Glee Review: Give Your Heart a Break

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Where's my hankie? I need one or twelve after tonight's Glee. Seriously.

Finchel? Klaine? Britanna? And Wemma? I'm not even a fan of name mash-ups, but what is happening in my television universe?

"The Break Up" definitely shook things up for the future of season 4 and was perhaps one of the best episodes of Glee since some time in season 2. Even if my heart is kind of broken. There's a lot to say about tonight, so grab your tissues and settle in...

Emma and Will on Stage
Life as we know it for the couples of Glee is done. Except for maybe Will and Emma, but I can't be for sure. In order to break this down and adequately discuss everything this monster of an episode just gave us, let's break this down by couple, shall we?

Because it's the most confusing and we need to just get it out of the way, we'll start with Will and Emma.

First of all, did they actually break up? I'm really not sure.

Their discussion about the Blue Ribbon panel and going to Washington made me ask, out loud, "Why are you being a douche, Will Schuester?" I just don't understand. This is perhaps some of the most bizarre writing for Matthew Morrison's character. Will has carried a torch for Emma Pillsbury since Day 1, and we've pulled for him since then, even through her marriage to Uncle Jesse the Dentist, and now, on two completely random occasions, because it's convenient for the story, we see him say something completely hurtful and out of character.

It didn't make sense when he insulted her "issues" last season and it doesn't make sense that he'd be so butthurt that she doesn't want to go to Washington full time. She's an adult. She has a job. Emma's not on the panel. You can see her on the weekends. It's not the end of the world and your students, once again, are being more mature than you are.

Case in point, Santana and Brittany.

I'm trying hard to ignore the Kitty-bit about the rapture, mostly because it was clearly an attempt to throw something sort of funny into an otherwise incredibly heavy episode. I appreciate comedic relief. like her line about being a bad Carrie Underwood song which actually made me laugh out loud. This, however, was a ridiculous set-up solely meant to provide a backdrop for their break up.

Santana realizes that she and Brittany are young. They are going to be attracted to other people. So before either of them has a chance to hurt the other, Santana sings Taylor Swift's "Mine" as a way to say what she doesn't want to say and then delivers the moral of tonight's story:

Let's just do the mature thing here...let's just be honest that long distance relationships are almost impossible to maintain because both people are rarely getting what they need.

While it can sometimes feel like Glee drops anvils on our heads, I'm glad someone in an episode where everyone breaks up was mature about it. Someone had to be the voice of reason in the midst of all of this youthful idealism that first loves are forever loves. (Hey, I'm not saying it never works out. I'm just saying it's not the norm.)

Kurt and Blaine in NYC

The saddest breakup of the night award goes to Kurt and Blaine.

I didn't want this breakup to happen and I'm still kind of shocked and saddened by the way it went down.

Blaine cheated.

I didn't see that coming, particularly after the emotional infidelity arc from last season and everything with Sebastian. Or maybe because of that, I should've seen it coming. Blaine was lonely and succumbed to the flirtations of someone else and then flew to New York to sing a tearful rendition of "Teenage Dream" and tell Kurt in person. But something about it was wrong.

He's not the kind of guy to just hook up. Or at least he doesn't seem the type. But maybe in a fit of extreme loneliness? I just have a hard time picturing him as that type. And I have an even harder time being hurt for Kurt.

Just last week he was dodging Blaine's calls to hang out with his boss and other VIPs, so when he shouted back that he was just as lonely, it felt flat. Infidelity is never excusable, but really Kurt? It's hard to convince anyone that you're so lonely when you're partying it up and hanging out at the NYADA bar and living the New York life while your boyfriend is back home living life for you.

Since they never had a conversation and we only saw Kurt drop Blaine's note into the trashcan, I'm hopeful they'll reconcile, or at least have a discussion about everything. I want them to work out more than any other couple besides Damon and Elena. If this doesn't happen, it's the saddest break up for me because I love the couple so much.

And that brings us to the show's power-couple, Rachel and Finn.

