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'Glee' Season 2, Episode 18 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 27th 2011 12:00AM
'Glee' - 'Born This Way'
['Glee' - 'Born This Way']

Faced with 90 minutes of airspace -- more like 60 or so, after commercials -- to fill, 'Born This Way' could have gone in any number of bad, self-indulgent directions. We could have had wall-to-wall music, or the Gleesters could have done a medley that lasted ten minutes long. Or, we could have had a handful of story threads going at once, none of them progressing with any satisfaction.

Instead, we got a pretty damned good episode. Sure, there was a self-indulgent moment or two, but for the most part we got good story, good music, some pretty fine acting, and even a fun surprise or two along the way.

And here's the first surprise: No Sue Sylvester. At all.

It's amazing to me how far Sue has fallen in such a short period of time. Jane Lynch won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the role and now it seems like Ryan Murphy and company don't know what to do with her. And it's pretty much been a given that Sue has been bringing the show down in the episodes she's been in. But to see her not even show up in an extended event episode like this was shocking.

'Glee' - 'Born This Way'So much went on this week, that it might be best to take each story one at a time, first we need to celebrate...

The Return of Kurt ... and Karofsky's "Change of Heart"

How good was it to see Kurt back in New Directions? Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan kept him away from McKinley for far too long. Yes, it gave Darren Criss his time to shine with the Warblers. But something about Kurt was missing, like he couldn't quite be himself. And, despite the fact that it took up an entire segment -- that's what happens when you have 90 minutes -- Chris Colfer belting Streisand's 'As If We Never Said Goodbye' was a good welcome-back song for him, and a heck of a performance.

The machinations to get him back, thanks to Santana, were what really made this story. She knows Karofsky is gay; she also knows that Kurt is the key to their winning nationals. So, her "Lady Macbethian" logic, as Kurt put it, was to threaten to out Karofsky so he'd not only be her beard but he'd also pledge to stop his bullying. This way, Kurt comes back, New Directions wins, and she and Karofsky become prom queen and king. Kurt's right: Eve Harrington of 'All About Eve' couldn't have done any better.

I do give Kurt credit for sussing out what Karofsky's angle on his change of heart was, as well as Karofsky for not beating around the bush with Kurt. It was a mature way for this situation to be handled; instead of Kurt buying the act only for Karofsky to turn on him later on, he managed to pull some conditions out of Karofsky himself, like getting Karofsky to join PFLAG, mainly for his own good. He can stay in the closet all he wants, but he needs to learn how to live with others who are gay. Very mature and satisfying way to deal with this issue.

Oh, and not for nothing, but it seems like Santana and Karofsky's "Bullywhips" uniforms make them look a whole lot like this.

The Story of Lucy Caboosey

This had to be the most interesting plot twist of the night. Did it come out of left field? Maybe. But it does seem pretty consistent with Quinn's fascination with making sure everything about her high school life is "perfect." She gets the captain of the football team, she's the head Cheerio, she becomes prom queen.

She should know not to mess with Lauren Zizes; if Lauren, with Puck's encouragement, wants to run for prom queen, she should have just let her. I kind of wish we would have seen Quinn mess with Lauren to get her pissed enough to find that wonderfully silly-looking Lucy Fabray middle school photo. The scene where Lauren confronts her with what she knows was a great acting job by Dianna Agron, as she owned up to her former life as a big girl with acne and a schnoz.

And, since Lauren is not Kurt and doesn't mind outing someone, the scene where Quinn does a slow-motion run out of the room as she realizes in horror that the poster of her Lucy days is all over the school was funny, mainly because it feels like it would be more appropriate on 'Nip/Tuck' than here.

Of course, that makes her supporting Rachel's quest to be more "Fabrayic" instead of "Hebraic" more understandable. It wasn't just her being ruthless; it was her sympathizing with what Rachel is going through, mainly because she had been there. Agron and Lea Michele did a nice job on their duet, a mash-up of 'I Feel Pretty' and TLC's 'Unpretty.' Little did we know at the time what Quinn's underlying feelings were when she sung that song.

Which leads me to...

