Okay, if this was supposed to be a controversial episode, I didn’t really see it. What I did see was a sweet little nugget of an episode (though glaringly devoid of Sue) that somehow made the big school play seem anticlimactic. (I’m just gonna put this out there: I would love to see all the actual West Side Story performances shown in their entirety. DVD extra, people?)
Yes, the sex talk was stepped up a bit but as far as what Glee‘s shown and done in the past, the montage of both Finn-Rachel and Kurt-Blaine’s first time was far from overly suggestive. It was romantic and loving, safe sex was stressed throughout the episode, as was the enormity of the decision. Although I get some of the concerns about portraying sex among teen characters, I think this was given enough weight to offset that, as well as to offset the previously cavalier sexual attitudes of characters like Puck, Brittany, and Santana.
Artie has found his calling as a director, turning out what Mr. Schue would later call McKinley High’s best musical ever. Artie’s newfound confidence heading into that opening night led him to weigh in on the sex lives of (or lack thereof) his virginal leading duo, and eventually even led him to dabble in a little matchmaking for Coach Beastie. We’ll get to the sensitive lady coach in a bit but first I need to take issue with Artie’s warning to Rachel and Blaine that without having had a sexual experience, they wouldn’t be able to tap into the sexuality and passion of the roles. It’s called ahk-ting, Artie! It’s the art of the make-believe. Sure, the more life experience you can bring to it to tap into the better, but to play a murderer, you don’t actually have to murder anyone. These are high school kids, who as Blaine would later say while he shimmied in front of Kurt, quite naturally have urges. They would absolutely get the concept of the physical desire to be together that Tony and Maria had, as well the driving passion of first true love. They didn’t actually have to have sex to do so.
That was a point that Rachel would eventually get, but not before she got poor Finn’s hopes up for their big night, only to let it slip that she wanted to “get it over with” before Friday’s performance. Unlike his far more experienced friend Puck (who always secretly hoped it’d be Finn and not himself who deflowered Rachel), Finn cared very much about Rachel’s motivation for offering to have sex with him now and not after she won an Oscar. He put the kibosh on it that night, which drove Rachel to hold an emergency meeting of her girls: Tina, Quinn, Brittany, and Santana (with Mercedes glaringly absent. All’s forgiven but not really?)
From this we learned that Tina and Mike had sex for the first time last summer. Though Quinn and Santana told Rachel she should wait to have sex (citing pregnancy, regret, and Finn’s general ineptitude in bed), Rachel was swayed by Tina’s description of her experience as “absolutely perfect.” She and Mike weighed it for a long time beforehand and she felt no regrets about it because he was her first love. (Speaking of Mike, the minor plotline of his dad finding out about his acting in the play and disowning him at first seemed a little random. But I do appreciate that the writers didn’t let the musical come and go without addressing that impending conflict between father and son that they’d alluded to previously. Harry Shum, Jr. played it well: that defiance and stand for his passion for dancing, as well as that hopefulness/disappointment that his father would be in the audience to see him, followed by his joy at seeing his mother’s appreciation for his performance. Good stuff.)
NEXT: Kurt and Blaine create some Scandals — not really