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.

Miranda wicker

In short, I think the show did a poor job of making Kurt sympathetic after last week and the setup for Blaine as a cheater wasn't good either. I dislike, greatly, that we've seen an episode where Kurt disregards Blaine not just at work but also at home which does NOT make Kurt sympathetic (but doesn't excuse cheating) and we've seen nothing aside from the single flirtation that led to Blaine's cheating to persuade us that cheating is something he'd do. That their relationship would end like this feels wrong for both characters.


its a totally 100% BLAINE show season....

Miranda wicker

I'm saying this here in the comments when perhaps I should edit the review, but I realize regarding the Kurt/Blaine breakup I failed to make my point. I have a hard time understanding BOTH sides of the breakup and the cheating angle was used solely as an out for their breakup without forcing the two to have a serious conversation about why their relationship wasn't working. I don't mean to BLAME Kurt for Blaine's cheating; nor do I excuse Blaine's cheating. (Cont.)


First of all, I loved this episode. I was surprised by Blaine cheating, but I can't say I blame him. Yes, cheating is bad, but it happens - when you are lonely and your relationship sucks, you don't always act rational and sometimes people just screw up. What got me was Kurt asking if it was Sebastian.
To me it sounded like
a) he was concerned about 'losing a battle with Sebastian'
and b) he always thought it would happen, never trusting Blaine when he was telling him Sebastian meant nothing to him. I hope they won't get back together - I like them both, I like them as friends, but for me, they lack chemistry.


Woah, this sounds like it was written by a Blainestan. Simply put Kurt had to work so Blaine cheated. Theres clearly only one person in the wrong in this equation and its not Kurt, but like I said, this sounds like it was written by a Blainestan so I'm not surprised by the blame shifting in this article or the blatant attempt to absolve Blaine of his actions. Coincidentally it makes me think of scene in this episode which really shot Blaine to the lowest of scumbags- the moment when he basically says "Kurt its your fault I cheated"(nevermind hes the one who pushed Kurt to leave in the 1st place). Blaines the one who doesn't deserve any sympathy here and he's not good enough for Kurt.


I wish Klaine would reconcile. I really really do.
The only relief is that Blaine and Kurt didn't officially break up.
Like "we are done" as far as finchel goes. Klaine will be back with each other.. It will be hard and slow but They will be back with each other and it will be good tv drama


So you have a hard time sympathizing with Kurt but not with Blaine? Idek what to say to this. "He's not the kind of guy to just hook up" Except, as it turns out, he is. "Just last week he was dodging Blaine's calls to hang out with his boss and other VIPs" AKA working. I don't know about you, but when my boss is speaking I don't just walk away to take a call and I don't make personal calls while I'm on the clock. "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." But they never showed him 'partying it up' just bogged down with work. So I guess its ok for Blaine to have a life(a pretty active one it seems if he's got randoms to hook up with a moments notice) but every free moment Kurt has should be spent acting like the sun shines out of Blaine butt? Kurt is in the real world now, he's got to work and build a career and you can't blame him for being a little too busy to help Blaine pick out bow ties. Blaine on the other hand is completely to blame for flirting and ultimately hooking up with a facebook random while his BF was in NY trying to make a career for himself, and not cheating with anyone. Idk what else to say except that this article makes it painfully clear which character your biased towards-the one who cheated on his faithful BF.


I thought this episode was beautiful. The title of the episode explained it all. Every song, every person that sang the song either together or alone was just perfect. The song selections were good, the people who they chose to sing the songs were good, the words every actor/actress said was good. I mean, we all expect a lot but this was a pretty damn good episode we have to admit. The break ups made it so we have a blank mindset for season 4. We don't know what will happen and it's just going to make us think and/or hope for certain things to happen. Maybe in the end, they will all end up together again but for now, we should enjoy the mystery on how everyone will be and how certain ones will win their loved ones back. :) I'm excited. Loved the episode. Best dramatic episode out of all seasons, honestly.


Couple 4, Emma and Will? The only thing I have to argue about in this episode was the Will and Emma thing. With highly emotional breaks up like Finn and Rachel, Blaine and Kurt, Brittney and Santana, it was weird to throw these two in there. Emma and Will have been a big storyline since season one, to toss them in there just to round out the episode's "theme" is where this show starting going wrong in the first place. Down with themes. I dont know if these two are broken up but since they're adults, live together, and will work together again after Will gets back, it seems weird to only have ONE conversation with them when their relationship is in fact the one with the most at stake. They shouldn't have been tossed in. Just saying.


Couple 3, Santana and Britney Another sad break up but again, I can relate. Even when you really love someone, its tough to be young and attached. Santana clearly wants her freedom to explore. Its what college is for. She made the mature but painful choice. I respect that. I had to do that with my high school sweetheart when we went our separate ways, its turned out for the best.

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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