"Glee" returned Tuesday night after a three-week hiatus with more of a plot-heavy whimper than a bang, with some character movement but mostly lacking standout moments that make you remember why "Glee" is great. Still, this season continues to be an improvement on the last, even when it's not the best it can be.
We open on Britt's locker, where she was apparently on the cover of a cheerleading magazine (way too many characters on this show have narcissistic lockers) and we get our first look at Rory, played by "The Glee Project" co-winner Damian McGinty. Rory is an Irish exchange student swooning over Britt, who is convinced he is a leprechaun and requests her three wishes before he can get her "pot of gold." While Finn lurks awkwardly, Britt makes wish number one -- a box of all marshmallow Lucky Charms (Britt, you can order that online! Ask Lord Tubbington to help you!)
Sue's race for Congress continues with a call to shut down the school musical as it's a waste of funds. When Figgins agrees, Will offers to raise the money on his own by selling ads in the program. As is always with Glee, they're generally failures at raising capital without a last-minute savior and after Kurt tells his dad about the problem he rallies the Lima Rotary Club, mostly made up of morticians, to save the day and fund the musical. When they confront Sue about it in the hallway after she tries to take Burt Hummel down a peg, but his amused little smile the entire encounter reminds you why Burt Hummel is the biggest badass in Lima, Ohio.
Meanwhile, Mercedes attempts to bring Santana over to her all-girl Glee Club with Sugar Motta, but Santana won't go without Britt. Finn is creepily lurking again, and brings it up back in the choir room to Santana, where Tina is crying, as per usual, because they've lost one of their best singers and friends in Mercedes. The simmering rivalry between Blaine and Finn bubbles to the surface when Blaine tries to pep talk the club and Finn reminds him they are not the same as his precious Warblers. Then Finn is off to find Rory, who is painstakingly picking marshmallows out of cereal for Britt and fanboys Finn something epic when he talks to him. Rory also painfully overshares immediately, trying to cram a bunch of character info into a quick scene (he's a virgin who wants to snog Britt, he thought America was all about being a melting pot but everyone is so mean!) We like this Rory kid, but he needs to take it down a notch.
Meanwhile Quinn and Puck have plotted to get Shelby out of her house for some time alone, and as soon as she's out the door instead of bonding with her baby Quinn starts sabotaging the house with items that might, somehow, lead the social worker to declare Shelby an unfit mother and get Beth back to them. Puck reluctantly goes along with her for the love of his daughter, and this season continues to leave you worried for the state of Quinn's sanity. Later, when Quinn confronts Puck over his pool business not being enough of a real job to support Beth, she breaks down, talking about how everyone has a dream and a goal and the only good thing she's done is make Beth. Quinn wants Beth back so she'll be okay with her failed life in Lima. For all the noise about Rachel and Kurt being hurt characters, they actually have spirit. Quinn is the most broken person in the club by far, and no one really notices. Maybe sometime this year before everyone who remotely cares about her leaves her behind she'll get some sort of closure. Or maybe not everyone gets a happy ending in high school.
The first musical number rolls around when Rory delivers Britt her marshmallows but she blows off his offer of a dinner date. Everyone at McKinley either ignores or torments Rory, which he laments in The Muppets' "Bein' Green." It's a nice introduction for McGinty, whose smooth crooner voice earned him a lot of fans this summer on the reality spinoff, and he's definitely a voice the club was missing, even if when he speaks you can barely understand him. Britt had good reason to blow him off, though. She's on a date with Santana, which she asks Britt to clarify and Britt confirms. They're both single, so they're going to mingle, together. Santana smiles and say's she's really happy. You can tell Britt is too, but the depth from Santana doesn't seem matched. It's all much more simple for Britt, we guess. Santana complains about wanting to join the new club together but Britt doesn't want to be a quitter and asks for some time to think about it. After explaining her leprechaun wishes, Santana tells Britt her one wish is for them to hold hands. Easy for Britt, but not for Santana just yet. She hastily covers their hands with a napkin to keep herself on the DL.