7:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee' Final Season Premiere: New Directions for Everyone
[Warning: Spoilers ahead from the "Loser Like Me" and "Homecoming" episodes of Glee.]
Fox's Glee kicked off its sixth and final season Friday with back-to-back episodes that re-established the original New Directions members and introduced a new batch of hopefuls as Rachel and company looked to rebuild the club that changed their lives.
Some former glee club members are back in Ohio on a semipermanent basis, while others are answering the call of a friend in need after the series jumps forward with a reboot that puts the focus on the original core castmembers. The two-hour bow also helped bridge the gap between seasons five and six by explaining what happened to many of the core characters while also setting up a new end game for nearly everyone. Here's a look at what happened and where everyone stands going forward.
Rachel (Lea Michele)
What happened: Moved from New York to L.A. to star in That's So Rachel. The live TV show — complete with characters based on Kurt, Artie, Brittany and Mercedes —tanked (zero share!) and she was fired along with the head of the network. Lost and aimless, she returns home to her dad (singular now, as her parents are getting divorced). Unsure of what to do next, she finds support from Blaine.
Up next: Inspired by both Blaine and Mr. Schue, she goes over Sue's head to the school board and gets the OK to revive New Directions using her leftover money from the show. The catch: She has to be its coach. Her biggest challenge: recruiting singers in the now arts- and humanities-free McKinley High. After that? The diva with a tarnished Hollywood record hopes to return to her original dream: Broadway.
Kurt (Chris Colfer)
What happened: Broke off his engagement to Blaine after the duo couldn't function well living together, but still has feelings for his ex. Now in his third year at NYADA, his feelings for Blaine bring him back to Ohio where he'll get credit for "work study" and serve as co-coach of New Directions.
Up next: Getting Blaine back, figuring out how to effectively work with Rachel — and adjust to McKinley 2.0 where being gay (finally!) is no longer a big deal.
Blaine (Darren Criss)
What happened: Depressed after Kurt broke off their relationship, his grades at NYADA slipped and he ultimately was cut from the program and forced to move back in with his family in Ohio. Jobless, the Warblers coach was sick (or had "Ebola") and the Dalton Academy alum has taken over the job.
Up next: Domestic life with Dave Karofsky (Max Adler), who wants the new couple to be friends with Kurt. With Kurt professing his feelings for his ex, the duo are poised to go head-to-head when New Directions eventually takes on the Warblers, whose potential first female member opted to skip the fight and join Rachel and company — ending Blaine and Rachel's "friendly competition."
Mercedes (Amber Riley)
What happened: Unclear, but Sam may have the best line of Glee's two-hour premiere when he asks if she's still a virgin, potentially showing some glimmer of hope for #Samcedes 'shippers.
Up next: Rachel enlists some of New Directions' best and brightest grads to help her recruit the new class of singers.
Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz)
What happened: Unclear.
Up next: Helping with recruitment, providing comic relief and (still) awaiting a storyline.
Artie (Kevin McHale)
What happened: Still in film school and currently taking a storyboarding class that helped sketch out a cover of A-ha's "Take On Me."
Up next: After references to Sugar and bumping into Kitty, Artie doesn't seem to have much of a love life and is keeping busy serving as the original New Directions' documentarian.
Santana (Naya Rivera)
What happened: Unclear.
Up next: Recruited back to Ohio by Rachel, she and Brittany are still a couple. Thanks to Rivera's Instagram feed, viewers know there will likely be wedding bells in the #GaySharks-favorite couple's future.
Brittany (Heather Morris)
What happened: Also back to help drum up some New Directions business, she reteams with Santana and Quinn and hooks a set of Cheerios to audition.
Up next: Offering advice to Kurt on how to get Blaine back — and that little wedding.
Sam (Chord Overstreet)
What happened: Modeling was a one-time thing for the oh-so-pretty Sam, who also made his way back to Ohio.
Up next: Now serving as the assistant football coach at McKinley, he's become the team's whipping boy (though he and Rachel seem very chummy and he has expressed some semblance of hope for Mercedes).
Quinn (Dianna Agron)
What happened: She hasn't been seen in forever but returns to Ohio with Puck (but no sign of little Beth).
Up next: Also helping with recruitment, she brings the wise voice of reason to New Directions. And let's talk about Quinn, Brittany and Santana's cover of "99 Problems." Welcome back, Quinn!
Puck (Mark Salling)
What happened: The soldier is still in the military (the uniform does look good on him).
Up next: Attention! Recruitment!
Will (Matthew Morrison)
What happened: After Sue succeeded in axing glee club, she helped get Will a job as the coach of New Directions rival Vocal Adrenaline. Also, son Danny is cute as a button — but wife Emma is MIA.
Up next: He helped reinvigorate Rachel and move her into his former office — where he always thought Finn would take over. After another perfectly Will pep talk with Rachel, he's going to have to work that same magic and emotionally connect with Vocal Adrenaline if he has plans of taking home the trophy against New Directions and the Warblers.
Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch)
What happened: Got rid of New Directions only to see Rachel revive it.
Up next: Not falling in love with Michael Bolton and, to hear her tell it, taking down Rachel and New Directions again in a way that's worse than the past five seasons tormenting Will.
Read more 'Glee's' Final Season Details Revealed
The recruitment process for Rachel and company wasn't a total bust. The glee club succeeded in adding five new members:
Roderick (Noah Guthrie): The "fat kid" senior finds solace in music and has some huge pipes. He auditions with a cover of "Mustang Sally" that begs the question: Why didn't Glee bring this kid in sooner?! It's a nice touch that Rachel discovers him after hearing Roderick sing through the vents in a solid nod to Glee's pilot when Will discovered Finn after hearing him sing in the shower.
Jane (Samantha Ware): Her family has roots at Dalton Academy but while she wins the lawsuit to enroll in the all-boys school, the Warblers — despite her killer audition — ultimately vote against having her join the club. Although Blaine puts his job on the line to overturn his club's decision, Jane turns to Rachel — whom Blaine introduced her to in a bid to help her win over the Warblers — and ultimately joins New Directions.
Spencer (Marshall Williams): McKinley's resident football stud is openly gay and well beyond Kurt 2.0. He's confident and a bit of a snob — and unwilling to be bribed after Sue tries to enlist him to spy on the glee club in a bid to end it again.
Mason (Billy Lewis Jr.) and Madison (Laura Dreyfuss): The male cheerleader has a bit of a Flowers in the Attic relationship with his twin sister, Madison. They're both super preppy and the children of Up With People parents.
What did you think of Glee's return? Sound off in the comments section below. Glee airs Fridays on Fox.