‘Glee’ Recap: New Directions Searches for ‘The New Rachel’
Season four of ‘Glee’ is all about changes. Rachel (Lea Michele) is in the Big Apple dancing her heart out at NYADA, Kurt (Chris Colfer) is struggling to find his place in the world, the New Directions are on the hunt for a new star and new members — and some familiar faces are completely absent.
Things are off to a rough start for former New Directions alum Rachel Berry, who is being taunted by her tough-as-nails dance teacher Cassandra July (Kate Hudson) for being a small town girl with big city dreams. Welcome to NYC, Rachel!
Meanwhile, the audience is treated to catch-up at McKinley High, where still on the high of their Nationals win, the glee club is enjoying the new-found attention. Artie (Kevin McHale) is hanging out with cheerleaders, Sam (Chord Overstreet) is signing autographs, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) has a personal assistant and her and Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) have broken up. Things are going great except for one thing: the group needs a new star. AKA a new Rachel.
The aforementioned Rachel is feeling increasingly more isolated, having not heard from military man/long-distance boyfriend Finn (Cory Monteith) and is stuck in a dorm with her nymphomaniac roommate. Things start to turn around when in the co-ed bathroom Rachel meets a junior hottie and rumored new love interest Brody (Dean Geyer), who happens to be singing in the shower and catch Rachel’s attention. The duo talk, and Brody tells her to start believing in herself, because she wouldn’t be at NYADA if she weren’t the best.
Kurt is visiting Sue (Jane Lynch) and her immaculately conceived baby Robin, who is being taken care of by the new head Cheerio, Kitty (Becca Tobin). Sue mocks Kurt for hanging around the school despite his graduation, leaving him to wonder about his place in the community and his lack of forward momentum.
Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) talks to the group about signing up new members because of the glee club’s increased popularity. He also introduces the newest New Directions member, Unique (Alex Newell). Everyone has mixed feelings about this addition, because in their minds there are already too many contenders for the new club lead. Unique, Blaine (Darren Criss), Brittany (Heather Morris) and Tina duke it out through song in a performance judged by Artie with Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe.’
At lunch, Artie is still considering who should be appointed to be the new Rachel, and we are given our first glimpse of new cast member Marley (Melissa Benoist). Artie reveals his true feelings about being part of the in-crowd, who are taunting an overweight lunch lady. Despite his misgivings, he grudgingly joins in on the fun to be “cool.” And of course it turns out that same lunch lady is none other than Marley’s mother, who wants nothing more than her daughter to get accepted into the glee club and hide her parentage.
Rachel and Cassandra come to more verbal blows in dance class. Rachel is upset that her teacher has been drinking and to prove she is still young and has “it,” Cassandra performs a raunchy dance medley in a tiny leotard to ‘Americano’/'Dance Again’ from Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez.
The New Directions auditions go poorly, but there are two notable standouts. First is the brash Jake (Jacob Artist), who sings the Fray’s ‘Never Say Never,’ but gets angry and knocks some instruments down when his audition is cut short, and the aforementioned Marley. In a class led by Carmen Tibideaux (Whoopi Goldberg) and in the glee club auditions, both Rachel and Marley sing Billy Joel’s ‘New York State of Mind.’ Mr. Schuester is impressed, but the others who are still concerned about the new star position are quiet on their opinion of her.
The new member sheet is posted and an excited Marley gets accepted while a visibly upset Jake is turned down. Kurt is of the opinion that they shouldn’t be so focused on who the new star is because it’s ruining the team dynamic, but that’s all forgotten when Artie tells the group that he’s chosen Blaine. Marley enters and is given a warm welcome, still insecure about her mother’s wishes and her secondhand clothing.
Blaine takes up where Sue left off, telling Kurt that he needs to move on with his life and stop hanging around the high school. He urges his boyfriend to pursue his own dreams in New York and sings ‘It’s Time’ by Imagine Dragons to help spur on Kurt’s forward momentum. The kids continue to tease the lunch lady, who Marley finally admits is her mother. She tells the shame-faced group that she thought better of them and storms off to leave them with their thoughts.
Brody continues to motivate Rachel into being a better her. While she stares longingly at a photo of Finn, Bernie urges her to take her move to New York to become a new her, making new memories in the process. Armed with this confidence, Rachel tells Cassandra she plans to works as hard as possible in order to succeed, while an insane Cassie promises to crush her student. Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley) drops his son off at the airport for his big move to New York, reminding Kurt that struggle is necessary for survival.
Sam and the rest of the New Directions apologize to Marley, saying popularity went to their heads and they invite the new member to sing a solo at practice. Kitty, bothered by their weakness kicks them out of her group for not being cool enough, and Unique and Marley are slushied. While all this is happening, Mr. Schuester reveals that he knows Jake is Puck’s brother: Jake Puckerman and extends an invitation to the glee club in hopes to make Jake a better person. An invitation which the boy turns down.
In their first practice as the new New Directions, Marley sings Adele’s ‘Chasing Pavements’ and Rachel calls Kurt, admitting that she is lonely and in pain. Kurt suggests she get a new roommate, before instructing her to turn around. A stunned Rachel turns around to find Kurt standing behind her. Only in New York.