Glee: I Kissed a Girl recap/review

“Rule wisely. Rule fabulously.”

Before getting into an analysis of this week’s episode, I feel we should all take a moment to consider the above quote from Kurt, and use it in our lives.

Glee‘s episodes tend to be hit and miss these days, and this one, while not as good as The First Time, was definitely in the hit category.

I Kissed a Girl was, at its core, about three things – friendship, acceptance and secrets.

Let’s start with the last, although most of the secrets didn’t stay secret for long. Using the elections as an obvious metaphor, the episode culminated in a big reveal, of election results, and of secrets.

Some of the secrets revealed may be better off out there, others may cause a great deal of damage. 

Let’s start with Santana, whose storyline not only dealt in secrets, but also in friendship. We picked up moments after the last episode ended, with Santana about to be punished for slapping Finn. She was saved only by Finn, who has had yet another personality change (what is going on with him?!) and is this week being intuitive and the best friend a girl could have. It’s a little (okay, a lot) out of character, and I’d have preferred Kurt to be the one helping Santana through, but let’s overlook the ridiculousness.
Finn stepped up to the plate, heading the movement to let Santana know she has friends who will keep a secret for her, but who would rather she didn’t have to, and who accept her for who she is. This was a great episode when it came to demonstrating the friendships between the characters. Seeing everyone rally round Santana was moving, but was saved from being sickly by the usual Santana-like comments (“With all the horrible crap I’ve been through in my life now I get to add that” – in response to Kurt and Blaine’s duet). The boys showed they cared with an emotional rendition of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and the girls rallied round by singing an in-your-face (if inappropriate to the situation) version of I Kissed a Girl. Both showcased different sides of the friendship the group all have in the best way songs could have, although they could have just talked to Santana.

The sweetest scene this episode was between Finn and Santana. Standing at a locker, telling her she means something to him, that he wanted to do everything he could to help her, was so lovely (I’m ignoring the creepy “you were my first” thing). Who thought Finn could be this in touch with his emotions and this clued in? And seeing Santana mellow (slightly) and realise she doesn’t have to so bitchy all the time was fun too. Her character is becoming really three dimensional. 

Of course, Santana’s secret wasn’t a secret from the glee club, it was a secret from her family. Her mum and dad supposedly accepted her, but it was clearly her grandmother whose reaction meant the most, and who disappointed the most. When Santana revealed the truth – that she is a lesbian – her grandmother reacted in the worst possible way, saying it was a secret that Santana would have been better off keeping.

Santana wasn’t the only female this week to go through the emotional wringer. Rachel tried to do the best thing for Kurt, and in the name of (mostly) friendship attempted to rig the election for class president. That was a secret which had disastrous consequences, seeing Rachel banned from competing at Sectionals once she revealed the truth. But it was a secret better revealed, as otherwise it would have seen Kurt punished for something he didn’t do.

Coach Bieste also revealed a secret this week – her love for Cooter Menkins. This was perhaps only a secret to Bieste and to Cooter, but facing up to a secret about yourself is probably the hardest thing. Again, hers was a secret better revealed. Although it makes her vulnerable, it also gives her a fighting chance for the affections of the man she loves.

The Bieste storyline has now given Sue a new focus. She is back to battling with Bieste, only this time the stakes are high – Cooter. Bieste loves Cooter, so it’s easy to see why she would be prepared to fight so hard for him. For Sue, it’s clearly just a power struggle, as I refuse to believe she could feel so strongly for Cooter so fast (no, I’m not counting the previous dalliances she may have had with him).

While Bieste, Rachel and Santana were all revealing secrets, Quinn was learning them while also accepting some home truths about herself. She found out about Puck and Shelby’s relationship, which this week took a turn for the more disturbing when the two of them slept together. I know I say this every week, but I hate this storyline. It’s something out of a bad soap, and has no place here. I can’t see it ending well, not with Quinn in a vengeful mood following Puck telling her she’s a mess.

It wasn’t just the girls suffering this week, some of the boys were working their way through their fare share of heartache.

