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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BLaine and Kurt are CAAUUTTTEEE together! i havent seen the episode just yet! Lets get the tissues and chocolate ready!! Finn is soo cute eugh rachel cant stand her one bit especially at Glee club... show off but now i guess she isnt that bad...


Ermmm...When Blaine said "I was 'with someone'", the implication was NOT that they were playing Parchesi. Particularly when he continued and said "it was just a hook up" and "it didn't mean anything". The episode was GREAT, though. So sad and so GOOD. Loved the terrific, heart wrenching performances (of everyone, particularly Chris C, Lea M and Corey M), the musical numbers weaving the various scenarios together...just everything. So, thanks for RMurphy (you did it again!), and ALL of the cast and crew of Glee! This was one of the best episodes ever- BTW, can we PLEASE have a NYC spin-off, so we can see Kurt/Rachel more? And maybe Santana and/or Mike? While not losing time back on OH?


I think this was an incredible (and incredibly sad) episodes. But SO VERY WELL DONE in all respects, that I could not help but love it. Yes, I was saddened by the various break-ups (and yes, I know we're in TV land and not real life), but the way the musical numbers worked in with the different portions of the scenes was just wonderful! BTW, Kurt dodged ONE phone call and DID try to call from work earlier, but was slammed by the phone deluge. And, yes, he was all over about what all was happening in his life and sort of left out Blaine's life, but there IS a difference between epic changes in a potential career and a high school student council presidential election. At least, there is when you are outside the small world of the high school and (for the first time) experiencing a huge and more active, more exciting world. It's very easy to think, "I'll make it up later" (the time) or to forget how important those "small things" are to someone still in that smaller world. So, yes, Kurt did mess up. But Blaine took the time to seek someone else out, have the fling and THEN take the time to fly to NYC - instead of the other way around. The saying, "it's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission" does NOT apply to relationships...or at least where affairs are concerned. My biggest thing is that Blaine had his hook up AFTER having very publicly accusing Kurt of cheating when Kurt only accepted flirtatious texts (and maybe...just maybe...sent some, though I can't see that). Sorry, Darren, but Blaine just came off as whiny. After all, Blaine DID push Kurt to go to NYC. Maybe he didn't THINK about the fact that it would be a year..and that they would be apart. I'm still up in the air about Britana's break up and how it went down, but the performances were great-! Will was a bit ridiculous, expecting Emma to drop everything for a few months while he participated in the blue ribbon panel. And it was so unlike him. I rather think a relationship that's solid SHOULD be able to handle a few months apart, particularly with all the media connections available. But none of the couples seemed able to handle it. Finchel's breakup was more expected. Finn was lost and confused, feeling directionless, with everyone else seeming headed for success. But he should not have disappeared without any contact and not expect changes. The lack of contact is the key. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see where all this goes and how the relationships evolve. I'm glad Mike and Mercedes are coming back, as well, for however long we have them. I DO wish there would be a spin-off for Kurt/Rachel (and Santana?) in NYC, so that there could be more time spent in each "world". /looks to see if Ryan Murphy is paying attention (BTW, thanks, RMurphy, for creating Glee and having such wonderful performers, stories, music and everything!) Oh, and I WOULD like to see Julie Andrews as Kurt's grandmother. That would be a trip-


The music was GREAT!!!! It was so good to see Finn- I really think he is the heart and soul of that show. Hope he's in all the rest of the episodes.
Ryan Murphy, you have outdone yourself again!


Grease does have a life lesson...even though they both changed (Danny got his jock sweater, Sandy got looser) they realized by the end that ultimately they did not HAVE to do it. That is the irony of HE was willing to change for her and SHE was willing for him, because they couldn't communicate that the differences is what made them good together. The show didn't show them change back to themselves, but it was understood that in the end they realized they could just be themselves. Maybe I watched a different movie...who knows.


I don't know why people are saying we don't know what Blaine did with the other guy. It is obvious that it wasn't just a kiss, and I hope the writers don't start backpedalling cause Blaine gets slammed by the fandom. When Finn said "so you were with him" to Rachel,meaning she slept with Brody, she was quick to point out that she had only kissed him. Even Finn, and his infinite childlike innocence knows what "with someone" means. When you say "I was with someone," it is never for any other reason other than sex. Plus Blaine would not have let Kurt think the worst once he saw Kurt's hurt reaction.


One of the best episodes so far of Glee.

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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