"I now realize I wasted an entire year belaboring the nuances of my fluid teen sexuality, and getting caught up in Lord Tubbington's Ponzi schemes. Then for awhile I stopped talking. But I don't want my presidency to be the last at McKinley. I don't want that to be my legacy."
I watched Brittany say that line maybe half a dozen times before I let go of the dream that it was an intricately coded way for Ryan Murphy (who wrote last night's episode) to apologize to us all for the past season of Glee. But it wasn't an apology. And it wasn't a very good episode, either. But in the wake of the disaster that was last week's episode, we see life a little differently now. We appreciate the simpler things. We try to move forward.
Rachel and Quinn spent the episode trying to out-awful each other. Rachel continued to be devastated over failing to achieve her lifelong dream to attend the performing arts school that she didn't even know existed until this past September. What was worse, Quinn and Finn were nominated for prom queen and king, and Finn agreed to campaign with her, because it is only natural that the election process for prom royalty would be more protracted than the process of Kurt's dad winning that Congressional election. Rachel expressed her grief through leopard-print pillbox hats and three-way Fergie duets with Kurt and Blaine. Meanwhile, Quinn seemed slightly human around Joe, who's still going to rehab with her and sees her take her first steps. She was as set on winning prom queen as she was when we first met her in season one, but this time she decided to hide the fact that her leg function was returning in favor of attracting a sympathy vote.
As a fun game, compare every piece of acting advice doled out by Blaine's brother earlier in the season (pointing, yelling, failing to make eye contact) to Finn's performance after he found out Quinn could walk and didn’t plan to tell anyone. I, for one, can't wait for the seminars in Outdoor Voice and Squinty Eye that Finn will offer during his post-graduate fellowship at the Actors Studio. Also, since last week we learned a valuable lesson about domestic violence (that, not for nothing, wasn't mentioned at all in this episode), it's important to note that Finn getting up in Quinn's face and trying to pull her/knock her out of her wheelchair was a violent act and not okay. Don't get me wrong, neither was faking paralysis, but you're either for or against violence against women, Glee.
Rachel’s anti-prom was basically a bust — it's only attended by Becky Jackson, Puck, Rachel, Kurt, and Blaine, and quickly deteriorates into Kurt and Blaine watching Bravo, Rachel hiding in the bathroom in her dress, and Becky trying to get wild. Yet again, what Glee seems fond of doing is slightly tweaking a stereotype (the abused woman is huge and athletic, not a delicate flower! The kid in the wheelchair is dating the beautiful cheerleader!) and then congratulating itself for being advanced or edgy. It seems to me like this is what happened with Becky. She wanted to be prom queen, fine. She was in a rage because she didn't get it. Completely understandable (and kind of great, so long as it involves the smashing of xylophones). But once we got to the point where she and Puck were alone in the hotel room at the anti-prom, I couldn't see it as anything other than a half-naked 18-year-old drinking alone with a teenager with Down's syndrome, and I couldn't be anything other than uncomfortable about that, no matter how sweet it was for him to eventually crown her anti-prom queen.
At the real prom, Santana sang "Love You Like a Love Song." If it were anyone else, I'd have a problem with both the song choice and her dress, but after the perfect "get the hell over yourself" speech she threw Rachel's way, Santana is a flawless queen and can do pretty much whatever she wants. Speaking of which, I would have liked to see her and Brittany win prom king and queen, as a way of redeeming last year when Kurt was voted in out of spite, but I content myself with Brittany's tiny top hat and the certainty that when she has the hat at home a guinea pig lives in it. And while (according to Twitter) it was incredibly controversial for Glee to be taking on a One Direction song, I thought the boys' rendition of "What Makes You Beautiful" was wholly unobjectionable and kind of fun.
Can I just say that dinosaurs make for the best prom ever? The banner that read "When Dino Prom Ruled the Earth." Meat, berries, and rainwater as refreshments; the Cheerios in enormous dinosaur heads; giant inflatable dinosaurs and a ride-on bouncy one for pictures. Also, I would be remiss in not mentioning that Brittany's insistence that no one wear hair gel to prom makes more sense and is funnier if you're aware that Darren Criss's pre-Glee hair looked like this.
But let's be very clear about this: Ke$ha's "Dinosaur" is not a song. It is, on its best day, a chant. No amount of Brittany gyrating in a cave-lady dance outfit can change that.
"We really had dream high school careers," said Quinn to Santana as they counted prom queen votes. Ah, yes. Like when you had that unplanned pregnancy and Santana got outed on television. Magical times! Quinn, who is by far the most lovable sociopath on television, resolved the issue brilliantly by saying Rachel won prom queen via write-in votes but then walked for the first time while she and Santana sing "Take My Breath Away" during Rachel and Finn's king and queen dance. She gets all the attention AND her ex-boyfriend isn't angry at her anymore! Truly an example to us all.
Bewilderingly, Tina got a line toward the end of the episode about how she just didn’t want the year to end. I guess this makes semi-sense, since Mike is graduating, but it's still odd since the show established at the beginning of the year that she's a junior and the only unique experience I associate her with this season was when her boyfriend's father pretty much called her an idiot.
Next week: a two-hour episode in which Coach Bieste sings Taylor Swift's "Mean" and Lindsay Lohan seems barely able to elevate her own head. What will become of us?