After a nearly two month wait, Glee has finally returned. During this year’s Regionals episode, it would be polite to say that shit went down. Karofsky tried to kill himself after being outed as a homosexual, Rachel and Finn were on the verge of getting married, and Quinn was slammed into by a truck (while texting and driving) trying to make it to Finchel’s wedding. Cue an epic two month wait to find out how those last two stories were going to be resolved (and perhaps expecting some growth in the first one), and I have to say that the beginning of the end of the final season ofGlee was sort of a let down. They chose a cheap cop-out for Quinn’s fate and while the last scene of the episode finally began to drive a wedge in the Finchel nuptials, the quickly glossed over delay of Finn and Rachel’s wedding seemed to convenient and cheap. I also wasn’t crazy about 75% of the musical performances, and while there was nothing horrifically wrong with this episode (no teacher’s were sleeping with students), it simply felt like an overall week effort from a show that had begun to regain its momentum in the last half of its third season.

The episode begins with Rachel and Finn outside their locker wondering if they would have gone through with their wedding had Quinn not been in a car accident. They both assure each other that it would have happened but neither seems entirely sure. As they’re talking, Quinn rolls up in her wheelchair. She survived the accident, but she’s unable to move her legs (for now). Her doctors believe that with intense physical therapy, she should be able to walk eventually although Quinn has semi-unrealistic dreams of being on her feet by Nationals (if she’s walking again by Nationals, I may swear this show off for good. End rant.) She’s buddied up with Artie who is teaching her how to become independent in her chair and when the rest of the senior class goes off to a theme park on Senior Ditch Day, Artie and Quinn bond at the local handicapped park where kids are doing extreme sports in wheelchairs and with prosthetic limbs. The two fight though because Artie thinks Quinn is in denial about her condition (which it’s left unclear just how much she’s being truthful about) and Quinn suspects that Artie wants someone else like him around. To sum up the other minor storyline of the episode, Puck tries to convince Finn to go to L.A. with him to be a partner in his pool cleaning business. Finn finally realizes that maybe he doesn’t want to be Rachel’s arm candy in NY and the two have one of their first real fights in a long time as both are accepting that the other doesn’t necessarily want the same things out of life. Oh, I almost forgot, Joe Hart (The Glee Project’s Sam Larsen) has joined the New Directions.

The main story of the night (and the one that gives the episode its name) is the arrival of Blaine’s big brother, Cooper (Matt Bomer). Cooper is an aspiring actor who stars in a national commercial but somehow equates being in a cheesy commercial as being a good actor. He’s even better looking than Blaine (if a straight man can say that) with three times Blaine’s ego (which is impressive since I’ve always thought Darren Criss played Blaine as being slightly cocky). Blaine and Cooper have bad blood because Cooper has never given Blaine the support he’s needed in life and has instead been overly critical at everything Blaine does. When Cooper shows up to help teach the New Directions how to be stars (after he signed Sue’s breasts in the school hallway in one of the undeniably comic moments of the episode), the tension between Cooper and Blaine comes to a head when Cooper begins shaming Blaine in front of the entire choir while giving everyone terrible acting lessons. The two eventually patch their wounds (sort of) when Cooper tells Blaine that the only reason he’s pushed Blaine so hard was because he believed in Blaine’s great potential. There’s another story I left out involving Sue’s pregnancy where it appears there’s some sort of complication (I’m guessing the child will have Down’s because that’s a risk when having a baby at Sue’s age).

Long time readers know my Glee reviews (the review section anyways, not the recap part) all begin with me analyzing the song selection so here it goes. Kevin McHale and Dianna Agron performed Elton John’s “Still Standing” and… meh. Kevin McHale has one of the most under-rated voices on the show and he sang as well as he could, but the beginning moments (which were clearly occurring in the characters’ head rather than actually happening) just sort of made me uncomfortable with their High School Musical cheesiness. Also, I’m never going to love Dianna Agron’s voice. The mash-up of “Hungry Like the Wolf”/”Rio” was probably my favorite performance of the episode. It A) helped to emphasize the dynamic of Blaine and Cooper’s relationship with Cooper being a glory hog and B ) the two performed the hell out of the song. Darren Criss has a wonderful voice and Matt Bomer may have an even better one (but more on him outshining Darren Criss later). The choreography was a blast and it was just a genuinely fun moment in an episode that felt cheesy far too often. ” Giving credit to Darren Criss where credit is due, he knocked Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter” out of the ballpark even though I don’t like her and I didn’t think I’d enjoy that song. Still, Darren Criss sort of made me love it. I don’t remember much of “Up Up Up” by the Givers as performed by Kevin McHale and Dianna Agron. Obviously, I wasn’t impressed. Here’s the number that has me the most torn. Darren Criss and Matt Bomer closed out the episode with a duet of Gotye and Kimbra’s smash hit “Somebody That I Used to Know.” It’s one of my favorite songs of the year. I don’t think Darren Criss’s voice was ready for it. He felt strained and forced almost the entire time. However, Matt Bomer was exceptional so it was a mixed bag.

As for the episode’s plotting, once again, it was a bit of a mixed bag. I was finally happy that Finn realized he didn’t have to be Rachel’s lap dog but either he’s a complete moron (which to be fair, he pretty much is) or it took him way too long to come to this conclusion. The scenes that were just between Quinn and Artie were surprisingly good (the cheesy musical number aside) as you could tell that Artie doesn’t really want Quinn to get better, and they both did great jobs carrying the emotional weight of their scenes. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to like Quinn after the way she acted at the beginning of this season, but it’s nice to see Artie finally have something meaningful to do again this season. He’s the cast’s unsung hero. The stuff about Sue’s baby is undecided for me at the moment because I’m going to wait to see what path they take it down (although Becky’s line about Sue lactating was comedy gold). I never really found myself involved in the Blaine and Cooper stories. Perhaps Matt Bomer was just too good at making Cooper to be a douche, but I could never figure out why Blaine would want this jerk’s approval in the first place (I also just don’t relate to family stories very well unless they involve father/son relationships). It’s a shame because I’m pretty sure this is the first Blaine-centric storyline of the entire series that didn’t involve Kurt in some way whatsoever. Blaine is going to be left behind at McKinley when Kurt graduates at the end of the season so they’d better start developing him more since he’s going to be the series new male lead.

I probably could go on at length about other things (mainly how the show didn’t address Karofsky whatsoever), but I want to eat/watch the 2011 Christmas special of Doctor Who so that I can officially be 100% caught up with the show. It was starting to feel like I would never be able to utter that last sentence. I have no idea where the rest of this season is going. Glee has just been renewed for its fourth season and most of the main cast (even the recurring characters) have been confirmed as returning in some form or another, and I have no idea how they’re going to pull that off without the show becoming some massive jumbled mess. We’ll see though. Nationals is finally coming up and we’ll soon be seeing the return of Jesse St. James (the talented Jonathan Groff) which has me excited, but until then, I’m left basically clueless on where Glee goes from here.

Final Score: B-

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