|Intimacy Level:|| Ex-Boyfriend and Girlfriend|
|Dating History:||Started dating in Hell-O|
|Dating Status:||Broke up in Bad Reputation|
Their relationship begins in the fourteenth episode of Season One, Hell-O, when they meet and sing Hello together in a library. It is later revealed that Jesse is trying to get close to Rachel on Shelby Corcoran's orders. Their relationship officially ends in the twenty-first episode of Season one, Funk, after Jesse and Vocal Adrenaline "egged" her. Jesse returns in the Season Two episode Prom Queen to apologize to Rachel after she sings Rolling in the Deep with him. They reignite their friendship after he apologizes and share a kiss in Funeral, but no further romance occurs.
Rachel goes to a music store searching for a song to sing as a new "hello" for the Glee Club's weekly assignment when she runs into Jesse St. James, the popular male lead singer of Vocal Adrenaline. She is flipping through a book of Lionel Richie sheet music when Jesse approaches her saying, "Lionel Richie, huh? One of my favorites." She is star struck that the Jesse St. James was speaking to her as she already knows him as the lead singer of their rival Glee Club, Vocal Adrenaline. He critiques her performance of Don't Rain on My Parade at Sectionals, claiming it lacked the emotional depth of Barbra Streisand's version; however, he takes her sheet music, smiles, and admits that she is talented. Jesse reveals that he is a senior at Carmel High with a full ride to UCLA and clearly believes that Vocal Adrenaline will win Nationals for the fourth consecutive year under his lead. He also admits he often comes to the music store to "flip through the autobiographies to pick up some lifestyle tips." He then suggests that they take Lionel Richie's Hello "for a spin." As they sing, Rachel seems to be rather taken by him and his talent. After they sing the whole music store applauds them, and he asks her out. She readily accepts. Later, we see that Rachel has a picture of Jesse in her locker, and when Finn asks Rachel to take him back after he dumped her for Santana and Brittany, she rejects him. She tells him about Jesse, and Finn claims that Jesse is playing her, as he is lead of their competition at Regionals. She defends their relationship however and says that their love and respect for each other's talent will carry them through their Romeo and Juliet relationship. In an act of jealousy, Finn tells Mr. Schuester and the rest of the Glee Club about Jesse and Rachel's relationship. The other members of New Directions are uneasy about the relationship and threaten to kick Rachel out of the club if she doesn't break up with Jesse.
Later, we see Rachel in Carmel High's auditorium where she encounters Jesse once again. She expresses her concerns about their relationship and tells him that if he is just playing her, she'll be heartbroken. Jesse kindly laughs at her dramatics and eases her worries. He reintroduces himself, not as her competition but as "Jesse, the guy who's nuts about [her]. The guy who would never hurt [her]." Rachel asks him to keep their relationship a secret, and he agrees. He then kisses her, and Shelby Corcoran, Vocal Adrenaline's coach, sees this kiss. Rachel tells the rest of New Directions that they are broken up.
Shortly before the episode, Rachel and Jesse attend a Wiggles concert. After the concert, they make out passionately on her bed since her dads aren't home. When Jesse suggests that they should have sex, Rachel is hesitant. Jesse appears surprised that Rachel is a virgin and claims that sex is "no big deal." When Rachel continues to refuse, Jesse leaves abruptly without even taking home the Care Bear she won him. When Rachel discusses this incident with the other girls in Glee Club, Santana realizes that Rachel and Jesse are still dating and informs the other members of New Directions.
Later, Rachel and Jesse have a "clandestine" meeting in the library. Rachel finds Jesse in the Sondheim biography section, as Jesse claims only Sondheim can "properly express his melancholia." Jesse apologizes for pressuring her into sex and tells her he's willing to wait until she's ready, to which Rachel responds that she's ready. Jesse looks surprised and hugs her, and they both smile. When Jesse comes over to 'do the deed,' Rachel frets in her bathroom. They share a dream sequence where they sing and dance to Like a Virgin (along with Emma, Will, Finn, and Santana), but at the end of the sequence, the camera cuts to Rachel who is still in her bathroom. Jesse knocks on the bathroom door asking Rachel to come out so they can talk or sing about their situation. Rachel leaves the bathroom and admits that she can't go through with it as she feels that she's be betraying her team and is, in fact, truly not ready to do "it." Jesse does not push the matter further.
