It’s A New Life In “New New York” On Glee’s First All New York Episode

Photo courtesy of FOX
Photo courtesy of FOX

Welcome, Gleeks, to what I call Glee: NYC. Basically if you don’t get a spin-off for your show, then you make it happen within your show. Call it natural progression. I get it. I just hope the trend of making the New York plots better continue. Or hey! What about this place called NYADA?

I’m also kind of bummed that we don’t get anymore Adam Lambert after tonight, so my cynicism is showing. I really like Elliott, and I was holding onto false hope that they would somehow get him to stay. This also probably means the end of Kurt’s band, which is a bummer because hey plot. Plot is good and needed. I’m also for a new character or two appearing.

Anyway, Glee has been on summer break. It’s a time jump. Let me remind you where everyone is before I recap.

Rachel has been doing out of town previews for Funny Girl. Of which, I am sure, she will be universally adored and beloved by the audience and critics. This is despite the fact that she only has a high school musical and a winning number at the NYADA Winter Showcase under her belt. Meanwhile, the chorus girls of the show are secretly plotting her demise. Does she even go to NYADA still? Anyway, if this storyline has been making you twitch, like it has me, then prepare yourself!

Kurt and Blaine are still engaged and are still way too young to be so. Yet no one is talking them out of this, unlike Finchel in season three. Blaine has gotten into NYADA using some form of dark magic. Kurt remains the only sane man in New York City, especially with Elliott disappearing. My sympathies are with Kurt.

Sam is pursuing a modeling career. He will see his junk on the side of the bus one day. Unfortunately, no one has told him that he needs to cut his stupid hair.

Artie is at film school in Brooklyn. He will be in every episode of the series ever. He’s made it to over a 100; he can get to the end.

Santana and Brittany are in an island paradise far, far away from this nonsense.

Everyone in Ohio is at Vocal Adrenaline now, as per my new head canon, where they are happy.

So let’s see if New York will be the land of change, dreams, and opportunity, shall we?

Plots

Diva Gets Her Own Car: So, as stated, Rachel is back in the city! She has been out of town for the previews of Funny Girl. Now that she’s back. She’s ready to spend time with her boys and get ready for the opening night. As a thank you for all her hard work, her Producer (who kind of looks like my Pop-Pop) has hired her a 24/7 town car to drive her around the city. She relishes it, of course, because it means that she has arrived. Still, after Artie calls her out on diva behavior, she realizes that maybe she is lacking something from not interacting with the city. She wonders how much life experience she has being nineteen (twenty?) and only having lived in New York for a little over a year and having all her professional dreams come true. Does she really have an authentic experience to draw from in order to be a star? Can she connect with the people if she’s being driven around in a deodorant and pine scented town car? Now, I’ll be saying this multiple times. The majority of these questions would have been fascinating to examine before now. I will, however, take what I can get here. Ultimately, Rachel decides that she doesn’t need the town car and starts riding the subway with Artie.

Real New Yorkers Take (And Get Mugged) On The Subway: Artie Abrams is in New York and getting his own storylines! Artie is at film school and admits that it has taken time to get used to the city life in a wheelchair. New York is a city of walkers, and if you don’t roll over them, then they will trip over you in their hurry. One thing that he does love, despite getting preferential cab treatment and the bus having lifts, is riding the subway. Why? Because real New Yorkers do it, that’s why. Still, his chair does signal something to the more unsavory sort. While exiting the subway, someone steals his backpack with his computer and wallet inside. He’s understandably a little stressed and calls an unsympathetic Rachel out when she tries to equate the experience to a time she accidentally gave a homeless guy too much money. Because losing nine bucks is not the same as losing a thousand dollar computer and all his credit cards/ID. He becomes a little nervous about getting on the subway after the incident until, Rachel, who ditches her town car, steps up and offers to ride with him because she knows Krav Maga. In exchange, Artie gets carte blanche to call her out on her overly diva bullshit. In this scenario, Artie is the true winner. He also gets a chance to confront his mugger. He sees him on the subway about to steal someone’s bag and pepper sprays the guy before he gets the chance. It turns out that he was a mugger/hoarder, which is something that exists, and Artie gets his laptop back.

