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Glee Review: Baby Blue

The newly expanded Glee writers’ room is finally turning in a slightly different kind of story than those of season one and two. It’s expected that a premiere would have the voice of its head and more seasoned writers. But with the second episode of the season, it’s nice to see an episode that has nothing to do with some Schue-imposed glee club lesson or forced songs or a “sum it all up” message, even if they were sparse on the songs.

This week, Kurt decided to shift his presidential campaign into drive with Brittany’s help, while simultaneously preparing for the school musical auditions for West Side Story. With the return of Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel), Rachel, Quinn and Puck’s lives were turned upside down. And Artie got to hang with the adults for a week.

Mr. Schue decided that to win Nationals, he will have to focus all his attention on the glee club and maybe that pesky Spanish class…maybe. He foisted the burden of the musical onto the extremely supportive shoulders of Coach Beiste and Emma with Artie in the director’s seat. Beiste even talked her football players into playing the Jets which, hopefully, show continuity will allow us to see. Schue also instituted a “Booty Camp” for the choreographically-challenged glee club members. (That meant Finn, Kurt, Puck and even Mercedes. Poor Blaine just wanted to join so he could “catch up” with everyone else which is code for: “Please bond with me.”)

Adorable Brittany offered to run Kurt’s campaign since she believes in the magical power of the unicorn, and Kurt in all his uniqueness is a true unicorn in her eyes. Unfortunately, Kurt didn’t believe that unicorns, pink and glitter would really encourage the populace to vote for him since it’s all “too gay.” Kurt struggled throughout the episode with the realization that he may never get the chance to play strong, straight male leads like West Side Story’s Tony. Brittany’s sparkly campaign posters and gifts, including Kurt’s “bulging pink fun sack” filled with gay pride flags and ruby slippers were everything Kurt was hoping to avoid.

No one seemed to have any faith that Kurt could actually pull off. He didn’t help his cause by auditioning with a very Streisand number (with the permission of Rachel), “I’m the Greatest Star” from Funny Girl, and he did it so FABULOUSLY. After overhearing deliberations on him being too “delicate,” he also did himself no favors by donning tights and reading some Romeo & Juliet with Rachel as a second audition. Old English definitely doesn’t scream manly. Still, he didn’t deserve to be laughed at by Beiste and Artie. Even Rachel laughed right before he’s was supposed to kiss her, but Kurt went about everything all wrong. Finally, a pep talk from Burt about embracing his true self which is really gay, like “sings like Diana Ross and you dress like you own a magic chocolate factory” gay, inspired Kurt to accept the unicorn within. Like Burt said, write his own roles if there doesn’t seem to be ones out there for him. “You know what they call a unicorn without a horn? A freaking horse,” deadpanned Burt.

Though a lot of the spotlight was on Kurt, his campaign also motivated Brittany to prove that she’s smart and has good ideas too, even if Kurt turned down every single one of them. In the end, Brittany found Kurt putting up posters proclaiming “Believe in Magic” with a big horn sticking out of his forehead, a rainbow above him and unicorns below. He conceded that she’d been right all along, though at the time only Santana believed in her. (It was a very sweet, understated moment between the two.) And in sweet Brittany fashion, she was happy for Kurt and wished him luck but Santana’s support showed her that she could do something and run for president as well. “I’m also a unicorn, maybe a bi-corn. Either way, I’m starting to believe in my own magic,” concluded Brittany.

Kurt appeared shocked, though I can’t imagine he’d hold it against the girl who tried to help him. Unfortunately, Brittany may not be his only obstacle after watching Blaine audition with “Something’s Coming.” His performance was 100% all Tony, a really, really hot Tony that makes me want to be a very lucky Maria. Now he’s that Rock Hudson kind of gay Burt mentioned. Kurt watched from the balcony with a smile at first, and Artie wanted so badly to give Blaine a standing ovation. He even asked if he would consider reading for Tony, something Blaine hinted he wouldn’t do because he knew how badly Senior Kurt wanted it. (In episode two, have we already reached overkill of reminding us what grade everyone is in?). We didn’t get to see Blaine’s answer, though he looked very conflicted, and Kurt walked away before he got one too.

