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.


I have to disagree with all the people who are saying Kurt was blameless. It wasn't the fact he was at work. I think it was more that he was making Blaine feel small. He wasn't interested in Blaine's life- even running for student body president which was such a BIG DEAL for Kurt last year, if any of you remember. Blaine felt lonely. Kurt wasn't just working, he was off doing social things with Isabel, going to the cinema in Manhattan etc. No, he can't be blamed for working. But he can be blamed for being more in love with his own life right then than he was with Blaine. YES, Blaine did wrong. But NO, Kurt was not just being a hardworking saint. Although it's a pretty simple fact in that relationship that Kurt always puts himself first. The performance of Teenage Dream was the most emotional performance I've ever seen on Glee. It really broke my heart. Agree with whoever said that about Finn becoming a teacher. Kudos to Lea for the break up scene. She was fantastic. Great ep.


I find it kind of strange that Finn was going on about how Grease teaches you to be true to yourself when the musical basically ends with Sandy changing everything about herself just to get the guy.


This was the best show I've seen for a long time! Even tho it was sad, it was quality writing, great singing, and there was a great story line that moved naturally, didn't seem written just for a particular song or particular character. I hope the rest of the season looks up for the "losers" in each breakup couple. It will be fun to watch for new coupling to occur. I think we've already seen it in Rachel & Brody. The reality of long distance relationships being difficult to maintain was a tough lesson learned.


i was just thinking that in this episode everyone says there goodbyes or i am done but kurt and blaine never said any thing like that they left it as them not talking so maybe there is hope for then maybe they will talk it out kurt just needs time and blaine should not have done what he did but if you think about it he was there to listen to all of kurts work stuff why was it so hard for kurt to find time to listen to blaine about school they both are to blame i just hope they get back together they are the reason i watch show i will be really upset if they do not try to work it out


thanks for the comment on damon and elena !!!ME TO !!! I LOVE DELENA but apart from that i love kurt and Blaine SO SAD


So good to see Cory/Finn is back. Lea and Cory were amazing last night.
Totally showed how they and Finchel are such an amazing and major part of Glee as a whole. Finchel break up broke my heart but I'm sure that they'll be back together as soon as they both mature up. Very good episode.
Finn is now rock bottom and the only
way is up from here. Most anticipate to see how Finn finds his dream
and become the man we know he is and reunite with Rachel soon.
Finchel is Forever!!!!!

Miranda wicker

@Guenon--THANK YOU. Thank you. That's what I tried, and apparently failed, to say. Neither party is blameless here.


by the way, Miranda, I don't agree with everything you said but I respect your opinions. I have serious doubts as to whether some of the people commenting have ever been in as LDR with someone they REALLY loved. I have, and it's excruciating. And I ended it, but not without a broken heart.


As a comedy, this episode was the WORST but I can't deny I believe it to be Glee's best episode of all time. Everyone was on-point. The acting was amazing. I usually hate watching Finchel and Klaine bores me, but in this episode they were amazing. Perfect! I actually wouldn't mind Brochel-I think they get better together over time. I like Klaine seperate. Brittana broke my ever-loving heart. Heather Morris for the win! Who knew?! And Naya. Gah! I hate any Wemma screentime, but I liked their scences for once. It was just...amazing...and painful...and real...


I enjoyed everyone in this episode I wish that Brittany and santana didn't breakup but they are far away from each other it was the right thing to do I just hope that Brittany and Sam don't get together in any way I want brittana back together by the end of this season, I never expected blaine to cheat I guess he just felt lonely and I was shocked when he told Kurt what he did, and I want Jake and marley to get together already.

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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