Class Discussion: 4×14 “I Do” Reaction

Editors’ Note: episode reactions at Deconstructing Glee come from a rotating panel of contributors from all around the globe. Let us know if you’d like to be part of our Secret Society of Superheroes, here.

This week, most members of fandom, even those who do their best to be unspoiled may have come across a spoiler or two. Almost all of us knew that the stories this week would be focusing on the couples, and for some of us, we knew the details of what happened during the wedding, the only thing left hanging was that someone’s secret would be revealed.

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 11.36.28 AMWe open at the Lima Bean where the place is completely overrun with hearts to the point that it almost feels like overcompensation. The decor suggests themes of pretenses and once we go into Rachel and Finn’s conversation the same themes are established.

In the first scene, Finn is the one who continually states the truth. He confesses to Rachel that he kissed Ms. Pillsbury and when Rachel tries to make the situation about her, Finn flat out calls her on it.

Rachel, on the other hand, chooses to maintain pretenses, continuously mentioning Brody and her life in New York.

The same can be said of the other characters once we delve deeper into the episode.

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 12.57.39 PMQuinn, Kurt and Santana all believe themselves to have moved on to bigger and better things and claim that they’ve adapted to the world around them. Will isn’t working under the same pretenses, but he does seem to be living under a blanket of “everything is okay”.

It’s those who were left in McKinley that seem to have a better grasp of the truth.

While not all of them are willing to face it in the beginning, choosing to play along with everyone else rather than face the truth, they are eventually the ones who have the courage to be honest with how they feel—even if it comes at a cost.

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 11.37.38 AMEmma is brought to her revelation through an encounter with Sue and walks out on her wedding.

Blaine and Finn play along with Kurt and Rachel’s insistence that their relationship is platonic, but before the episode ends, Blaine and Finn are both equally insistent that there’s still more going on between them and their respective exes.

Marley, Ryder and Jake are all aware of the truths hidden just below the surface of their relationship to each other. For a while they were also willing to play under the same blanket of pretense that has affected the others, but each of their truths still come out.

Quinn and Santana have no one from McKinley to tell them the truth so they remain within their bubble.

Room 206?

Room 206? Perfect.

In the end, it seems though even though the magic of pretense has a lasting effect on those who have escaped McKinley (Rachel leaving while Finn is still asleep, Kurt continuing to insist that he and Blaine are just friends and Will moping) Rachel’s return to New York is able to influence a truth to come out— Brody is implied to be a paid escort and Rachel appears to be pregnant.

The episode as a whole also had a more “adult” feel that reminded me of the relationship dynamics of Friends. Other things I noticed were the continuing parallels of past events versus current events as well as the growing up that the old members are doing versus the growing up that the new members are doing. It’s interesting to note that between the two, it actually seems that the younger members are the ones who are doing the actual growing up and not just trying to act grown up.

Aside from the “pretense” themes, one of my favorite parts about the episode was all the one-liners that either explained something away or acknowledged a common observation of Glee. Some examples were:

  • “And all of the glee kids have dated so incestuously that I don’t even remember who can tolerate who anymore.”
  • “For everyone else who isn’t out with Asian Bird Flu,” which explained why some of the kids were missing.
  • “He’ll have you singing a stripped down acoustic version of ‘I Will Survive’ in front of a choir room full of teenagers with meaningful looks on their faces.”
  • “Okay, I’m going to ignore the subtly racist overtones of that comment.”
  • The creepiness of Tina’s crush being acknowledged wrapped up through the “Vaporape comment”.
  • The use of fandom terms such as “We are endgame.”

The three-week hiatus is sure to produce a lot of speculation of what’s coming up next. Although the episode didn’t end with a cliffhanger for most characters, a lot of things are still left in the air. What are your thoughts on the episode? How long do you think the older members of New Directions keep up pretenses? What do you think of the growing up that’s been happening with the characters outside of Lima versus the ones who are still in McKinley? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the characters and other themes you may have picked up from the episode!