The Shrinking Glass Box of Paradise: The word of the week is “space” in the land of Klaine. Why space? Because the couple may be sharing too much of it. Kurt has been feeling a little overwhelmed with everyone in the apartment. Rachel is back. Blaine has moved in. Sam is chronically couch-surfing due to his lack of prospects. Blaine, however, wants to be with Kurt all the time. He makes him breakfast every morning. He somehow sweet talks Carmen Tibideaux, who like many people loves him, into letting him take a Master Class that Kurt is in. He tries to take over decorating decisions in the apartment. Meanwhile, Kurt feels like he’s losing his own identity and being sucked into “Klaine” rather than being “Kurt and Blaine.” It’s a tiny metaphorical glass box. He confesses these conflicted feelings to the only other sane person in New York, Elliott, at the guitar shop. Elliott tells Kurt that it’s alright to want his own space and be his own person. Naturally, when Kurt comes home and sees Blaine trying to make a workspace, he loses it. The pair of them have a huge fight about how Kurt feels suffocated, and Blaine feels like he’s not allowed to be a part of Kurt’s life anymore. Blaine, a bit crazy, goes to see Elliott and demands that he leave Kurt alone because Kurt is his fiancé. Elliott gives Blaine a guitar to hug. He tells Blaine that Kurt loves him but that sometimes in the city people need time to carve out their own space a bit harder. He says that because Kurt wants that space doesn’t mean he loves Blaine any less. He just needs some breathing room. Later that night, Blaine returns to the loft where he and Kurt have something that rarely happens on Glee. They have a real, honest, thoughtful discussion about their relationship. I know! I was shocked too. In the course of that discussion, Blaine says that he should move out. Kurt agrees with him. It’s not that they love each other any less. It’s that in order to have a good relationship, they both need their own distance before moving in together. They admit that Blaine immediately moving in after graduation wasn’t a smart move. Kurt and Blaine agree that before Blaine moved in, they should have had a talk about what it meant for them as a couple and as individuals. They love each other. They want to get married. Yet, they both admit that they need to grow in their own spaces before combining it. Then after, they do something that also rarely happens on Glee. They kiss and neck like the teenage boys that they are before having make-up sex. I’m not a Klaine fan by any stretch of the imagination, but that was actually a legitimately realistic discussion between a couple. I’m stunned and kind of impressed! 

Sam Evans Finally Cuts His Damn Hair: Praise the LORD! Sam Evans has FINALLY gotten rid of that dudebro ponytail. I have been praying for this to happen for weeks! Sam has been couch-surfing since coming to New York. He’s admitted that basically all his modeling opportunities have dried up because people hate his ponytail. He doesn’t want to change who he is to please people though. Blaine tells him that basically works in high school but not in the real world. After a Time Square musical number where no one was arrested, surprisingly, Sam decides that Blaine is right. Sometimes you need a haircut in order to change your life. He gets a job modeling male butt-enhancing underwear. I would not be surprised if this was a thing. He also is moving out into an apartment with a bunch of other models set up by the agency. When he gets there, however, he realizes that it’s not the place for him as the models there pass around drugs and puke a lot.  Rather than hanging around the bad influences, he goes back to Bushwick where he and Blaine decide to find a place together. That’s when Mercedes comes in. Mercedes has decided to move to the East Coast to work on her album and to also be around her friends, who she has missed desperately in L.A. Since her new place has two bedrooms, she offers to rent Sam and Blaine the extra one. Sam tries to rekindle their past relationship, but Mercedes is firm that they should not hook up.

Bec’s Descent Into Glee Induced Insanity

And Rachel gets her own personal car and driver. My head hurts now. I wonder if the driver hears her singing in the back. Ha! She looked guilty when they mentioned Santana having to leave and them having to totally re-stage the show because of it! I take my vindication where I can get it.

Artie is like “OUT OF MY WAY BITCHES!” which is definitely how to literally roll in New York.

Be careful sticking your head out of a moving car in New York, Rachel! Kurt’s face is like “oh hell she got this too?”.

Wow Blaine you’ve become a little house husband.

I’m remaining quiet through this song sequence so the Klainers can enjoy this. It’s like a million fics coming to life.

Welcome to New York, Artie! Have a mugging!

I like Pam. You should cut your hair.

Oh yeah. You know what New Yorkers just love? Random musical numbers in the middle of Times Square! Well the random street dancers are into it and so are the tub drummers.

Nothing like a musical number in Times Square. I’m surprised no one got arrested and that people applauded. They must be tourists.

Oh hey. NYADA actually exists again.

Mime Class. Kurt looks like he’s wondering why this is his life.

Oh God Blaine…my head is hurting more. Of course he gets into a master class as a freshman.