Later in the episode, Jesse transfers from Carmel High to McKinley, in order to be with Rachel. He claims that he was worried that being on opposing teams would hurt or damage their relationship, so he transferred to avoid that problem. When Rachel asks why he's doing this, he tells her. Rachel is happy that Jesse transferred, but many of the other members of New Directions are upset about him joining, as they fear he will steal their solos.
Finn, upset about Rachel and Jesse's relationship, approaches Rachel and expresses his annoyance that Rachel chose Jesse over him. Upon seeing them, Jesse approaches Rachel and challenges Finn to a sing-off over Rachel, but Finn instead welcomes Jesse to New Directions and claims that he will try not to interfere with Rachel and Jesse's relationship. Jesse smiles and say that Rachel's "a keeper."
At the end of the episode, Rachel and Jesse dance together as the New Directions perform Like a Prayer. At the end of the number, Rachel jumps into Jesse's arms, and he swings her around in a big hug while both smile excitedly.
While Jesse and Rachel make out at the beginning of the episode, the introduction to Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love is played in the background. Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff recorded this song for the previous episode. It did not make the final cut and was replaced by their duet of Hello.
This is the first episode in which Jesse and Rachel are members of the same Glee Club. They are shown sitting together during various rehearsals, and they skate together when the Glee Club visits April's skating rink. When Mercedes becomes lightheaded, she imagines several characters as food, including Jesse as a hamburger and Rachel as a cupcake. In her fantasy, they are walking through the cafeteria together and chatting happily about Funny Girl.
During Mercedes' introduction at the school's pep rally, Rachel is sitting on Jesse's lap looking content. Jesse hugs her around the waist and sings happily with her as the rest of New Directions join Mercedes in her rendition of Beautiful.
After Mr. Schue's performance of Ice Ice Baby, Rachel says it was good, but Jesse could have done a better job. When Rachel discovers her reputation at school is worse than she thought due to her very low ranking on the Glist, she decides to make a music video to Run Joey Run. She triple-casts Puck, Finn and Jesse as her boyfriend in the video, and when she shows the video to the Glee Club, the three are very angry with her. Jesse tells her he's mortified and is extremely put off by the video.
Later on, he confronts Rachel by her locker. Rachel tries to get him to understand by telling him she has a pathological need to be popular and would expect him to understand as a fellow star in the making. He agrees and says, "On that level, sure. But as the guy who gave up everything to be your one and only, I just can't see past this." Rachel is disheartened and sadly tells him, "I knew you'd break my heart." Jesse humorlessly tells her, "Well, that's the funny thing about reputations. Everyone thinks I'm the big heartbreaker, but the fact of the matter is...you broke mine first." He straightens up and puts on a strong show face saying, "Do me a favor. If we end up next to each other on the bar at ballet club this week, just do your arabesques and piques in silence. Don't talk to me." Rachel is sad and seems like she doesn't know what to do, but she knows she messed up.
As a way to apologize to the three boys, but mainly Jesse, Rachel performs Total Eclipse of the Heart. It seems as if Jesse is also saddened by the situation, but he doesn't forgive Rachel and ends up walking out at the end of the performance along with the rest of New Directions. This is seemingly the beginning of when Rachel and Jesse 'take a break' in their relationship, although they don't actually break up.
Jesse does not make an appearance in this episode since he goes away with some of his Vocal Adrenaline friends who are on spring break. He leaves because he is still upset about the Run Joey Run fiasco. When Rachel catches laryngitis, Finn takes her to the doctor. She finds out she might need surgery, and when she asks Finn for his opinion on the matter, he angrily replies, "Why don't you ask your boyfriend? Oh wait, you can't because he's not here." He also tells her, "When are you going to realize he's not into you like I am?" Rachel won't listen. Finn serenades Rachel in Glee Club that week by singing Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl even though Jesse isn't there. It is never acknowledged whether or not Jesse finds out about this.
They enter McKinley's halls, and Jesse puts his arm around her shoulder and pulls her close to him. They walk down the hall, and Jesse asks Rachel what she wants most when she lies awake in bed at night and what's missing from her life, and Rachel simply replies, "My mom." Rachel tells him she just wants to know who she is, and she doesn't really have to meet her. Rachel relays to him the only reason she hasn't asked her dads is because she doesn't want to hurt their feelings. Jesse tells her he'll help her look, and they don't have to tell her dads because he wants to make all of her dreams come true.Jesse is studying in the library when Rachel excitedly rushes up to him telling him she's found her mother. She holds up a picture of Patti LuPone. Jesse gently points out the flaws in her logic, and Rachel dejectedly asks him if he'd like to hear her reasoning why Bernadette Peters is her mother. Jesse asks her why she doesn't want to know the truth. Rachel replies she doesn't want her mother to "turn out to be a teenage trollop like Quinn, or worse, some skanky girl who'd do anything for money, including giving [her] up." Jesse tells her maybe her mother had a good reason for what she did. Jesse decides they need to do a real investigation to find out who her mother really is. Rachel offers her idea of looking through her childhood memorabilia in her basement. "It's sort of a little Rachel Berry museum."
