Recap: ‘Glee’ returns in ‘Hell-O’

04.14.10 7 years ago

In typical “Glee” fashion, the show”s creators waste no time back into action, as “Hell-O” kicks off the new season. Within an hour, Rachel loses Finn, finds new “love,” is forced to break up with that guy, then enters back into the relationship secretly and Finn tries wooing her back. And that”s just one storyline.

In an instrumental allusion to Rachel’s best number from last season, “Don”t Rain on My Parade” from triumphant “Sectionals,” the Gleeks walk down the hall like rock stars (“I feel like Lady Gaga,” says Kurt), that is until the inevitable slushies meet face. And we”re off!
[Full recap of Tuesday’s (April 13) “Glee” after the break…]
In the simplest, cheapest, easiest plot ploy to ascertain, Sue Sylvester is back in charge of her Cheerios cheerleaders, reinstalled by Principal Figgins because he slept with her. Wait, ew? What? Ew. Didn’t see that coming… (Actually, that”s “slept,” with quotes: she met him for dinner, ruffied his drink, he wakes next to her – he naked, she in her favorite red running suit – she takes a ridiculous photo and threatens to send it to his wifey and his church. Blackmail with no “actual” evidence (ew ew ew) but strong enough to be scary.)
Meanwhile, Finn”s feeling down. We”ve moved from football season to basketball season, and he”s not as good at that and, well, Rachel is convinced she”s his girlfriend and is naturally overcontrolling, overbearing and a general spazz. A spazz that he doesn”t seem to mind all that much until…
Oh, wait. Time for a hilariously weak, but pleasing, artifice to introduce the night”s musical theme. “Hell-O.” A reintroduction. A starting over for the Glee club, in sound and to the season of viewers. And the word Hell, which isn”t as pleasing as Hello. We see what you did there.
Mr. Schuester and Finn bro it up, with the Glee club leader pushing the jock to recover from all the baby daddy drama with Quinn, to “being OK just being you” like, y”know, Mick Jagger and the Doors” Jim Morrison. Cue “Hello, I Love You,” featuring a nod to the absurdity of a rock covers band on retainer in a high school. Cory Monteith”s Finn shows off his husky tenor, and hilariously provides for us a second-long shot of Kurt going into heat. All eyes on him, that is until he”s upstaged by Jesse St. James. More on that in a second.
In an effort to cause chaos in the Glee club, Sue enlists the ever-ditzy Brittany and Santana to tear Finn away from Rachel, with the ultimate goal of getting Rachel to quit, erasing the school”s chances to place at Regionals (which they need to do to keep their funding). They decide that the best approach is to offer the prospect of a cheerleader sandwich.
The allure is too great, Finn tells Rachel he needs to be a free man, she busts out some seriously histrionics, brings the pain by erupting into All American Rejects, “Give You Hell.” Despite the burn, it comes off like a Coke commercial. There”s some inexplicable break dancing. We predict a group dance lesson in the future.
Finn feels bad anyway.
He feels especially bad after a janky date with superficial, mean Brittany + Santana Brittana – after trying to shut him up as they cattily chat away, “You buy us dinner, and we make out in front of you” – Finn sees the light.
Too late. In comes Jesse St. James, a new character to the season, the dreamy and self-loving star of a rival school”s glee group Vocal Adrenaline, three-time national champions. He”s a senior, he”s gorgeous and he talks with his head up his… locker. He”s like that guy in the Old Spice commercial (“Look at your man, and now back to me…”) ‘cept without the horse.Rachel”s instantly smitten, as they sing the Lionel Richie tune “Hello,” a duet.
Switch cameras, and we get a glimpse into Schue and counselor Emma Pillsbury”s newly brewed romance, as they slow dance to Neil Diamond”s “Hello Again,” gooey-eyed and closer than a newly united JV debate team. Waiting for the punchline as the pair start getting busy on the couch, it is revealed unto us that Emma”s a little JV herself. And by junior varsity we mean she”s still a virgin, revealing that she”s been holding out for a dude who likes her for who she is and doesn”t mind her inane-o OCD tendencies. Paving the way for more songs about sex.
Back to Finn, he informs Rachel he”s changed his mind, she tells him she”s fallen for the ultra-hotness that happens to be the lead singer in a rival school”s singing club, Finn does some investigative journalism, tells the rest of the team, they tell her that it”s susperct, that she has to quit him or quit the Glee club, she balks at first but “breaks it off.”
See those quotes there? She and Jesse St. James (how can one help but use his full name?) agree to date in secret because he says he”s totally into her.
Which of course is a trick. The whole thing between him and her has been a trick, set up by Vocal Adrenaline coach Shelby Corcoran (Broadway star Idina Menzel), who behaves like a trick herself. She and Schue meet, she and him get high-velocity snuggly, she calls him out for 1) still being married 2) for dating somebody when he”s still technically married, wounded 3) for  making out with a somebody who”s not his girlfriend. She straddles (heh) that line of being ultra-wise and helpful, and devious, orchestrating JSJ”s relations with Rachel in order to cull secrets, or perhaps sabotage McKinley”s team unity.
Anyway Schue sees the light, too, about his relationship troubles. Ah parallels.
Emma also is enlightened, after a short, excruciating back-and-forth alone with Schue”s evil wife Terri. Terri tells Emma that “Hello, Again” was she and Schue”s song, too, played at their high school prom when Schue was 15. She makes Emma feel like she”s just an old song on repeat.
Emma and Will talk, both agree that he needs to to suss out how who he is and what he wants, without the crutch of a wife (or girlfriend). So this relationship lasted exactly one episode.
The night ends with the second bout of McCartney/Lennon Beatles action on FOX in a week, with a group Glee performance of “Hello, Goodbye.” Rachel, singing with Finn, feels torn about her feelings, throws on the puppy-dog contemplative face, and rushes off the stage.
In “Hell-O,” we got some some classic Ralph Wiggum Brittany: “Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?” There”s was a Sarah Palin joke, a terrifying AC/DC cover of “Highway to Hell” with flames and heels by Vocal Adrenaline, a show-directors-are-gay joke from Idina, a shout-out to classic film “Jazz Singer” and a meta-comment on “Glee” turning the mirror on itself: the performers” “show face” should be “so optimistic it cures cancer.”
Deep breath: it”s Madonna week next week. Sue Sylvester sings, and it”s “Vogue.”  If you can’t wait to see it, click here.
Follow HitFix”s Katie Hasty on Twitter for more music and movie news at /katieaprincess.
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