‘Glee’ recap: Unicorns and rainbows
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Tuesday night’s episode of ‘Glee’ –- the second installment in the ‘back to basics’ Season 3 -– gave us only three musical numbers (two solos and one duet, all show tunes, two of them from ‘West Side Story’); a lot of plot set-up for the season (along with some difficult-to-digest character choices); and a delicious dose of Brittany-isms (and some choice lines from other characters too).
Brittany-isms were the best part:
The episode kicked off with a Brittany insta-classic, in which she told Kurt she wanted to be his campaign manager (he’s running for class president) because she considers him to be the biggest ‘unicorn’ at McKinley: “When a pony does a good deed, he gets a horn and he becomes a unicorn and poops out cotton candy until he forgets he’s magical and then his horn falls off. And black unicorns, they become zebras … a unicorn is someone who knows they’re magical and isn’t afraid to show it.”
She thinks she can help him win office because ‘I’ve slept with a lot of people and I’m really popular so I think I can get you mega-votes.’
She herself isn’t going to run because she doesn’t think she’s smart enough. (Cut to that great exchange we saw previewed last week, in which a teacher asks for the capital of Ohio and Brittany offers: ‘O!’)
Brittany’s My Little Pony-esque campaign concept –- unicorns, rainbows, pale pink and glitter -– includes a swag bag, she calls ‘Kurt Hummel’s Bulging Pink Fun Sack.’
Kurt’s afraid that the whole thing is too gay, but Brittany moves ahead with it anyway, prompting outrage from Kurt -– he thought they’d agreed to tone it down! -- and the following line from Santana: ‘This is toned down. In the original, the unicorn was riding you.’
Eventually -- after Santana calls her ‘brilliant’ and a ‘genius’ -- Brittany decides she is smart enough to run for class president herself (after all, the last few presidents have been male, and look where that got us): ‘I’m also a unicorn, maybe a bi-corn. Either way, I’m starting to believe in my own magic.’
If all ‘Glee’ ever gave us was Heather Morris spouting Brittanyisms in her muttery monotone (talk about magic!), I’d be satisfied.
Which is good because, to be perfectly honest, I felt vaguely underwhelmed by this episode; it lacked emotional resonance. (Have my ‘Glee’ expectations grown too high?)
The three aforementioned show tunes – Rachel and Shelby reunite to belt out ‘Somewhere’ (from ‘West Side Story’), Kurt flips and turns on a scaffolding while selling the heck out of ‘I’m the Greatest Star’ (from ‘Funny Girl’), and Blaine sings a rousing rendition of ‘Something’s Coming’ (also from ‘West Side Story’) -– were admirably delivered. (Like Artie, I found it tempting to give Darren Criss a standing ovation for his ‘West Side Story’ audition piece; he really is the perfect Tony!) But I missed having a few pop songs in the mix.
As for plot points poised to play out this season:
The return of Shelby (and baby Beth): Incomprehensibly, Will’s old vocal-coach rival/brief romantic interest, who also happens to be Rachel’s birth mother and the woman who adopted Quinn and Puck’s baby, has returned to Lima to teach at McKinley and lead a rival glee club featuring thus-far tin-eared New Directions reject Sugar Motta. (The club is being sponsored by Sugar’s father, who writes the school a big check, prompting Principal Figgins to holler, hilariously, that Mr. Motta ‘just ended our toilet paper shortage with this enormous check. Wipe away!’)
While it’s lovely to hear Shelby and Rachel duet, I’m not thrilled to see the Quinn-and-Puck baby storyline poised to take a presumably prominent role in the season ahead. The conflict feels a little soapy, and it’s hard to muster much sympathy for Quinn at this point. (Flushing someone’s head in a public toilet, threatening to cut them, and shaking them down for their lunch money are orders of magnitude more chilling than the face-full-of-slushy bullying we’re used to seeing.)
Plus, it’s a little difficult to buy Quinn’s sudden resolve to get her baby back after an entire season in which she barely seemed to give Beth a thought. By contrast, Puck’s interest in the child seemed wholly believable – that clown-pig! He’ll do the right thing and put a halt to Quinn’s half-baked plan to regain custody, right?
Kurt and Blaine, musical rivals? After Kurt’s hopes of nabbing the male lead in ‘West Side Story’ are dashed –- ‘I want a Tony that excites my lady parts,’ Coach Beiste asserts; Artie agrees that Kurt might be a bit ‘too delicate’ for the role – he learns (yet again) to accept himself for who his is. ‘Dude, you’re gay,’ Kurt’s dad tells him. ‘You’re not, like, Rock Hudson gay. You’re really gay. You sing like Diana Ross and you dress like you own a magic chocolate factory.’ Not only is there nothing wrong with that, Burt Hummel tells his son, but he can use his unique perspective to create his own opportunities. But then Blaine, who had gallantly tried to step aside and into a lesser part, is offered a chance to read for Tony, the part Kurt had set his heart on. Will he? If so, what will their rivalry for the spotlight mean for their relationship? And how did Kurt not see this coming when he asked Blaine to transfer to McKinley?
Finn and Rachel have different life plans: Finn indicates that he might want to stay in Ohio, fixing cars; Rachel thinks his talent could take him other places (difficulty dancing notwithstanding). Are they destined to go their separate ways after graduation? Are we destined to watch this conflict develop all season long?
Sue’s congressional run: Sue’s political aspirations show no sign of letting up. (What, you thought they’d last only one episode?) Her anti-arts stance has advanced her to the top of the polls. But Coach Beiste, Will, Emma – or, as Sue dubs them, ‘She Hulk, Weepy the Vest Clown, and little Miss Golden Marmoset’ – are hatching a plan. Will one of them run against her? And if not any of them, then who?
What did you think of the episode? Memorable moments? Favorite lines? Share, please. RELATED:
‘Glee’ recap: Back to school (and basics) in the Season 3 premiere
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-- Amy Reiter