Glee is back! Apart from the seriously sad (and enormous) elephant in the room that is Corey Monteith's death and the looming tribute episode in two weeks, Glee came back full force tonight with perfect pop culture references and the world's most perfect engagement. Oh, and also some pretty good covers of early Beatles' classics. We heard Rachel deliver a touching version of "Yesterday," Artie and Kitty perform "You Can Drive My Car," Kurt and Blaine duet on "Got to Get You Out of My Life," Rachel and Santana sing "It's a Hard Day's Night," and a group performance of "All You Need is Love." (The rest of the songs on the episode's track list? Blaine and Sam's "Help," Jake, Ryder, Sam, and Blaine's "I Saw Her Standing There," and Artie's "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away.")
But back to the beginning of the episode. Thursday night's premiere opened on Rachel's chemistry read for Funny Girl and on her solo (duh) of "Yesterday." Perfect, perfect, perfect. Blah, blah, blah. Did anyone else notice the familiar face of Peter Facinelli (aka Twilight's Carlisle Cullen) as the show's director? Surprise, Twilight fans! Rachel's also working at the Spotlight Diner with Santana and Demi Lovato (she won't appear until next week). But really, this episode was all about McKinley High.
Kurt and Blaine, Kitty and Artie, and no boring Jake and Marley, YAY! Ryan Murphy did so right in focusing on these two couples in this episode. Kitty made an excellent joke about moving slower than Jonah Hill getting out of a bathtub (ha, did she not get the memo that he's skinny, but completely insufferable, now?) while Artie's wheeling her down the hallway at school and they had the most fun at a carnival since Grease. Some bitchy Cheerios try to kill their "we're in love" buzz, which prompts a non-public relationship semi-drama. "Angry" Tina gets involved and feels the need to defend Artie. (Girl, you had your chance with him. Also, it's pretty funny that the guys nickname her "Angry Tina" for a few minutes before getting together to sing "Saw Her Standing There.") Kitty proclaims her love for Artie because she's finally sure that she's ready to "blow-up the social hierarchy" for him. Awwww.
Then there's Kurt and Blaine (swoon). I can't go on without acknowledging their mention of Bethenny and Jason, Will and Jada, and Goldie and Kurt. YES, Glee writers, YES. They sing a perfect duet because, duh, duets were created for them to sing. Blaine promises to never cheat on him again and Kurt jokes about having him sign a non-cheating contract which you can apparently get on Oprah's website. Blaine decides to enlist the glee clubs of the surrounding area to help him propose to Kurt. Kurt's dad, who is still the cutest dad on TV (sorry, Robin Williams), drives Kurt to the "surprise" proposing that he already knows about because he's Kurt and he planned his own 10th birthday with a Justin Timberlake pinata (aka me as a 10 year old). Mr. Hummel gives a beautiful speech about his late wife that almost brought me to tears before the actual proposal brought me to tears (sigh). Rachel, Santana, and Mercedes returned to Lima for the big proposal performance at the place where Kurt and Blaine first met, Dalton Academy. He proclaims his love for Kurt by saying that he felt their souls had found each other every lifetime before this and he wants to spend the rest of his life with his true soulmate (cue the tears). This all following a full-scale production of "All You Need Is Love". This was a home-run.
On the fringe, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is terrorizing ex-principal and current janitor Figgens. In one of her signature voiceovers she says, "America, your prayers have been answered," in regards to her return which she could only make in a "next-level way." Apparently she put foot-porn magazines in Figgens' desk to get him fired at some point during the season break and now's she interim-principal of McKinley with her eyes on the prize of becoming permanent.
Despite the tragedy looming over the series, Glee started out pretty strong in this episode and reminded us what we love about the show in the first place: the music. On the flip-side though, starting on a happy note means we have so far to fall when the series finally addresses Finn Hudson's death in two weeks. We obviously missed him this episode, especially during the proposal because we knew he would've been there and because he's still fresh on our minds. Still, here's to more Beatles and more Kurt and Blaine to love next week!