Next up we have a team meeting between Kurt and his kickass Dad and Karofsky and his Dad, in which Karofsky must agree to let the gay boy return to school sans constant bullying in exchange for the gay girl not outing him to the entire school. Being gay is so complicated, amirite?
Kurt’s Dad is not so sure and thinks Kurt’s only entertaining returning to the lion’s den ’cause he misses his friends so bad. Mr. Karofsky has feelings.
Mr. Karofsky: “You understand how understanding I was about this when it all began. I didn’t come to David’s defense. I believed your son. That’s beacuse the David I was seeing was not the young man I knew. the boy I raised was a Cub Scout, he was kind, he was a good citizen. I still don’t know what was going through his mind when all this bullying started but I can tell you that the David I’m seeing now is my son back again. This — this is real.”
Mr. Hummel: “Do you have any idea how much stress this has caused my family? My son having to leave his friends. My wife and I spending money we don’t have on private school ’cause of your son?”
Mr. Karofsky: “Burt, were you always so accepting of homosexuals? We’re the same age. I remember what we used to say about the gays when we were younger. Now it’s taken us a long time to figure out what’s right. Why can’t you just allow David to have the couple months it’s taken him to figure it out?”
Mr. Hummel: “Because he said he’s gonna kill my son!”
David: “I never actually meant that, though. It’s just a figure of speech”.
Mr. Hummel: “How’s he supposed to know that?”
Will: “Your words still matter, David.”
Considering that David’s bullying is prompted, we know, mostly by internalized homophobia, it’s hard to analyze the impact of these various powerful statements about evolving attitudes towards homosexuals and so forth as they don’t necessarily bear on the actual motives at work here.
The most striking element of this scene, besides Kurt’s Dad’s eternal commitment to being awesome, is how newly confident and self-assured Kurt seems, right down to the sheeny shime of his Chuck Bass outfit. He asks to speak to Karofsky alone.
Kurt: “What’s your angle here, David?
Karofsky: “I’m just trying to make things right.”
Kurt: “David, I know. Remember? And I haven’t told anyone.”
Karofsky: “Why? It would have made your life a lot easier.”
Kurt: “I don’t believe in denying who you are, but I don’t believe in outing, either. But still you owe me the truth.”
Karofsky explains Santana’s scheme and Kurt responds:
Kurt then bends over, opens Karofsky’s gaping wound of internalized homophobia and pours a big jar of PFLAG salt right up in it. If Kurt comes back he’s gonna make Karofsky start a chapter of PFLAG with him. This will probably make Karofsky Slushie himself, let’s be real.
Kurt: “You need to be educated, David. You may not have to come out, but you need to be educated.”
Karofsky: “Oh man, just kill me now.”
Puck busts into the ladies room to speak to Lea and immediately reveals that he’s drilled rapey holes into the walls of the bathroom which nobody cares about but me. He tells Rachel to keep her nose because just like a free trip to Israel, her nose is a “birthright.” Basically the point of this episode is Be Yourself or your friends will get really pissed at you.
Kurt, with a Mr.Peanut top hat, descends the marble steps of McKinley High’s collesium outdoor auditorium to announce to a now-very-accepting student body that KURT HUMMEL IS BACK AT MCKINLEY. Wouldn’t it have been funny if someone had slushied him right at that moment?
Lest you think things have gotten a tad too cheesy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Blaine arrives, and says that even though he’ll be making sweet love to Kurt after school AND on weekends, the other Warblers won’t be, so they’ve all gotten hall passes, taken a bus to McKinley, and have prepared this KEANE number to officially bid goodbye to that sort of weird boy who sang Blackbird real cute that one time:
One time I was having a preliminary breakup conversation with a boy and he was explaining why he needed me to commit to being interested in marriage/children and then he said — “it’s like that song you always listen to —I’m getting older and I need something to rely on” and I was like “I have not even fucked a girl yet are you insane.”
I wonder if the keys on Kurt’s lapel unlock this “somewhere only we know” that Blaine speaks so highly of.
I bet it looks like this:
Kurt, who’s warm welcome rivals Odysseus’s, gets hugs all around. This part makes me cry a little. But all things as they are, he totally got a super cute boyfriend out of this deal. Not too shabby.
Sidenote: Why do The Warblers almost exclusively sing the most annoying, overplayed, stupid pop songs in the world? Every time a song makes America want to smash its head into the wall, does Ryan Murphy think “LET’S DO THAT ONE A CAPELLA!” I mean Train, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Jesus Lord.
Kurt announces The Return of The Gay to McKinley High by putting on a big solo Barbara Streisand number on the set of The Pirates Penzance.