Truthfully, Rachel and Finn needed to break up. The writing was on the wall for them when Finn proposed simply because he had no idea what else to do. And I'm happy (or just not sad?) about how real and natural their break up felt, like it was the way things had to happen but didn't signify that this is forever for the two of them.

Their break up made sense naturally within the story arc of these two characters. 

Here's Finn who has no idea what to do with his future, so he joins the Army, puts his girlfriend on a train, and is then honorably discharged for shooting himself in the leg on accident while cleaning the gun he named "Rachel." And then he backpacks through the great state of Georgia for four months, returning no one's phone calls, apparently, (but finding time to email with Kurt), trying to "find" himself, only to end up on Rachel's doorstep in New York hoping for...well, I'm not sure exactly. Neither was he.

And not that we're keeping track, exactly, but he certainly didn't expect to hear that she'd kissed another guy, which makes twice for her now. But it's confusing because were they together after the train station? Apart? Just "on a break" like Ross and that other Rachel?

Regardless, it doesn't seem that the kiss itself factored into their break-up, at least not directly. It did, however, feed into Finn's sense of insecurity and uncertainty with his future, which was ultimately the reason this had to happen. They cannot be together while he doesn't know who he is and she does.

Their exchange in the auditorium was one of the most emotionally charged bits of dialogue we've seen on this show. Maybe it's because a part of me identifies with that "moon-eyed" girl Rachel was at the beginning of the series and the relatively confident woman she's becoming, but Lea Michele nailed it tonight. Rachel is starting to see herself as more than just a small town girl.

She's had no choice but to live, just like Finn wanted. She settled into her new life, quite comfortably. She made friends. She learned things about herself. She learned what she wants from the person she's going to be with. And all Finn has learned is that he still has no idea what to do with his life and has no idea how to figure it all out.

There was no way for the two of them to stay together forever. I'm not saying they won't be together again, but for now, they have to go their separate ways. While part of her will always love Finn, she needs to move in a different direction to live the life she's dreamed for herself, and until Finn can figure out his own path, he'd be dead weight holding her back.

And with that, I'm spent. I think I've said everything I can about tonight. I mean, I can always say more. I'm sure of it. (For example, I didn't even begin to discuss Jake and Marley! Or how awesome ALL of tonight's music was!)

But now I want to hear from YOU. What did you think of "The Break Up"? Are you happy? Sad? Indifferent? What do you see for these characters moving forward?

Look for a Round Table coming soon to discuss this week's episode, but until then, tell me what you thought in the comments.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (294 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Couple 2, Rachel and Finn. What Finn did to Rachel was not cool. He NEVER let her make a decision for herself in that relationship. He abandoned her at the bus station, which was heroic in its own way but it's what I call "benevolent control issues". You want to do the right thing for the one you love but you do it in a way that leaves them without much say in the matter. Rachel was grateful but then he disappears for 4 months. Then re-apears without telling her anything, then disappears again. And he knows he's wrong and needs to get a grip. It was painful to watch (props to both actors) yet you can tell they both thought it was right in the end. Btw, bet you all 5 bucks Finn decides to be a teacher by the end of this season.


All those couples needed to break up. High school sweethearts RARELY make it, at least not all the way through. Its because college and work takes us all to different places both physically and emotionally. First Couple, Blaine and Kurt. As someone who recently had to let my boyfriend go so he could be in his dream acting school and have very little time for our relationship, I understand what Blaine is going through. The key to not going crazy is to trust they love you and keep busy. Its important to have a dream of your own and know that missing them is temporary, that when you see them again it'll all feel better and you'll have loads to talk about. But I'm older, 21 and I dont think I would have been able to do it at 18 the way they tried to. Even those few years make a big difference.

