OKAY. This post is going to be sort of a mess, because organizing my thoughts at 4am just never ends well, but whatever, I wanted to post this for ~posterity~. Because there was a lot about Original Song that surprised me with how beautifully full circle it was and how things foreshadowed earlier were fulfilled and how a lot of loose ends tied together. This is less how I feel about them as a couple and more just pointing out the more subtle (or not so subtle, since: Glee) writing that set the groundwork.
BASICALLY EXPECT A LOT OF RANDOM WORD VOMIT IN THIS POST. I've added a few pictures to make it worth your time.
First, let's start off with...
KURT: I am the only openly gay kid at school. Why can’t I walk hand-in-hand down the hall with a person that I like? Why can't I slow dance at my prom?
BURT: Until you find someone as open and as brave as you, you’re going to have to get used to going it alone.
This is the first episode that really kicked off Kurt's entire arc for the season. For the duets assignment, he wants to sing with Sam, the new kid, but receives a lot of outside pressure from Finn to back out because doing a duet would lead to Sam being bullied and harassed just by mere association. Finn is afraid that the fallout would lead to Sam quitting the glee club.
The conversation Kurt has with his father venting his frustrations is not only a great character moment that highlights the way Kurt deals with unique struggles no other kid on the show does, but it also gives a lot of foreshadowing for what's to come with Blaine. Kurt has a list of things he wants to be able to do in a relationship like everyone else, and Blaine's checked them off one by one.
Walking hand-in-hand down the hall with the person he likes?
It's the first thing they do when they meet.
Dueting with another boy?
They've done it multiple times, and the last time as boyfriends in front of hundreds of people.
Slow dancing at prom?
(SPOILER ALERT: They are, in fact, going to prom together!)
You also have Burt's words about Kurt having to wait until he finds someone "as open and brave" as he is, someone who is out of the closet, in order to get those things from life. Blaine's buzz word in Never Been Kissed, his first episode, is "courage." He texts it to Kurt at random intervals during the day, just to remind Kurt to keep his head up and know he's not alone. Kurt even tapes up Blaine's picture in his locker with the word "courage" spelled out underneath it for inspiration.
Next we have:
When Kurt is first offered the chance to audition for a solo with the Warblers in Special Education, he leaps at the chance and performs Don't Cry For Me Argentina with his typical dramatic flair, trying hard to impress them. When he doesn't get the competition solo, Blaine tells him that he needs to relax and not concern himself so much with the attention being focused solely on him-- that being a Warbler is more about being a team player. The Warblers weren't going to respond well to someone that desperate for the spotlight (you could even say this makes sense with Original Song, where it's clear that Blaine doesn't work for solos, they are just handed to him on a silver platter). New Directions, on the other hand, often rewards that kind of tenacity/pushiness (and ultimately ND's system is clearly what works better for Kurt, despite the good things he was able to learn from the Warblers).
Then we have Blackbird. Kurt bursts through the doors dramatically, dressed in his own (fabulous) clothes, and sings a song in memory of Pavarotti, his dead bird. Unlike Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Kurt is not putting on airs-- he is very much himself, but not trying to impress anyone in that moment, just singing what he feels.
This positive change in Kurt is highlighted again when Blaine says he wants to sing the duet at Regionals with Kurt as his partner. Instead of jumping at the opportunity without a second thought, Kurt is the first to point out that everyone should have a shot, recognizing the talents of the others in the group. However, the Warblers all agree Kurt should be the one to sing-- to me this was not because they're Blaine's Yes Men (even if they pretty much are), but more because of Blackbird. They were impressed by Kurt, who wasn't doing it to show off or make a play for a solo, but just being himself.
you were only waiting for this moment to arise
There's also a parallel to Teenage Dream with Blackbird. With Teenage Dream, we got to see Kurt falling for Blaine in his reaction to him singing. Of course he didn't know Blaine then, and it was only the beginning of his feelings, but we still got to see it, and it was powerful on a character level because it was the first time any boy had ever sung to Kurt like that, and powerful on a broader level because how often do you see teenage boys serenading each other with flirty songs?
I liked this quote from Tom and Lorenzo summing up the scene:
We grew unexpectedly teary-eyed watching this number. Not because sappy teenage pop songs get us worked up, but because the sight of a sappy teenage pop song being sung by one cute teenage boy to another cute teenage boy is still, sad to say, an extreme rarity. All we could think while watching this number was, "My god. What would it have been like to see this at 14?" To have the media offer up a romantic fantasy that actually reflected what we secretly yearned for.
Blaine's reaction to Blackbird is the bookend to that. At this point Blaine and Kurt are essentially best friends, support systems for each other, and know each other very well. So Blaine's epiphany is something even deeper and bigger than what Kurt's reaction to Teenage Dream was, because it's not just a surface-level crush, it's something very real being realized.