This week’s post written by Deej, Secret Society of Superheroes
Age: 28
Location: Philippines
Primary Glee interests: Main characters of interest would be Blaine and Kurt with particular focus on their background, their thought processes and their relationship with each other and the other characters of Glee. I also have a soft spot for Santana, Rachel and Finn and their evolution throughout the seasons.
What else: Identifies as a gay wannabe pop culture analyst and current corporate barbie. I work in marketing so the way that the people behind the show, the network, the press and the fans interact is continuously fascinating for me. Other topics of interest also include lgbt issues and media’s influence on society.
Also lives here:

7 thoughts on “Class Discussion: 4×14 “I Do” Reaction

  1. I am having feelings about Blaine in this episode. And how eager he is to say whatever he needs to say to make Kurt comfortable. And whatever, right? Because it’s Kurt. But it scares the crap out of me, because if it ever isn’t Kurt, Blaine appears to be so so sos willing to let go of himself.
    I do agree that the feel of the episode was a lot more grown up than usual, which is probably why we didn’t see much of the new kids (except Jake and Marley and Ryder who were kind of showing off how young they all are).

  2. I’m with you re: Blaine. On the one hand, it’s nice to see him truly happy, and I get that he’s letting Kurt take the lead? And maybe part of it is not seeing each other in so long, or being together in that way.

    But at the end of the day, Kurt’s sort of treating him like a meaningless hook up (at least pretending to? does calling it “bros helping bros” make a difference?). Which is what Blaine’s last sexual encounter was with a guy . . . And Blaine, while being 100% certain he’s to be with Kurt forever—is acting with the kind of certainty Tina had last week. And let’s just say, for the hell of it, Adam and Kurt work really well together. How long would Blaine keep on in what would become a delusion? And yeah, I get Klaine is endgame, whatever. But it’s a little scary how much he’s willing to do, how far he’s willing to go—that leap onto the bed could be looked at more ominously, you know . . . But maybe that’s what having faith is all about? I dunno.

    And I loved the episode, I loved so many things.

  3. I disagree with the assessments that Blaine is letting go of himself for happiness with Kurt or that Kurt is using him as a hookup without feelings. They clearly still care about each other; we’ve seen this since “Gleese.” I think Kurt is trying to protect his heart, trying not to be hurt again, but I think he also knows that Blaine and he are, as Finn put it, “endgame.” They’re in it for the long haul, the two of them. The expression on Blaine’s face when he agrees with Kurt that they’re just there as friends as they walk off the stage, he knows this is a weird bump in their journey together.

  4. //In the first scene, Finn is the one who continually states the truth. He confesses to Rachel that he kissed Ms. Pillsbury and when Rachel tries to make the situation about her, Finn flat out calls her on it. Rachel, on the other hand, chooses to maintain pretenses, continuously mentioning Brody and her life in New York.//

    Wait, really? Finn brings up Brody *first*, and then when Rachel answers his implicit question (“I didn’t think you’d want to spend your first Valentine’s Day apart”), he gets angry at her because he doesn’t want to hear about Brody, *despite the fact that he asked*. She doesn’t bring up Brody “continuously”–she brings him up in response to Finn, and then in response to Finn’s characterization of himself as an “awful person” for having kissed Emma. She says that perhaps his *incredibly obvious* upset at her living with Brody prompted Finn to kiss Emma (which it did), and he slaps her down for being self-centered. “Not everything’s about you” – except Finn wants a pretense of friendship which is entirely one-sided, where she listens to his problems and hears about his life, and he doesn’t have to listen to hers or acknowledge that she has a life outside of him, because after all, she’s still his girlfriend. He did the same thing in Glease, where he tells her he wants to be her friend, who she comes to with “every little problem”–until he realizes that she’s crying over Brody instead of him, and then he tells her that they shouldn’t even speak to each other. Rachel isn’t “maintaining pretenses” when she tries to talk about Brody–he’s an important part of her life that Finn chooses to ignore entirely.

    And, of course, it’s Finn who is carrying out a pretense (rather than stating the truth) in saying that kissing Emma wasn’t about her–his kissing Emma came after Emma told him to move on, because he was moping about Rachel having moved in with Brody.

  5. I guess where I’m coming from is that I never thought that Finn kissed Emma because he was upset about Rachel and Brody. I read it as two separate things. Yes, Finn was upset about Rachel and Brody, but when he kissed Emma it was something that Finn did without thought. We’ve seen him do that repeatedly. He has good intentions but the way he goes about making things better don’t always translate into actions that can be considered “right”.