Charmed jenna

I get so annoyed with comments that can't spot a good episode just because their favorite couple didn't make it. This was GOOD television. I think I'll just focus on Miranda's review from now on. Speaking of, it's so good to see a 4-star review this week, I was expecting it to be a 3.5 I agree with 90% of this review. Honorary mention goes to Heather Morris, who was just cast as a dancer in s1, but actually showed a lot of acting skill this week. Also I enjoyed the rapture a lot, it was a great laugh-out-loud moment in what was a mostly dramatic episode. I can only imagine what must've gone through Dottie's mind those few moments. Poor girl.


they have just killed the show. after that horrendous Britney "tribute" episode i thought they can move on and do better. but they have completely run this show straight to the ground. they keep making the couples we want them breaking them up AGAIN AND AGAIN. SO ANNOYING!


Oh, Jesus. You said it was inexcusable while at the same time saying "And I have an even harder time being hurt for Kurt." Kurt was at work in both episodes. Stop blaming him for being an adult and having a job. And Kurt has been shown talking to Blaine, so he clearly has time for him. He's just not Blaine's lap poodle, ready at his every beck and call. Kurt has been gone for only a few weeks. If Blaine can't keep it together for that long, if he's off cheating the same night he talks to his boyfriend in the morning, then he needs help.

Miranda wicker

Blaine didn't emotionally cheat with Sebastian. Blaine was always very up front with Sebastian that he had a boyfriend. Kurt, however, had an emotional dalliance with Chandler, the kid from the music store, and Blaine confronted Kurt about how the texting hurt him. Neither of them is perfect though it can be argued that Blaine's physical infidelity was worse than Kurt's emotional cheating.

Miranda wicker

@Connie--Yes, I watched. Twice. And the culmination of the past two episodes is that Kurt doesn't have time for Blaine and Blaine is lonely and misses his boyfriend. Yes, Kurt called Blaine from work, but ALL of last week's episode was devoted to showing how lonely Blaine is, so my commentary isn't a stretch. And I clearly said infidelity is inexcusable. @Jessica--I didn't see anything definite either, so I'm hopeful that there's a reconciliation in the works for the two of them in upcoming episodes.


Blaine sent Kurt to NYC and then gets mad because Kurt is trying to get a career going, so he cheats and blames Kurt for it. How can you ever make that right? How can Kurt ever trust him again? Blaine emotionally cheated with Sebastian and then physically with Eli. In my book, that's the end of that relationship. Kurt deserves so much better!!!


wow of course you would try and find an excuse to make what blaine did okay.

Kimberly anne

I definitely did not appreciate how much screen time was given to Finn. I do not hate Cory, but he isn't the best male actor on the show. He can't carry this show with that much screen time. I did not appreciate how Glee spend a whole segment of the episode only focusing on Finchel and Klaine and then it went to commercial. Yeah that gave them time to develop their story lines, but what is so disrespectful to Brittana. Brittana wasn't focus on as much prior to their breakup so it seemed rushed.
I feel really bad for Klaine fans. I personally do not ship Klaine, but I know that this couple is really special and for them to end up the way they did tonight because Blaine cheated was very heartbreaking. The "Don't Speak" performance was awkward though. I thought it was too cheesy. I rather Klaine talked more about it rather than even doing this number.
My favorite performance of the night is definitely without a doubt "Mine" by Naya Rivera. As she kept singing you can see the tears, that I had tears in the beginning so imagine what I was like by the end. Brittany's facial expression was also heartbreaking because you can really see how much they love each other. This whole performance and their conversation after and their kiss stole the episode for me. I love them so much.
I just have to say that, that girl in the library was very unattractive so if the writers wanted Santana to feel an attraction, they should have picked someone that is attractive! That girl was not. Compared to Brittany? NO WAY.

Glee Season 4 Episode 4 Quotes

I'm gonna take this down to the park and watch drug deals go down.


Brittany: Ah, young love.
Blaine: Do you remember when you started dating Santana and I started dating Kurt back before everyone was so busy and far away and things were so much simpler? We had so much more hope and innocence. Every day was just like Valentine's Day.
Brittany: We're still young. Shouldn't we still be experiencing those things?

Glee Season 4 Episode 4 Music

  Song Artist
Teenage dream 1 Teenage Dream Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast barely breathing Barely Breathing Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast give your heart a break Give Your Heart A Break Glee Cast iTunes