Hiatus over, we're dropped back into a world of "Glee" that's ready to remind you just how embarrassing youth can be
If you ever wanted to experience a bucketload of secondhand embarrassment, this episode of "Glee" was the one for you. A lot of things happened pre-hiatus, but the only ones you really have to remember are the Warblers beat McKinley at Sectionals, Kurt got into NYADA finally and Klaine are broken up. With that we're dropped back into a world of "Glee" that's ready to remind you just how embarrassing and awkward youth can be.
In the student council meeting Tina proposes a Sadie Hawkins dance, which is extra awkward because one of the first things we ever learned about Blaine Anderson is he was gay bashed at a Sadie Hawkins dance for taking a boy with him. So the awkwardness is compounded by Tina singing "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar to him as Part of Finn's assignment for each girl to ask the guy of their choice to the dance via song. We get a montage to explain her budding desire, which includes Blaine securing her tots in the cafeteria and bending over in class to display his assets.
Blaine doesn't seem to be getting that it's at him she's singing to until she pops the question. He tells her no, and later reveals that aside from the fact he's gay, he also has his own crush on Sam and doesn't want to go to the dance to see everyone being romantic. Of course, he pretty realistic about Sam's straightness and telling Tina about this crush while a picture of him and Kurt still hangs in his locker, so his crush is just fantasy while Tina's seems to still linger in the land of hope. She convinces Blaine to go to the dance as best friends and forget their crushes, but her logic will ultimately fail because she'll be dancing with her crush all night.
Tina's original idea for the Sadie Hawkins was to empower the lonely girls who sit around hoping for a boy to come their way after all the prettiest ones have been picked for prom, but instead of seeing much of that empowerment, we focus on Marley, who's been fought over by two boys since practically her first steps into McKinely. With Britt's magical performance-making help, she sings The Exciters' "Tell Him" to ask Jake to the dance and he accepts, while Britt predictably asks Sam.
The rest of the boys spend the days leading up to the dance waiting anxiously for the girls to approach them (Ryder seems to be stalked by a cheerleader with a neck brace that we never get any further information on.) None of them get asked, and so perform TLC's "No Scrubs" boyband-style at the dance as an ode to female empowerment.
Finally the wallflower girls get their moment, encouraged by Bieste to go claim their men. Newly returned Lauren Zizes goes for Joe, Sugar pounces on Artie and Dottie has a thing for Stoner Brett. As they all dance together, Tina misinterprets Blaine's sassy gay friendship for romantic affection and just as she thinks they are about to kiss, Sam interrupts and pulls Blaine away for an important locker room pow-wow. You see, Sam has been convinced all episode that the Warblers secured their win at Sectionals by devious means, and finally realizes that they've been taking steroids. He proves this by noting their shocking muscle growth, a hidden camera video of Hunter's Lima Bean roid rage, and the confession of former Warbler Trent, who was too sweet and ethical to engage in the doping. Finn now has enough evidence to bring these charges against the Warblers and possibly regain their rightful spot in Regionals.
Meanwhile Marley, Unique and the rest of the ladies take the stage to perform a spot-on impersonation of Bruno Mars' "Locked Out Of Heaven," at which point we're reminded that Unique got zero storyline this episode, despite it being a pretty good opportunity to give the club member who might have the hardest time finding a place in the Sadie Hawkins dichotomy something to do. Who does Unique have a crush on? Would her crush be receptive to a date? Instead we get a lot of Marly angst over the fact she wasn't ready to immediately jump into bed with Jake, Jake's angst over if he should go for the girl he likes (Marley) or the easy lay (Kitty) and his brother Puck stepping in to date Kitty just to keep her off Jake's back.
The dance ends as Ryder sings the Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes For You" (cue stalker neckbrace cheerleader again) and Tina staring dreamily at Blaine as he stares dreamily at Sam. Yikes.
Over in New York, Kurt is starting his first week at NYADA and adrift in a brand new world. Rachel is too busy to be joined at the hip and he decides to combat his place at the bottom of the social pyramid by seeking out a club to join. Despite Rachel's warning that college show choir dooms you to a career as a dancing teapot at Disneyland, Kurt is wooed into checking out the club, called Adam's Apples, by founder Adam.
Upon Kurt's arrival they break out immediately into "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot in the style of singer Jonathan Coulton (something that caused much buzz in the blogosphere last week when the clueless Coulton got wind of the possible rip off without credit.) All that aside, the Apples manage to capture the Season 1 spirit of misfit Glee. There's more interesting stuff going on here in one song-and-dance number of nameless kids -- Clark Moore, aka the best guy from the Dartmouth Aires from The Sing Off, Joey Richter from Team StarKid and Broadway performer Tessa Netting for example -- than 10 episode of the majority of the official Glee newbies. Adam himself is a charming frontman and Kurt laughs, really laughs, from the audience.
Of course everything around the Adam plotline is parallel to the original Kurt and Blaine meeting. While we're hungry for more Apples, the song and performance didn't have the same level pop as Blaine and the Warblers 1.0, but they also have more potential for divergent stories than the lock-step of one-dimension Dalton allowed. After some time spent flirting over the following days -- Adam telling him parts he'd be great for, teaching Kurt how to accept a compliment on his plie -- Kurt plucks up the courage to ask Adam out for coffee. They exchange numbers on a staircase, which is maybe just an extra knife to any Klainer who associates stairwells with the iconic Kurt and Blaine meeting, even down to the same staging of Kurt on a higher level than the other boy.
Meanwhile, Rachel is convincing herself she's a grown up by taking things to the next level with Brody and inviting him for dinner, then irrationally explodes at him for being late to dinner at her apartment that's in the middle of nowhere Brooklyn (no one ever arrives to Bushwick on time.) The moment she turns around with compliments and charm, she's so swept away that she offers that Brody move into the apartment to be together. Rachel may want you to think she's changed, but as Kurt reminders her earlier in the episode, she's the girl who almost got married before high school graduation.
All in all the episode was about vocalizing your wants, and the dangers and sadness of not. Kurt pushed himself to take the first step with Adam, Marley explained explicitly to Jake her expectations of their relationship, Rachel laying out her needs to Brody. Meanwhile, Tina is internalizing all her emotion around Blaine while he internalizes around Sam, which is all bound to come to a head next week in the Naked episode. Because when you're got a mishmash of unrequited crushes, the best idea is to remove everyone's shirts. We can't wait.