totally DOA.

Let’s start with Finn and Rachel. Brody’s presence in Rachel’s apartment when Finn knocked on her door was almost a non-issue for the first half of Finn and Rachel's time together in “The Break-up.” Rachel saw Finn’s discharge from the army as an opportunity for them to be together in New York. He could get a job or go to school, maybe even NYADA. They could be together and live happily ever after chasing their dreams together.

However, after spending just a few days with Rachel, it became clear to Finn that New York wasn’t the place for him. At a karaoke bar frequented by NYADA students, Rachel sang a duet with Brody and Finn finally confronted her about why Brody was around in his absence. I don’t know bro, maybe because you essentially dumped Rachel at the end of last season, then ignored her for the first three episodes of THIS season until YOU needed HER?

I'm so over Finn. I’ve done the clingy, needy, codependent boyfriend thing and I promise, Rachel is better off without him. And what a fabulous break-up she initiated! Finn argued that he was only trying to give her freedom when he dumped her at the train station, and Rachel, in uncharacteristically HBIC fashion, countered with, “I don’t need you to give me my freedom—I’m a grown woman!” I have never been prouder of Rachel Berry in my life.

So I guess Finn is just going to wander around Lima and stalk the glee club until Schue goes to D.C. Hey, maybe Schue can take Finn in place of Emma since they both seem to misunderstand how being an independent woman works. Having a boyfriend or a fiance isn’t a loss of freedom. Neither Emma nor Rachel were made beholden to their respective partners by agreeing to join them in romantic relationships. However, having disagreements with those partners doesn’t mean that the relationships must end. If they’re mature enough, they can work through it. It’s called compromising, and that doesn’t mean Emma should just go to Washington like Schue wants her to. Emma’s refusal to accompany Schue is not the same as rejecting him as her future husband, which seems to be how Schue took it. Their disagreement doesn’t have to be a death sentence for their relationship if they can talk like adults, so I’m holding off on adding them to the dead list just yet.

Santana and Brittany seem to exist in the same realm of possibility. Santana broke things off with Brittany, not because she was no longer in love with Brittany her but because “long-distance relationships are almost impossible to maintain.” It’s true. They are. Been there, done that BUT I got an engagement ring out of it, so things turned out okay. It worked due to a lot of effort and understanding, and the fact that neither one of us was in high school at any point in the relationship probably helped, so Santana’s concerns are well-founded.

However, I take issue with her refusal to actually call her break-up a break-up. Santana claimed that it wasn’t fair to Brittany to keep Santana tethered to her when Santana couldn’t be around to actually BE a girlfriend. She assured Brittany that it wasn’t a “break-up,” it was just a “break.” Uh, Santana? That’s not any kinder. Do you REALLY think that Brittany will move on if there’s even a possibility of reuniting with Santana? Their break-up almost felt like an attempt by Santana to make herself feel better for looking at other women without ACTUALLY breaking up with Brittany.

It looks like Blaine and Kurt are actually broken-up, though. Blaine crashed pretty fast, didn’t he? After hooking up with an old flame, Blaine hopped a plane to New York to visit Kurt, but his guilt got the best of him. He admitted what he'd done and apologized profusely. He said that he was lonely, but showed maturity and understanding by not explicitly blaming Kurt for that loneliness, because that would have been unfair. Yes, we’ve seen multiple examples of Kurt ignoring Blaine, but Kurt also has a very busy full-time job and Blaine understands that. You can understand something but still dislike it.

After returning to Lima, Blaine sent flowers and a card to Kurt’s office. Kurt pitched the card. At least Puck Jr. dumped Kitty and seems to be well on the way to dating Marley? Yeah, it doesn’t really make me feel any better either.


My Glee Playlist for the night: Oooh! So much to pick from. I’m going to go with the “Don’t Speak” performance and “The Scientist,” because ouch. The stripped-down “Teenage Dream” was noteworthy for its impact on Blaine and Kurt, but it’s not something I could listen to multiple times.

My Glee nitpick of the night: Semi-honorable discharge isn’t a thing. Finn probably received a general discharge.

– Santana’s rant about the absurdity of how easily Kurt got his job at Vogue was very welcome. Thank you, Glee, at least I know that you aren’t completely delusional.

– SO MUCH FLYING BACK AND FORTH FROM NEW YORK TO OHIO. All I could think was, “So many SkyMiles!”

– I need Coach Sue back in my life, but I understand why she didn’t make an appearance in “The Break-up.” Her catty pessimism adds desperately needed balance to Glee’s usual everything-is-made-out-of-rainbows-and-lollipops demeanor, and “The Break-up” was actually dark enough on its own. But with that said, I feel like we haven’t seen much of Sue this season though and I’d totally dig it if that were remedied.

