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McKinley High prepares to pull back the curtains on West Side Story on this week’s Glee, but before Opening Night can come leads Rachel and Blaine struggle to find their on-stage chemistry, a daunting task as both characters are still virgins.
The hour continued to explore Finn’s post-graduation uncertainty, Puck’s good guy streak and introduced new Warbler Sebastian (Grant Gustin) as the bulk of “The First Time” episode focused on just that for couples Kurt and Blaine as well as Rachel and Finn. Here are The Hollywood Reporter’s top moments from “The First Time.”
[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode.]
FINN AND RACHEL
After director Artie force Rachel and Blaine to ponder how believable their performance in a story about sexual awakening will be when they each lack experience, Rachel turns to Finn for help. During their dinner date – in which Finn accidentally serves a vegan Rachel meat – Rachel spoils an intimate fireside moment when she confesses she “has to get this done” before Opening Night and that she can’t play a girl in a story about sexual awakening if “I’m not woken up myself.”
After a stellar Opening Night, Rachel finds an Finn home alone and upset after Ohio State recruiter Cooter (Eric Bruskotter) told him that his football career would end in high school. “It means I’m going to be stuck here forever,” he tells her. “I’m not a good enough quarterback to get a scholarship, I’m not a good enough singer to get into NYATA. It’s all over for me.” Rachel comes to his side and tells him that his dreams are she’ll help him find new ones. She apologizes for using him and admits to sometimes getting lost in her ambition and now “she’s just a girl, here with a boy she loves” before they head off to bed.
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BLAINE AND KURT (AND SEBASTIAN)
The episode opens with Blaine and Kurt – who wonders if he’s boring — having a frank conversation about their love life, agreeing that taking things slow works best for them. However, after Blaine meets new Warbler Sebastian, that notion flies out the window as Kurt reads the very obvious writing on the wall that Sebastian is interested in his boyfriend. The two take an adventurous Sebastian up on his invitation to head to local gay bar Scandals. After spending much of the night dancing with Sebastian, a tipsy Blaine comes on strong with Kurt, suggesting they cross the first of their “many firsts” off Kurt’s bucket list in the back seat. An upset Kurt rejects him for all the right reasons, noting that he want their first time to be special rather than after Blaine’s been drinking and has spent the night dancing with another guy.
After Opening Night, the couple has a sweet heart-to-heart – that’s also fun when Kurt ribs Blaine for making out with Rachel the last time he was drunk – and the two share a kiss that encapsulates everything Artie noted Blaine and Rachel lacked. The couple winds up skipping Artie’s afterparty where they share a night together.
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‘WEST SIDE STORY’
Scenes from the school’s rendition of West Side Story played out throughout the episode and were intercut with various story lines. Santana and Rachel’s “A Boy Like That” doubled for Blaine and Sebastian’s coffee “date,” while “One Hand, One Heart” provided the back drop for Rachel and Finn, Blaine and Kurt’s (respective) nights together. “America,” meanwhile, played out in full with Santana completely captivating as Anita. (Meanwhile, Rory and Puck’s Spanish accents provided some priceless laughs.)
Also, kudos to the writers for finding a way to bring the Warblers back – with Blaine delivering tickets to the show to his pals over at Dalton. The Warblers’ performance of Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” was among the young season’s best.
MINOR MOMENTS: ARTIE, MIKE, PUCK, KAROFSKY
It was nice to see Artie able to stand on his own (pardon the bad pun) as the main director of West Side Story. After the cast thanks him for his efforts, Artie notes that when he’s in a chair, it’s hard to ever feel like a grownup as everyone is always doing things for you. He tells the cast that directing was the first time he’s ever truly felt like an adult and that it was “the greatest gift you could ever give a guy.”
A furious Mr. Chang confronted his son, Mike, for lying to him about his participation in the school musical. During their confrontation, Mike defends his dream of becoming a professional dancer even if he has to pay for college himself. While his father disowns him, Mrs. Chang continues to support her son, beaming as she watches him perform in West Side Story. Harry Shum Jr. nailed every scene.
Puck, meanwhile, continued his recent good guy streak when he questions Finn – who turns to his football teammate for condom advice — whether or not he’s cheating on Rachel. He confesses that while he’s happy for Finn, he always thought Rachel’s firs time would be with him.
Karofsky and Kurt share a sweet moment at Scandals where the former bully admits he feels accepted at the Lima gay bar where he’s a “bear cub.” The two bond over the small steps in their individual journeys and toast to taking baby steps.
Coach Beiste and Ohio State recruiter Cooter also got some key direction from Artie, with former Emmy nominee Dot Marie Jones delivering some of her finest work to date on the series.
What were your top moments from Tuesday’s Glee? Is Sebastian still a threat to Kurt and Blaine? How will sex change Finn and Rachel’s relationship? Did you like Mike’s teary moments?
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit
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