After news of Cory Monteith's sudden passing broke this summer, the question arose whether Glee would be the same. Could the show carry on without its male lead? Would it still have the same feel?
After tonight's Glee season 5 premiere, the answer is yes... and no.
"Love, Love, Love" was a technicolor return for the series, full of fun music for the audience to keep the everyone singing along. But Finn Hudson's absence is evident.
Like any season premiere with a time jump from the previous season, much of the first episode back was spent filling in the holes in various storylines. The need for exposition is part of what makes time jumps awkward.
Tonight's Glee time jump was no different, and in a lot of ways, it robbed the audience of some good moments.
Kitty and Artie are an item. She's a nice girl now that there's a meaner Cheerio on the top of the pyramid. Instead of slowly evolving Kitty into this different person, the character snapped her fingers and did a 180 and we didn't get to see it. At least not really.
After having spent the time jump discussing Blaine's cheating and why and how he'll never do it again, Kurt and Blaine are back together. (We'll get to the over the top proposal in a minute.) A conversation about Blaine's infidelity is one I would have liked to have seen. The last we knew, they were just going to be friends who saw each other when Kurt was in Ohio or Blaine was in New York. Nothing serious. Kurt was going to sow his oats. But things went south with Kurt's NYADA love interest and we didn't get to see that, either.
When it comes to bad news, Rachel is unpredictable. It's just as likely that she'll be overwhelmed with sadness and declare herself done with theater until someone comes along and sings a song to snap her out of it as it is that she'll brush it off and move on to something else with a song and dance of her own.
In a way, she sort of did both with "Yesterday" and "A Hard Day's Night," though "Yesterday" felt as much like a tacit acknowledgement of Cory Monteith's absence in her life as it did Rachel's sadness in overhearing the producers' conversation.
All time warp-ing aside, the episode felt off. Maybe it was the weirdly colored costuming and different camera techniques that seemed to be an attempt to bring some of the 70s into the Beatles assignment.
Or maybe it was that there's a Finn Hudson shaped-hole in the Glee-verse that the audience can feel.
His absence, or rather, the absence of any mention of the character, was noticeable. Palpable, even. I kept imagining what it must have been like to be these actors and to have to go on set and film a show with such a loss hanging over them.
It bummed me out to watch knowing Finchel can't be end game anymore and we haven't even gotten to the tribute episode yet.
One end game couple we may not have to wait for is Klaine. With a wildly dramatic proposal involving three other glee clubs, Blaine moved forward with his plan to pop the question. Kurt said yes. So I guess we're moving forward with another high school marriage proposal story line.
All snark about the proposal aside - and I really, truly wish one of the things to come out of the time jump had been Blaine changing his mind - his monologue about how he and Kurt, in any life, just keep finding their way to one another, was really kind of beautiful.
It's never really felt like I've been getting to know you. It's always felt like I was remembering you from something. As if in every lifetime that you and I have ever lived we've chosen to come back and find each other and fall in love all over again, over and over, for all eternity. And I just feel so lucky that I found you so soon in this lifetime because all I want to do, all I've ever wanted to do, is spend my life loving you. So, Kurt Hummel, my amazing friend, my one true love, will you marry me? | permalink
Overall, tonight was as awkward as expected. While it was a decent and typical Glee return, there's a sadness sort of looming over the show now. I'm interested to see where we'll go from here. Besides prom, of course.
What did you think of Glee's return? Did "Love, Love, Love" live up to your expectations?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.