“Glee” returned on Sept. 26 in all its glory with part one of the two-part season five premiere with the heartwarming episode, “Love, Love Love.”
“Gleeks” at large have awaited the series comeback with a mixture of emotions following the sudden death of Cory Monteith in July. While many fans expressed concern that the show will never be the same without Cory/Finn, in the first installment the stellar cast takes on the iconic musical catalog of The Beatles with skill, grace and charm and proves their collective and individual talents once again.
In fact, the entire ensemble rocks, with Darren Criss and Lea Michele delivering standout performances as Blaine and Rachel passionately pursue their hearts’ desires.
Ready or Not, Here She Comes
It’s impossible not to feel several different waves of emotion as Lea Michele lights up the screen in the opening scenes. She’s suffered a tremendous personal loss. Yet, she is poised and strong as Rachel suffers her first career rejection. Disappointment settles over her and swells around us throughout a beautiful rendition of The Beatles haunting classic hit, “Yesterday.” We can’t help but draw a sad correlation to the real life tragedy Lea has endured.
We ache for Lea Michele and we feel sorry for Rachel, who is branded as too inexperienced and green for the coveted role of Fanny Brice. She definitely has the chops to pull off this part. But, as Santana (Naya Rivera) gently reminds her, she hasn’t paid her dues yet. A newcomer rarely lands a role of that magnitude.
It’s wonderful to see Rachel’s fiery grit flair when her audition naysayers show up at the diner she works at and she calls them out on dismissing her for the role because they think she’s not ready. She’s determined to prove otherwise and launches into a charged up “Hard Day’s Night.”
The crowd is ecstatic and in the end, she’s justifiably pleased with herself. She proves her point to the Broadway big wigs loud and clear: Ready or not, here I come.
In the wake of unfathomable real life circumstances, Lea Michele brilliantly reminds us of “Glee’s” core series truth: Rachel Berry is bound to be a star. We know it. She knows it. It’s only a matter of time. It’s only a question of when. Rachel’s tenacity to get back up after being kicked down is inspiring on several levels and remains a huge part of why “Glee” is so important to so many people.
It seems truly unimaginable to have to mourn for a loved one in such a huge public platform and Lea Michele’s inner grace and strength throughout this first episode shines as a courageous beacon for the millions of fans who are mourning along with her.
“All You Need Is Love”
Klaine shippers around the globe can rejoice. Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) are officially back together and have taken their relationship to the next level: They are engaged.
The first treat comes when Blaine vows he’ll never cheat on Kurt again and Kurt agrees to give their relationship another try. Their ensuing “Got to Get You Into My Life” duet is fun and energetic, complete with marching band accompaniment. A passionate ending smooch seals the deal.
Color us happy, hopeful and just plain lifted up … and then this feel good sequence evolves into a series epic moment as Blaine pledges his eternal love to Kurt in one of the most memorable proposals on television.
Big props must go to Darren Criss from beginning to end of this amazing episode, as he flawlessly croons several of The Beatles most covered and iconic tunes including “Help” as Blaine gathers his flash mob to make the proposal an unforgettable experience and as “Beatles” front man in “I Saw Her Standing There” as a show of support to his boo, Tina.
The best, by far, is his heartfelt performance of “All You Need Is Love” to set the stage for the biggest, most romantic moment in Klaine history. If Darren Criss can sell any emotion better than the rest, it’s love. The sweaty palm-inducing, pitter-patter heartbeat, all-consuming, I-can’t-exist-without-you kind of love. It’s in his eyes, his expression, and the tone of his voice.
Kurt is visibly overwhelmed and moved by the sensational serenade. Our hearts are pounding with Kurt’s in anticipation of just what Blaine is going to say when he finally pops the question. We know, as we’ve come to know Blaine, it’s going to be beyond romantic.
And then Darren Criss drives it home as Blaine offers one of the most earnest declarations of love we’ve ever heard:
“I think my soul knew something that my body and my mind didn’t know yet. It knew that our hands were meant to hold each other, fearlessly and forever. Which is why 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 wanna 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?”
Swoon, swoon, swoon! Then a tearful Kurt says yes, with a tearful Rachel looking on, followed by lip lock number two and Klainers far and wide can deplete the world of its Kleenex supply.
“Glee” notably makes a bold and joyous move with this proposal on the heels of DOMA victory and overall growing public and political support in the area of same sex marriage.
As for those who feel Kurt and Blaine may be too young to take such a serious step, Mike O’Malley as Kurt’s loving and supportive dad Burt, eloquently reminds us that true love often transcends age. If you really love someone with that forever kind of love there is no time like the present to live and love in the moment. Life is short, there are no guarantees and in the end, all you really need is love.
“Glee” airs on WSMH FOX66 in Flint on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST.