Glee "Opening Night" Review: Haters Gonna Hate

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Apr 23, 2014

Glee S05E17: "Opening Night" 

"Opening Night" was an obnoxious PSA about the importance of overcoming crippling fear and standing up to meanies, and since that's pretty much the theme of Glee as a whole, for an episode that was so important to Rachel's growth and career, it didn't feel terribly special by itself. However, it occasionally felt like a low-key series finale: Will has finally came to terms with his Lima Loser status, and Rachel is living her dream. It kind of makes you wonder what Glee could possibly do for its upcoming sixth and final season—especially if it goes for the possible 24 episodes that were proposed. 

For now, though, Glee is in a comfortable place, and "Opening Night"—even with its weird lack of specialness and its annoying rah-rah Rachelness—was fun. The episode featured delightful musical numbers and ample Lea Michele awesomeness; while I may want to slushie Rachel for the majority of the time she's on my TV screen, that is by no means a reflection of my OMG SQUEE feelings for Lea Michele. My handsomer half thought the Times reviewer's panning of Funny Girl paired with unrelenting adoration for Rachel herself was a cop-out, but I say NAY. Don't hate the actor, hate what the actor has to do to make rent. I mean, look at half of Jared Padalecki's filmography


So anyway, despite excellent previews and favorable reviews in the "legitimate" publications (and I love how Glee made the distinction that of course all of the "legitimate" publications loveRachel and it was just the lone internet wackos who hated her), Rachel read some mean comments online and retreated to her corner of the loft, presumably to pee in bottles like that chick on Hoarders and torture herself by reaching into the actual dregs of the internet for more masochistic viewing. I mean, YouTube? Oh, sweetie. Rachel is truly her own worst enemy. 

But never fear! Kurt came to the rescue with a badly forged note from Barbra Streisand—I was just as shocked as Rachel was that he didn't know about her dropped A—and then Santana, my queen, arrived to layeth the smacketh down with a bunch of vintage Streisand-hate that inspired Rachel to take a shower and go to freaking work. Well played, your highness-ness.


Meanwhile, Schue and Sue arrived in New York City for Rachel's big night and to dabble in some oddball B-stories of their own. Sue's whirlwind romance with Archer's Chris Parnell was fun, and her reluctant acceptance that New York City really is the place where dreams come true even though it smells like a diaper and looks like a dong brought Sue full circle in a this-could-have-been-a-finale way. 

Shue's baby story was a bit stranger, happening mostly off-screen, and am I the only one who's kind of bummed that we missed out on a Neurotic Preggo Emma sighting? Imagine the pamphlets! So much lost pamphlet potential! 

I also question Schue's wisdom in going to New York when his wife was apparently on the verge of popping like a meat balloon. I get that Rachel is the most important person ever, but that's your freaking wife and spawn, dude, and the whole, "I knew we'd get here someday," was creepy even if he did catch himself. Maybe because he caught himself. IDK. Schue's story actually worked well as a finale for the character the same way Sue's did. He finally admitted to being happy, even if he never got to live his own Broadway dreams. He formed new dreams, and that's a really important part of growing up that I think Glee has so-far largely ignored, even with it's latest string of "grown-up Glee" stories. 


Thankfully, the OMG SO IMPORTANT reviewer for the New York Times was gracious and optimistic in his comments about Rachel. I thought Glee would make us wait a week to find out what he said, but his praise was like the thick, sweet icing on the big happy cake that "Opening Night" ultimately turned out to be. Glee deserves some happy at this point in the season. It's been a hard year: losing Finn, losing nationals, losing the glee club itself. For better or worse, Glee just isn't into doing dark and dreary on a regular basis. Overall, this season has been a huge improvement over last season's suckfest, and Glee has shown a surprising amount of restraint and maturity during its darker storylines. "Opening Night" opens a new chapter for Glee, a show that has grown older and wiser in the wake of some recent painful experiences, but that still retains its saccharine optimism and unwavering faith in the power of dreams.



