Mike Yarish/Fox

Rachel and Quinn both have to deal with the return of Shelby, while Kurt decides being a unicorn isn't so bad after all


S3 E2
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TV Show
September 28, 2011 at 08:20 AM EDT

Though light on songs with only three numbers, this week’s episode was heavy on the action as Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel) decided to come back to Lima, Mckinley High specifically, so she could make amends for her mistakes. But that meant complicated feelings for her biological daughter Rachel, as well as for Quinn and Puck, the parents of the baby she adopted. (Remember baby Beth? Glad to see that the show does too. How cute is she?) Meanwhile, both Kurt’s run for class president and his attempt to get the Tony role in the school production of West Side Story hit a snag on the issue of his… well, his perceived manliness.

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Brittany really wanted to manage Kurt’s run for class president because she felt that his uniqueness made him a rare wonderful creature, like a unicorn. So along came the handmade bright pink and glitter posters and a swag bag that looked like a 5-year-old’s My Little Pony dream/nightmare exploded in it. Kurt Hummel’s Bulging Pink Fun Sack, filled with ruby slippers  and the like, was so over the top that Kurt called it too gay, saying that he didn’t want to be known as the “h” word.  (Glee may be able to say it but I sure won’t. I will say that I would love to find that unicorn headband that Brittany wore. So send me links if you find one like it.)

And even though he gave a killer performance, the play’s new directors (Coach Beiste, Emma, and Artie taking over for Schuester) questioned if Kurt could be butch enough to convincingly carry off the lead. After a botched attempt to change their minds by playing Romeo (Dude, showing up in tights and spouting Olde English was never going to help your cause with these guys), Kurt fretted that he’d never get to play coveted male leading roles as an actor. Of course, a no-holds-barred pep talk from everyone’s favorite dad, Burt, got Kurt back in a positive mood as he seemed to consider the idea that he might need to create the roles he wants rather than relying on fitting a certain mold. But that good mood disappeared when boyfriend Blaine’s amazing rendition of “Something’s Coming” caused the directors to ask him to read for the lead role instead of the supporting ones.

Shelby, hired by Sugar’s dad to start a second show choir at McKinley just for the tone-deaf student, also gave her bio-daughter a pep talk (“You will never become a star or get the lead if you play it safe”) and an audition song suggestion. And the combined  power of those two onstage singing “Somewhere There’s a Place for Us,” even briefly, was mesmerizing.

NEXT: Quinn’s quick journey back to motherhood? And we grade the performances.

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Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.
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