It’s that time again, folks! Glee has officially kicked off its sixth and final season on FOX. Everything about this new season of Glee feels different. I think this is mainly due to the fact the show now airs on Friday nights -- a stark redirection from its previous seasons. Friday night premiered two brand new episodes of the show so what you’re about to read is a condensed version of both. Let’s get to it!
We start by witnessing Rachel’s new show getting canceled. It seems all is not right in the LA LA Land (that’s code for L.A.) A close-up of a magazine with Rachel Berry’s mug on it and the caption “Lowest rated episode in the history of TV,” followed by her agent barging into her trailer explaining that she’s done for in the TV world. She’s finished. Washed up. Rachel sings a chilling rendition of Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited” as she makes her way off the studio lot. It’s a very literal interpretation of the death of her TV career as she walks through men taking sledgehammers to the set and is escorted off the studio grounds in a golf cart as the star on her door unceremoniously falls to the ground. The song ends as the studio gate slams behind her -- leaving her on the other side of things for the first time in years.
Once back in Lima, after a several-month hideout period, she finds out that her dads have filed for divorce, her childhood home has been put on the market and McKinley has lost all of its arts programs -- thanks to a very wicked Sue Sylvester, who is the school’s new principal. Things are very different with her friends, too.
While being served by the former Principal Figgins at the local Starbucks, Blaine explains to Rachel that Kurt broke up with him which sent him into a dark place ultimately failing out of his dream school, NYATA. The two of them vow to be there for each other as they find their footing to get back on the right path of things.
McKinley High is a very different place these days. Sue has body-shaming punishments set up around the school. The lunches have been changed to raw kale and protein shakes, she even has hounds to release on unsuspecting pupils from time to time. Rachel sees that the school is in dire need of a revamp so she goes to the superintendent and explains to him that the Glee club needs to be reinstated. He tells her that there’s nothing in the budget for it at which point she retorts that she has money saved from her (now defunct) show that she’d be willing to donate. He agrees only on the condition that she run the choir herself.
All of our favorite characters have evolved, too! Since coming back from New York, Blaine has taken over the Warblers at Dalton Academy. Will Schuster is dad and the coach of Vocal Adrenaline. Sam “Trout-Mouth” Evans is Coach Beiste’s assistant football coach. Kurt heads back to Lima once he hears Rachel is back and she talks him into helping her coach the all-new New Directions as part of his Junior year-required work exchange. We even get to take a look at Rachel’s… ahem… show(?) “That’s So Rachel” was a “Friends”-like show in which the “Kurt” was a 40-something-year-old very effeminate man and Arty was played by Carrot Top.
That’s real talk, folks. Actual. Carrot. Top.
Rachel uses this horrible misstep as fuel to make sure her next endeavor, McKinley’s Glee club, becomes a success. In addition to “Uninvited,” songs from the first episode include Ed Sheeren’s “Sing,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Suddenly Seymour,” and Frozen’s huge hit, “Let it Go.”
In the second episode we get to meet the new kids a little bit more. There’s Roderick with the amazing voice who Sue has dubbed “White Precious” (one of my personal favorite Sue jabs, tbh.) The new football stud who happens to be a new-age gay named Spencer. Twin Cheerios Mason and Madison. And then there’s Jane. Jane has a really cool story. The males in her family are of Dalton Academy legacy so they filed a lawsuit against the school and got her in. When she wants to be a Warbler, she’s asked to audition and completely KILLS Jasmin Monae’s “Tightrope,” only to be told that the Warblers don’t want her in. When she drops out of Dalton and goes to McKinley, Blaine accuses Rachel of stealing his talent. Oh - remember that gay-bashing bully from the early seasons, Dave Karofsky? Well that’s Blaine’s boyfriend now. Crazy, huh? Kurt found that out the hard way when he asked to meet with Blaine and confessed that he was going to win him back… ouch.
The second episode was really showing how Rachel was going to build her Glee club army, much like Schuster did for the better part of season one. She enlisted the help of all of her old friends- Mercedes, Brittany, Santana, Tina, Arty… EVEN QUINN! (For those of you who don’t know my feelings towards the fact that Quinn Fabray wasn’t in the Corey Monteith tribute episode last year, you should look into that here. But just like last time, they found kids all over- The showers, the football field and even the library. Kitty is for some reason still at the school, even though Sue made sure that each former New Directioner was shipped off to other schools in the area. And she’s as bitter and mean as ever. Total regression. I think my favorite part of the episode was the Unholy Trinity (Quinn, Brittany and Santana) killing Ariana Grande’s “Problem.”
The weird thing about the second episode was this sketchbook theme that kept recurring throughout. It worked when the group sang “Take On Me” because, duh, that’s the video. But then it kept happening and I was confused. “Mustang Sally” and “Home” were also sang in this episode. We’ll see how this goes. It’s interesting to see how they are working Rachel into the role that was originally met for the ill-fated character of Finn. I personally don’t see Rachel Berry being selfless enough to make this new role believable but we shall soon see how this ends up!