'Glee' Mid-Season Premiere Recap: A Battle for First Place Tests Some Friendships
'Glee' Mid-Season Premiere Recap: A Battle for First Place Tests Some Friendships
Christine Petralia
Christine Petralia
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Finally back after a winter hiatus, Glee returns with a battle of who is the biggest diva. I have to admit, the last few episodes last year had me not loving Glee too much, but this episode has turned it around. With a good song selection and a verbal and physical fight between Rachel and Santana, hopefully the remaining episodes of the season will stay strong.

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You've Got a Friend or So You Think

It seems as if everything is just great at McKinley and in New York. Santana throws herself a pity party, complaining how her only claim to fame is the yeast infection commercial. Rachel, feeling sorry for her, tries to cheer her up and offers to let her be a model in a New York magazine spread she's going to be in to promote her starring role as Fanny in Funny Girl. They share the vocals on Sara Bareilles' hit "Brave" as Santana is almost seething at Rachel.

Meanwhile, at McKinley High, Artie and Tina share their regular Tuesday sing session, where Tina confides that she only made the waitlist at Brown. She's worried she didn't apply to enough colleges to make it. They sing "Whenever I Call You Friend" by Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks. However, their friendship takes a hit when Sue informs them they have tied for valedictorian.

And in a side storyline that we may or may not care about, Kurt is worried that Starchild/Elliott wants to take over his band, Pamela Lansbury. He makes an effort throughout the entire episode to gauge his motives.

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The Gloves Come Off and the Claws Come Out

Rachel starts to let her role go to her head when she's "forced" to sit in on auditions for her understudy. And guess who shows up to wow the judges with a reprise of "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl? Santana. She, of course, gets the understudy part, and Rachel is not happy. They have an amazing argument with Santana accusing Rachel of not accepting that other people are just as good as her, if not better. It ends with Rachel slapping Santana.

During rehearsal, though, the director, Rupert, informs them that they have to play nice, as promoting two girls from the same high school on Broadway will get them a ton of publicity. And in a creepy, stalker-ish song, the two belt out "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.

Back at McKinley, there's more competition between Artie and Tina not only for valedictorian, but also for a solo at Nationals. During the song, "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" by En Vogue, Tina gets carried away and knocks Artie out of his wheelchair. Realizing their friendship is worth more, during the speech-off Sue insists they have, both Tina and Artie gracefully bow out and endorse each other. Sue then informs them that they tied again, so Blaine will rise as valedictorian.

And again, in an attempt to bond, Kurt asks Starchild to teach him to play guitar, so the pair head to a shop where they randomly belt out "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" by The Darkness. This scene is probably the best and the worst in the episode, as it features Kurt swinging from a stripper pole in the middle of the guitar shop.

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Let's Make Nice or Not

Rachel, insisting she can't live with Santana and that they weren't really friends to begin with, decides she's moving out of their apartment. But things are a little better at McKinley, because even though Artie and Tina are not happy about Blaine becoming valedictorian, they get all friendly again when he informs them he doesn't want to give a speech, but rather share the spotlight with them and sing a song at graduation. The last song of the night is "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson. And while it's sung by Tina, Artie and Blaine, the majority of the scene is stolen by Rachel snubbing Santana as she packs her things and leaves.

It's funny that Rachel and Santana moved to the big city and are still acting like they are in high school, while Tina and Artie, who are still in high school, managed to not let the competition get in the way of their friendship. But in the real world, there's competition everywhere. And that's what makes Rachel and Santana's fight so real. While it does get ridiculous at times, both make valid points as they verbally lash out at each other.

Though I'm kind of glad Santana got the understudy part, as hopefully it will actually make Rachel work harder to keep the role. She's sort of just skated by and -- poof -- has a Broadway gig. In the real world, both girls, if they were really lucky, would probably have just landed chorus roles. The fact that both landed pretty big roles within their first year in New York is pretty amazing, but neither can acknowledge that.

I still think that Sue steals the show in the end. Her claim of "I hate you both" to Tina and Artie and her threat to put "a little bit of urine" in their drinks forever just makes you realize the ridiculousness that is Glee. It also reminds you why this show was awesome in the first place. Perhaps that hiatus was needed to reign the show back in.

Glee airs Tuesdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)