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

By Abby West
Updated September 28, 2011 at 08:20 AM EDT
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Mike Yarish/Fox

Glee

S3 E2
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  • TV Show
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  • Fox
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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.

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.

Yes, it was the Kurt-Rachel-Blaine show (with a dash of Shelby) if you only go by the songs. But Quinn’s story (or is it alt-Quinn, what with her shadowy ulterior motives? Don’t worry, I won’t get all Fringe-y on you) was the driving force of the episode as we saw her fighting to maintain her new bad-girl persona with the Skanks, even as Shelby dangled the possibility of a relationship with Quinn’s daughter in front of her. Did you notice how much meaner the Skanks were? We saw them dunking a girl’s head in the toilet while shaking her down for money to buy food that they could eat and throw back up. And you know you can’t mess with those foster kids; they’re just so used to stabbing people.

Quinn seemed drugged out the way she so easily let Sue use her in an anti-arts video for her congressional campaign. But I loved the uncharacteristic burst of fire from Schue when Quinn tried to blame her fall from grace on the Glee club and he told her to grow up and stop playing the victim. It seemed that hit a nerve and laid the groundwork for softening up the wannabe tough nut. And Shelby’s attempts to connect with Quinn mother-to-mother seemed to clench the deal, driving the teen back to the open arms of the Glee club right after Schue’s Booty Camp finally got Finn to bust a move without looking too Lurch-like. It might have been a little obvious to have her redemption outfit be a white dress in contrast to the black leather she sported with the Skanks. But what was surprising (to us and to Puck) was that Quinn intended to get full custody of Beth. Something tells me that won’t work out well for anyone.

The sweetest scene of the night had to go to Puck with his impassioned plea for time with baby Beth. And the second-place winner for Awww moment of the night was when Santana shored up her gal pal’s confidence after Kurt abandoned her campaign. “This campaign’s genius. You’re a genius. You are the unicorn,” she told Brittany, who decided to run for class president herself.

Performances:

“Somewhere There’s a Place for Us” The powerhouse melding of Shelby and Rachel’s voices on a song that Barbra has a classic version of? You knew where this was heading. A

“I’m the Greatest Star,” Funny Girl Kurt’s voice was clear as a bell and as sharp as we’ve come to expect — as Beastie said, he owned it like it was his prison bitch.” But this performance got a major boost thanks to his pole work… er, his fine use of the scaffolding. P.S. What was he twirling? Sais? B+

“Something’s Coming,” West Side Story What’s there to say. Darren Criss’s Blaine just knows how to own the stage and your TV screen. I’d have chosen him over Kurt, too. A-

NEXT: The week’s best linesQuotables:

Brittany in response to Kurt’s comment that he didn’t know what to say: “That happens to me all the time. My lips move but only dust comes out.”

Brittany to Kurt: “Next time you make a joke, nudge me in the ribs or honk a horn or something.”

Sue as she takes a cigarette away from Quinn: “First of all, smoking kills. Second of all, it really does make you look cooler, doesn’t it?”

Artie about Coach Beastie after she lifts him and places into a chair: “She’s like my own personal Jim Henson.”

Sue: “Will Schuester never did appreciate the tremble of your thin, forgettable alto.”

Puck: “You look like a real housewife of Reno.”

Burt: “Dude, you’re gay. You’re gay. And you’re not like Rock Hudson gay, you’re really gay. You sing like Dianna Ross and you dress like you own a magic chocolate factory.”

Beastie, as Artie vomits into his mouth: “I want a Tony that excites my lady parts.”

Sue: “Just got a text from Becky, complete with hilarious auto corrects.”

Artie: “I so want to give you a standing ovation right now.”

Standout–Sue to Beastie, Will, and Emma: “Well, hello, She Hulk, Weepy the Vest Clown, and little Miss Golden Marmoset. It’s a Brazilian monkey and seriously, it’s your spittin’ image. I’m gonna send you an email. Are you still at freakishbonyginger at gmail?”

What did you think of this episode? Want to see what they’re talking about over at the Diss-A-Glee Club? Are you looking forward to lots more Mercedes next week?

And follow me on Twitter: @EWAbbyWest

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Glee

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