– So, which teams are you on after all these break-ups? Team Rachel? Team Finn? Team Kurt? Team... gosh, there are so many to pick from.

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  • Heartwing7 Oct 13, 2014

    Santana and Brittany's break up hurt my heart the most! Their's was the only one that was genuinely for the benefit of each other. No infidelity or ambition was involved. The decision was made by Santana purely because it was the best choice to make as a couple. She couldn't make herself commit to a complete end because she knew that it would be a temporary parting. They both will will always find each other in the end. Team Brittana.

  • Liria Oct 15, 2012

    Is anybody else thinking Finn is gonna be taking over the club while mr. Shue's away? haha That would be weird...

    I liked the song selections in this ep the best this season. And it was great hearing the stripped-down version of Teenage Dream... Loved how it fit into it, and I never thought it would be the background for such a sad scene, lol. Totally awesome, lol.

    I really hate cheaters, but I get how things can get that messed up in this case... Everyone's talking about the once a cheater, always a cheater thing... I guess it's a matter of how it happened. I really do think those people that think that cheating is a fun game won't ever change.

  • Nerdnot Oct 10, 2012

    Mine was by far the worst song Glee has ever done. THEY COULDN'T EVEN GET THE WORDS RIGHT!

  • Lilthskull Oct 08, 2012

    Huh, I feel like Blaine at least he came forward with it and seemed extremely upset with himself more than he was blaming Kurt. Actually the only reason I watched glee was because I liked Kurt and Blaine's story.

    I've seen a few relationships that mended over a partner cheating and others not.

    Sincere remorse was probably the key and some of those that mended made them stronger than before. The whole idea of once a cheater always a cheater is generalizing the populous into saints or monsters. Depression, loneliness, or neglect can fuel a need for comfort especially when in here Blaine felt like he was being tossed away like an old shoe. I don't condone what Blaine did was right at all, it pissed me off but I could understand that those feelings of comfort do come into play. I feel like Kurt should make him work extra hard to get back into his good graces and not just as well. My motto is You try to work it out because if you don't want to fight for it to make things work when you can, did you really even care about it?

  • ark1317 Oct 07, 2012

    Team Blaine, Team Rachel!

  • MinitureMo Oct 06, 2012

    Team Blaine.

  • lalalala Oct 06, 2012

    Oh gosh, I so agree... Finn was really awful in the episode, trying to acuse Rachel for moving on when that's was he told her to do at the train station, coming back only when he needed her and and then leaving NY because he felt like he didn't belong there and saying that he was trying to give her "freedom" again, ugh. And while Rachel was there, saying how much she loves him and everything all he manage to do was act jealous and petty and in the end of her speech, when she broke up with him, he only said something like "i don't have my girl, my job" like Rachel was just there to make him feel better about himself... ugh, really... I hope she finds a new love, someone that will treat her right, and not just use her to reassure himself. It's not like I'm not going to roor for him to find his dream, but I really don't want him to be with Rachel again.

  • StevenSaunder Oct 06, 2012

    I really hate Blaine, I dunno why but he irks me. That Teenage Dream performance I found painful and had to fast forward.

  • SniaSilva Oct 06, 2012

    "He said that he was lonely, but showed maturity and understanding by not explicitly blaming Kurt for that loneliness, because that would have been unfair. " Blaine blamed Kurt.

    What episode saw?

  • RolandHamburg Oct 06, 2012

    I could see the whole thing with Kurt and Blaine not working out from a mile away. Yes they are each others first true loves, but in life you rarely see someone who is with there very first. Yes they are cute together but basically it comes down to that they are both Bottom Queens!

    Blaine is the type to mess around in life, because he needs to feel superior and the center of attention. He has proven that he is a cheater "its not right but its okay" .... No its not once a cheater always a cheater in my book.

    Kurt likes to be glamorous, the center of attention as well, and is always a great friend and yes he does have a full time job and doesn't respond quickly to Blaine, but he didn't cheat. Kurt can find someone that will love him with all his heart, and maybe someone older who Kurt can lean on for support and grow fond of.

  • EmilySansom Oct 06, 2012

    how did blaine prove he's a cheater in "it's not right but it's okay"? he was singing that because kurt was (emotionally) cheating on him with with chandler via texting, kurt was the one cheating in that situation not blaine...

  • RolandHamburg Oct 07, 2012

    But the whole thing comes down to that Blaine is the biggest cheater! He fooled around with another guy and then went to NY tried to hide what he did but really couldn't. It's not like Kurt actually went around kissing someone else and fooling around! text messaging isn't on the same level as sleeping with someone!

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