“As If We’d Never Said Goodbye” eventually rolls around to Glee Club, where his performance is intermixed with shots of the Glee Club Children looking like they’re stoned and just met a cute baby. It’s excellent, by the way. The song.
It all feels very theatrical and lovely.
Meanwhile, Lauren and Puck have taken a break from what we can assume is a very heated sex life to go all Harriet the Spy on Quinn’s size-2 ass.
Lauren, inspired by her father’s famous friend who I think was in the FBI, has dug up some dirt on Quinn. Well. Not Quinn. Lucy.
See, Quinn did not, as formerly attested, transfer to McKinley High from Fairbrook Middle School. She lived in a special township and went to BELLEVILLE MIDDLE SCHOOL. And you know who goes to Belleville Middle School, right? VAMPIRES.
Lauren: “So I took a little field trip.”
Quinn: “You didn’t.”
Lauren: “I did. And you know what? They didn’t have a record of anyone named Quinn Fabray, either. They did however, have someone named Lucy Fabray — Lucy Q. Fabray to be exact, and she looked like this –“
Lauren: “You can kind of see the resemblance if you look past the nose job and subtract, eh, 70 pounds.”
Quinn: “Stop, okay!”
Quinn’s all flustered and exposed and we’re kinda relieved — sometimes her bitchiness is so toxic it’s downright disappointing to imagine someone for whom life has been so easy has turned out so petty. But the life she wants — now, and later with Finn — that’s the life she changed everything to have and the illusion on which she’s based her reputation. So no wonder she holds onto it so fiercely.
Quinn: “That’s me. My middle name is Quinn. I stopped going by Lucy because kids made up a mean nickname.”
Lauren: “Juicy Lucy?”
Quinn: “Lucy Caboosey.”
“Too-Thin Quinn” is now on the table, if anyone’s interested.
Quinn: “I hated the way I looked. I had zits. I was chubby. I felt terrible about myself. I didn’t have friends. Nobody would talk to me. I was the only kid at school who had to dissect their own frog because nobody would be my lab partner. And then I joined ballet, lost a little bit of weight, found out I was athletic, joined gymnastics and then cheerleading. Went on Proactiv for my acne. And when my dad got transferred and got a raise, I asked him if I could get a nose job. And he said yes. Then I asked them to call me Quinn.”
Lauren: “So you hate yourself.”
The First Rule of Glee Club is No Self-Hatred.
Quinn: “No, I love myself, and that’s why I did all those things — I’ve been that girl, and I’m never going back. I was a miserable little girl. And now I’m going to be prom queen.”
Not so fast, says Lauren. She should check out the bulletin board because Lauren has pulled a card from Mini’s playbook.
There she is, Lucy Fabray, on the board. Quinn tears it down but it’s too late — everyone already knows that she wasn’t born that way! WHAT NOW.
LET’S GO TO THE MALL!
Rachel wants to know why Puck has brought her to the mall — “Why did you bring me here? Is there a sale at Claire’s?” (Best line of the episode not delivered by Santana, hands down.)
Kurt has a better plan than 3-for-1 earrings to make Rachel love herself for real.
Kurt explains she can’t disappoint Barbara Streisand but Rachel argues that she’s “one in a billion” and Kurt points out that Rachel is also one in a billion, as evidenced by the fact that she’s on this show to begin with.
Kurt, red fedora oh-so-slightly askew, has taken a cue from Will “a song solves everything” Schuster and prepared a musical number! Kurt cues Puck, who’s on the mall floor with giant 80s speakers to represent all the 80s/90s movies which took place in malls and especially those which included giant mid-mall gatherings and Puck hits the beat at which point an unexpected shopper suddenly breaks into breakdancing and Rachel giggles delightfully.
“What are you doing?!” Rachel squeals with glee akin to Cindy Loo-Who’s on Christmas morning.
What is he doing? Only coordinating an Ohio Mall Takeover Dance Number! Only gathering a bevy of bright-eyed corn-fed youths wearing primary colors like a Back-to-School Gap Ad! Only making all these children sing and do crazy complicated dance moves right outside of J Dew!
Also, the Glee Clubbers are there, decked out in fall’s greatest fashions, and to be honest it’s such a lovely gardenparty multicolored rainbowflavored dance-dance-revolutionary FLASH MOB that even the Wicked Witch of the West would turn down a nose job if asked when it’s over. Even Finn’s there, hoping tenderly like a lesbian at a Blink 182 concert.
Everybody loves a flash mob. Flash mobs are the new kittens.
See for yourself:
Then Emma goes to therapy and the whole thing is very emotional and hits a lot of serious notes that are important to me on several levels, but as aforementioned, I cannot. Also I cried a little bit.
