Oh Glee, why do you stomp on my heart? And why do you do it in such a messy, disorganised, frustrating way?
This week's episode of Glee was, in my opinion, not very well put together and had a complete lack of consistency, but was still absolutely heartbreaking.
Let's get one thing straight before I get into this - Blaine and Kurt have not broken up. They're in a far from healthy relationship, Kurt is rightly very, very hurt and angry, Blaine is rightly very confused and hurt, but they're not broken up. Glee's writers even made a point of putting the words "I'm not even sure we're broken up" into Blaine's mouth, so until I see something official on my screen, I'm in the camp that says they are together. They might only technically be together, but my heart needs any hope it can lay its hands on right now.
This recap and review is going to be a little different to the rest, because I'm going to brush over large parts of the episode.
Here's a quick summary of what went down - Rachel and Finn broke up, Santana and Brittany broke up, Blaine cheated on Kurt and they've almost broken up, Marley and Jake are about to get together, Kitty's crazy, Finn's back at McKinley, Mr Schue and Emma are on the outs, and the glee club will be putting on the musical Grease.
So, apart from Kurt and Blaine, and to an extent Santana and Brittany, I'm not going to spend more than a few paragraphs on the other stories.
I thought Rachel and Finn were already broken up, so let's not waste time on that except to say that Rachel's speech telling Finn she's done is one of her best scenes ever, and that Finn needs to stop hanging around McKinley being a wastrel and do something with his life.
Do we care about Marley and Jake and Kitty? Or Mr Schue and Emma? Or Grease? Not at the moment, not when there's other, more important stuff going on.
So to Santana and Brittany. I thought their dynamic was lovely this episode. I love Santana and Brittany individually but as a couple they've never quite convinced me because they've always seemed unequal, apart from during Sexy in season two, when Santana and Brittany sang Landslide to each other.
Here, they referenced the feelings of that earlier episode. We know Brittany has been missing Santana, but until this episode we didn't see how much Santana had been missing Brittany. Her confession that doing her laundry at home meant she was guaranteed to see Brittany was a sweet one. The whole Brittany obsessed by books/Kitty's weird cult thing storyline was thoroughly stupid, right up until Brittany pointed at the girl breaking apart in the corner and said that's what she felt like, and then my heart cracked. And then when Santana sang to Brittany it cracked a bit more.
For me it was unexpected that these two would be the ones to end their relationship in the most mature way, but it was fitting. They got together in an unconventional way, but once they were in a relationship there were no outside factors that could affect them, so it's only right that one of the two of them decided to bring their relationship to an end, before something else happened to tear them apart.
Not so for Kurt and Blaine, who were for me the real focus of the episode. Let me say first that I don't entirely buy Blaine cheating on Kurt, for the following reasons:
- Blaine has always had a strong moral compass. He stood up for Kurt against Karofsky, he thought it was wrong Sam was stripping for money, he thought texting was cheating.
- When Blaine thought Kurt was cheating on him, he was incredibly hurt and couldn't believe there was any excuse, so why would Blaine want to make Kurt, who he loves so much, feel like that?
- Although Blaine has always been more open about sex than Kurt (talking about it, saying they should "just do it" when he was drunk, the masturbation comment, the way he usually instigates physical contact) he still doesn't seem like the type to throw his body away on a random "hook up". He never gave in to Sebastian. Also, see the earlier point about Sam's stripping.
But, if we're to believe the episode we've just seen, Blaine did cheat. Here's why I could believe that Blaine would cheat in this situation:
- He's so alone. He has no one to talk to, no one to confide in, and when he does try, he's shut down. (Read this amazing analysis of Blaine's loneliness this episode.)
- For him physicality has always been a big way to show love ("I miss messing around with you") and affection and companionship and to combat loneliness - the first time he met Kurt he grabbed his hand, when he hugs Kurt he holds on for dear life, he was the one that started to head towards Kurt after the latter gave him flowers on the stairs, and so on.
- He's hurting, and he's young, and when you're hurting and you're young (and even when you're hurting and you're older) you sometimes do stupid, out of character things like cheat on someone.
Now let's get down to the nitty gritty. What Blaine did is not unforgiveable, but it's very wrong. There are reasons he cheated, but no excuses. Yes, Kurt was not around, yes, Kurt should have realised something was wrong when Blaine told him he missed him, yes, Kurt should realise he's done some wrong things too, but Blaine deciding to cheat is still not right. You aren't driven to cheat, not even when you feel so alone that your only suggestion to not seeing your boyfriend for two weeks is to stop breathing, you choose to cheat to make yourself feel something (in Blaine's case to feel less alone, and it did the complete opposite). Blaine didn't cheat because of Kurt, he cheated because how he felt, and while some of that is because of Kurt's actions, it's still not an excuse.
Even though what Blaine has done is completely wrong, I do feel for him incredibly. He's not just lonely, he's isolated. It was telling that when Blaine imagined Kurt during Barely Breathing he was imagining him in the outfit he first saw him in, and that when he looked back to the start during The Scientist he thought back to them running through the halls at Dalton. That's the Kurt that Blaine wants and needs right now, a Kurt who understands him and is there for him, and a Kurt who needs similar things from Blaine.
But that's not who Kurt is anymore, and I think Blaine needs to learn that, and learn who he is without Kurt. I mentioned this last week, that Blaine has relied too much on Kurt, and that he needs to learn to live without Kurt, so that he can then learn to live with Kurt again.
And Kurt too needs to come to some realisations. His behaviour is not an excuse for Blaine cheating, but he needs to face up to the realities of his relationship with Blaine. Kurt can promise all he likes that nothing will come between them, but promises aren't enough, he needs to work at it if that's what he really wants (and since he still loves Blaine, I would hope that he does). Ignoring Blaine won't help (although why Kurt went from waiting for Blaine to wake up and then not talking to him, as we found out from Blaine, is another writing anomaly). However, for the moment, Kurt is very hurt, and ignoring Blaine is what he needs to do. I just hope he doesn't do it for too long, because Blaine needs someone, even if that's just his friend Kurt from Dalton and not his boyfriend Kurt from McKinley.
As a side point, I thought the acting from Chris Colfer this episode was stunning. Kurt's face when Blaine told him he'd been with someone was heartbreaking, you could see his heart cracking in his eyes. He was also great during his interaction with Finn, you could see he was in the worst state we've ever seen him, even worse than when his dad had a heart attack. He physically looked like he was breaking, as well as wearing the simplest outfit we've seen him in yet.
The staging highlight this week was when the characters sang The Scientist. The lighting, the placing of all the characters, reflected exactly how they were all feeling, in particular Kurt and Blaine, and added to the loneliness many of them are feeling now.
As a last note, where does this episode leave Kurt and Blaine? I'm not quite sure, and while I hate them hurting and apart, I'm intrigued to see where it goes next. I'm just not sure my heart can take it.
Blaine singing Teenage Dream. Props to Darren Criss for doing this live on set. How could anyone watch this not be moved, even once you know Blaine's cheated? It clued us in to how Blaine was feeling, how Kurt was feeling, and gave us a glimpse of how we would be feeling moments later when we watched Blaine and Kurt tearing apart.