    And yes, Finn was self-centered in the scene, and yes, the friendship does seem one-sided, but Finn never pretended that he was being a better friend than Rachel and he outright says that he doesn’t want to hear about Brody. He’s being hypocritical but he isn’t trying to pretend that he isn’t upset or that he doesn’t need Rachel more than Rachel needs him at the moment.

    The pretense I’m referring to with Rachel is that she has a tendency to pretend that her life is the better than what it actually is. She did it when she was unhappy in NYADA by telling Kurt that she was having the best time when she wasn’t, and right now we don’t really know if she is happy with her situation with Brody since the way her story is being told is through her statements (“Yes, I am happy”) but with additional commentary by the characters closest to her – Kurt and Finn (“This is how I know you so are you sure you’re happy?”).

    She has every right to change and grow up, but right now we don’t know if it’s something she wants for herself or if it’s being forced on her by her situation. I think it’s very telling that she likened her living in New York with Sex and the City. She’s living the life she thinks she’s supposed to be living vs what she actually wants to live.

    Rachel’s journey has been one of the more interesting storylines to me to be honest .

  6. I don’t think Finn kissing Emma was entirely about Rachel moving in with Brody, but it was definitely a contributing factor. “She changed her Facebook relationship status to ‘shacked up.’ Mine’s still ‘heartbroken.’ I haven’t been interested in other women since Rachel and I broke up.” I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first woman he expressed interest in after that was the same woman who prompted him to talk about his feelings around Rachel moving in with Brody, and then made him feel like he had something to contribute while he was feeling like a “man-boy” (in contrast with Rachel, who sees herself, and who he sees, as having an adult relationship). Yes, he was trying to make Emma feel better as well, but it wasn’t a selfless act devoid of attraction.

    As he says to Rachel, “We’d been spending all this time together, and then…she was there, and I just felt the need to… and I kissed her.” At Emma’s prompting, he opened himself up the idea of being a couple with someone other than Rachel, and then he spent a bunch of time being a team with Emma, both in glee club and outside it, making the groom’s decisions on wedding details along with the bride. So yes, not entirely about Rachel moving in with Brody, but definitely affected by it–not everything’s about Rachel, but this is, at least partially.

    //Finn never pretended that he was being a better friend than Rachel and he outright says that he doesn’t want to hear about Brody. He’s being hypocritical but he isn’t trying to pretend that he isn’t upset or that he doesn’t need Rachel more than Rachel needs him at the moment.//

    He outright says that he doesn’t want to hear about Brody *after* he asks about Brody, though. He pretends he wants to know, up until the point where he doesn’t get the answer he wants. (Presumably the answer he wanted was, “We’re not together on Valentine’s Day because we broke up.”) Again, he did the same thing in Glease when discovered Rachel crying. He thought she was crying about him, so he told her that he wanted to be her friend who she talks to about her problems. When he discovered she was crying over Brody, he didn’t want to talk to her at all. He pretended to care about “all of her problems”, when he really only cared about the ones surrounding him. In the scene under discussion, he pretended to care about her relationship with Brody (“I half-expected that Brody guy to be with you. I didn’t think you’d want to spend your first Valentine’s Day apart”), but he really didn’t.

    //The pretense I’m referring to with Rachel is that she has a tendency to pretend that her life is the better than what it actually is.//

    But in that scene, she didn’t. She said, “[Spending Valentine’s Day apart] is actually a little bit of a point of contention between us.” That’s not pretending her life is better than it is, that’s admitting to conflict and imperfection.

    Like, I don’t disagree with your larger point about Rachel, but I think the dynamic you’re discussing (openness vs. pretense) is actually flipped in that particular scene. In the opening scene, I think it’s Finn who’s pretending and Rachel who’s attempting to be honest, as far as Finn will allow her to be, because Finn is still attempting to pretend that he wants him and Rachel to be friends when really, as he admits later, he still thinks of her as his girlfriend and sees her entire life outside of him as temporary and unreal.

  7. I think the statement about Rachel living the life she thinks she should be living (i.e. Sex and the City, Runaway Bride, etc.) is dead on. She is still an insecure YOUNG woman who is trying to figure life out. She has been defined by men throughout the 3 1/2 seasons of Glee, whether by her “two gay dads sense” or by how men (including Kurt & Mr. Schue) define her, so it is a very interesting long story arc of self discovery. She seems to want to prove her maturity to Finn, but none of it rings true, yet.

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