We start at Fictional New York Theater School, where Rachel is in her first dance class. Her teacher is one Ms. Cassandra July, played by Kate Hudson. And just so you know what a horrible person Ms. July is, her first words are to encourage her students to feel bad about their bodies and to give one girl the nickname "Muffin Top." Rachel rolls her eyes at this, causing Cassandra to pick on her next by giving her the nickname, "Little Miss David Schwimmer" and calling her out on her pissy attitude and pathetic dance skills. Rachel proves her right by nervously falling, leading Cassandra to lean down and tell her that she sucks. Not really very good pedagogy, but I still find myself oddly drawn to this teacher. Title card.
McKinley. We open on Jacob ben Israel, formerly known as Jewfro but now known as "Oh my God, he cut off his Jewfro." He's doing a video recap of the summer and welcoming everyone back to school. The big news is that the New Directions kids are now popular after their win at Nationals last year. Artie is getting high fives from jocks, Sam is signing autographs, and Tina has taken on a personal assistant to fetch her organic bananas. Tina has also broken up with Mike Chang. Jewfro[less] finds Blaine, Brit, Artie and Tina in the music room, admiring their trophy. He points out to them that Rachel was the star of the group and asks which of them is the new Rachel. All but Artie simultaneously volunteer themselves for the job.
Cut to Rachel in her dorm room, watching this video on Jacob Blog Israel. Her voice-over tries to pretend that her life doesn't totally suck. She talks about missing her dads and Finn, whom she hasn't spoken to in two months. We also learn that her roommate appears to be a voracious 'ho-bag who is constantly entertaining male callers. She also tells us that she got sick of everybody in the co-ed bathrooms making fun of her nighttime beauty ritual, so she's started taking showers at 3 AM. She enters said bathroom now, and is soon entranced by the sound of a man singing in one of the showers. That turns into open-mouthed gaping as he emerges from said shower sans towel. Tall, hot, short hair. Very nicely put together. She shuts her piehole and returns to moisturizing. He joins her at the sink (now with a towel covering his junk) and introduces himself as Brody Weston, a junior who is also majoring in musical theater. He commiserates about how awful Cassandra is, but also points out that her teaching helped him get a chorus role in a Broadway show that has since closed. He also has an extensive moisturizing ritual. He reminds her that just being there makes her the best of the best. And on his way out, he tells us all that he's straight. Which I think is kind of gross? Like, why not just tell her that he knows they want to bang each other?