4.04: The Breakup

Brief mention of spoilers for 4.07 herein. 

Will and Emma

Can anyone tell what that broach is that Emma is wearing? Is it a flamingo? Because it’s making me think of a stork. And what is in its beak?

Will seems to be saying he’s like Blaine. He can’t be alone. Emma is ignoring this. It’s hard to have watched the rest of the episode without thinking she really should give some thought to going with him. Will grownups be able to handle it better? Bearing in mind, of course, that Will was Emma’s first love and Emma is Will’s second. They don’t have a lot more experience to go on than the other couples, despite their ages.

Kurt and Blaine

Kurt and Blaine lived in each other’s pockets for a long time, and the distance is harder than anticipated.

When I was 17, my boyfriend went to university 1000 miles away from me. I remember this because The Proclaimers had their I’m Gonna Be single on the radio then and it often made me burst into tears, wishing he was the guy who’d walk 1000 miles (or fly, take the train, something) to be with me. We were no engame love story — just two kids from the same town with complementary neurologies and interest in working through his mother’s copy of The Joy of Sex like it was some kind of exceptionally pleasurable science experiment. He was also really good at helping me cope with other things.

So with him gone, it was awful. My whole world was the same, just minus him. He didn’t get a phone in his dorm room, and teenagers didn’t have cell phones back then. Neither of us was good at talking on the phone. He couldn’t tell me how he missed me (and I know now, he did) and I couldn’t tell him how I needed a lot of reassurance. He was busy. I became convinced he was fucking around. Someday, we’ll have beer and I’ll show you a photo of him and you can see just how likely it was he was getting laid like a rock star. We lasted 4 weeks.

When I told my mother I was gay, she told me “sex isn’t everything in a relationship.” Well, I’ve been married for 7 years now, and she’s right. But she’s wrong too, because she was trying to tell me that it was nothing. And it’s definitely not nothing. And depending on who you are, and what sex means to you, the lack of it can be catastrophic.

That is not the case for Kurt. That is, as we’re learning, the case for Blaine. And there are a million reasons this may be the case: he may need the reassurance/approval of it. He may have a compulsive streak. He may be chasing the feeling he gets when he’s with Kurt. Maybe nobody ever touches him anymore now that Kurt’s gone.  (links to some excellent meta on Tumblr)

Hooking up is really easy for teenagers these days. I don’t remember a ton of it when I was a teen — making out usually meant you were then going out (however briefly) — there was an implied commitment. But talking to my friends’ teenagers, I know now that sex can very well not mean commitment even at young ages.  And that’s boys and girls. Gay men have a whole culture built around hook ups, including an iPhone app disapproved of by Paris Hilton. Blaine, again, unlike Kurt, has a history of reaching out to the larger gay community (that’s how he met Jeremiah).

It’s not a huge stretch that he’d end up in someone else’s bed.

Spoilers below — highlight to read:

And I agree with LettersFromTitan that it’s very possibly not just once. In fact, the spoilers from 4.07 would suggest more than one hook up in Blaine’s recent history. As people have noted, in the leaked script, the RANDOM GUY says he doesn’t look like his profile picture. It could be a joke, but Eli. C’s profile picture is of a lighthouse. Any port in a storm?

If sex to you means acceptance and reassurance and approval, and you’re not getting sex, then you’re not getting your dose of approval and acceptance and reassurance. And if your boyfriend is legitimately busy and distracted and trying so, so hard to make something of himself (and possibly using business to distract him until you arrive in just. two. weeks.) it’s easy to understand how you might be tempted more than the average bear.

How will they fix this? God knows. Especially with a first love, cheating is hard to get around. Because you’re used to (and have probably fetishised) the notion that neither of you have had anyone else. Will Kurt attempt to even the score? Will something catastrophic happen to put things in perspective and draw them together again? And will they ride out their time apart as friends, or not speaking? I’m kind of dying to know.

In my mind, Kurt not taking Blaine’s phone calls has a eerie foreshadowing to it, because of the association with David Karofsky, especially given that Blaine sang the song that narrated Karofsky’s suicide attempt. I don’t think they’re going to redo the suicide plotline – but they’re definitely wading into depression and self-harm territory with Blaine.

There’s also the inverse of Kurt’s “dalliance” happening here. Kurt, who was once isolated by Blaine’s attempt to learn how to be alone, is now forgetting to make Blaine feel special. He’s not even saying “I love you”. So the one upside here, is that given some time, Kurt should be able to understand this.

