‘Glee’ Recap: Are You Still ‘Barely Breathing’ After ‘The Break Up’?

Crystal Bell / October 4, 2012

Break ups are the worst. And in case you forgot that, FOX’s Glee is here to remind us with this week’s tear-fest episode, “The Break Up.”

The musical comedy has often been maligned for its surreality, but “The Break Up” is an example of everything Glee does well: The emotion, the music and the LOL-worthy one-liners were all on display this week, making it one of the series’ standout triumphs. If loving Glee is wrong, then I don’t want to be right — especially, if this is a sign of what’s to come. And watch out Glee hate-watchers, this may be the episode that sucks you back in.

Now gleeks, if you want to keep reading this recap, make sure you grab a box of tissues first.

Note: Spoilers if you haven’t watched Thursday’s episode, “The Break Up.”

OK, I’m just going to rip this emotional band aid right off: Finchel is dunzo. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been the biggest fan of Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn’s (Cory Monteith) relationship. Don’t get me wrong: I think they’re — rather, they were — cute in that high-school-geek-bags-the-captain-of-the-football-team kind of way. However, after Thursday’s episode, I’ve never waved my sad little Finchel flag higher.

Let’s rewind: No, Finn did not freak out at Rachel for walking in on her “date” with Brody. Instead, Finn is just sad. His military career ended after two weeks when Rachel accidentally shot him in the leg. No, not his girlfriend Rachel — his rifle Rachel. He then spent the last few months backpacking through Georgia before he ended up on Hummel Berry’s doorstep in Brooklyn. He didn’t call Rachel, because he didn’t want her to think of him as just another “Lima loser.”

Ever the optimist, Rachel believes now that Finn’s in New York, he’ll realize that he wants to go to NYADA and they can live happily ever after on the Upper East Side. Unfortunately for Rachel, her plan backfires. Instead of feeling inspired — a la Woody Allen — Finn feels overwhelmed and intimidated by the big city.

Meanwhile, back at McKinley, Blaine (Darren Criss) is struggling to adjust to Kurt’s (Chris Colfer) hectic new work schedule. I mean, when hate-watching Treme is your only date night, you know there’s a problem. So feeling neglected, he starts Facebook messaging a boy named Eli. I told you to grab your tissues, gleeks!

Blaine and Eli have a bit of a tryst. But before things could become too serious, Blaine flies to New York to be with Kurt. With Finchel and Klaine now reunited in the Big Apple, Rachel wants to celebrate — with karaoke, of course!

But when Finn declines Rachel’s offer to sing with her — yes, there’s a reference to “Don’t Stop Believin'” — she calls her go-to karaoke partner, Brody (Dean Geyer). And what song does she decide to sing with her NYADA bestie? Demi Lovato’s ode to starting over with someone new, “Give Your Heart a Break.” Oy vey. 

Then, Blaine twists the knife a little deeper and delivers a tearful rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” You know, the song he sang the day he met “the love of his life,” Kurt? NBD. Criss crying/singing face was almost too much to handle.

However, Blaine’s cover was a little too tearful for Kurt. And when he approached his sorrowful beau, Blaine came clean about his tryst with Eli — and poor Kurt ran away in tears.

Meanwhile, with Finchel, Finn is feeling insecure about Rachel’s friendship with Brody. And when he asks her if anything happened between the two of them, she admits that she and Brody had “only” kissed. That was enough to drive Finn back to Lima — but not before Finn, Rachel, Kurt and Blaine sing No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” in the middle of Brooklyn.

But Finn’s not the only familiar face back in Lima. Santana (Naya Rivera), who refuses to do laundry in St. Louis, is home for a steamy weekend with Brittany (Heather Morris). However, Brit’s too tired from all of her late-night Rapture studies to pay attention to Santana’s college woes. Now that Brittany isn’t McKinley’s student council president, she’s decided to pre-occupy her time with the Jesus Club 2.0.