MUSICAL NOTES

– Music time: Rachel's everything was awesome and I totally teared up during "Who Are You Now." 

– Literally every Finn reference was perfect and I didn't even roll my eyes at Schue naming his male heir "Daniel Finn." Aww. 

– I loved the line about Sue being "lovable." Glee's current trend of having Rachel tell everyone who looks at her sideways to eat shit and die is just... I don't know. You're living your dream. You won. Who cares if your mean old gym teacher from high school still isn't impressed? Get the hell over it. 

– Then again, I say that as someone who has been out of high school for a lot longer than Rachel has, and whose various high school vendettas have mellowed with time. 

– And to be fair, Sue's had that coming for years. 

– Okay, fine, carry on. 


What'd you think of "Opening Night"?


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  • Heartwing7 Oct 13, 2014

    I would so give real money to Slushie Rachel! Once again, Santana saves the day! Really she's the only one left with common sense! Every one of the "Broadway Babies" are so annoying!

  • LuisQuiroga Apr 27, 2014

    Rachel Berry's nightmares are awesome and funny... that's two very funny opening sequences in a row.
    The episode was generally OK; I am not really a Funny Girl fan, so the two numbers Rachel did were OK; I did not like that Sue sang alongside Rachel in Who Are You Now; that should have been a full Rachel solo; the parts with Rachel were very emotional.
    I loved the epicness that is Santana, and like you said, she layteth the smacketh down.
    The club scene and musical number were awesome and for me, it was the best musical number of the episode.
    You are right, this felt like a mini-finale; and it probably was as far as Mr. Schue is concerned; not sure about Sue, but here's hoping.

  • sbbodcretep Apr 26, 2014

    I really enjoyed the show. I find it amusing how people so desperately want to control the outcome. Just enjoy it for what it is.

  • irehawk20 Apr 24, 2014

    Does anybody think that both Corey Montieth and his Finn Hudson character got badly overlooked and turned down too quickly and then end up in rehab and finally died?

  • jasondhom Apr 24, 2014

    The pumpin blood...club scene was AMAZING

  • marcusj1973 Apr 24, 2014

    No reference to my favouritest Glee review comment this week..? :(

    Fine, I'll do it myself

    "And this week was a love fest for Rachel, who up until this point hasn't gotten enough attention so we spent an entire episode showing and telling just how great she is...because, you know, Glee"

    I feel better now

  • alvinyankl Apr 24, 2014


    This is what i like in glee. such a long time this bunch of people never do a 'glee hug' right after Home/Homeward Bound performance?
    Anyway this episode literally made me tears for a while.

  • LaurenYetter Apr 24, 2014

    This is the first time Glee has made me tear up in a while.

    That being said, where the hell were Rachel's Dads? Or even Burt and Carol? Like, I understand there is logistics to hiring guest stars and whatnot, but maybe they could have budgeted this one in? And while they were dancing in the club, I couldn't help but think, "hey what ever happened to Starchild?"

    I'm so over Sue redemption arcs though, blegh. The whole time they wasted on her "romance" I assumed they were setting up Sue to stay in New York, otherwise why bother? I have to remind myself that priorities and continuity were never Glee's strong suit, but it still baffles me why they do some of the things they do...

  • vcivi Apr 24, 2014

    Well you said it all. Loved this episode...even it was all about Rachel, still it was a perfectly done and filmed episode.
    Was nice too see Tina, Schue, Sue etc...
    Like you said Rachel was her own enemy as always...but of course the only person who could bring her back was Santana...i just knew it...before she came in, i was like, where is Santana and there she was.
    The songs were fantastic...great job Lea Michelle
    But the best part was in the gay club! That song and the whole feeling was simply AWESOME!!!
    Then the second best part of the episode...Rachel telling Sue the truth and it was about time!!
    Simply great episode...

  • dude19 Apr 24, 2014

    I really liked that musical number at the club. It's about time they did a musical number at a club. Favourite lines of the night were Rachel's "Who wrote this? Tina!" and Tina/Blaine's excahnge, "Oh, Tina, he's totally gay."

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