Finn and Rachel

We have another lack of communication with Finchel. It’s not like Klaine’s — this is imposed by Finn for reasons unknown to other mammals. He felt that being a man meant making Rachel’s decisions for her. He felt that removing himself from the equation would make him a man.

And the gun named Rachel would only be less subtle if he shot himself in the foot.

And here we get one of the best scenes Glee has ever done. Lea Michele absolutely rocked the scene in the auditorium. And we learned that Rachel has grown up. Not because she says she has but because she knows now that she owns her freedom. She doesn’t need someone making her decisions and she knows as well that Finn is going to have to find his own way too.

Where do they go from here? I think things look good for Finchel. Rachel has single-handedly put an end to their most toxic dynamics and seems to be quite ready to let the chips fall as they may. Finn, at this point, is going to have to seek his dream — one assumes — at Hummel Tires and Lube. Or get over the idea that hot dog vendors are losers.

Brittany and Santana

Interesting that this is the couple who appear to be not hurting each other — well, not in the way the others are. There’s no yelling or lying or hiding here. Santana knows what she needs, communicates it, and tries to make sure she’s giving Brittany the ability to get what she needs too. Brittany knows she’s right — she said as much to Blaine earlier in the episode. She cries, but she doesn’t argue.

This is a seriously refreshing change from most tv lesbian couples who seem to hate each other with far more passion than they ever have for fucking.

This is the first time I’ve really felt Brittana. They love each other, and they’re honest. Rule Brittana.

Jake and Kitty and Marley (Jarlitty)

Have I ever mentioned I’m obsessed with the end times? I took a course called The Apocalyptic Consciousness in university. I wrote a paper on end-times cults inspired by the appearance of comet Hale-Bopp, and another on Marian end-time cults.

Suddenly, I LOVE KITTY.

I like Jake and Marley marginally more this episode. This is slow going. I feel like Sue — no idea how to pick on Marley, or like her, or anything.

How is it that Puck recalls his parents fighting about some tramp waitress when Jake’s mom was a real estate agent until recently?


Can we talk about the tiny, bow tied Asian screaming in agony about being left behind? Or both of them?


24 thoughts on “4.04: The Breakup

  1. I had assumed Puck had been very young when he heard his parents fighting about Jake’s mom. His dad left when he was ten years old, so my head canon limited how recently it would have been. If you’re suddenly a single mother with zero support, sometimes you have to go out of your way to get your life together for your kid. Fifteen years ago, in a decent economy, it was a lot easier to make that happen.

  2. I don’t think I can do white text for spoilers here, but actually for 4×07 based on what Blaine apparently says to Sam (according to the person that shared the script), that right after he did it, he realized that he and Kurt were meant to be, kind of does suggest to me that this guy was the only one. I think the profile picture comment is probably a joke on the dude’s part because he can see how upset Blaine is.

    But other than that, I agree with most of what you have to say. There is the potential to go really, really dark with this and I wonder if Glee will.

  3. I just wonder why “Random guy” when the random guy has a name — actually, that might explain something. The formatting of the spoiler is all wrong, so it could have been an early draft?

  4. Or maybe just because the guy’s name isn’t important to Blaine? He says as much in the park scene. That it didn’t matter who it was with.

  5. Well, the people who know what an actual Glee script looks like (also when you compare the leaked pages to the scripts won in auctions) say it’s fake. The leaked pages suggest that Blaine ran out before anything happened (I thought) but Blaine calls whatever happened a hook-up (which is what making out, having sex? I always thought it meant making out but my American roommates said hooking up = sex) So I guess we need to wait for the next episode to find out where the boys stand (if it’s even addressed))

  6. Oh no, the leaked scene suggests he runs out afterwards. Rumpled bed clothes? Dude getting him a glass of water? After a hookup totally. I’ve been on the genuine side of the debate despite recognising the differences in formatting. I’m not sure how to explain away that it looks like a screenplay format from Scrivener and not like the final copies, except that there’s quite a lot of anecdotal to say the writers sometimes hand them new stuff at the last minute. It’s possible it wasn’t in the production draft, but happened anyway. The writing is just too much like actual Glee. As I said to a friend — if it’s a fake, I want to read that person’s fanfic. Even the stuff we could just barely see was right on the money. And now? It just seems too neat to not be true. But I suppose it’s a very long time to find out.