Rachel's Nose Job

'Glee' - 'Born This Way'This is where I needed to strain a bit to buy into the story. Finn breaking her nose and Rachel's subsequent desire to get her honker shaved down was a good entryway into the "Born This Way" story. But it really does strain credibility to think that Rachel considers herself ugly, given the exceeding amount of confidence she has about her talent and future prospects. I mean, Finn didn't want her to change her nose. Puck talked to her as "one hot Jew to another." At this point, she seems to be pretty damned popular, at least as far as the guys are concerned. Most of the girls at McKinley -- except Lauren, of course -- are probably telling her to get over herself.

Not sure what the mall flash mob that Kurt put together did to convince Rachel to keep the nose. This was the second self-indulgent moment, and the least necessary number of the night. Haven't we been here before, a few times? Do we need more mall dancing numbers?

Emma Confronts Her OCD

For once, there was a genuine interaction between Will and Emma. Will wants Emma to get help for her OCD, but she won't own up to it in public... her original "Born This Way" t-shirt said "GINGER" instead of "OCD." So, instead of dating Emma, Will's doing the smart and mature thing and trying to help her live a better life. The best part of that story was her therapy session -- her therapist was played by Kathleen Quinlan, for heaven's sake -- where we saw Emma's emotions come to the surface. Nice job by Jayma Mays on that scene. Emma needs to become less anxious and less obsessed if the writers have any hope of making us care about Emma and Will.

The "Born This Way" Shirts

Everyone had a good shirt:

Will: Butt Chin
Emma: OCD (eventually)
Lauren: Bad Attitude
Sam: Trouty Mouth
Artie: Four Eyes
Mike Chang: Can't Sing
Finn: Can't Dance
Tina: Brown Eyes
Rachel: Nose
Kurt: Likes Boys
Quinn: Lucy Caboosey
Mercedes: No Weave (not sure why she hates that she doesn't have a weave)
Puck: I'm With Stupid (points to his crotch)
Brittany: I'm With Stoopid (points to herself)

The only one who didn't participate in the final number -- Lady Gaga's new single "Born This Way" -- was Santana, who was wearing the "Lebanese" shirt Brittany made for her. Brittany had a great point in one of her increasingly not-stupid moments: why is she hiding her sexuality? She's the baddest-ass girl in the school and would cut anyone who dared make fun of her. I'd imagine Santana is going to admit she likes girls at some point; at least the guys will be intrigued by her, right?

More fun stuff:

-- I know the Warblers sang a Keane song, but like most Warblers songs, I don't remember much about it. It really seemed like Blaine felt he was losing Kurt now that he's back home, doesn't he?

-- Santana's rant about everyone's weaknesses was a Santana classic, especially when Sam was going to doctors looking for lip reductions.

-- Finn's dance to 'I Gotta Be Me' was also pretty forgettable, even if he was helped along by Mike Chang!

-- Tina now wants to look up to the person she wants to become as an Asian sex symbol. Can't she look up to Olivia Munn? Maggie Q? Grace Park?

Sue -- and Terri -- are back next week. Wonder if that means next week's episode will suck? We'll find out.

'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on FOX.

Here is AOL Music's recap of the songs on the episode.

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Watch the full episode here:

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The episode was good, but all I really care about is Kurt's back and not crying. Burn that horrible Warbler's uniform!

April 28 2011 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't care if they don't make sense - I will never be able to get enough mall dance scenes :)

April 27 2011 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mercedes was born with "No Weave" but now she constantly wears one. get it? it's not that she hates herself without it, although there may be a some part of her that wishes her real hair were like the weaves that way she didn't have to wear it.

also, don't know if anyone caught the lesbian/Lebanese joke, but it was a reference to Golden Girls who originated it. shout out to Golden Girls!

April 27 2011 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sarah's comment

thanks for the explanation. that was the one shirt i didnt get cause she obviously wears a weave.

April 28 2011 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is definitely a strong point in the season. As I write a weekly column about Glee, I have been carefully analyzing each episode this season. While this one started with some goofy subplots (Rachel considering a nose job, for one), there was some real emotion here, which is what is working best for them. I know some people were getting burnt out with the Kurt Show this fall, but the episodes where Kurt dealt with Dave or his father were among the best of the series. Glee does emotion well when it really wants to. In this episode, Lauren and Quinn are set up for a nice friendship, and Santana faces some tough questions about herself. Keep delivering plots like that, and the series will stay at the top of the mile. Though I was missing the 'Honey Badger' this week.

April 27 2011 at 7:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Really enjoyed this episode (but, wow, there were a lot of commercials). What I love about Glee is that the characters are not black and white. There is some good and bad in all of them, just like in real life. Even Sue has her tender moments from time to time...Can't wait for Korofsky to come out...that episode should be unbelievable!!!

April 27 2011 at 6:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode. Everything out of Santana's mouth was pure GOLD. And I hope we still see the Warblers even though Kurt is back at McKinnley.

Check out my recap here: http://rantsofacrazyperson.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/glee-recap-born-this-way/

April 27 2011 at 4:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sorry but who are Olivia Munn, Maggie Q., and Grace Park? Clearly not household names attesting to Tina's point the lack of Asian role models to aspire to.

April 27 2011 at 2:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jerry's comment
Christina Draper

Well, it's easy to look them up...but all three women are pretty wildly known and recognized. I think YOU know having any clue who ANY of them are, says more about your lack of pop culture knowledge than a lack of Asian sex symbols.

April 27 2011 at 7:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Christina Draper's comment

I think he may have been complaining that Tina said there were no household names when there actually are.

April 27 2011 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

I only had heard of Maggie Q and looked up the others and Jerry is right. I think the average household in america would not be able to name them. Theyre still pretty obscure. Probably the biggest asian sex symbol/celebrity is Lucy Lui and even she is not on the level of say angelina jolie in terms of exposure. Tina was right. Female Asian role models, like other minorities, are sorely underrepresented in american culture.

April 28 2011 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Easily one of the best episodes of the season. The 90 minutes allowed so many storylines to occur. They had I believe 5 full storylines. 1. Kurt Coming Back, 2. Emma and Will, 3. Santana and Karofsky, 4. Rachel's Nose and 5. Quinn and Lauren. That's a whole lot of storylines. And it was all done really well I thought. It all fit the theme, it all was pretty fleshed out and it pushed the storylines very forward. I hate filler episodes, but this one was definetly not that.

Easily my favorite line of the night, and maybe the season is when Santana tried to out Karofsky for looking at Sam's Butt, and he retorted that he was looking at what kind of jeans he was wearing and she said
"Like That's Any Less Gay". Perfect line, perfect delievery.

Naya Rivera, at least in the last half of this season has been the MVP in my opinion. Even last week when she had 1 scene with Karofsky, Blaine and Kurt, she killed it. Don't get me started on her relationship with Brittany and her performance during the episode "Sexy". Those scenes were some of the best. They have made dumb Brittany into an endearing character,and humanized Santana but still allows her to be her bitchy self from time to time.

I completly agree about Sue. It's so unfortunate that she has become a non-entity/useless character on this show, but she really has. It happens. It happened to Mr. Belding on Saved By The Bell, it happened to the parents on Beverly Hills 90210, if they don't get a brand new cast after next seaon it will happen to Mr. Schuester. When you have a show about kids, and they grow up, the adults become less and less integral to the plot. They have really made her into a cartoon, and I prefer she not be on screen then be on screen and be a shell of her former self. Love Jane Lynch, Sue not so much.

April 27 2011 at 2:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"As If We Never Said Goodbye" is originally from the musical "Sunset Boulevard," with music composed by Andrew Lloyd Weber....

April 27 2011 at 1:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Siroky

I do not understand the mall scene. I did not miss Sue at all. I do wonder if transfer students (back in) are eligible for a team which qualified without them. Other extracurriculars (sports) do not allow this. The extra time did allow more songs. The dances of Mike Chang are so good, he can even dance with a broomstick and did. I'd cast him as a breakout star in a dance movie. Liked Santana getting more air time. Liked seeing parents back in the mix (even if only referenced for the nose break and school transfer from middle school) but in person for the bullying session. If there is a failing (do to time constraints) it is how much important stuff happens without parentals around. When this hits syndication, how do they carve it up? Skip the mall scene and all lesbian references, I'd guess. But the best episode of the season. Also, they did not use the leaked prom king/queen results which shows they can recut if they have to. Hope that leaker is rotting away somewhere serving fries in the drive-through.

April 27 2011 at 1:06 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mike Siroky's comment
Christina Draper

I am pretty sure this wasn't the prom episode. I believe that is supposed to be in a few weeks, so we dont know if the 'leaker' as you call them was right or not.

April 27 2011 at 6:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Prom episode is in two weeks, it was never supposed to be last night's episode. Next week is called "Rumours" and then the episode after that is called "Prom Queen" (which is when the prom is).

April 27 2011 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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