Kurt suffered yet another disappointment when he lost the election for class president, leaving him to accept the fact that his application to NYADA may not be strong enough to get him. In the meantime, he has the support of Blaine, who thinks he’s perfect and supposedly will help Kurt “work something out”. Seeing as the application has been sent, I don’t see what working anything out now will do. Here’s hoping New Directions win Nationals and that’s enough to get Kurt in to the university of his choice.

Puck was also going through a gamut of feelings. He was down after his daughter got taken to the hospital following a fall, then high after he slept with Shelby. Then he was low again after Shelby threw him out. And finally, he and Quinn came to an understanding, which he then unknowingly ruined after telling Quinn about his relationship with Shelby. He thinks being rejected is bad…

Of course, there were happy moments. Burt beat Sue to become a member of the US Congress. It’ll be interesting to see if this story is carried forward, or if we’ll just occasionally hear about Burt doing Congress-type things. And Brittany won the election for class president. This wasn’t great news for everyone, but Kurt was magnanimous in defeat, and Brittany’s pixie sticks (however you spell them) will no doubt keep people on a sugar high.

As a side theme, this episode was also about feeling special. Santana was made to feel special by her friends, Quinn was told by Puck she doesn’t need anyone else – not a man, not a baby – to make her special, and despite losing the election Kurt was told by Brittany he was still the most unicorn of them all.

There were a couple of things glaringly wrong in this episode. The first was a mistake (I think) with continuity. When the scenes on the day of the election start, Kurt, Rachel and a host of others are wearing certain outfits. Then everyone seems to change for glee club, then changes back to vote. Um, what’s going on?

The second thing this episode did was bring this question to the forefront of my mind – what’s happened to Artie? When was the last time he sang a solo? I honestly don’t remember what his singing voice even sounds like. In fact, I don’t think he’s had a solo this season, which is a travesty. Tina also, hasn’t had much to do. Those two will be around next season (if there is a next season) as they’re younger than Rachel, Finn, Kurt and co, so maybe it’s been decided that they’ll have plenty of chance to sing next year. Still, Blaine is also younger, and he’s been getting plenty of solos this year. This whole issue needs to be sorted.

There was lots going on in I Kissed a Girl, but instead of feeling rushed, this was an episode that worked, and worked well. I hope this trend continues. 

There’s a big divide with this episode and the Glee fans. A lot of people hated it, thought it was condescending and handled Santana and her problems with coming out insensitively. I think it could have been better, as Glee always could, but overall I thought it was a pretty well constructed episode with a lot of strengths. I think the storyline with Santana was handled in a very Santana way. There was plenty of bitching and some inappropriate moments (I Kissed a Girl), which is Santana all over (she loves nothing more than to be bitch at inappropriate times), but there were also quieter, more contemplative moments (Santana and her grandmother), which show another side to Santana.

The music:
Musically, this episode was much stronger than the last. The numbers were a combination of meaningful and fun – both were things most of the numbers from last week’s Mash Off (apart from the Adele tunes) lacked.

The strongest two were Perfect (not just because I love Kurt and Blaine), and the final number, Constant Craving.

Perfect was fun and sweet, and the start of Santana letting her walls down. 

Constant Craving was perfect (no pun intended) because it reflected so much so many characters were feeling. It’s a song about wanting something badly, a song about being let down, a song about the realisation of truths about yourself. They were all things the characters who sang the song – Santana, Shelby and Kurt – were feeling.

Although Katy Perry is not my favourite, I Kissed a Girl was a great number (aside from slightly trivialising Santana and what she’s going through), purely for the expressions flashing across Rory’s face. Hilarious. There should be a segment of Rory just reacting to stuff. Apart from Rory’s facial expressions, I could have done without this song.

What Glee did well this week:
In a week where so much was going on, Glee managed to keep all the balls in the air. It also showed us the emotional heart of characters like Santana and Finn, something we’ve been missing for a while (although horrid Finn looks set to return next week).

Next week:
Blaine confronts Finn about his bad attitude, Sam is back, and, oh yeah, it’s Sectionals.

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