During the airing of “It’s Time” last night the general consensus in my apartment, other than “man, I could not jump rope and lip-synch,” was “Wow, Zach Woodlee was in a weird mood when he choreographed that.” But now that I’ve watched it again, the use of the jump ropes and the cup game make a lot more sense to me, both in terms of where Blaine is now, and the narrative structure the fans have had to install around him to account for his incredible de-aging process.
Just to review, for anyone that missed it, Blaine was originally supposed to be an older mentor to Kurt; then we all assumed they were the same age; and then when he showed up at McKinley he was a year behind Kurt in school. While the problem of characters’ ages (and drivers licenses and college applications) is hardly a new one for Glee or an isolated problem in hot pop-culture properties, the Blaine thing is a particularly extreme example and a subject of a great deal of fandom annoyance (although if you were Ryan Murphy and the reaction to “Teenage Dream” dropped into your lap, what would you do?).
Of course, that annoyance has led to speculation from “Blaine was held back a year due to school missed around the Sadie Hawkins attack and subsequent transfer to Dalton” to “Blaine exhibits some age-inappropriate behavior around sex that may be indicative of other issues.” Even ignoring those two themes, it’s hard not to say that Blaine was anything other than working hard at (clumsily) being a little adult at Dalton — from his not that great advice to Kurt, to his “let’s sing about sex toys” moment at the Gap, to his talk with Burt Hummel about Kurt and sex.
Since those events, and Blaine’s transfer to Dalton, we have in many ways seen him act more the age he is now assigned, even if that’s been shown through his seeming to sink into himself and try too hard in ways that are, often, explicitly transparent. Insecurities around Finn, his brother, and Kurt’s departure, as well as the no longer hidden height difference between Criss and Colfer, have also helped sell us on the idea that Blaine is neither older, nor wiser than Kurt. Serious and adult issues that are often a part of the limminal nature of being a teenager — including suicide and sexuality — also have helped to bring Blaine’s characterization more in line with his narrative age.
But even as the viewing audience has gotten on board with that (or at least been invited to get on board with that), the question has remained whether Blaine has any idea that he’s still a kid. Somehow, in “It’s Time” we realize that he does, in fact, finally know just how young he is and just how much he’s not ready for the big scary world yet.
The choreography of “It’s Time” is suffused to nods at youth — the “cup game,” which I was unfamiliar with and people who watch the show in my house insist is something they played at camp, and the jumping rope are both things associated with childhood. So are the pigtails the girls performing the jump rope tricks are wearing. In “It’s Time” Blaine is suddenly a child amongst children, and the song is less about Kurt needing to spread his wings and fly, and more about a world closing to him, that Blaine is ready, or perhaps even unwilling to leave yet.
The number feels emotional, not because Blaine lets go, but because the worlds he and Kurt inhabit are uncoupling, which will only cause more consternation later. After all, while Kurt will visit Ohio, it’s like his father says — he could come back, but he won’t — not really, not to be a denizen of that time and place. And yes, Kurt and Blaine can Skype, but how do you send an email to Brigadoon? How do you pass letters in and out of a faerie ring that divides two worlds that run on different times?
With the significant filming spoilers fans are aware of regarding episode 4 (and Ryan Murphy’s declaration that he will swim gloriously in a pool of fandom tears), and Murphy also having tweeted last night that Blaine will sing with the Warblers again in episode 7, it’s easy to suspect that once the uncoupling of Kurt and Blaine’s worlds begins it will also accelerate, with Blaine pulling back into the mists and Kurt living in the bright, metallic, and too fast world of New York.
The question after that inevitability then becomes, what will pull them back together? And will it be something that echoes out of the Kurt’s world or Blaine’s? And if it does originate in Blaine’s sphere, is that a place Kurt can still access? Or no longer lost, and no longer a boy, will be barred from Neverland?