The halls of McKinley High — not to mention NYADA — were left littered with broken hearts after the first half of Glee's fourth season, in which longtime fan-favorite couples such as Finchel, Klaine and Brittana split. But it looks like love is the air for a more than few of our favorite New Direction-ers past and present when the series returns with new episodes Thursday at 9/8c on Fox. "I think Rachel is kind of diving in head first with Brody a little bit," Lea Michele tells TVGuide.com. "I think that they definitely move a little faster just because he's a little older and because they're in college now."
Brachel — or should we say Rady? — aren't the only lovebirds heating up. After Marley hit a few bumps in the road, namely her recent struggle with an eating disorder, she and Jake (Jacob Artist) are in it for the long haul. "I absolutely love the way that it's evolved. I think it's true to the way a lot of high school relationships start when two people really, really care about each other and really see eye-to-eye," Melissa Benoist says. "It's slow and steady, and I think that's really a beautiful thing." But it wouldn't be Glee without some drama, right? The cast spilled on a big diva-off, some surprising new twosomes and what's ahead for the glee club after their fall from grace at Sectionals.
It ain't over till it's over: Technically, New Directions was disqualified from competition after Marley passed out in the middle of "Gangnam Style" and the rest of the club left the stage to help her. But the cast stressed that the "pressure" is still on for redemption. "They haven't given up. They haven't thrown in the towel," Kevin McHale says. "Everybody wants to finish on a high note and I think everybody's a little tense because things are not going how we wanted them to be going." Thankfully, that fighting spirit will pull the kids together rather than tear them apart. "There is a new awakening. It's really nice. They do band together again and find a common ground," Benoist says. "I think Marley is very concerned with working hard, finding the right songs and showing them that she really, truly cares."
Who are you calling a diva? One way the glee kids will get their groove back literally and figuratively is by doing several "very big numbers," according to McHale, who said Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) in particular will have an "incredible" performance. In the appropriately titled "Diva" episode, airing Feb. 7, that theme will translate to New York as well. "There is another Rachel and Kurt diva-off," Michele teased. "It's another Broadway song."
Takes one to know one: The "Diva" episode will also mark the return of an alum. "I'm in the diva episode just because I guess Santana is a diva," Naya Rivera says with a laugh. As for what's next with Brittany (Heather Morris) now that she is dating Santana's ex, Sam (Chord Overstreet), Rivera said she understands fans' ire. "The fan base for that particular couple is really large and really passionate. So yeah, they don't want to see Brittany and Santana apart, but I think that it is good for the characters to not stay stagnant and to grow a little bit," she said. "It's amazing that Brittany and Santana still have love for each other and they're not awkward like Rachel and Finn. There is always hope for them, which I think is what we're trying to convey."
Rachel (may) be ready for her close-up: Santana will stay on the road — and pair up with frenemy Quinn (Dianna Agron) — to advise Rachel about a student film she auditions for. "They want her to do a topless scene for the student film, so that's the question — she doesn't know if she can do it or not," Michelle says. "[Santana and Quinn] come and visit in an effort to help her with her confliction about the topless scene. ... They're trying to help her to remind her of who she is a little bit." Will the trip to the Big Apple result in something more permanent for starry-eyed Santana? After all, she's missing an awful lot of college classes to visit her friends. "I'm still wondering myself," Rivera says. "I think it would be really good for her. I think it would be funny. I would love to see that happen for her."
Surprising new duos: Benoist said there are two new duos to keep an eye out for. "Actually Marley and Brittany start spending a lot of time together," she says. "It's very fun." And look for Puck (Mark Salling), now back from his brief stint in California, to shock fans. "He's actually doing a lot of scenes with someone people will be very surprised that he's doing scenes with," Benoist says, adding that the dynamic is "somewhat" romantic.
So who is Puck getting cozy with? Do you think Rachel should do the topless scene? Will Santana move to New York? Sound off on all that more and in the comments below!
Glee airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Fox.