You? Suffocating Kurt, Blaine? Perish the thought! Yeah. Kurt looks wonderfully content with this.

Stop calling it the bronytail, Sam. Unless you are referring to My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, you do not use that.

PREACH ARTIE! I like him the most right now. Along with Kurt.

Elliott! I’m so glad that Kurt has a guy friend to confide in.

YES! KURT WANTING HIS OWN IDENTITY OUTSIDE OF KLAINE! THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!

I’m going to miss you so much, Adam Lambert. You bring me so much joy.

Oh wow Rachel. I wish you realized this months ago.

I didn’t know that was a thing either.

OhmyGod Klaine fight!

Wow Blaine. You look totally crazy right now. Elliott reclaims his title as the only other sane person in New York.

“Glitter Rock Vampire” is totally amazing. I love you Elliott. I am going to miss your soul.

Rachel knows Krav Maga. Yes! You need Artie to keep you in line. Someone needs to remind you of this stuff.

Wow. Random fantasy dancing on the subway. At least I hope this a fantasy sequence because otherwise I would suggest they check for…HEY IT’S SANTANA’S “Hold On” HOMELESS GUY!

One of the only real friends you have here. And the show is getting rid of him.

Wow. This is like something legitimately adult here. Like legitimately adult. I’m kind of impressed.

Well good on you Artie! You stopped a mugger/hoarder.

Now there is a random Mercedes sighting. Aww Mercedes being really sweet and supportive. Mercedes, Blaine, and Sam having whacky roommate hijinks now.

Rachel where is your ugly as sin wig? Actually nevermind. Look at how pretty you look without it!

Songs

“Downtown” sung by Rachel Berry, Kurt Hummel, Blaine Anderson, Sam Evans, and Artie Abrams: I’m not really sure what to say about the song. It’s not bad. It’s actually very good because all five sound wonderful together. They each get their own moment in New York and with each other, minus Rachel in her car. They all sound lovely. It’s definitely something to welcome you to New York. Not bad, but not the greatest thing in the world. B-

“You Make Me Feel So Young” sung by Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson: Again, I don’t like Klaine. I do, however, admit that Darren Criss and Chris Colfer have excellent vocal chemistry. They sound fantastic together here. It’s endearing and sweet. The whole song sequence though looks like the writers got it out of a fanfic. I wouldn’t be surprised if this exists. It’s cute. A-/B+

“Best Day Of My Life” sung by Blaine Anderson and Sam Evans: I love the American Authors. I also think that Chord Overstreet and Darren Criss sound great together. I’m not sure how to feel about this not being a fantasy sequence though. Yeah I know logic and Glee but it’s not bad. The dancers were awesome. The music was good. The vocals were solid.

“Rockstar” sung by Kurt Hummel and Elliott Gilbert: Why can’t Adam Lambert stay forever?! He and Chris sound sooo good together! I love the song. I also love how Chris and Adam’s vocals play off each other. It’s fun. It’s sweet. There’s something amazing about watching Chris Colfer crowd surf. It was amaaazing. I’m seriously going to miss this. A

“Don’t Sleep in the Subway” sung by Rachel Berry and Artie Abrams: I’m surprised that this is Lea and Kevin’s first duet together. I’m also relieved that we got our fantasy sequence here. We’re going to need those more to explain some of the songs because breaking out into random song in New York makes you look crazy. The song itself is alright. Kevin and Lea should do another duet though. It’s one of those cases where the song didn’t do their voices justice. I would love to see something where they get a chance to use those big voices effectively together. Still it was lovely and the fantasy sequence fun. B+

“People” sung by Rachel Berry: It’s Lea Michele singing a Barbara Streisand song. Of course she sounded great. I’m also glad that she sung it as Lea. Because sometimes she can slip into a Babs impression. Here though she sounded really great. I like the simple staging. I thought that the montages of other characters came in at the right time. It was a good ending. A-

Next week, we find out that the city is not so great, and everyone has to grow up. Kurt, in particular, gets a taste of how utterly cruel New York can be.

 

Bec Heim

Senior Editor at 4YE
Rebecca "Bec" Heim is the Senior Editor for 4YE. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Scranton. She also has an MA in Film-Radio-Television from Syracuse University and an MFA in Screenwriting from Boston University. She enjoys reading through her ever growing mountain of books, talking way too much about superheroes, and trying to reach transcendental state.
Bec Heim
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