Rachel comes into her room with boxes where Jesse is waiting. They find her sonograms and baby teeth along with her first singing trophy from when she was eight months old. When Rachel isn't looking, Jesse takes a cassette out of his shirt pocket labeled "From mother to daughter." He pretends to take it out of the box before asking, "What's this?" He quickly tries to play it, but Rachel stops him frantically claiming she isn't ready. She's not ready, and "what if she's singing on the tape. What if she's terrible, or, worse, what if she's better than [Rachel herself]?" She asks Jesse to leave.
Jesse leaves Rachel's house and enters Shelby's car outside sopping wet. He tells her he can't get her to listen to the tape, and Shelby tells him he needs to try harder. In their conversation it is revealed that Shelby asked Jesse to "befriend" Rachel, only Jesse decided to date her instead. Shelby tells Jesse to just get her to listen to the tape and to make sure she finds out she's the one singing on it, and then he can come back to Vocal Adrenaline. Jesse tells Shelby that although he started this entire mess to hone in on his acting abilities, he thinks he kind of likes her and doesn't want her to get hurt.
Later, Rachel walks into her bedroom only to find Jesse already there putting the cassette into her tape player. Rachel rushes over to stop him yelling she's not ready, but Jesse gently takes her hands in his and says, "Yes, you are." He swoops down and kisses her slowly (this being their goodbye kiss unbeknownst to Rachel), and he presses play and leaves the room.
At the end of the episode, New Directions performs a group number of Dream a Little Dream during which Jesse casts Rachel a regretful, concerned, and sad look while Rachel is still feeling upset from listening to the tape.
Jesse doesn't appear in this episode. When Rachel approaches Vocal Adrenaline's coach, Shelby Corcoran, during their rehearsal for Regionals, the rest of Vocal Adrenaline is there in their Lady Gaga costumes. Although it isn't acknowledged, Jesse was seemingly there in costume since the actor who plays Jesse, Jonathan Groff, was seen wearing one of the Lady Gaga costumes while on set shooting the episode (implying he was practicing with them for the competition).Funk. Jesse calls her to meet him in McKinley's parking lot. She goes thinking they will make up. When she sees him, they both smile, but Vocal Adrenaline members appear from their hiding places and start egging Rachel. When the members of Vocal Adrenaline goad Jesse to egg Rachel, he's hesitant; however, when Rachel tells him to break the egg like he broke her heart, Jesse replies with an "I loved you" promptly before cracking the egg on her forehead.
Rachel and Jesse are no longer dating. Quinn goes into labor with Beth, but Rachel stays behind to watch Vocal Adrenaline perform Bohemian Rhapsody. She stands in the back of the auditorium staring at Jesse forlornly. Before they receive the results of the competition, the two share a competitive look that expresses their desire to triumph over the other. Rachel is distraught when she finds out they didn't even place, and she looks sadly and Jesse clutching the Regionals' trophy and hugging her mother who turned down her offer to teach at McKinley and to start a relationship.
In the episode Prom Queen, Jesse comes back from Los Angeles to see Rachel, interrupting her in the auditorium while she sings Rolling in the Deep (they continue the song as a duet). He tells her that the dumping-and-egging thing was his one great regret and that he hopes to make amends with her. He asked Rachel regarding what her plan for prom is. Rachel invites him to join her, Sam, and Mercedes on their "Prom on a Budget" (something that does not go unnoticed by Finn, who tries to convince her otherwise). During prom, Rachel seems to be enjoying herself with Jesse. Later, during Blaine's number I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You, Jesse and Rachel dance, and Jesse start to kiss Rachel's neck. Rachel seems to like it, but is a little uncomfortable. Finn grows increasingly uncomfortable with the two of them and picks a fight with Jesse, much to Quinn's chagrin, which results in both Finn and Jesse getting into a fight and then getting kicked out of the prom by Sue.
