7:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee' Recap: Breaking Up is Hard to Do (Video)
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's Glee episode, "The Break-Up.]
Glee's fourth season turn into adulthood continued Thursday when couples exploring long-distance relationships were reunited for an emotional episode fittingly titled "The Break-Up."
Thus far this season, Glee has focused on what happens to couples when one moves on and the other either remains in high school or stagnant, and Glee made good on that in a big way, reuniting couples giving long-distance relationships a go. Santana (Naya Rivera) returns to Lima from the University of Louisville to visit girlfriend Brittany (Heather Morris), while a sad Blaine (Darren Criss) heads to see Kurt (Chris Colfer) in New York, where Finn has already arrived to surprise Rachel (Lea Michele).
After realizing that he hasn't been happy with the growing emotional distance between them, Blaine confesses that he was with someone. "I was by myself and I needed you and you weren't there," he tells him of the fling with his apparent Facebook "friend" Eli. Kurt, shattered, says he'd never betray their bond and later rejects Blaine's apology via flower bouquet.
Santana, meanwhile, address the couple's long-distance woes, which have included being too busy to support Brittany with her academic troubles. Confessing she hasn't been a good girlfriend -- and that she'll always love her -- Santana suggests they do the "mature thing since she knows she won't always be able to come home on weekends to help the couple maintain the relationship. What's more, she admits that she had an "energy exchange" -- lesbian code for pre-cheating -- with another girl and doesn't want to be the couple that sticks it out until things get weird and someone cheats.
Things don't go well for Rachel and Finn, either, with the former vowing to help her newly resurfaced boyfriend find a path since his time in the Army was cut short due to an unfortunate accident in which he shot himself in the thigh and discharged following a 16-day stint.
Touring NYADA and the nightlife scene -- including Rachel's chemistry with Brody (Dean Geyer) -- Finn realizes that he'll never fit in there. "I used to be the man of her dreams but now we're not even in the same world," he tells himself. He confesses as much to her and questions the nature of Rachel's relationship with Brody. Learning that she moved on after he went MIA for four months, he sneaks out before she wakes up, forcing Rachel to fly home and find him on the McKinley stage where they first met.
Their emotional confrontation ends with Rachel confessing that no matter how successful she becomes, she'll always be the same "moon-eyed girl" who freaked him out the first time they met but she can't continue to do the push and pull anymore. "You are my first love and I want more than anything for you to be my last. But I can't do this anymore; at least not now. We're done," she tells him.
Finn is left alone in the spotlight at McKinley, pondering what he'll do with his life.
Elsewhere at McKinley, Will (Matthew Morrison) learns that he landed a spot on the blue ribbon panel to improve arts education and is off to Washington and invites Emma to come along, taking a sabbatical from the job she adores at McKinley. Upset that he thinks she'd follow him along like a puppy, she storms off, leaving their relationship in limbo.
And because something must have been in the Lima water, Jake (Jacob Artist) sees Kitty's true colors after her cruel staged Rapture and ends that nonsense after she takes aim at Marley (Melissa Benoist), leaving the door open for a potential pairing.
All told, the episode was one huge step forward into adulthood for Glee and set the stage for Rachel, Kurt and Santana to explore who they are outside of who they are within a couple while allowing Finn, Blaine and Brittany to focus on them as they search for their identities (and hopefully graduate for second-year senior Brittany).
What did you think of the "Break-Up"? Do you think there's hope for Will and Emma? Should Finn take over New Directions if Mr. Schue goes to Washington? Do you think there's hope for the newly split couples? Hit the comments with your thoughts.
Glee returns Nov. 8 on Fox. Check out a promo -- featuring Finn as the Grease director and the return of Mercedes and Mike Chang! -- for the upcoming episodes, below.