Glee is getting ready to wind down. There are only a few more episodes left until the end of the season, and then everything will change, with more than half the characters graduating. Who knows what will happen after.
As we’re so close to the end, Glee decided to use Prom-asaurus to remind us about where it all started and how our favourite characters have changed (or not) since we first met them.
Let’s start with Rachel. She’s always been the main character in Glee, even though it’s an ensemble cast. From the moment we met her, we knew Rachel was focused, confident, and slightly delusional about her position in the jungle that is McKinley.
The biggest thing to note here is that internally, Rachel still sees herself as she was in the first episode – on the outside looking in, the ignored girl dreaming of the football hunk, who’s too busy dating the blonde cheerleader.
But staying the same isn’t always a bad thing. After all, in Rachel’s opening internal monologue, she repeats the most important Glee mantra of all, one that we’ve known since the first episode – “So I’m not going to get everything I’ve ever wanted, that doesn’t make me a loser.”
It might seem that Rachel hasn’t changed at all – she’s still determined to be the centre of attention and she’s still pretty selfish. But she has grown in the past few seasons – she’s handling her failure calmly, focusing on other things and looking to other dreams. Granted, I don’t think the Rachel we know would have just given up, but as the prom episode, a lot of things get put on hold to focus on the occasion. Although Santana does tell Rachel that she needs to “Stop acting like you’re fine and start dealing with your crap”. I’m hoping Rachel will heed Santana’s words.
And we see how much Rachel has changed when we see her at prom – looking beautiful and confident in her prom dress, the attention of the boy she always wanted solely focused on her, and surrounded by friends who hold her in high esteem. That’s not something Rachel would have dreamt of happening in the first episode, no matter how big her dreams got.
Rachel was “voted” prom queen after Quinn and Santana fixed the election. Yes, it was completely dishonest of the two of them, but moving out of the way for Rachel, realising that they didn’t deserve to be voted prom queen, or need to be voted prom queen, that it was better to make a difference, was a big realisation for the two of them. They have grown from the mean girls into mature young women.
Quinn, especially, started this episode as the same person she was back in season one – horrible, willing to lie to get what she wanted, trampling on everyone else. But she ended the episode as the best of the Quinn we’ve come to know over the past few seasons – kind, mature, understanding the true nature of friendship. It took Rachel telling Quinn how much she’d changed to make Quinn realise it herself, and to realise a hollow victory means nothing without friendship. Her “prom miracle” was better because it was done with her friends at her side, and not for cynical reasons.
Santana, too, has grown considerably. She’ll never stop being sassy and slightly mean, but she’s realised love means more than popularity, and that she’s become a better person through the friendship of others, including Rachel.
Other characters haven’t changed as much. I think Finn is still much the same as he always was. He’s still the slightly clueless guy who follows the crowd (or the girl) because he thinks he’s helping, and needs to make his own mistakes to know what he should be doing. He threw a fit like he did last year at prom, but has matured enough to walk away from a bad situation.
As much as I dislike the amount of screen time Finchel gets, I think Rachel and Finn were pretty cute in this episode. After their initial fight Rachel decided to let Finn do what he wanted, and then just let him join her afterwards at the anti-prom party. Rachel would never have done this before – she would have sulked and screamed until Finn gave in to her demands.
Anti-prom was the second time in two weeks Glee has referenced Dawson’s Creek. Many Glee fans will be too young to remember Dawson’s Creek, but one of the latter show’s iconic episode was the all-night study session (see last week’s Glee), and another was the alternative prom episode (from memory I think they had an alternative prom because the prom committee wouldn’t let Jack bring a male date to official prom).
The anti-prom in Glee fell apart once the characters there realised that what they really wanted was to be surrounded by friends, and so off they went to official prom, where they came to terms with their fears – Rachel learnt to hold her head high in the face of failure, Blaine overcame his self-consciousness to show how he really looks, and Kurt stood up to memories of his last prom.
So let’s talk about Kurt and Blaine’s storyline this episode. I love Kurt, and I love Blaine. I love KurtandBlaine. But this episode, I thought their story was the wrong way round. The focus was on Blaine’s hair and how uncomfortable he felt showing it au natural. The focus should have been on Kurt going back to prom this year after being humiliated the previous year by being voted prom queen.
Kurt’s fears were mentioned, by Kurt himself, and then dismissed when Blaine turned the focus to his hair. Does anything think this would really have happened with the Kurt and Blaine we know? Would Blaine really have shoved Kurt’s feelings aside to talk about his hair? I really don’t think so.
Unfortunately, I think Blaine’s storyline was this week used to provide some comic relief to the other storylines, meaning Kurt’s was marginalised. Yes, I loved Kurt and Blaine’s interaction this episode, it was cute and funny, but I’d have liked to see more acknowledgement from everyone about how difficult last year was for Kurt, and how brave he is to come back and face the people who were so cruel to him. Essentially he was mass-bullied at prom last year, and suddenly that’s less important than Blaine’s hair.
Also, while we’re talking about Blaine’s hair and how unrealistic it was that it was a bigger storyline than Kurt going to prom after last year, can I also mention how unrealistic it is that Kurt has never seen Blaine without hair gel? They’ve slept together, does Blaine just get up really early while Kurt’s still asleep to regel his hair?!
We also revisited Becky’s storyline from earlier this season, about being overlooked because she has Down’s Syndrome. Puck continued his run of sensitivity from last week, and crowned Becky queen of the anti-prom, fulfilling her dream and making her realise that she only needs a few people to see her for who she is, not what she looks like, to open the eyes of the rest of the world. In turn, Becky helped Puck to fulfil his dream of spiking the punch at prom.
This was an episode where we were shown exactly why we love the characters on Glee. It definitely wasn’t a great episode plot-wise (prom episodes on programmes never are), but it was a brilliant episode character-wise. As Tina said: “I don’t want it to end. Everything, this whole year, just, I wish it could go on forever.” So do we Tina.
I loved Big Girls Don’t Cry. As Rachel said, it summed up what she was feeling at that moment, and was a gorgeous number.
Take My Breath Away was also gorgeous, and very sweet. It fit Rachel and Finn well, had lovely vocals from Quinn and Santana, and also spoke to what the fans feel about Glee – it takes our breath away.
The rest of the music was a bit teen-focused.
I’d not heard Dinosaur by Kesha before. Was the whole dinosaur prom theme built around the fact that Glee could get Brittany singing another Kesha song.
Love You Like a Love Song and What Makes You Beautiful were good, but nothing special. And I still don’t understand how One Direction went from being a boyband put together by Simon Cowell to being huge in America.
What Glee did well
This wasn’t an episode that really moved the storyline forward, but it did move all our characters forward, which I loved.
A double bill – nationals and the character-swapping episode.