Glee returns after a four-month hiatus with some surprising shakeups. Rachel and Finn call it quits, Will Schuester is hopping from lady to lady and Sue uses sexual blackmail to get her job back. Welcome back, Glee!
The episode opens on Rachel, Mercedes and Kurt owning the hallways of McKinley High. Not so fast, they're still riding the slushie train. On top of that, Principal Figgins sets another goal for the glee club: place at regionals or they're finished. To make matters worse, Sue Sylvester is back!
Since football season is over, Finn is now on the basketball team. His biggest fan and girlfriend, Rachel Berry, is in the stands with a "Team Finn" shirt on, only slightly stressing him out. Through monologue, Finn admits that he's depressed, which leads to a peek at his relationship with Rachel. Not only is he not over Quinn, but he has to work much harder now that he's with Rach.
After Sue cuts off a slacker's pony tail, she reveals to Will how she came back to work at McKinley. She, of course, leaves out the key details that she roofied Figgins and sexually blackmailed him. Once again, she lets it be known that her goal is to take down the glee club.
Over at rehearsal, Will sets the clubbers on a new mission: They must find the new "Hello," as in, New Directions must reinvent themselves through the use of any song that has "Hello" in the title.
Later, Will says his hello to Emma. We last saw them sharing a kiss in the mid-season finale and he'd like to plant a kiss on her again, but she wants to clean up before they lock-lips. He decides that they should "clean up" as well by going on a date.
Sue chides Santana and Brittany for not stopping the club from winning sectionals. "We were seduced by the glitz and glamour of showbiz," says Brittany. (Note: I will now be including nearly every line Brittany says on Glee. She is absolutely outrageous and her quotes are as hilarious as Sue Sylvester's.) If they want to be the next new head cheerleader to succeed Quinn, they need to seduce Finn to get at Rachel. If they shame Rach by stealing her boyfriend, then she'll leave glee club and Will Schuster will fail.
Will senses that Finn is having trouble dealing with all the pressure, so he wants him to sing about it. He belts The Doors' "Hello, I Love You," as he rolls through his daily routine. It's clear that Quinn is jealous that she's not on his arm anymore, especially since Puck can barely keep it in his pants. Santana and Brittany take this opportunity to ask him out on a date and he actually agrees.
"I know being my boyfriend is a challenge," Rachel says to Finn, clearly catching the exchange with the cheerios. "I'll always be honest with you, painfully so, and all I ask in return is that you're just honest with me." She asked for honesty and she got it: Finn dumps her so he can find himself.
"I'll tell you who you are: You're a scared little boy," she says, adding that he's afraid to ruin his reputation by dating her, and that he's still hurt by what Quinn did to him. "You're freaking me out. It's like you're inside my head right now," he replies. She wasn't tapped into his head enough because he goes through with the dumping.
To exact a tiny bit of revenge, Rachel sings "Gives You Hell," by The All-American Rejects. Her cohorts join in on the song, while Finn stews in single insecurity. One thing is missing from the song, though: "I don't mean to be a buzz kill, but the assignment was 'Hello,'" Will points out, adding that they need to focus otherwise Vocal Adrenaline will overrun them.
Rachel heads to the library to find a good "Hello" song when she runs into Jesse St. James, the lead male singer in Vocal Adrenaline. He is able to put her in her place, while keeping her on the hook with his boyish charm and egotistical personality. They proceed to do a duet of Lionel Ritchie's "Hello," and it's like a light bulb goes off in Rachel's head: Hottie with a voice. Maybe I just said that, but I'm sure she thought it too. They conclude with him asking her out on a date.
(Note: I love how the show is now making fun of itself when it comes to these music montages. From Finn noting that the band happens to be on stage, to the musical accompaniment at the library, I'm glad they're not ignoring how ridiculous it is.)
Finn's date with Santana and Brittany doesn't go over well. They start off by talking about him like he isn't there. "You buy us dinner and we make out in front of you," Santana explains on how the date goes. They give up altogether by asking Finn to leave his credit card and wait in the car. Brittany-ism: "Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?"
Will and Emma enjoy their first date at Will's house, where they slow dance to "Hello Again," by Neil Diamond. "I don't know why, but I've always had a soft spot for this song," Will says. (More on that later.) They kiss and begin to get hot and heavy on the couch until Emma interrupts by admitting she hasn't been intimate in a very long time, like ever. Though Will is taken aback at first, he understands and agrees to take it slow.
Finn approaches Rachel to apologize, saying he doesn't want to date any other girls. She says he's too late, that she's met someone else. "Do I know him? Is he bigger than me?" Finn queries. Rachel admits that she's dating the lead singer from Vocal Adrenaline, but they respect each other, so their rivalry won't get in the way of their relationship.
The cheerios give Sue an update on the latest plot to take out the glee club. After learning they have failed to obtain Finn's affection, Sue says, "Ladies, I'm misjudged you. 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." Burn. There is one good piece of info they deliver: Rach is dating the enemy.
After learning from Finn of Rachel's new relationship, Will goes to the Vocal Adrenaline practice, where they are singing a rousing version ACDC's "Highway to Hell." It seems that it's not good enough for their coach Shelby Corcoran (played by Broadway vet Idina Menzel). Will approaches her to discuss their lead singers now dating, and while Shelby notes his suspicion that she's trying to spy on New Directions, she also says that sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants.
Cue Shelby and Will furiously making out until he thinks they're moving too fast. He discusses that New Directions has partially taken over his life, including attributing to the end of his marriage. In addition, he's also dating someone else, so Shelby tells him to take some time on his own, though to call her when he's ready. Yum.
The clubbers stage an intervention for Rachel regarding her new boyfriend. They're afraid that he's trying to infiltrate the club, and asks her not to date him until regionals are over. They threaten to kick her out if she doesn't break up with Jesse.
Emma decides to surprise Will by making him dinner at his house. Terri interrupts, angrily saying that Emma is enjoying every minute of being in Terri's home with her old man. Emma pushes it further by saying that Will chose "Hello Again" as their song, but Terri throws it in her face that that was their prom song.
Sue invites Rachel to the McKinley High Old Maid's club, where she hears stories from various girls regarding leaving their previous boyfriends in preference of their extra-curricular activities. (Note: There's a flashback to Sue planning this club where we get another sweet Brittany-ism: "Sometimes I forget my middle name.") These stories push Rachel to enter into a secret relationship with Jesse. As they seal their deal with a kiss, Shelby gives Jesse an ominous look from behind Rachel's back that screams: Jesse has infiltrated New Directions! Score!
Emma arrives in her office to find Will waiting for an explanation on why she cooked him a meal, yet disappeared. She shows him his old yearbook proving that their song was actually his prom song. "Somewhere inside you're still not over her," Emma says. In order to change Will's relationship pattern, Emma decides that they need not be together until he's spent some time on his own.
Rachel tells Finn to spread the word that she has ended things with Jesse. He wants them to start things back up again, but she says they can't be together because they all need to focus on regionals. "I don't give up that easy," Finn retorts.
The episode closes on the club performing "Hello, Goodbye," by the Beatles with many of the show's couples dealing with inner struggles. Finn wants to say hello, while Rachel wants to say goodbye. Meanwhile, Will knows he needs be selfish for once, but the longing look for Emma, who stands on a balcony overhead, speaks volumes.
What did you think of Glee's first episode back?