Glee finally, finally moves full-time to New York and while the action is minimal, the songs are superb, and the tone is pleasant, making for a better episode than we've seen from this show in... well, it's been a while.


S5 E14
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April 02, 2014 at 07:45 AM EDT

Welcome friends. If you’ve joined me here today, then you are the few, the proud. A quick perusal of the comments section, not just at EW, but on most Glee boards (OK, I don’t even know what Glee boards are, I just mean Twitter) would imply that it was just me and about three other people still watching Glee for the last half-season, and two of those three people planned to jump ship after last week’s episode. Knowing that it was just me and Debra from Ohio planning to tune in tonight for Glee New York, I have to assume many people might be coming to this recap without having watched last night’s inaugural New York episode. So, for those of you just curious about how the new format worked out, I’m here to tell you: I… I… genuinely enjoyed it. Sorry, it just feels weird to say it.

It really felt like watching a different show tonight. Or maybe more like watching the old show? Before everything got so convoluted; before we watched characters we didn’t really know share airtime with characters we were maybe too familiar with; before things just straight up went off the rails. It didn’t exactly feel like season 1 or 2 of Glee; more like a cousin to that classic version of Glee. A cool New York cousin who plays with lighting and films outside of a sound stage and only listens to old vinyl records of the classics. She also occasionally has one too many glasses of wine and can’t stop speaking in voiceover.

We’ve now arrived not only in New York, but in some sort of time warp where an undisclosed number of months have taken everyone straight from McKinley graduation to a point in winter when it is both snowing, and a new semester might be starting at NYADA. Space-time continuum — who needs it?! Not Rachel, who steps out of a Funny Girl rehearsal to find that her producer is gifting her a town car to take her anywhere she needs 24/7, as a thanks for her tireless out-of-town Funny Girl runs, because all Rachel does is win, win, win no matter what.

She hops in that sucker, firmly places a very shiny chip on her shoulder and starts singing “Downtown” as she heads in that very direction. Kurt joins in as he exits the subway (no town car for you, non-Broadway star peasant); Blaine solos while grabbing some coffee; Artie joins in with some pretty serious falsetto while Sam wheels him toward their new lives (or five-month-old lives, as it were). It’s a fun, classic performance, with everyone finally convening in Washington Square. A-. I mostly appreciate it because it’s the first time I’ve been 100% sure about who would be living in New York.

Rachel’s life isn’t the only thing that feels like a “high-end coffee commercial”; that’s kind of the feel of this whole episode. Lots of streaming light and mugs held with two hands. Blaine cooking Kurt breakfast is particularly Folgers-like, minus the incest, plus one teen marriage. They can’t believe they’re really doing it – living together, spending every day together, shopping with reusable grocery bags together. Kurt worries they’re becoming like an old married couple, but if they’re still watching Shahs of Sunset together, they should be safe, just ask my parents, who draw their reality TV line very firmly at The Voice (or Real Housewives of Atlanta under extreme duress).

Blaine goes for a more creative tactic to assure his fiancé they’re not old yet: “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra. It’s slightly distracting that Blaine and Kurt are two 19 year-olds (?) ironically singing about being young, while Darren Criss is suddenly looking far more not-teenage than he ever did at McKinley. But who cares, there’s dancing, there are moon eyes, there’s actual proof that these two are a couple who seem to love and want to make out with each other. New York Glee, who are you?! B+

I felt like Artie was kind of kicked off to the side for a lot of this episode, but I really enjoyed his continued romanticism of the subway, even though it’s the most difficult mode of transportation for him. At any given time on the New York subway, someone is either trying to pee on you or sell you a soda or both, but there’s still something so wondrous about it. Unfortunately for poor romantic Artie, “the city beneath the city” still has hoodrats beneath the hoodrats, and a man on crutches wearing a very sensible V-neck sweater comes by and snatches his backpack where he has his laptop and most of his belongings, and he can’t do much to stop him.

NEXT: Saaaam don’t wanna work, Sam just wants ta play on the (roller coaster) drum all day!

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Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.
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