Tonight was the much-hyped Glee episode “Born this Way,” obviously featuring Lady Gaga’s hit as the big final number. It also featured another “after school special” plot about accepting yourself for who you are and embracing your ‘flaws’ as unique gifts. However, even this message seemed to get a little murky (i.e. Will wants everyone to like what they perceive to be their weaknesses, which for Emma is her OCD, yet at the same time he convinces her to rid herself of her tendencies). I know, I know, in Emma’s case it is a disorder and not a nose, but still.
This episode had a whole lot going on, so much so that I think it diluted its power. You may feel differently, but I think “Born This Way” would have been stronger as a traditional one-hour episode with less commotion. Actually, one of my key complaints this season has been its manic plots that seem to go every which way—picking up storylines from months ago and tossing them around in one jumbled episode. I did appreciate that this episode had a unifying theme—everyone dealing with their insecurities—but it was just too heavy handed. I would have been happy with a focus on Kurt returning to school and the new Santana-Korofsky alliance. But instead we got all of that plus Rachel considering a nose job, Lauren and Quinn struggling for prom queen, Will pushing Emma to tackle her OCD and more. Thank goodness it was an off week for Sue, or that really would have been too much.
When Finn accidentally busted a move right into Rachel, she broke her ‘birthright Jewish nose.’ When the doctor hilariously pressured her to consider a nose job, Rachel gave it serious thought. This brought about a weekly lesson from Mr. Schue, which of course resulted in a Glee Club assignment. I often wonder when Glee actually rehearses its numbers for competitions since the kids spend so much time doing weekly self-esteem assignments! Schuester wanted everyone to make a t-shirt naming a flaw or weakness each person struggles with but that makes them unique. Some members didn’t have any trouble revealing their insecurities—like Finn not being able to dance and Mike not being able to sing. But several of our Glee-Clubbers had difficulty admitting their own insecurities even to themselves.
Rachel eventually ditched the idea of a nose job after a “Barbara-vention” when Kurt organized a flash mob at the mall. But not before she and Quinn sang an interesting mash-up of “Unpretty” and “I Feel Pretty” reflecting the pressure they each feel to look perfect. Speaking of Quinn, she had been hiding her own ‘unpretty’ past until Lauren did some investigating in her quest to become prom queen. Turned out that Lucy Quinn Fabray’s middle school years were quite different—she was chubby, called “Lucy Caboosey” and had no friends. While she was mortified at first when Lauren posted her old school picture all over McKinley, she quickly learned that more people related to her struggles.
The biggest development, by far, was Kurt’s highly anticipated return to McKinley High. It’s about time. The goodbye serenade of “Somewhere Only We Know” presented by The Warblers and Kurt’s tearful return to his school singing “As If We Never Said Goodbye” were the highlight songs for me. The circumstances behind Kurt’s return were slightly on the suspicious side, however. Dave Korofsky is back in the fold, but this time Santana is using him as her beard—and is letting him use her as his beard—making them a closeted power couple. Santana shrewdly recognizes that if she can tame Korofsky and keep bullying in check, it can pave the way for Kurt to return and for her to be labeled a hero—and possibly prom queen. But Santana knows that prom queen is not what she secretly wants; it is Brittany. Time will tell how long this arrangement can last.
I didn’t think there were enough laugh-out-loud one-liners tonight to merit a list, but I will say that Brittany’s effort to give Santana a shirt that said “Lesbian” but spelling it “Lebanese” was pretty hilarious. And, on a more serious note, for once I didn’t mind the adult sub-plot as much as usual, mainly because I thought Emma’s scene with her therapist was very well done.
What did you think of this extra-long episode of expressing yourself openly and honestly? I might have walked away with the wrong message, because I started Google-ing nose job options for my deviated septum!