[Spoiler alert: This story contains major plot points from Thursday's episode of Glee.]
Thursday's very special episode of Glee got fans talking — but not for all the right reasons. While some were touched by the show's moving depiction of a school-shooting scare, and others were shocked at Becky's (and subsequently Coach Sue's) involvement, there was yet another topic that had many up in arms online: the absence of Rachel (Lea Michele), Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Santana (Naya Rivera).
Since the show started splitting its storytelling between Lima and the Big Apple back in September, there has been the occasional episode here and there where New York's newest residents were nowhere to be seen. However, this time the beloved characters' lack of screen time was an especially rude awakening after graduates Rachel, Kurt, Finn (Cory Monteith) and Puck (Mark Salling) were featured prominently in promos for this week's episode. Angry fans called it a "bait-and-switch" and soon #NoNYCNoGleeForMe emerged on Twitter as a way to give a voice to all those frustrated fans.
Taking into account the sensitivity of a subject like school violence, especially less than four months after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, it makes perfect sense that producers decided to focus on McKinley. But then why promote the episode with the NYADA kids? Maybe it was simply to prevent spoilers about Thursday's big story line? Or maybe it's because Rachel and Kurt have always been, and will always be, the real stars of Glee? Fans have spent years rooting for Rachel to break out of her reindeer sweaters and loner bubble and have also become deeply emotionally invested in Kurt's struggle to come out in Season 2, and those feelings are not easily replaced or put on the back burner. Glee has done an impressive job of making fans root for the new kids, particularly thanks to Melissa Benoist's beautiful vocals and Jacob Artist's charm, but will it ever be enough?
There are only four episodes left of Glee's fourth season, and presumably four episodes before the show must somehow deal with losing a whole other group of New Directions seniors, including original members Artie (Kevin McHale) and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), to graduation. If fans are upset without their Rachel-Kurt fix this week, it doesn't bode well for next year. Is it time for Glee to evolve into the Rachel-Kurt New York spin-off that maybe almost happened last year and ditch McKinley once and for all? Now might be the time for producers to take a second look at Glee 2.0.
What did you think of Thursday's episode? Were you moved by the special story line? Did you miss Rachel, Kurt and Santana? And what do you think about leaving Lima, Ohio, behind for good? Sound off below!