And I think it makes perfect sense that this was the moment to trigger that realization from Blaine. As Kurt said in Silly Love Songs, he and Blaine are always honest with each other, but Kurt has always been trying to impress Blaine in some way. He says as much in Blame It On the Alcohol. In Sexy he tries to make "sexy" faces and fails miserably, because he's trying too hard and going over the top in his efforts. But from the start of this episode, Kurt has dropped any pretense. He is not impressed by Blaine's performance of Misery, not even when Blaine is nuzzling his neck (the whole "oh my god! a boy is touching me! oh my god!" giddiness has worn off as this has become routine Blaine behavior); he calls Blaine out on being a solo hog and openly, unashamedly admits that he is jealous; he critiques the number as being boring and repetitive. In his preamble to Blackbird, he throws in a snarky aside about Blaine (which Blaine smiles at).
This ties back into the Pavarotti metaphor, too. Kurt and Blaine's last scene in Special Education completely spells out the metaphor, and yet people still misread it, thinking the "gilded cage" was the message when really the "molting" is much more significant. Kurt thinks the bird is sick, but Blaine explains that it's just going through a normal process of what is essentially recovering and at the end of it, Pav (ie: Kurt) will find his voice/be as good as new. Pav's death wasn't really symbolic of anything, except maybe that Kurt has grown and gleamed as much as he can from Dalton, and it is time to move on. But mostly it gives him a chance to shine as himself again via Blackbird. And it makes sense that with Kurt's "molting" complete, and he being so much himself again, that Blaine would see him in a new light.
And then we have:
THE KISS SCENE
Okay, there were a ton of touches/callbacks in this scene that I have to point out because I was so delighted by them:
--The top image is from Never Been Kissed, during the first conversation Kurt and Blaine have. It's sort of difficult to tell by the screencaps, but when Blaine walks in on Kurt decorating the bird casket and sits down, they are actually at the same exact table as where their first real interaction took place.
--After Blaine says, "You move me, Kurt," a score plays-- the same score that has been used a few times for Dalton scenes, but was first played over Kurt and Blaine running in slow motion down the hall holding hands as soon as they met. It's sort of "their" theme (and since this show doesn't use a whole lot of instrumental scores, I am fairly certain they are the only couple with their own "theme").
--Original Song was directed by Bradley Buecker. He also directed Never Been Kissed, where Blaine was introduced. As he has only directed one other Glee episode and is not one of the show's stable directors, I like to think he was purposefully tapped to direct Original Song and some of these little touches are due to him. (Yes I looked this up. Don't judge me.)
Some people thought Blaine's immediate admission to Kurt of his feelings was sudden, however, it lines up with their established dynamic. These two do not play games with each other. Kurt was upfront about his feelings in Silly Love Songs, and in return Blaine was equally upfront, saying he was bad at romance and did not want to risk screwing up their friendship. Which led to the When Harry Met Sally comparison:
KURT: So it's just like When Harry Met Sally, but I get to play Meg Ryan.
BLAINE: Deal... Don't they get together in the end?
The most memorable scene (well, aside from Meg Ryan faking an orgasm in the restaurant) is Billy Crystal's declaration of love:
"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
And that played out here. Blaine could've hidden his feelings, or played off Kurt's question about why he wanted him as the duet partner by saying it was due to Kurt's talent or because he was listening to Kurt's criticism from the beginning of the episode, both of which I think were true in Blaine's mind, but that wasn't at the heart of it. And that kind of coyness is not how they operate. So what he answers with is:
“And this duet would just be an excuse to spend more time with you.”
I love that Blaine says this. I think it was important to throw that line in there. Kurt has always been very secure in how talented he is; he doesn’t need anyone else to validate that for him. (Not to mention Blaine has already just finished telling him how moved he was by Blackbird anyway.)
For Blaine to say, “I just want to be close to you, as a person, in any way I can,” is something Kurt needed to hear way more. Because Kurt has never been the object of anyone’s affection. Kurt has been treated like he is toxic just for wanting to sing with another boy. Then here is one seeking him out as a duet partner. Not just because Kurt is an amazing singer, which we all know, which Kurt himself already knows, but because Blaine will make any excuse just to be around him, period. We all know that in Duets, Kurt was hoping against hope that Sam would be gay and by sharing a duet that it would be something more meaningful than just singing a song together-- and that didn't happen, but it does here. This was such a role reversal from Duets, and it was so completely perfect.
And it's also important because in that moment, by not playing games or being evasive or making excuses, Blaine is exemplifying the qualities that they both share and what I love about their relationship: honesty, openness, and courage.
Also, to end this on a shallow note, the kiss was super hot. (Both of them were. The second one even more so.)
OKAY I THINK I'M OUT OF WORDS NOW. If you read all of that... I don't even know. I bow down to you.