  7. I like Kitty too, and the whole Left Behind/Rapture club. There were a lot of odd little religious references throughout the ep, too, from Finn as Solomon to the auditorium as Jerusalem, where all roads lead back to.

    But yeah, with Blaine, it’s hard to see the photo of him and not see it as after sex . . . It’s a bummer. But then you think about the other characters on the show that have cheated, too–but it’s usually with others and not a stranger. Even so, having Blaine be the one who does this feels more shocking and serious. Geez, just a few episodes ago everyone was referring to him as the Last Sane Man, you know? It’s a far fall and I’m so curious about how they’ll handle it and what will be different from the treatment they’ve given this behavior as it has pertained to other characters . . .

  8. //Will seems to be saying he’s like Blaine. He can’t be alone. Emma is ignoring this. It’s hard to have watched the rest of the episode without thinking she really should give some thought to going with him.//

    But…why? The entire crux of the conflict between them is that Will is doing this to follow his dreams and ambitions, while completely ignoring Emma’s own ambitions and desires. He just assumes that she’ll go with him, and if she doesn’t, she isn’t supportive of his dreams–never mind the fact that, as Emma pointed out, if she follows him to Washington, Will will have his ambitions *and* Emma, while Emma will just have Will. Never mind that she’ll be the one who’s actually alone, while Will is off fulfilling those ambitions. Never mind that she supported his dreams by encouraging him to take the job in the first place.
    Even after the whole mess in “The Spanish Teacher”, which circled around Will taking his own passions and dreams and career seriously while completely dismissing Emma’s, he did that *yet again* by assuming that she’d be perfectly happy leaving the job that fulfills her so that she can watch him fulfill *his* dreams, and accusing her of being unsupportive when she doesn’t place him following his passion above her following her own.

    The “I thought you were supportive of this” line especially rubbed it in for me, because the last time this came up, in “The Spanish Teacher”, Will condensed all of the issues between him and Terri down to the fact that she didn’t believe in him, and blamed that for the downfall of their marriage. There are already some analogues between Will’s relationship with Terri and his relationship with Emma–particularly the whole thing where Terri was so terrified that Will would leave her if she couldn’t give him a baby that she faked a pregnancy, and then Will’s continual insistence that he and Emma were “starting a family soon!” before they’d even started having sex and even after Emma admitted that she might not be able to handle having a baby–and this seems to be one more. Obviously Terri set the bar for supporting his dream pretty low, but here Will set the bar it pretty fucking high, and made it completely one way–his dream, Emma’s support, with no consideration for the fact that ideally, it should go both ways.

    Yeah, she could consider going with him, but he could also consider not taking the job if being away from her for three months is that difficult for him. The latter didn’t even seem to occur to him, nor did the idea that she would want to reject the former. I don’t really think Emma is ignoring anything. He’s not saying he can’t be alone. He’s been alone before–the time following his divorce comes to mind, as does his relationship with Holly where she took for a few weeks to go do whatever. He *can* be alone, he just doesn’t *want* to be, as he explicitly says. And it doesn’t seem to occur to him that Emma has her own wants and needs. (And honestly, even if he *couldn’t* be alone, I don’t necessarily think that’s something that Emma should be enabling.)

  9. Re. Will and Emma:
    One of the consistent problems in their relationship is that Will tries to decide for Emma, because he knows better. The most blatant example was last season when Emma didn’t want Will to meet her parents. Will went behind her back to arrange a meeting, and Emma suffered because of it. He would have done the same thing with their wedding, held it in a forest, if Emma hadn’t set her foot down. I think Will makes up these perfect images in his head – perhaps he’s trying to follow the ‘regular’ script for the Good Guy, for the kind of man that he thinks he is and therefore also the way he thinks that he (and Emma as the Good Guy’s Girl) should behave. And that is not the way that Emma works. And he really should know that by now. Emma does what Emma thinks is right for them and for her, not what Will’s script dictates (“I just left my wife! We can be together!” “No we can’t, because you JUST left your wife”). If Emma following him to Washington was a precondition for him taking the job, then he should have talked to her about that BEFORE he applied, and not as an afterthought.

    So, erm, no. I don’t think Emma should give serious thought to following Will to Washington, at least not until he comes up with a better reason than “but you have tenure!”

    (Will, why do you think she got the tenured position? It’s because she actually likes her job, which means that leaving it is harder for her than it is for you, even if it’s just for a few months.)

