Year in Music 2017
The Year in R&B/Hip-Hop Charts: Drake Three-Peats as Top Artist, Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.' Is Top Album
The Year In Latin Charts: Daddy Yankee, 'Despacito,' Shakira & Ozuna Lead
The Year in Dance/Electronic Charts: The Chainsmokers, Marshmello & Calvin Harris Score
The Year In Social & Streaming Charts: BTS, 'Despacito,' Kendrick Lamar & More
'Glee' Has Mommy Issues in Plot-Aplenty Episode
"Glee" goes heavy on plot and light on music this episode, sticking to their Broadway guns as the club prepares for the school musical, student elections, and the challenge of being yourself. Brittney approaches a primping Kurt, wanting to be the manager for his Student Council run with a campaign based on embracing his inner unicorn, a convoluted and confusing metaphor in Brittney-speak about Kurt being himself and standing out in the school that has beat him down. The rest of the episode sets out to challenge that confidence.
In the choir room, Schue declares that he has recruited Emma, Coach Bieste and Artie to direct "West Side Story," while he focuses on Glee club and running a dance "Booty Camp" for the less rhythmic club members -- Finn, Mercedes, Kurt, Puck and Blaine, who wants to bond with his new team. In the first meeting, Kurt and Blaine talk about audition numbers and Blaine reveals (along with the continuity-bending plot point that he's somehow a Junior and not a Senior like his boyfriend) that he'll audition with a Tony song, but won't go out for the part because Kurt should get it.
Shelby -- former rival Glee Club coach, Rachel's mom and the adoptive mother of Puck and Quinn's baby -- arrives back at the school to start another rival Glee Club within McKinley's walls funded by a vindictive Sugar Motta. She quickly reaches out to Puck and Quinn, telling them she'd want them back in their baby Beth's life, but only if Quinn cleans up her act. This plotline continues throughout the episode, with Quinn finally going back to blonde in a less-than-genuine ploy to eventually get Beth back.
Meanwhile, Shelby seeks out Rachel, who is preparing for her audition and obviously reluctant to engage with the woman who last left her in the lurch, unable to forge a relationship. Shelby tries to be helpful, urging Rachel not to play it safe with "I Feel Pretty" and to sing "Somewhere," which Shelby joins her on. Their powerhouse voices together is more pleasing on this than their awkward "Poker Face" duet from Season 1, and the song reminds you of the underlying tenet of Glee -- that sometimes the only way to get a specific emotion out is to sing it. Maybe Shelby's time away has made her ready to be part of her first daughter's life for good.
West Side Story auditions continue with Kurt, who performs Barbra Streisand's "I'm the Greatest Star," complete with scaffolding acrobatics and sai swords. While Kurt sounds flawless and the performance is captivating, highlighting exactly why Chris Colfer is a star, it's entirely the wrong audition piece to try for Tony. Kurt is fighting typecasting, and while the ninjitsu, fingerless gloves and climbing routine might have been an attempt to butch it up, instead Kurt played right into expectations with the over-the-top Funny Girl piece. Kurt learns this while eavesdropping on the directors, who think they can't believe Kurt as a from-the-streets, gang-leader.
Kurt reacts poorly, taking part of it out on Brittney and her campaign posters which are covered in rainbows and unicorns, completely against his desired understated, not-too-gay vision. He recruits Rachel for an emergency second audition, and they pull together some last minute Shakespearean garb to perform a dramatic scene form Romeo and Juliet. Despite Kurt lowering his voice and not actually being bad as Romeo, the directors all giggle and Rachel can't keep a straight face to kiss him. A distraught Kurt visits his dad's garage to complain about his lack of leading role opportunities and the pressure to "act straight" to make it. Ever-wise Burt Hummel gives the advice that he's gay, and if no one's writing roles for him maybe Kurt should just write his own. Kurt may not want to be a unicorn, but his dad reminds him that without a horn he's just a boring old horse, and who wants that?
However, Kurt finds out his unicorn acceptance might be too little, too late. Brittney is embracing her own inner unicorn now and running against Kurt for Student Council. Dejected, Kurt sneaks into the auditorium to see his boyfriend audition with "Something's Coming," a clean and masculine Broadway take on the role that shows Blaine will make, as Kurt feared, a perfect Tony. Blaine has the bigness you need without being too over the top (and a good thing for actor Darren Criss, who will make his own Broadway debut in January.) The directors are smitten, but then notice Blaine only wants to audition for Bernardo or Officer Krupke. When they ask him to read for Tony, the indecision on his face and the pain on Kurt's, unseen in the balcony, puts the first strain on the golden couple's relationship centered around the idea of passing -- Kurt is a unicorn but Blaine's horn is a little more removable. Glee cuts to credits before we find out the choice Blaine makes.
Was this dramatic turn on "Glee" welcome? What will Blaine decide? Will Brittney give Kurt a run for his money in the elections? Do we want more pop music or more plot? Tell us what you think in the comments.