Glee returned last night after a three week hiatus (thanks, MLB!), with "Pot O' Gold," premised on reaching one's goals. While the characters achieved varying degrees of success in that endeavor by the hour's end, the stale and unfunny "Pot O' Gold" outright failed to keep up the momentum started by the season's first three episodes. Here's how the music played out:
Damian McGinty – one of the two winners of Glee's reality show The Glee Project – made his debut last night as Rory Flanagan, an Irish foreign exchange student staying with Brittany's family. She, naturally, believes that he is a leprechaun and promises him her "pot of gold" if he grants her three wishes. As she is is his only real friend and as he has a massive crush on her, Rory agrees. He's quite endearing, though you can't understand a word he says until he opens his mouth to cover the Muppets. Rory channels Kermit's discontent over being green, wandering McKinley as everyone exists around him without actually seeing him. His voice is quite lovely, but – though a classic – this extremely mellow tune is not the way to welcome Glee back after three weeks, especially given that it's sung by a new character.
"Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"
Surprise! Sue has gotten the Lima, Ohio public riled up over the $2,004 budget for West Side Story (akin to the salary of a local elementary school teacher), so Figgins took away the budget. This adds to the bad mood in the New Directions' rehearsal room, which is already a dark place because Mercedes left to join Shelby's club, Kurt and Rachel are running against each other for president and Finn and Blaine have differing viewpoints about how to generate team unity.
But wait, surprise, again! Kurt took Schue's idea of soliciting ads for the playbill to heart and explained the funding issue to his father, who secured funds from the area's three mortuary owners. West Side Story is back on, and to celebrate, Blaine has – surprise for a third time! – prepared a Katy Perry cover. The New Directions forget their drama and celebrate while dancing around the classroom, but we don't quite feel their enthusiasm. Their rendition of Perry's most recent hit is more muted than the energy and power of previous Perry covers (see: "Teenage Dream" and "Firework"), the choreography seems full of forced sunshine and Blaine's normally effortless voice sounds breathy.
"Waiting For a Girl Like You"
Puck and Quinn convince Shelby to let them babysit for adorable baby Beth, and Quinn uses the opportunity to plant evidence (hot sauce, baby sacrifice books) that will give child services a reason to take the baby away from Shelby and give her back to Quinn. Though we almost feel bad that Quinn sees Beth as the only good thing she has going for her, Quinn's plan isn't funny or quirky or absurd to the point of hilarity by any Glee standards. Puck goes along at first, but backpedals when Shelby refers his pool cleaning business to her condo owner and he scores a year-round gig. Plus, he genuinely cares about Beth and uses the acoustic guitar Shelby (naturally) has lying around to quiet the baby's cries with some Foreigner. The moment works for Puck's sweet side, and he gets to showcase his nice falsetto. But in the grand scheme of things, the tune is stuck in the mud of this episode's soundtrack.
Despite Finn's best efforts, Mercedes has pursuaded Santana to join Shelby's all-girl glee club and Santana agrees to recruit Brittany, after Brittany confirms that their outing to Breadsticks was, in fact, a date. The deal is sealed when Finn accidentally calls Brittany an idiot after finding out she's leaving. Together, with the overly confident and not nearly talented enough Sugar Motta and three other random girls who appear on stage, the ladies coin themselves the Troubletones and showcase their sass and talent with a Christina Aguilera cover. It's easily the best number of the episode and we definitely enjoyed the group's tight harmonies, the 1940s aesthetic of the performance and the diva notes from Mercedes and Santana, whose "River Deep Mountain High" is one of our all–time favorite Glee vocals. Finn and Schue, watching from the back of the auditorium, acknowledge this means trouble for the New Directions.
"Take Care of Yourself"
Finn apologizes to Brittany, who accepts his apology and his brutal assessment that leprauchans, in fact, don't exist – meaning Rory won't get her pot of gold, after all. Finn also realizes he needs to stop fighting for New Directions' defected members to return, and asks Rory to join the New Directions. He dedicates Teddy Thompson's tune to his family back home and proceeds to enchant everyone in the room with his rich tones and lovely falsetto. "He's magical," Rachel proclaims. It's a better reflection of Rory's voice than "Bein' Green," but like Kermit's song, it's a weird fit. The moment is made weirder as we see the awkward tension between Puck and Shelby manifest with a kiss at her apartment.
Meanwhile... : Fed up with Sue's antics, Schue asks Kurt's dad to run against her. Burt is one step ahead of him, and already knows the only way he can win is as a write-in candidate. Schue and Kurt plan to partner as Burt's campaign manager, though Kurt expresses concern over what the run will do for Burt's already fragile health. The plotline gives us a sliver of hope, mainly because Mike O'Malley has managed to do no wrong thus far in his reoccuring role as Burt. Fingers crossed.
Bottom Line: The A.D.D. ways of Glee are back. After all the effort put into The Glee Project – with another season on the way – and Ryan Murphy's emphasis on needing to be inspired to write for the winner leading to two winners and two runners-up who will get guest roles on the show – the plotlines feel odd and disjointed. We were further disappointed to see Glee abandon both its humor and its heart for an episode that lands in murky, uninteresting waters.
Last Episode: Rachel and Mercedes' Diva Showdown