September 26, 2013 7:09pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee' Season 5 Premiere: Finn's Shadow Looms Over a Cheerful Beginning
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Glee's season five premiere, titled "Love, Love, Love."]
Glee opened its fifth season Thursday with the first of a two-part Beatles tribute. While the hour was an upbeat one that included multiple songs from the Fab Four, the passing of star Cory Monteith loomed large over the new season.
To open the season, Rachel covers "Yesterday" after hearing the Funny Girl star and producer say she may be perfect for the part -- but that she's also a great risk and may be "too green" for it. It's a fitting song choice, given Monteith's July passing. Knowing star Lea Michele had the weight of her boyfriend and co-star's death on her shoulders during this performance illustrates just what a professional she is. A nice touch, she looks at her phone to find an image of the original New Directions -- with Finn -- for inspiration. That would be the only mention or reference to the late actor, who died July 13 at the age of 31.
Producers noted that they had to slightly tweak the first two episodes to address Monteith's passing. The long-in-the-works Beatles episodes had already been written before their star's passing. Monteith's Finn Hudson was named co-coach of New Directions in the fourth season finale, and his absence was not addressed during the premiere.
Here's a closer look at what happened during the episode:
Kitty and Artie
Artie is going to the Brooklyn Film Academy and thanks Kitty for helping him be honest with his mother about his future, and a new couple is created. Enter Bree (recurring player Erinn Westbrook) the new mean girl on the Cheerios, who is out to destroy Kitty. Kitty clarifies that she and Artie are a couple, but needs status at McKinley to survive, and he (foolishly) agrees to go along with it. Their secret romance winds up being cute, and they have some chemistry together during a performance of "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." Later, Tina encourages Artie to find his self-respect and make Kitty be honest about the nature of their relationship. After Tina outs the new couple, Kitty explains that she did it because she wanted to be sure of her feelings for the graduating senior.
Rachel and Santana
In New York, Santana takes Rachel to The Spotlight Diner, a greasy spoon where she's been working as a waitress -- and paying her dues. Rachel winds up showcasing her talent with an impromptu performance of "A Hard Day's Night" when the Funny Girl producer (played by Nurse Jackie's Peter Facinelli) tells her, "I'm not saying you're not a star, I'm saying I'm not sure just yet." (Worth noting: the Funny Girl lead is played by Ringer's Ioan Gruffudd.)
Blaine and Kurt
Before heading back to NYADA, Kurt spends his last days of vacation with Blaine, who vows never to cheat on him again. They recommit to be exclusive -- and celebrate with "Got to Get You Into My Life." Blaine announces to New Directions that he's going to propose, but only Sam is initially receptive to the idea. Blaine asks for everyone's help, including Vocal Adrenaline, the Warblers and more of their competition. "I want this to be more than just an ordinary proposal. I want this to be a cultural statement," he says. Blaine sees his plan as a metaphor for politics, sexuality, religion and more. He breaks into "Help" after Artie says what everyone else is thinking -- he's too young. Later, Burt drives his son to what he knows is a surprise marriage proposal, but Kurt has his reservations, also believing that they're too young. Burt continues to be the world's most perfect father, and explains that he doesn't regret getting married at 22. He encourages his son to make his own decision after hearing what Blaine has to say. The surprise proposal has Rachel and Santana back in Ohio with Mercedes and includes the cover of "All You Need is Love." "All I've ever wanted to do is spend my life loving you," Blaine tells him as he proposes marriage. Kurt -- who looked terrified during the highly choreographed proposal -- winds up accepting, and Glee's central couple is now officially engaged. This marks the second gay marriage proposal of the new fall TV season, following Wednesday's Modern Family premiere in which Mitch and Cam also got engaged in a landmark episode.
Becky confessed to bringing a gun to school, and now Sue is not only back but now principal at McKinley, after planting awful material in Figgins' office. It's a trial gig, but it could become a permanent one. Figgins, meanwhile, is stuck being a janitor. Coach Roz and Will fear for their job with Sue's new position of power. In a twist, Sue tells Roz and Will that she needs both of their teams to be successful -- and then they'll be out of their jobs.
Setting up next week's episode, Blaine recognizes that Tina is lonely and gives her the opportunity to ask one of their New Directions cohorts to prom. She picks Sam.
What did you think of Glee's fifth season premiere? Do you think producers should have included a mention to where Finn was? Hit the comments below with your thoughts.