Glee is back! Season five's premiere begins with Rachel’s callback for Funny Girl, which is cut short because the director finds her to be too inexperienced. A devastated Rachel belts out the Beatles song "Yesterday," but we don’t dwell on her gloom very long, because it’s time to return to Ohio to see what's next for the New Directions. If you've been living under a rock and don’t know what this week’s theme is, Mr. Schue literally spells it out for you: it's the Beatles! For two weeks! One week is just wouldn't have been enough time for the world's Glee haters and Beatlemaniacs to bemoan Glee’s mutilation of some of the 20th century’s greatest hits.
The New Directions are psyched about Beatles week, but Artie and Kitty have more to discuss. Their flirtation has grown, and may be budding into a relationship. Then, out of nowhere, comes one of the most contrived scene changes in Glee history. What better background for "Drive My Car" than a random carnival, with all of the New Directions members riding bumper cars? Artie and Kitty get flirty in their ride, and Kitty tells Artie that she wants to date him privately, so as to maintain her status at school.
Due to their reconciliation last season, Blaine finds the strength to ask Kurt to be his boyfriend again, and Kurt accepts. Anticipating this, Blaine announces a song he has prepared, but Kurt beats him to it with a song of his own. Blaine and Kurt perform "Got to Get You into My Life" as a duet, and both of them are so into it that I highly suspect that they rekindled their romance on the McKinley steps for no other reason than to break out into song and dance. Oh, also, Sue is principal now, and Figgins is a janitor. That will probably be important in some upcoming episode, though it barely registers in the premiere.
New lovebirds Kitty and Artie get two whole duets in one episode. The second one, "You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away," takes place in the astronomy classroom where Sam infamously proposed to Quinn with a promise ring — remember that relationship? Odds are that in a few episodes, this relationship will go the same way: fully explored, dried up, and tossed aside. At least Kitty later accepts that they are, "just as doomed as every other sad, broken, backwards relationship that’s ever started in this Jesus and love-forsaken choir room." But for now, they are revving up their relationship, because besides Blaine and Kurt and the no-one-cares coupling of Marley and Jake, Glee is lacking in romantic entanglements.
This season finds Blaine continuing on his path to propose to Kurt. The New Directions react to this news exactly as I did: with blank stares and disapproval. Blaine announces plans to turn an intimate moment with the love of his 18-year life into a "cultural statement." He wants to unite all the warring glee clubs — Vocal Adrenaline, the Dalton Academy Warblers, the Haverbrook School for the Deaf Choir, and New Directions — to create a spectacular proposal for Kurt. He needs help! Gee, I wonder what song they sing? Spoiler alert: it’s "Help!" Blaine and Sam break into Vocal Adrenaline’s top-secret rehearsal, and Vocal Adrenaline is thrilled. All they have to do to get the deaf choir on board is sign "please help me," and the choir comes running. This Vocal Adrenaline-Deaf Choir-New Directions amalgamation bursts into the Warblers’ rehearsal space, and they, too, jump on board. Apparently, the lure of the Beatles and the promise of a gigantic musical extravaganza can unite enemies.
Meanwhile, Santana is at the restaurant that she and Rachel now work at when she notices the actor and director who brushed Rachel off as "too green." Rachel, determined to prove to the men that she’s a star, leads the singing and dancing wait staff in "A Hard Day’s Night." After that rousing number, they head for the door to return to Ohio, not even pausing to clock out or inform their manager that they’re leaving.
Tina confronts Artie about his secret relationship with Kitty, and she is as judgmental and disapproving as ever. I love that about her, but Blaine disagrees. Blaine thinks this new bitchy Tina is a bad thing, which is why he calls a meeting with Sam, Ryder, and Jake. Clearly, the only solution to Tina’s grumpiness is to serenade her with "I Saw Her Standing There" while dressed up as The Beatles, complete with fake British accents and screaming fans. This is their way of offering themselves up to Tina as prom dates. She picks Sam because he’s, "the least gay and least Asian," which makes me wonder about Ryder’s heritage and sexuality.
Someone must have spilled the beans about Blaine’s plans, because Kurt knows his dad is driving him to a "surprise" proposal from Blaine at Dalton. Kurt has doubts because, as everyone except for Blaine realizes, the two are too young to get married. But Burt gives him sage advice and Kurt reconsiders. What follows is exactly the spectacle Blaine promised. The four recruited glee clubs, plus Mercedes, Santana, and Rachel, all sing and dance to "All You Need Is Love." The song ends with Kurt and Blaine on the stairs in the exact place where they first met. Blaine makes a speech, gets on one knee, and asks Kurt to marry him. Kurt, possibly realizing that if he says "no" he will face the incredibly awkward silence of the 50 or so people gathered and waiting with baited breath, says yes. They kiss, they hug, everyone claps, and the episode ends.
The premiere was chock full of Glee’s classic meta humor, from Jake questioning if Mike Chang really dumped Tina "because she wasn’t Asian enough, or something," to Kitty calling out the school year for taking forever (i.e., two seasons). Glee returned with a crazy, weird, funny, loud bang to open the season on a high note, getting in as much fun as it can before Cory Monteith’s somber tribute episode in two weeks.