Jesse is helping out New Directions to prepare for Nationals and beat Vocal Adrenaline. As seen in the promo, the Glee Club doesn't want him there. When Rachel performs My Man for the solo audition, Jesse asks Rachel if she is singing to anybody in particular. He seems disappointed when she answers, "Not really." After her performance, Jesse has nothing but compliments and praise to say, whereas the other auditions received criticism and backlash. In fact, Jesse called Mercedes "lazy" when she had no choreography but didn't insult Rachel at all when she had no choreography. Also, when Mercedes and Rachel are arguing over the solos, Mercedes tells Rachel, "I know you're still in love with him but do you HAVE to make it so obvious?" Rachel does not deny this fact, possibly proving she still has feelings for Jesse as well. Rachel meets Jesse on the stage in the auditorium, and he tells her he's convinced she won the solo. She's excited and smiles before jumping to hug him. When the conversation becomes more serious, Jesse tells her he used to think fame meant everything, but now he realizes there's one thing that matters to him more: Rachel. He swoops down and gently kisses her, and Rachel doesn't protest. Finn sees this and he is ultimately hurt. They leave together to find out the results of the solo competition only to have Will tell them he's canceling the competition, and they're going to perform the way they usually do (with the addition of more original songs).
Rachel ignores Jesse's texts after their kiss claiming she wants to only focus on the competition and can't have any distractions. Jesse flies to New York to see the competition, but when he sits down next to Will and says, "I couldn't stay away," Will replies, "From the show? Or her?" Jesse doesn't give an answer. When he sees Rachel and Finn kiss on stage right after they finish performing Pretending, Jesse is shocked and asks Will if it was scripted, to which Will replies no. After they finish performing, Jesse approaches Finn and Rachel. He tells Finn that the kiss was highly unprofessional and will cost them Nationals. His expression goes from superior and cocky to giddy when he looks at Rachel. He tells her she was fantastic, but says that she shouldn't have kissed him. Finn states that Jesse is jealous because he and Rachel are in love and shared it with the world. Rather than thanking Jesse for coming, Rachel makes a face and asks Jesse why he's here. He tells her he came to see her, but Finn tells Jesse to back off. Instead of leaving, Jesse stay to hear the results of the competition, and when he finds out they didn't place in the top ten, he looks sad and shoots Rachel a sympathetic look.
Rachel runs into Jesse outside the hall, who taunts her by somehow knowing that she's scanning the arriving crowd for NYADA's Carmen Tibideaux in hopes that she'll get a second shot at getting into the arts college. As he tries to get under her skin, she points out that they dated long enough to know that when Jesse gets nervous he gets mean. He relents and admits that Vocal Adrenaline's loss at last year's Nationals broke their eight-year winning streak. Another loss would mean the end of the school's show choir dynasty and spark a reboot of the program. He's struggling with the new rules, but Rachel reminds him that his past performances (namely Bohemian Rhapsody) set the gold standard for show choirs for years. Rachel's words ease Jesse's nerves. When Finn arrives, she walks away, and he and Jesse share a tense moment until Jesse ultimately congratulates Finn on his engagement to Rachel, resulting in the two shaking hands. Jesse however seems to still be upset about their marriage.
When Rachel is singing It's All Coming Back to Me Now you can see that Jesse is staring at Rachel with a heartbreaking expression on his face.
Later, Jesse stops Carmen Tibideaux in the lobby, reminding her that when he auditioned for her a few years ago, she told him he showed promise. She acknowledges that she probably did say that, but adds that she auditions hundreds each year and attempts to blow off what she thinks is going to be a professional appeal. Jesse insists she listen; he wants to tell her that Rachel is the most talented people he knows, she'll definitely be a star one-day, and she'd be an excellent addition to NYADA. She tells him he has admirable talent and wishes him luck leaving Jesse looking pleased. It is later revealed that Rachel was accepted into NYADA in the episode, Goodbye. It is unknown whether what Jesse said to Carmen Tibideaux increased Rachel's chances or was able to satisfy Carmen Tibideaux enough.
Sang Together (In a Group Number)
|Like a Virgin||The Power of Madonna||Will, Finn, Santana, and Emma|
|Like a Prayer||Finn, Kurt, and Mercedes|
|Run Joey Run||Bad Reputation||Puck and Finn|
|Total Eclipse of the Heart|
- Burning Up by Madonna (Cut from The Power of Madonna)
- Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield. (Laryngitis)
- Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. (Prom Queen)
- My Man from Funny Girl. (Funeral)
- It's All Coming Back to Me Now by Celine Dion. (Nationals)
- The actors that portray Rachel and Jesse, Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff respectively are best friends in real life and starred together in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening, as Wendla Bergmann and Melchior Gabor.