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

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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