Kitty (Becca Tobin), the new president of the Left Behind Club, is on a mission to prepare everyone for The Rapture, even if that means organizing a fake Rapture and name-dropping Kirk Cameron in every other sentence. To put it lightly, Kitty is cray-cray — but at least she’s a fun cray-cray and not a psycho cray-cray like Quinn on Season 3.

In fact, Kitty is so crazy, Jake (Jacob Artist) decides to forgo his seat at the popular table and break up with her. However, judging from the chemistry between Jake and Marley (Melissa Benoist) — hereby known as Jarley — he probably won’t stay single for long. Can we just talk about how cute Jake was when he caught Marley with her free lunch tickets? Instead of making her feel humiliated, he showed her his own free lunch tickets. Jake is officially on his way to becoming one of my favorite New Directioners.

Now, back to the breakups. With Kurt ignoring every one of Blaine’s calls and messages, it’s safe to say that Klaine is on hiatus. I may or may not have — OK, definitely did — shed a few tears when Kurt threw away Blaine’s note.

As for Santana, after serenading her lady love with an amazing cover of Taylor Swift’s “Mine,” she tells Brittany that she wants to put things on hold for right now. HEART = BROKEN. I’m sorry Santana, but T. Swift songs are already an emotional vortex for me and then you go and break up with Brittany? I’m. So. Sad. OK, I’ll admit that Santana actually made a very mature decision in ending their LDR (long distance relationship), but that doesn’t mean I can’t be sad about it.

And then there’s Finchel. Oh, Finchel. I don’t know how you managed to break my heart, but you did. Upset that Finn left New York without saying goodbye, Rachel flies all the way back to Lima to confront him. And Finchel fans, it didn’t have a happy ending.

Once again, Lea Michele killed me with her crying face. Michele and Monteith pulled off this scene brilliantly. In fact, it may have been some of the best acting either of them has ever done on the show. When Rachel tells Finn, “You were the first boy who made me feel loved and  sexy and visible. You were my first love, and I want, more than anything, for you to be my last, but I can’t do this anymore. At least, not now. We’re done,” I felt more emotionally invested into this show than I have in seasons. (Side note: When Finn looks at Rachel, a Coldplay song starts to play in his heart.)

Everyone has a first love, and that’s a name that you will undoubtedly cherish forever, but as you mature past your high school life, things change. You can’t be stuck in high school forever. For the first time, our McKinley graduates are moving on. I, for one, am excited for what’s next.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: When Blaine started to sing “Teenage Dream” through his tears, I nearly started weeping at my desk. For a series that it so grounded in surreality, it may have been one of the most beautiful moments in Glee history.

Thank you, TV gods: For breaking up Jake and Kitty! That’s one breakup that I can get behind. Now, can you please get Jarley together ASAP?! Let me guess: She’s going to be cast as Sandy in the school musical and Jake can be her Danny. It doesn’t get any more perfect than that.

Awk-ward: Excuse me Rachel, but when you’re more excited to see your karaoke partner Brody than your boyfriend, you know there’s a problem.

Hotness: Finn and Blaine win the award for “Best Brooding” during their cover of Duncan Sheik’s “Barely Breathing.” I’d take Broody Blaine over Crying Blaine any day.

Fab-u-lous: The fact that Unique (Alex Newell) suggested Hedwig and the Angry Inch as McKinley’s next musical makes me love her even more than I already did. Sam (Chord Overstreet) would be a perfect fit for Tommy Gnosis. Right?

Can. Not. Wait.: To see Finn get his groove back! He’s being much too mopey and hard on himself these days. What happened to the goofy Finn we all knew and loved? Maybe this new mystery girl will knock some sense into him. Meanwhile, I really need see this guy Eli. Was he just a one-time fling for Blaine? Or is this going to turn into another Sebastian (Grant Gustin) situation? With Nolan Gerard Funk joining Season 4 as a new Warbler, Blaine’s love life is only going to get more complicated. At least Kurt has Sarah Jessica Parker to help him get over his heartbreak.

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 9.5 (It could have been a 10, but I had to subtract .5 for breaking my heart and breaking up Klaine. Not cool, Ryan Murphy. Not cool.)

Below, take a look the latest scoop from Dean Geyer.