Sounds like a tough week for Mr. Hummel, but things were even harder for Rachel, Puck and Quinn. Shelby returned to Lima as a part-time teacher. Mr. Motta, Sugar’s dad, bribed Figgins into hiring Shelby so she could put his baby front and center in another show choir. He’s footing her salary on top of the bribe, so how could Figgins say no? This is a dedicated dad. Schue’s worried about his kids, but Shelby refused to run away again. She wants to make things right with Rachel and with her child’s biological parents. Seeing as Quinn and the Skanks are giving out swirlies, it’s the perfect time for a comeback. Shelby wants Quinn to be in Beth’s life but not if she’s all crazy and damaged. Quinn went low when she threw it in Shelby’s face that she’s Beth’s real mother, something Shelby can never be, but the new rival show choir teacher stood firm. She also stayed strong when she reached out to Rachel who wanted nothing but polite nods in the hallway from her. Instead she got the awesome recommendation that “Somewhere” is the perfect, non-safe, song to audition with. The two sing together, Rachel auditioned with confidence and I got chills.

Later, Puck dropped in at Shelby’s house since he’s got friends in law enforcement and had no trouble getting her address. He came prepared with proof that he’s drug free, and I let out an audible “aw” when he said that Beth looked like Quinn, but Shelby commented that she has the same dopey smile as Puck. Holding his baby made him realize that he could care less about what Quinn does, but he does care about Beth and wants Quinn to get her act together because that cute baby needs her biological mom in her life. I love that he also had no problem saying this directly to her face.

While Shelby attempted to give Sugar vocal lessons, Quinn walked in. She shared that she knows exactly what Quinn’s going through because she was Quinn when she gave up Rachel – instead she got a Regis Philbin tattoo and a Sinead O’Connor haircut. (Please let this mean completely bald. The image is amazing.) She offered that Quinn has to stop punishing herself for things she did as a child and said it’s in Quinn’s hands whether she wants to be a part of their family because Shelby wants her to be. It may have been unbelievably fast but I was totally suckered when Quinn showed up to Booty Camp in her pristine white dress and newly-dyed blond hair asking to be accepted back into the fold. Everyone hugged her, and Puck looked so happy until Quinn confessed she was faking it because all she wants is to get full custody of her child. Ryan Murphy, your utter absurdity sneaks up in the most surprising places.

There wasn’t a lot of glee club or romance, but there was lots of interesting plot and character movement for the kids. This isn’t always the case when a guest star appears, which is probably why I’ll always welcome the return of Idina Menzel. Shelby pushes the kids, and even Schue sometimes, to really look at their future and what they want, and she always encourages them to work hard and go for it. It’s a nice, yet not overly saccharin message, and is always done subtlety. Plus, the lady can saaaang!

What did you love or hate about Glee’s second episode of the season? Are you for fewer songs, especially if it means storyline strength and continuity improvements? And did you miss having a big, cohesive group number?

THE SONGS
“Somewhere” – A
“I’m the Greatest Star” – A- (especially the scaffold staging)
“Something’s Coming” – A

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

  • “You kind of have one move, Kurt. It’s like this sashay (moves included), and it’s super distracting.” – Mike Chang
  • “In college, I was in ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’. I was the forum. – Beiste
  • Brittany’s unicorn headband.
  • “First of all, smoking kills. Second, it really does make you look cooler, doesn’t it?” – Sue
  • In return for futons under the bleachers, Quinn became Sue’s poster girl for how the arts ruins lives, saying Quinn went from being on the top of the pyramid to swaying in the background.
  • Said video showed Quinn pretending that she smokes corn starch and confronting Mr. Schue saying he ruined her life. The best part is that he fought back, called her selfish and told her to grow up. No more sissy Schue!
  • “You look like a real housewife of Reno.” – Puck
  • Mercedes thinking her “Park and Bark” works. “I stand center stage and sing the notes no one else can while you dance around me.”
  • Kurt can twirl Sais.
  • “Might I just add that I only read through this scene once, ten minutes ago, and I’m already off book.” – Rachel
  • Finn must have worked on cars over the summer because all of a sudden he’s at home under the hood.
  • Just when Schue thinks he’s got the upper hand, Sue swoops in to crush his moment. This time, she’s leading the campaign polls and might just win the whole thing.

For another opinion on this episode, check out Baby Mama Drama by Alana D.

Season 3, Episode 2: “I am Unicorn” (originally aired September 27, 2011)

Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 ET/PT on Fox.

Images courtesy of Mike Yarish and Fox.

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