'Glee' Premiere: Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff say 'Hello' while Sue Sylvester 'Vogue's

Glee-Fox-Cast-320.jpg'Glee' is back! And maybe it's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I think this was one of its strongest episodes yet. And the fact that it guest-starred two of my favorite Broadway stars was just icing on the delicious, delicious cake.

New New Directions: In keeping with the fact that it's the spring premiere, this episode is all about moving forward -- illustrated by Will's selection of "hello" as the theme for the latest round of songs. After winning Sectionals, the Glee kids are stars! Glitterati! Lady Gaga-esque! ...For about five minutes until they're slushied. Well, at least they'll stay humble.

Higgins insists that the club place at Regionals to stay alive, where their main competition will be Vocal Adrenaline, the virtually unbeatable group directed by IDINA MENZEL!!! Have I died and gone to Broadway geek heaven? Is Bernadette Peters going to show up as Will's Emma's mom? [Nonnie Muss reminds me in the comments that Will's mom is already ably played by Broadway diva Debra Monk! And the red hair works better for Emma's mom, anyway...] Will Raul Esparza stop by as a new teacher at McKinley High? You guys had better hope not, because I'd probably turn into an incoherent fangirl at that point.  

Romeos and Juliet: When Rachel proves, in a shocking turn of events, to be a high-maintenance girlfriend who's also social kryptonite, Finn dumps her. It probably didn't help that Sue threw Brittany and Santana at him in a threesome-ful attempt to get Rachel to quit the club out of heartbreak. Finn tries to move on with "Hello, I Love You," while Rachel drops the "o" and slams him with a rousing "Gives You Hell." I give her the edge, though maybe that's because I prefer the more natural rehearsal room songs over the music video-style montages.

Rachel moves on a little faster than Finn, in fact, when she meets Jesse St. James, her counterpart at Vocal Adrenaline. Jesse is played by Jonathan Groff(!!!), Lea Michele's co-star in "Spring Awakening," which is incidentally an awesome show and all of you should go see it while it's on tour. Seriously. Do it. Jesse is so over-the-top ridiculously egotistical that it's hilarious, but it's love at first song when he and Rachel bump into each other while browsing sheet music and knock out a rather treacly duet of "Hello," by Lionel Richie.

Thanks to Brittany and Santana, the club finds out about our star-crossed lovers and threatens to kick Rachel out if she doesn't break up with Jesse. And to be fair, given Rachel's tendency toward "his and hers" relationship calendars and other undesirable traits in a girlfriend, I don't blame them for assuming Jesse is a spy (not that she doesn't have many great qualities, of course).

After Sue welcomes Rachel into the McKinley High "Old Maids Club" (picture the exact opposite of the Cheerios), Rachel gets Jesse's assurance that he's nuts about her and suggests a secret relationship. I'm not sure how to interpret Idina spotting Jesse and Rachel kissing, though. Jesse clearly saw her, but I think his expression is open to interpretation. Or maybe I'm just (not) seeing what I (don't) want to see, given how super-fake he seemed in the first scene.

Once Rachel assures everyone it's over with Jesse, Finn very sincerely asks her to be "in a real couple" with him, and refuses to give up when she cites the drama it would cause on the team and declines. Um ... couldn't she have just said she wasn't over Jesse yet? Lea Michele and Cory Monteith play "Hello, Goodbye" perfectly, looking upset and hopeful, respectively. Even though Rachel is lying to him, I honestly can't say I feel that bad for Finn. He jerked her around, and he's obviously still not over Quinn.

He even cooks: He may be all kinds of messed up, and he may have an unhealthy addiction to L.A. Looks (gotta side with Sue on that one), but Will Shuester sure can reel in the ladies! It's initially rough going with Emma, who insists on a full dental cleaning before kissing. When things start to heat up on their first date, she confesses that she's never made it to home base with a guy before because she's waiting for someone who can deal with her brand of crazy ... or maybe until someone invents a full-body condom?

Will stops by a Vocal Adrenaline rehearsal to accuse them of sending Jesse to spy on New Directions, and walks in during an awesome performance of "Highway to Hell." Jonathan Groff, man. Yeah. But OH NOES, Will's conversation with Idina somehow leads to a hot 'n heavy makeout session on his couch! He stops things before they get too far, but still, dude. Emma's far too adorable to cheat on. (Also, way to send out the message to teendom that your guy will cheat on you if you don't sex him up!)  Idina suggests that Will take some time to get reacquainted with Will, seeing as he's separated from his wife and things with Emma are already fizzling. And then she gives him her number. You know, for later. Can't say I blame her. 

In the meantime, Terri interrupts Emma as she's setting up for a surprise date at Will's apartment. Wow, I can't even look at her without glaring. Emma does stand up to the verbal abuse way better than you'd expect, though. Unfortunately, Terri breaks the news that she and Will danced to "Hello Again" by Neil Diamond at the prom long before he chose it for a romantic dance with Emma. And while Emma knows he didn't consciously remember the song, she believes his choice means he isn't really over Terri. I can understand that, but I definitely can't understand her logic that settling for her crazy is somehow equivalent to settling for Terri's crazy. Lying about being pregnant vs. always having minty fresh breath when you kiss seems like a pretty easy call to me. Sadly, Will and Emma are over before they even truly began, so that Will can log some solo time. 

Odds and Ends:

  • Sue is reinstated! And, um, her return involves a conciliatory dinner with Principal Figgins, whipped cream, roofies, and a camera. Ah, Sue. I missed her so.
  • We were lucky enough to get a preview of next week's Madonna episode in the form of Sue Sylvester's "Vogue" video, which you really just have to see for yourself. I <3 Jane Lynch.
  • Ken has "pulled a Jessica Simpson," i.e. gained 40 lbs. and stopped showering after losing his fiancée. Awww. And ouch.  
  • Finn may still be attracted to Quinn, but Puck doesn't "dig on fat chicks." And pregnancy is no excuse! Anyone wanna take bets on how long Quinn's gonna put up with him?

 

Quotes:

  • Figgins: "Those spotlights in the auditorium don't run on dreams!"
  • Sue: "Oh, I will bring it, William. You know what else I'm going to bring? I'm going to bring some Asian cookery to rub your hair with, because right now you have enough product in your hair to season a wok."
  • Will: "I don't care. We've kissed before." Emma: "Yeah, but you caught me by surprise sneak attack that time. It was like a Pearly White Harbor."
  • Brittany: "Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?"
  • Sue to Brittany and Santana: "You may be two of the stupidest teens I've ever encountered. And that's saying something -- I once taught a cheerleading seminar to a young Sarah Palin."
  • Sue: "I'm engorged with venom and triumph."
  • Idina: "I want a look that's so optimistic it could cure cancer."

 

Songs:

  •  "Hello, I Love You" by The Doors, performed by Finn
  • "Gives You Hell" by the All-American Rejects, performed by Rachel (and everyone but Finn)
  •  "Hello" by Lionel Richie, performed by Rachel and Jesse
  • "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC, performed by Vocal Adrenaline
  • "Hello, Goodbye" by the Beatles, performed by New Directions

 

Was this episode worth the wait? What are you looking forward to most in the Spring season? Do you think Jesse is playing Rachel?