Then Finn lezzers out again and tells Quinn that he likes her just the way she is and that her old photo is “the first one where you can really see her” and I sort of cried a little bit.
(So Quinn lied to Finn about being pregnant with his baby as well as how the male/female reproductive systems functioned when in contact with tubs of hot bubbly water, and she also lied to him about what school she went to, what she used to look like, and her real name? And he’s still with her? That’s lesbian dedication for you.)
Lauren, who’s just been to the nursing home and forced to borrow her grandma’s sweater ’cause it got so cold there, lets Quinn know that she’s up by 40% in Jacob Ben-Israel’s poll. For a second I was like “huh? that guy I had to do a report on in Hebrew School?” but then I remembered NO THAT’S DAVID BEN-GURION.
The girls that wanted to vote for Lauren are now gonna vote for Quinn because she used to be fat and now she isn’t, which is problematic as it seems to endorse the “you need a diet and a makeover to get better” trope and they really should aspire to love themselves as they are, not as they would be with surgery and the South Beach Diet.
ANWAY back to Lauren’s look, I am 60% sure that she’s making Grams‘s hairdo happen in a major way and I LIKE IT.
Lauren: “It’s not cool what I did to you and I apologize.”
Quinn: “I respect you. I had to get a nose job and go on a crazy diet to walk around this school like I owned it. And you just do it.”
Lauren nods like, “Welcome to the wonderful world of the evolved.”
FINALLY we get another interaction between Santana and Brittany and Brittany looks especially cute today, and also kind and slightly sad.
Brittany: “Hey. Do you like my shirt for glee club?”
Santana: “It’s perfect. Check out mine.”
Santana: “What? This is perfect. Legend has it that when I came out of my mother, I told the nurse she was fat.”
Brittany: “Well, I made a different one for you.”
Santana: “I’m Hispanic. Wait, was that supposed to be ‘lesbian?’”
Brittany: “Yeah, isn’t that what it says? When you told me all that stuff the other week, it meant so much to me, to see you be so honest, especially ’cause I know how bad it hurt. I was so proud of you.”
Santana: “Yeah, well, don’t get used to it. And certainly don’t even think about telling anyone.”
Sidenote children – Ellen DeGeneres pioneered the “Lebanese” joke in 1996, see!
Anyhow back to GLEE!
Brittany: “Why not? You’re like, the most awesomest girl at this school. Why would you try to hide any of that?”
Santana: “I’m dating Karofsky now.”
Brittany: “It’s gross.”
Santana: “You don’t get a say in who I date anymore.”
Brittany: “Why not, because I’m dating somebody? Because you’re Lebanese and I think I’m bi-curious?”
Santana: “No. Because I said I love you. You didn’t say you love me back.”
Brittany: “I do love you. Clearly, you don’t love you as much as I do or you’d put the shirt on and you would dance with me.”
Ok so what I’m gonna do with that is totally run with it. Like if we were on a football field, I’d be running so far with this that we wouldn’t be on a football field anymore, we’d be like, in Mexico and I’m not just saying that because Santana is Hispanic.
Basically obviously what this means is that Brittany is conflicted and her feelings for Santana are so pure that she doesn’t understand why they’re so gravely misinterpreted — as a turndown, as a discrediting of the future and its endless possibilities — because to her, they’re so real they must be obvious, right? And basically they should be together forever.
The big finale to “Born This Way” reminds us why Glee Club needs Kurt and how much we maybe forgot we missed him because he’d become so bitchy for a while. I mean this cannot be beat.
Here’s the full performance:
The moral of the story is that although everyone claims to love themselves, they’re actually lying and hate themselves on the inside and usually insecurities about the outside are really insecurities about the inside but admitting who you really are can free everyone and cure everything, including indoor/outdoor allergies.
Here’s what I love about the Santana storyline: it’s all her. It’s all Santana. Being a lesbian doesn’t change who she is. She’s not even wavering on her discovery — Santana does not pussyfoot around this shit. That’s Santana. It’s always been. She’s a girl who likes to be right about things. She’s a girl who, if ever proven wrong, will change the evidence afterwards to save some semblance of appearing to be right. She’s a girl who wants what she wants even if what she wants isn’t a thing she’s ready to subject to everybody else’s judgment just yet.
Their response won’t shake her resolve. It’d just take a really long time for her to kick everyone’s ass and she doesn’t have the fucking time for that just yet. It’s like she got vulnerable by being honest and everything opened up and so now it’s just Santana on BLAST.
And so there she is in the episode’s final frames — she’s got her shirt on, but she’s not wearing that anything but “Bitch” on stage ’til she’s good and ready and can have it just how she wants it. ‘Cause baby… she was born that way.