    (Also, does this mean that Will is giving up his job at McKinley while he’s in Washington? Since he doesn’t have tenure? I mean, I’m guessing he’ll find it pretty easy to find a job at McKinley again afterwards, seeing as how he’s seemingly willing to teach just about any subject, but still…)

  10. The post above me makes some great points, but I also think it ignores a few key things. Will didn’t go behind Emma’s back about her parents because he “knows better.” He did it because he thought she was ashamed of him, and he wanted to prove himself. Emma wasn’t completely innocent in that situation either. If she had just told Will why she didn’t want him to meet her parents instead of being evasive, Will’s insecurities wouldn’t have built up so much.

    As for the most recent episode, I thought they were both right but also both wrong. Neither one of them took the time to hash out the details BEFORE Will actually sent in the application. Will shouldn’t have made assumptions, but if Emma was so dead set against going, she should’ve made that clear to Will from the get go.

    On Will/Emma, I actually think they were BOTH right but also both wrong.

  11. Just wanted to add that I don’t think the problem is that Will doesn’t CARE about what Emma wants and needs. His mistake was assuming that he knew what she wanted, and that’s why he was so taken aback when Emma made it clear that he was wrong. Will’s biggest problem is not thinking things through.

  12. //Will shouldn’t have made assumptions, but if Emma was so dead set against going, she should’ve made that clear to Will from the get go. //

    But why would it even occur to Emma that she would be expected to go in the first place? If my SI was applying for a job that meant they would have to go somewhere else for three months, it really would not occur to me that I would be expected take a leave of absence from my job to tag along.

  13. Oh, I agree that Will never intends to go behind Emma’s back. It just ends up being the thing he does, rather consistently, because he doesn’t think things through, and makes assumptions based on the script he is trying to follow, instead of actually looking at him and Emma and what is right for them as persons instead of as archetypes.

    But I agree with Kate – why would Emma even assume that Will wanted her to go? It’s three months, not a lifetime, and Washington is not the other side of the planet, they can still see each other on extended weekends. It really wouldn’t have occurred to me either, if I were in Emma’s place.

  14. I think, if my wife was thinking of doing something that required her to be away for 3 months, I would probably start a conversation about how we are going to deal with that. I wouldn’t stand in her way, but I’d want to have a conversation.
    There’s a real immaturity in any relationship where that didn’t happen as soon as it was a serious option.
    Relationships are hard, and Will and Emma are not good at it.

  15. /I think, if my wife was thinking of doing something that required her to be away for 3 months, I would probably start a conversation about how we are going to deal with that. I wouldn’t stand in her way, but I’d want to have a conversation./

    And you would be absolutely right. I would have loved it if either Will or Emma had done that. But having a conversation about ‘how are we as a couple going to deal with being apart’ is a completely different conversation than the one that starts with ‘you should go with me because that is the only option if you love me’. One is open-ended, the other is a foregone conclusion.

    I agree they both need to learn how to communicate clearly, and I think they’ve actually been working on that, Emma especially with her pamphlets last year – but Will also needs to stop assuming that he knows the right answers. You can’t develop a relationship together if you’re not willing to go into a discussion without knowing the conclusion beforehand.

    (I also think one of the reasons I’m so unwilling to give Will the benefit of the doubt here is that he tried guilting Emma into going with his “I thought you were happy for me”. Guilttripping is one of my personal triggers, which makes me give him a lot less leeway than is perhaps entirely fair.)

  16. “Can we talk about the tiny, bow tied Asian screaming in agony about being left behind? Or both of them?” DEAR LORD. Are you saying that the girl might represent Blaine’s condition on that episode? Because now that you drew attention to it, I can’t unsee. She’s the perfect representation of what Blaine’s doing.

  17. I’m so grateful to have discovered your blog. I’ve enjoyed browsing through the archives.

    I hadn’t made the connection between Blaine and Dottie. Now I can’t get it out of my mind. And in reading some of your past entries, I stumbled on the discussion of Blaine and his bow ties: https://deconstructingglee.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/mind-blown-blaines-collar/

    Very interesting. Especially in light of the fact that Blaine has not worn a bow tie since he asked Kurt for advice and was blown off and Sam told him to lose the bow tie. I was laughing that this is all Sam’s fault, but after reading your “Mind Blown” post, now I think there might be something to this.

    Excellent read!

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