Glee season premiere recap: New York State of Mind | EW.com

TV Recaps | Glee

Glee season premiere recap: New York State of Mind

Rachel learns New York is not for the faint of heart, and the Glee club holds auditions for new members

Glee

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE Wade, Brittany, Tina and Blaine compete to be "The New Rachel." None of them are. 

(Mike Yarish/Fox)

Glee

Ep. 1 | Aired Sep 13

5-6-7-8: Right from the top, we realized last night that the big-voiced girl from Lima was going to have a tough time on the streets of New York – or at least, on the barre opposite NYADA dance coach Cassandra July (a surprisingly stellar Kate Hudson). Rachel had trouble keeping up in dance class, and with a new nickname, Schwimmer, Cassandra ensured that Iowa Ohio’s big star questioned whether she belonged.

For me, it was an exciting opening to a pretty great episode of Glee. There were just about a bazillion questions going into tonight – What’s with Kurt? What about Finchel? Will I still even like the Glee club? – that for the most part, the show answered, and set up what can hopefully be a pretty good McKinley/New York balance going forward.

While Rachel dealt with feeling small, the remaining national champs back at McKinley were feeling like a pretty big deal – and it became obvious the Nationals win had gone straight to their heads: Sam did Taylor Lautner impressions for swooning girls, and Tina had a freshman personal assistant. She also got an ill-fated Mike Chang tattoo. Apparently they have since broken up because long-distance stinks. But all the check-ins and updates led to the key question of the episode: Who’s the new Rachel, a.k.a the new star of the club?

It’s a valid question. Many television critics wondered the same thing over the summer. Tina, Blaine, Brittany – not to mention new member Wade/Unique – all thought that they were destined to be the next great iTunes seller. They decided to settle it the only way anyone settled anything June – August 2012: With a “Call Me Maybe” sing-off.

The singing/dance-off (which Blaine won), judged by Artie, was amusing, although, much like Carly Rae Jepsen’s follow-up singles, not altogether impressive. Watching it, I felt the beginning of a panic start to creep in – none of them had Lea Michele’s voice, and her presence was missed. Surely, I thought to myself, Ryan Murphy and Co. have something up their sleeves.

Enter Marley (Melissa Benoist), one of the new cast members this season. She’s a friendly sophomore …with a huge secret. It turns out her mom is McKinley’s lunch lady, and the newly-mean Glee club kids regularly make fun of her, egged on by new Cheerio/Regina George wannabe, Kitty. I understand that high school kids can be mean, but this felt altogether cruel on a level we haven’t experienced thus far on the show (Save for some Jesse St. James egg-throwing). I’ve got my eye on you, Kitty. Also, did it feel to anyone else a bit like a rehash of the Coach Beiste plotline? Obviously, we haven’t seen the drama play out yet, but so far, I feel like the whole “Acceptance” storyline has been done.

NEXT: Rachel’s bathroom run-in with a hot upperclassman

Originally posted September 14 2012 — 3:48 AM EDT

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