ALL THINGS GLEE
RECAP: Glee - Born This Way
This week Glee delivered big time with a 90-minute extravaganza. Inspired by Lady Gaga, New Directions address their biggest insecurities, while Kurt returns, and the gals fight over who can be prom queen.
Things start out with Finn accidentally breaking Rachel's nose during a rehearsal. Her doctor convinces her that getting a nose job might be a good thing for her, saying "It's like a rite of passage for Jewish girls." The whole thing sparks off a debate in the glee club about what they'd all change about their personal image if they could. Will plays devils advocate, saying that the things that they'd like to change are the most interesting part of them.
Next, Will continues his good boy streak, trying to get Emma to deal with her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She asks that he accept her since "I was born this way," and he automatically realizes how to impart his lesson on his students: the music of Lady Gaga. However, the episode doesn't deal as much with her music, but rather her accepting nature and social tolerance for the gay and lesbian community.
Meanwhile Santana schemes on a way to become prom queen. She notices Dave Karofsky checking out a guy and realizes he's gay, and resolves to use him to her advantage. She figures if she gets him to stop bullying people and realize who he really is, she can get Kurt back to McKinley. That in turn will get her votes at the prom, as well as the heart of Brittany, who she's still in love with.
For their lesson, the Gleeks each get a white T shirt, which they're instructed to use as the billboard for their deepest insecurities. Emma uses herself as an example, revealing a T that reads "Ginger," for her red hair. It's a weak showing, and Will's not buying it.
Meanwhile, Lauren's upbringing as a toddler beauty queen has her yearning to be prom queen too. She used to be a cute little kid until a thyroid problem and a love of chips set in. Puck is sympathetic and assures her they'll be king and queen.
Quinn accompanies Rachel to the doctor to get more info about the nosejob, and they share a really nice duet in "I Feel Pretty/Unpretty." Afterward, Santana invites Karofsky out for coffee and gives him a proposition to be each others "beards" (when gay people of the opposite sex "date" each other to provide cover). She calls out his closeted status while reassuring him that she's actually helping him. Karofsky's uneasy, but she essentially holds him hostage as she threatens to spill his secret.
Finn isn't happy that Quinn is steering Rachel down the path to the scalpel, but she's not happy that he's sticking up for his ex. Finn sings "I've Gotta Be Me" while Mike performs one of his trademark dance numbers.
Will lays it on the line with Emma, telling her that he's disappointed she didn't print OCD on her shirt. That's not the way to be a role model, he argues. He then challenges her to eat unwashed fruit, but she gags at the idea. He tells her that she's become a master of deflection, becoming a school guidance counselor so that she never has to address her own problems.
Karofsky apologizes to New Directions for being such a jerk to them, and informs them of his and Santana's plan to address bullying in the school. Their "courtship" creeps everyone out, but they're impressed that Santana's taken it upon herself to bring Kurt back to McKinley.
In Figgins' office, Kurt and his dad have a meeting with Karofsky and his father (Arzt from LOST, welcome back!) and Dave's good intentions are again put under the microscope. Kurt asks for a word alone with him, and demands to know his motives. "It was Santana's idea," Karofsky admits. Kurt agrees to come back to the school so long as his former tormentor gets educated and helps start a PFLAG chapter.
Kurt returns and the Warblers sing him off in style, doing a pitch-perfect version of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know." Kurt is floored because of his reversal of fortune and the outpouring of love. He and Blaine embrace, though it feels like their relationship might be about to fall apart.
Glad to be back, Kurt sings "As If We Never Said Goodbye" during a montage of him around school. The tune is quite different in tone from a lot of the other pop culture songs that make up the rest of the show's soundtrack. As he serenades his old glee club mates, you almost expect a bunch of animated birds to fly through the window and alight on his shoulder.
Lauren confronts Quinn with some damaging evidence- after breaking into the school's files, she discovers that Quinn's actual name is Suzy, and her transfer record is made up. As it turns out, Quinn once got a nose job and was overweight too. Now she's put it all behind her. But Lauren's posted her old photo on the bulletin board, ensuring the entire school knows about her past.
When all else fails, Kurt tells Rachel that if she gets a nose job she'll be spitting on the legacy of her idol, Barbra Streisand. He leads a flash mob through the mall, and everyone has a good time. Rachel finally comes to her senses and decides against the procedure.
In therapy, Emma's doctor assures her that she's got a fairly severe problem. Emma's still resistant, thinking that it's just a part of who she is. "Your illness is not who you're supposed to be," her doctor says, pushing Emma to tears. The psychiatrist prescribes her some medication and asks to see her again.
When all is said and done, the glee club leaves the giant issues they've addressed aside, and mobilize for a full-scale, choreographed "Born This Way," finally bringing Mother Monster into the episode.
NEXT WEEK: Sue Sylvester returns to the fray, and the rumor mill continues to grind on.
Justin Starling (@CitadelNow) for Citadel Digital © 2011