'Glee' Season 2, Episode 20 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted May 10th 2011 11:30PM
['Glee' - 'Prom Queen']
I don't know what most people's proms were like, but I remember mine as a pretty strange and mostly painful experience, punctuated by being rejected a whole bunch of times before finally landing a date that was so platonic that I think we got there in separate cars.
That same feeling of strangeness, tinged with discomfort, came over me as I watched the kids at McKinley deal with their junior prom. It was a very disjointed episode, and not because there wasn't a heck of a lot of music until the prom started. It felt disjointed because it seemed like it so desperately wanted to follow one or maybe two big stories, but so much is going on amongst the glee club, all of which is supposed to culminate at prom, that the writers felt like they had to shift from story to story without giving any particular one a lot of examination.
Then there was the prom itself. Boy, did that blabbermouth-by-Twitter extra really take the air out of the episode's balloon.
If you recall, an overzealous extra who was on the prom set of this episode tweeted that Karofsky would be crowned prom king... and that Kurt would be crowned prom queen. Producer Brad Falchuk dressed the extra down with his own tweet, basically saying "you'll never work in this town again!"
At first, I thought that Falchuck was overreacting a bit, even if the overreaction was understandable, given that he was only protecting his baby. After watching the episode, though, now I know what he means: hearing the words "And the prom queen is... Kurt Hummel" come out of Figgins' mouth would have had a much bigger impact had I not known about this beforehand. It's the reason why I tend not to read spoilers before I go into watching a show; but this one bled into the regular news cycle, so it was hard not to read it, given what I do for a living.
But I'll give the show some credit: after Kurt got the message that the school body was mocking him via their vote and he ran out, the fallout of the decision was well-played for all involved. Quinn slaps Rachel then apologizes, then says she wants to leave McKinley, thinking that being prom queen was all she had left in life. Santana, for her part, lamented that everyone was against her and they somehow sense that she's a lesbian. "Do people smell a golf course on me?" she asks Brittany. "When we get to New York, I'm going to bail and live in a lesbian colony. Or TriBeCa."
As usual, though, Kurt handled things the best. While Quinn and Santana had Rachel and Britt to get them down from their respective ledges, Kurt basically pulled himself off his own ledge and decided to go out and own it. "Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton," he said as he accepted the crown and scepter, which not coincidentally went pretty well with his royal-wedding-inspired military tux-and-kilt combo. He knew how Blaine is still affected by his awful Sadie Hawkins dance experience, and as usual, Kurt didn't want to be the victim.
Of course, he also used that same occasion to try to coax Karofsky out of the closet. We can see Karofsky teetering at the edge in this episode -- he sincerely, tearfully apologized to Kurt for torturing him, then took a long pause when Kurt encouraged him to come out right there at the king/queen dance. He finally said "I can't..." and ran off. That's some fine drama there, folks, and it was the redeeming scene in a really odd episode.
What made it odd? The return of Jesse St. James, for one. Now that he's a college dropout -- "I thought I was majoring in show choir," he said, forgetting that he actually had to study and take tests -- he's now back in Lima and wants to be a "glee club whisperer" of sorts. Um, great, I guess... why does this feel like he's just there to sabotage New Directions as it goes to nationals and/or torpedo whatever is probably going to develop between Rachel and Finn, which we know is going to happen because Quinn didn't get to be prom queen and knows that Finn cares more about Rachel, anyway? Why would Finn trump up a fight with Jesse and get himself kicked out of prom if that wasn't what was going to happen?
What else was odd? Sue's desire to yank out Artie's teeth so he can give up Puck in the gin-in-the-punch prank. She doesn't even live on the same planet as the rest of the school anymore, does she? And then, Artie finally gets out of it by admitting he only spiked the punch with lemonade. That felt like the writers trying to write themselves out of a corner that they didn't realize they had painted themselves in until it was too late. Is it too late for Sue to get back to merely being scheming? Next thing you know, she's going to be mailing away to Acme for parachute helicopter kits and painting tunnel openings on the side of huge rock formations.
The last thing that was odd? The songs. It was one of the most disjointed selections this season. Puck, Artie and Sam singing 'Friday?' Well, at least it sounded like less of an earworm than the Rebecca Black original. Can't say the same thing about how badly Rachel and Jesse butchered Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep;' Lea Michele tried to get her voice into that soulful range that Adele can do easily, but didn't quite get there, and Jonathan Groff sounded like the Broadway singer he is. Michele did a better job with Christina Perri's 'Jar of Hearts,' which is more in her wheelhouse. And Blaine yet again took all the heart and soul out of a song, this one being Black Kids' retro New Wave-y song 'I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You.'
Artie's rendition of 'Isn't She Lovely' was OK, even if Brit rejected him. I just wonder if the non-glee-club students get tired of these gleesters interrupting all their classes with musical numbers. Santana and Mercedes did a nice job with 'Dancing Queen,' but there was more of a look of relief in their faces than anything else. Santana isn't out yet but knows Britt is there to support her. And Mercedes was just happy that a handsome guy in a tux -- Sam -- asked her to dance at the prom. Sheeh. I thought Mercedes was about more than that, you know?
More fun stuff:
-- A relatively Will-free episode, which is strange. Though he was on long enough for Sue to call his hair a "head merkin."
-- It was really nice of Mercedes and Rachel to create a "budget prom" plan in order for Sam to go. Is it me or are Goodwill prom dresses pretty nice? I'd imagine that would be the case, as they only get worn once, right?
-- I loved how Santana and Lauren ran their prom dresses by Kurt first. Tina thinks Kurt's approval is like "getting a thumbs up from Joan and Melissa Rivers."
-- I was surprised that Santana knew about the Hell's Angels guarding the Stones' Alatamont concert. Then I wasn't surprised when she said "... and that turned out well."
-- When Puck threatened Jacob Ben-Israel for saying that Lauren has his balls, JBI responds by saying, "I'm not afraid. I've been hit by a girl before."
'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on FOX.
Listen to the songs from 'Prom Queen' at AOL Music.
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Watch the full episode here: