“Glee” Recap (4.04): Nobody Said It Was Easy

Jake and Kitty break up because Kitty is a jackass to Marley. Do you care? Me neither.

Finn is wandering aimlessly around the McKinley stage when Rachel storms in to give him what for. These teenagers with their flexible schedules and seemingly endless funds for purchasing last-minute airfare! They have the same fight they’ve been having since the beginning of time, about how he doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for her and she doesn’t want to live without him. Rachel literally says, “No matter how rich and famous I get, I’ll always love you.” Something about this stage fills that girl with such a sense of hubris! She shouts at him for abandoning her at the train station, shouts at him for disappearing, shouts at him for showing back up and storming back off and acting like a lost child in an amusement park every day of her life. She tells him he was her first love but that she can’t keep doing this same old song and dance. Not after Sarah Jessica Parker twirled her around in a golden gown and the makeup people started blowing her hair out to make her look like Lea Michele.

Finn starts singing Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” and is joined on stage almost immediately by Blaine and Santana. It’s actually the first scene in which each of the couples hasn’t felt isolated, a purposeful directorial decision, and it makes for a powerful conclusion. Eventually, Santana is joined by Brittany and Blaine is joined by Kurt and Finn is joined by Rachel. Will and Emma appear on stage too. But each of the couples is separated by the light and by their own voices. We’re so used to hearing these guys duet with their significant others that the effect of their solos is striking. They are all separated by nothing and by everything. And when we finally do get to hear their familiar harmonies, it is heartbreaking. We flashback to Rachel and Finn’s first kiss, to Kurt and Blaine running hand-in-hand through Dalton, to Brittany and Santana canoodling in the choir room.

My screencapping partner Lindsay said on Twitter last night that this scene would have made for a beautiful, heartbreaking series finale, and I agree. In fact, that’s exactly what it feels like, and in some ways, that’s exactly what it is. The couples we’ve cared about for two seasons are breaking up with each other, but also the show is breaking up with the comfort of the world that created them. It’s sort of the opposite of the pilot showstopper. Back then it was all about how Will could inspire a generation of kids to put aside their differences and accomplish something great together. And now Will is skipping town because he’s all out of inspiration, and this generation of kids, who put aside their differences so effectively that they fell in love, has got to learn to accomplish something great on their own.

It’s kind of a lie, really, that nobody said it would be easy. That’s the thing about being in high school: Teenage Life makes so many promises that Real Life breaks. There’s more to success than just believin’. Love doesn’t really conquer all. Time stops for no one. But that’s another Coldplay song for another day.

“The Scientist” comes to a close and Finn realizes he’s on the stage all alone.

The way these guys keep hallucinating vivid, interactive images of their loved ones in this stage makes me think McKinley’s auditorium is like a 3D Mirror of Erised, the place you go when you want to experience the deepest, most desperate desires of your heart. In which case, I will be spending the five-week Glee hiatus there, watching Brittana play with puppies and Klaine frolick in a field of dandelions and Eli C. get tied to some train tracks and run down by a steam engine.

One thing we have always asked from Glee is that it treat its gay couples like it treats its straight couples. Kiss counters, is what we are. If Rachel and Finn kiss, we want Blaine and Kurt to kiss. If Rachel and Finn have sex, we want Brittany and Santana to have sex. So even though it was heartbreaking to watch our gay couples fall apart like they did, it was also satisfying to see them treated with the same emotional gravitas as the straight couples. The writers anchored the emotion equally between them and counted on each of their break-ups to pack the same kind of emotional punch. And the result is total, glorious, perfect, perfect heartbreak.

I’ll see you in five weeks when Grease rolls into town and we find out if Klaine and Brittana remember they go together like rama lama lama de dinga a ding a dong.

An enormous thank you to my screencapping partner Lindsay (@ScenicPenguin) who literally stayed up all night to do these screencaps so we could post this recap first thing this morning for all of your processing needs. Follow her on Twitter and show her some love!