Wide eyed Midwestern ingénue. Check. Bright lights, big city. Check. Dreams of making it in the big apple. Check. Drill sergeant for a dance instructor. Check. Reality check. Check.
Welcome to New York, you suck. And so begins Dance 101 with Cassandra July (Kate Hudson). And with those words Rachel is unceremoniously welcomed to her new school and her new home. Ms. Berry is no longer the big fish in Ohio. She is now living the dream, hoping to live forever and learn how to fly high at NYADA. But standing in her way is Cassandra, a female Bob Fosse: an alcoholic obsessive perfectionist intent on making Rachel's life a living hell.
We've seen in all before in movies like Fame, All That Jazz, and A Chorus Line, yet we still can't help but root for Rachel, especially after she nails her first singing assignment. And Kate Hudson IS a lot sexier than Roy Schieder. Can she be the reason Glee is airing an hour later this season?
Meanwhile, back at McKinley, Jacob Isreal is back to recap what's happened over the summer: New Directions are now cool after winning the National Championship; Tina and Mike Chang couldn't make the long distance thing work and broke up; Sue gave birth to a daughter, Robin; and there are a few new faces at McKinley. Namely Wade Adams, aka Unique, Marley, the pretty hipster (I know this because of her hat) who has a secret. And Just Jake, another man with a secret, only this tall dark and handsome man has a chip on his shoulder and a voice that soars. What's he hiding? Well, if you've been watching any of the promos or reading any blogs, you would have guessed that the last name Jake was so coy about was Puckerman, as in Noah Puckerman's younger brother... interesting. Especially since we find out that Big Puck doesn't even know about Little Puck. I like where this may be heading.
Jake seems more interesting than Marley, aka, The New Rachel, whose hat I was already sick of by the end of the episode. I hope there's more of a dark side to Marley, but for now the most complex stories we'll have to settle for is her struggle to hide the identity of her mother: The heavyset Lunch Lady. And surprise! She's poor! But she's a really nice person who can sing! Her being poor is just an excuse to remind everyone that Gleeks are inclusive not exclusive. So after some initial hurtful comments and snobbish attitudes, The New Directions come to realize what asses they were, apologize for their actions and welcome Marley with open arms.
Rachel's got a new beau, well not yet, but who are we kidding. Did you see that entrance? Brody Weston, a Junior with perfectly moisturized skin and coiffed hair, makes a point to say that he's straight even though Rachel didn't ask. And he's already her biggest fan, complete with standing ovations for her singing and posing for pictures with her at Washington Square Park.
Anyways, it's pretty lonely for Rachel in the big city even with Brody The Beau Hunk. But with Finn not calling and Cassandra coming down hard on her, Rachel is feeling quite homesick. Enter the GBFF to save the day! Kurt has been given the green light by his more-awesome-to-be-true dad to move to New York and chase his dream. And it's great timing because it was pretty sad to see Kurt still hanging around McKinley after he graduated. So it looks like Rachel's got a new roommate!
Overall it was a satisfying if unspectacular beginning to the new season. We were introduced to some new faces and Rachel's escapades in New York look promising. It's too early to tell how the new characters will pan out. But it will be interesting to see how many of the previous graduates will make appearances in upcoming episodes. Quinn? Santana? Mercedes? Nothing yet. And Coach Bieste? Nada.
Song of the summer, "Call Me Maybe" made its appearance early on, and thank goodness we got that one out of the way as soon as we can! But the best for week one was the brilliant use of "New York State of Mind" sung by both Rachel and Marley (The New Rachel) but cross cut to represent a passing of the torch from New York to Lima.