So, before getting to the less important stuff in the episode (storyline, characters, songs, themes), let’s discuss the most pressing issue of all – what on earth was Blaine wearing in his first scene?!
What was the wardrobe department thinking? Bring back the Dalton blazer now!
Now that I have mostly forgotten (but not forgiven) that outfit, let’s move on with the show.
I am Unicorn was about finding the special things that make you, you. Your unicorn moment. It’s perhaps not how most people would describe it, but Britney’s explanation about unicorns knowing how special they are made a weird kind of sense. Clearly Britney’s emotionally wise, just intellectually a bit, well, dumb.
But it’s not Britney’s stupidity which is the surprise – one (of the few) thing(s) Glee’s writers have been consistent about is Britney’s lack of knowledge of some things (the capital of Ohio is O, Will I Am is president). What was suddenly discovering Puck is academically stunted. Yes, he’s a slacker and has been in juvie, but does he really not know how to spell basic words? For those who didn’t see it, his picture for his daughter said “Too Beth”. Grr.
What Glee wasn’t about this week was the glee club. Apart from a brief scene at the beginning and some booty lessons (Mike Chang in slow motion – yes, Mr Schue – no) , the focus was on the students putting on a musical. Is Glee going to forget about its actual glee club for the moment? I hope not, although evidence points to yes.
Because back this week is Shelby, Rachel’s biological mum and the woman who adopted Quinn and Puck’s baby – who’s barely (if ever) been mentioned since season one. Now suddenly, she’s back, wanting to reconcile with Rachel, and bring Puck and Quinn into their daughter’s life. What? I love Idina Menzel, but the bolt of the blue way she’s been brought back is silly. Why do you do this to us Glee, why? Why so erratic?
And with the sudden return of baby Beth comes one of Glee’s most ludicrous (Eastenders-like) plot lines – Quinn’s descent into bad girl, then her (pretend) transformation back to her former perky blonde self, all so she can get back custody of her daughter. Why can’t she just struggle emotionally with giving up her daughter? Why does there have to be the farce of her trying to get Beth back by pretending to be good? The quicker this plot goes away the better.
One storyline which did have a ring of truth was the Kurt/Blaine audition, which also encompassed Kurt’s difficulty in accepting his limitations.
Last year Glee’s Ryan Murphy hit back after a writer said gay men couldn’t play straight convincingly. This episode is a second sort-of rebuff to that. Kurt (our central unicorn), in this instance, doesn’t have the right qualities it takes to play West Side Story’s Tony. But that’s less to do with Kurt being gay than Kurt being…Kurt. On the flip side, Blaine, also gay, seems perfect for the part, regardless of his sexuality. What Murphy is trying to say here has got my mind spinning in circles, so let’s just take it on face value – Blaine suits this part more than Kurt, maybe next time it will be different.
What was lovely to see was how something simple (two people pursuing the same part) caused conflict. This is the kind of thing that actually happens to teenagers, as opposed to them creating elaborate plots to get back babies (I’m not saying this has never happened in real life, but come on).
It’ll be good to see how this issue is resolved. Kurt is clearly coming to terms with the fact that he is not a musical theatre guru (last week with the freaky kids, this week with West Side Story), that he is not suited to every role and that he will have to show people how special he rather than expecting them to just notice. Meanwhile Blaine is struggling between his loyalty to his boyfriend and his desire to do something he loves and is good at. Even if you missed the rest of the episode, that conflict – pain, indecision, realisation – was played out beautifully on Blaine and Kurt’s faces in the closing moments.
Honourable mentions this episode go to Burt (“You sing like Diana Ross and dress like you own a magic chocolate factory”) and Mike (yay) explaining how Kurt has one dance move which freaks him out.
This week’s songs were exclusively from the world of musical theatre. Kurt, Rachel and Shelby all put in solid performances, but the episode belonged to Darren Criss as Blaine with his brilliant rendition of Something’s Coming. It was perfect in every way.
What Glee did well this week:
The triumverate of Artie, Coach Beiste and Emma were hilarious. Among the gems were Artie’s face when Beiste speaks about her lady parts, Beiste announcing to a puzzled Glee club that she played the forum in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Emma’s speech about wanting to be wrapped in Kurt’s arms.
More ignoring the glee club in favour of the musical, more conflict, and hopefully Britney taking part in a debate. That last one is on my wish list. As is seeing Santana come back properly.