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.

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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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Miranda wicker

@stateless, Darren Criss said in an interview that the script was purposefully vague about Blaine's "cheating," so I won't be surprised if this is a case like you said. He went to see Eli C. and considered the fact that he thought about cheating actual cheating. We'll see when the show returns. RE Grease, Danny changed, too. He became a Varsity athlete in track because that's what he thought Sandy wanted. So, IMO, they're doing this musical because it's set to a high school backdrop and not because it has great life lessons, no matter what Finn said.


I loved the episode but what bugs me is the wait for the next episode, A MONTH! No wonder they are dropping ratings like crazy. It´s been only four episodes and they are making us wait already? Anyway I predicted this a long time ago (The break ups), it needed to happen, all the relationships were getting borring (Klaine I´m looking at you). So am glad they finally broke up. Time to spice things up, new love interests please.


(contd) ...the flashbacks, etc), they would'nt just ruin it that way. I'm pretty sure there's way more to that than a petty cheating story. Plus it would be yet another OCC move if Kurt took him back after he cheated, and we all know (or hope) that the will be back together.
Now I just hope that before giving us the real backstory to that, the writers will take time to actually delve into Blaine's character, explain where this fear of loneliness and rejection comes from, and where the freakin' hell are his parents? And that they will use the time to make both characters grow into the adults they're supposed to become. And by the way, thank you so much Glee for making me discover « Barely Breathing », never made it to France in the 90 's, and it's amazing.


When I first saw the « facebook Blaine » scene in the show, I got pissed with the writers for bringing up the cheating issue again with the characters, instead of adressing the real issue, i.e. Blaine's excruciating loneliness. The kid has no support system at all, and he's presented as being on the verge of a full blown depression. And it was just too OCC for a character who's thrown a fit when his BF texted another guy, and who's been written with such high moral standard.
And that's the reason why I'm pretty sure no "cheating" happened, at leat not in the way it's being implied. Considering how Blaine was written, he probably just went, patted the guy's hand and balked out, yet thought it was cheating.... I mean, the writers wouldn't be stupid enough to totally destroy a character (and the half of a couple) that has as much impact as this, now would they? Plus, for once, they showed great continuity in the episode, with all the details (Kurt's outfit in Blaine's hallucination, the flashbacks, etc), they would'nt just ruin it that way. I'm pretty sure there's way more to that than a petty cheating story. Plus it would be yet another OCC move if Kurt took him back after he cheated, and we all know (or hope) that the will be back together.
Now I just hope that before giving us the real backstory to that, the writers will take time to actually delve into Blaine's character, explain where this fear of loneliness and rejection comes from, and where the freakin' hell are his parents? And that they will use the time to make both characters grow into the adults they're supposed to become. And by the way, thank you so much Glee for making me discover « Barely Breathing », never made it to France in the 90 's, and it's amazing.


I'm so behind on my glee.. I just watched this episode today and cried my eyes out. All the cast members are so grown up.. I feel like this show just started. I can connect to this show so much being a freshman who just started university. I could totally relate to Finn when he said he felt lost... Loving the new season, way better than the last one (:


I don't care about the other two couples I want Brittany and santana to get back together.


I just don't understand why the show felt it was necessary to have one episode for EVERYONE to break up. Is it that difficult to maintain different plots for each couple? They couldn't let them all have their own time to break-up or stay together, it was like they had to do it all at once just so they didn't get confused in later episodes about who was together and who wasn't. I felt it would have been more realistic if they hadn't broken them all up so quickly.
I also hate that Blaine cheated on Kurt. If anything, Blaine should have broken up with Kurt because they didn't have enough time for each other. Kurt was actively ignoring Blaine, giving him ample reason to end it right there. He didn't need to cheat on Kurt, though with the way Kurt was treating him I can understand that he did. He shouldn't have asked for Kurt's forgiveness though. He should have just ended it with that.
That said, Santana nailed everything she said about long distance relationships. I completely agree.


@Anonymous - You are so right about GREASE. The songs may be catchy. But, the message to girls is just horrific. Danny continues to be a greaser and hang out with his friends. But, until Sandy changes everything about herself, starts smoking and dresses like a streetwalker, they can't be together. What a load of *&%#! I couldn't believe that was the message when I first saw the musical a LONG time a KID! Even then I could recognize...uh, something isn't right here.


Loved this episode even though all my couples broke up. I am amazed at the comments that say they can't believe that Blaine would cheat? Blaine would most certainly do especially since he was so hurt by the text cheating that Kurt was doing last season. Anger is a strong motivator to do stupid things. If we are talking about applying real world situations, this is the one couple that is doomed. Also, on the shallow side, seeing Cory Monteith in an Army uniform and making the angry faces in "Barely Breathing" had me well...barely breathing. The only real criticism I have is Brody hanging behind the two couples like some creepy stalker at the bar...very awkward and makes him soooo unlikable. But Finn's face when they exchange the few words and the way he looked at Brody...brilliant I-wish-I-could-kick-your-ass face.


I think the writers did a good job in assigning the main reasons long distance relationships don't work. They are maturity (recognizing the distance and temptations will eventually ruin it), cheating, and uncertainty of future goals especially when one person is certain and the other not. They assigned cheating to Blaine and Kurt because the others could not apply. I think that Rachel and Finn will get together because the are the power couple of Glee. I think that Brody is not a powerful enough character to replace Finn and will be an easy distraction for Rachel whom she'll walk away from without so much as a tear when the time comes. I think Santana and Brit are too intellectually different, so I don't think they will make it; Will and Emma will be fine. Kurt and Blaine will stay together because Ryan Murphy wants them too. But in a real life situation, they would never make it. Once a cheat, always a cheat, bottom line.

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