‘Glee’ Recap: Introducing Ryder Lynn A.K.A the New Finn – But What About the Old Finn?

Season 4 brings new Glee cast members
Finally! After a five week hiatus, Glee is back and ready to hand jive. Obviously, we all need a bit of a pick-me-up after “the episode that shall not be named.” You know, the one that left us in tears.

So when we last saw Finn (Cory Monteith), he was heartbroken, aimless and stuck in a rut in Lima. Thankfully, Artie (Kevin McHale) asks him to direct McKinley’s fall musical Grease — and subsequently, gives Finn something to live for. Hallelujah! Broody Finn is kind of annoying.

Note: Spoilers if you haven’t watched Thursday’s episode, “The Role You Were Born to Play.”

But poor Finn is still kind of aimless. Cue Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Mike Chang’s (Harry Shum Jr.) return! They even got a slow-motion walk down the hallway. With a vocal coach and choreographer in place, Finn can totally start casting Sandy and Danny, right? If he only knew where to start… Enter clueless Finn. At least Coach Bieste (Dot Jones) was there to pull Finn out of his one-man pity party.

In search of the perfect male lead, Finn goes scouting in the only logical place: The football field. Enter Ryder Lynn (Blake Jenner), a McKinley football player with a “lazy streak.” He’d much rather break dance in the end zone than actually score a touchdown.

Ladies, Ryder is kind of adorkable. If you’ve seen Season 2 of The Glee Project (just me?), then you know what I’m talking about. So, Finn heads to study hall to convince Ryder to try out for the school musical. And yes, the scene is very reminiscent of Mr. Schue convincing Finn to join New Directions on Season 1.

Although he’s apprehensive at first — I mean, the poor kid hasn’t even had time to see The Dark Knight Rises — one duet with Finn and suddenly Ryder is ready for some grease lightning. Also, Finn and Ryder’s cover of Foreigner’s “Juke Box Hero” was pretty much GYRATION STATION. And with that performance, Glee has fulfilled its rock ‘n’ roll number quota.

Now, we already know Ryder struggles with dyslexia, and as his storyline progresses, we’re definitely in store for more emotional Finn/Ryder (Rynn?) scenes. I, for one, can’t wait to see their friendship develop.

Of course, there’s another relationship blossoming on the horizon. With some newfound swagger, Ryder introduces himself to Marley (Melissa Benoist), Finn’s pick to play Sandy. “Your mom rules,” he tells her. Oh my God. That’s too cute. She’s blushing; I’m blushing. This is just all too perfect. Jarley, what? Just kidding… sort of.

All giddiness aside, I really do like the chemistry between Jake and Marley. She’s the sweet, innocent good girl, and he’s the bad boy with a chip on his shoulder. This is the stuff romantic comedies are made of! However, there’s something familiar about pairing Marley with Ryder. He could make her smile, and she could help him read, and they could be Finchel 2.0!

But I digress, Jake is less than happy with this new development. So Kitty (a.k.a Baby Kristin Chenoweth) convinces Jake (Jacob Artist) to audition for the school musical with her.

Elsewhere, Marley and Unique are busy being McKinley’s cutest new BFFs. (I shall call them Uniquely.) Unique is dying to play Rizzo, the “heartless b**** with a heart of gold.” However, Sue (Jane Lynch) is being a major buzz kill. She dubs them “Tina Stomach Turner” and “Absolutely Stunning Kind-Faced Blue-Eyed Girl.” Even Sue can’t find anything mean to say to Marley. She’s pretty much Sue’s kryptonite.

Sue doesn’t want Unique to play Rizzo. She even goes so far as to threaten Finn. Sue thinks if they cast Unique as Rizzo, it’s not fair to Unique, who will have to handle the public ridicule.

But for Unique, this is just another roadblock on her way to acceptance. “It sucks to feel like you never know your place,” Wade tells Finn. CUE TEARS. Alex Newell, you are the second best thing to happen to Glee Season 4 (right after Blaine being cast as Teen Angel).

You can say what you want about Glee’s major continuity problems and lack of character development, but when it comes to LGBT issues — whether it be Karofsky, Kurt’s coming out, his relationship with his dad and Blaine, Santana’s coming out and her relationship with Brittany — this series is game changing. And Unique’s story could be the series’ most important storyline yet.

In the end, Finn does the right thing and casts Unique as Rizzo. The McKinley High production of Grease stars Brittany as Cha-Cha, Sugar as Frenchie (so perfect!), Tina as Jan, Sam as Kenickie, Joe as Doody, Blaine as Teen Angel (even more perfect!), Jake as Putzie, Ryder as Danny, and Marley as Sandy. Poor Kitty gets stuck with Patty Simcox.

But that’s not Finn’s only huge decision. With Mr. Schue headed to Washington — with or without Emma! — he tells Finn he wants him to take over the glee club. UM, WHAT? This is a brilliant idea for two reasons: 1. No more Mr. Schue. I mean, of course, we’ll have to deal with him for holidays and special occasions, but that’s OK. 2. It gives Finn something to do that isn’t just directing a high school musical.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: When Finn called Sue’s baby “retarded,” I nearly lost it. Every once in a while, Finn’s tongue works faster than his brain. Remember when he outed Santana in the hallway? Not so becoming, Finn.

Thank you, TV gods: For one episode without going back-and-forth between New York and McKinley. Don’t get me wrong: I love Kurt and sometimes, I even love Rachel, but it was nice to spend an entire hour at McKinley.

Awk-ward: Ouch Jake. Losing your girl to a total Glee newbie is rough. Luckily, I’m a sucker for a good high school love triangle. Also, Tina, how’s your “Make Change Forever” tattoo looking these days?

Hotness: Blaine as Teen Angel is pretty much music to my ears. Anyone else?

Fab-u-lous: Unique as Rizzo! Now that is a scene I can’t wait to see.

Can. Not. Wait.: For Kate Hudson’s return! Cassandra July — and her abs — have been missed.

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 8 — Ryder Lynn, you’re Finn Hudson in the making, and I love it.

Below, take a look the latest scoop from Glee newbie Blake Jenner. Glee airs Thursdays at 9 PM on FOX. 

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