Glee Recap: S03E04: Pot O' Gold
Leprechauns, deceptions, and campaign drama, oh my! Glee is back after a small (yet seemingly never-ending) hiatus with an episode that chooses to turn the camera away from the usual stars (no worries, Rachel and Kurt will be front-and-center next week) and toward a few fan favorites.
How do you think Rory will fit in with the rest of the group?
Magical Lucky Charms
We begin the show with a quick introduction to Glee's newest addition: Damian McGinty, the winner of the Oxygen-produced show, "The Glee Project." He plays Rory Flanagan, an Irish foreign exchange student who has the luck to be living with Brittany S. Pierce. Of course Brittany, being Brittany, is a bit confused about who Rory really is. She thinks he is a leprechaun, and she offers her "pot o' gold" in exchange for his granting three wishes. Rory, being an impressionable young man, will do anything he can to get Brittany's "pot o' gold." Luckily, the first two wishes are easy enough:
WISH ONE: a box of a Lucky Charms made up entirely of the marshmallows.
WISH TWO: make Lord Tubbington poop candy bars
The first wish takes a little painstaking determination, while the second just takes some good timing. Both are accomplished, and Brittany's faith in Rory remains firm. But there is one obstacle in Rory's plan: Santana.
Santana, having only recently regained her position in the glee club, is no longer happy there. She sees that Mercedes is right; joining Shelby's group is the best way to get solos, since the New Directions are turning into the Rachel Berry and Blaine Anderson show (could someone please write a script for that? thank you very much). But how can she leave her dearest boo behind? Santana knows that Brittany would never purposefully leave her other friends, so 'tana decides to kill two birds with one stone. She approaches Rory and wishes for him to get Brittany to leave the New Directions. She also threatens to tell Brit that he's not a leprechaun.
Rory caves and tells Brittany about Santana's wish. Apparently leprechaun wishes must come true, especially when only one wish is granted, so Brittany feels that she must leave glee ("Why couldn't she have wished for Lord Tubbington to quit smoking?" she wonders). This leads to Brittany's defection from the group and her third and final wish...
WISH THREE: when she quits Glee club, no one's feelings will get hurt
Brit leaves and Shelby's group immediately puts on a glittering rendition of Christina Aguilera's "Candyman." Lucky for Shelby, her budget does not come from the school, so their performance can have all of the pizzazz of Vocal Adrenaline with staging and costuming. Finn and Mr. Schue watch worriedly in the background.
When Brittany explains why she had to leave Glee, Finn blows up at her and calls her stupid (why are the men on Glee repeating that mistake?). He tells her that leprechauns aren't real, which is one of the reasons Rory will never get his pot of gold. The other reason? Brittany's third wish does not come true. When Finn actually apologizes and appears happy for the girls, even Brittany realizes that he is actually sad that they left. Brittany tells Rory that she realizes that he isn't a leprechaun and leaves with Santana.
Of course, given Brittany's relationship with Santana, and Santana's fierce protectiveness, Rory never really had a chance. But it does hurt to see his initial connection to McKinley High lose faith in him. Hopefully Finn will be able to help Rory with his social life and keep him from being constantly shoved into the lockers (because he did so well protecting his step-brother after all). And at the very least, the rest of the glee club can get to know Rory now that he has auditioned, so they can commiserate if he ever gets slushied.
Baby Mama Drama Redux
On another end of the crazy scale, Quinn is going full steam with her plan to get baby Beth for herself. She and Puck convince the exhausted Shelby to let them babysit their daughter. Quinn takes the time alone in Shelby's apartment to place dangerous items strategically throughout. That way, when she calls child protective services and reports that Shelby is an unfit mother, they will have plenty of evidence to support the claim. The reason for all of this deception? Quinn wants something of her own that she cannot screw up, and she has set her sights on her poor biological daughter. Was her impassioned speech supposed to make me feel sorry for her? The more I see of Quinn this season, the more I hate her and her stupidity. Did the pregnancy permanently alter her brain chemistry?
While Puck stands idly by when Quinn sabotages the apartment, he has a change of heart after Shelby recommends him for a pool cleaning job. In return, Puck shows up unexpectedly at the apartment and undoes all of Quinn's machinations while Shelby is busy with Beth. He also manages to calm his daughter with a sweet song (and find a way into Shelby's heart in the process if their shared kiss is any indication). So for now, baby Beth is safely with her adopted mother, but I am sure Quinn will not take Puck's betrayal lightly.
How to Win Friends & Influence People
Sue, as always, is on the warpath when it comes to the the arts, and the glee club in particular. She uses her spot on "Sue's Corner" to disclose the budget for the school musical. She then encourages supporters to call and complain to the school about the misuse of their funds. Figgins caves, as usual, which leaves the glee club in the position of needing to fund the musical themselves. Mr. Schue comes up with the idea to sell ads in the musical's program, so Kurt goes to the most successful business man he knows, his father, to ask for a donation (with a beautifully designed sample program in hand that is based on his favorite musicals). Burt vows to do what he can for the arts, given what the glee club has meant to his precious son. Cue his friends in the mortuary business stepping up to fund the musical in full.
But Schue does not want Burt to stop there. He visits Burt at his tire shop and asks him to run against Sue. Mr. Hummel already thought about that. He and Carol discovered that it was too late to be placed on the ballot, but that he could win as a write-in candidate. And since the news show on which Sue broadcasts needs to appear unbiased when it comes to elections, they must give Burt a spot to talk about his platform. Papa Hummel kills it, proving once again that he is an amazing father.
The sudden competition does some good for Sue. While she still wants to decrease funding for the arts, she remembers what brought her to the race initially: the need for funding for special education. While that is a need that must be addressed, Sue's refocused campaign could now pose a threat to Burt's. Will we get a future Glee episode that reveals the results of local and school elections? An Glee election special? I hope so...
The Sum of It All
This episode served its purpose by introducing Rory. By winning "The Glee Project," Damian was guaranteed a small arc on the show, and excepting a bitter fan backlash, I cannot see the writers letting go of a character that could stay beyond season four (since they have doomed most of their characters into graduating this year). It also served to fraction the glee club farther, as must be done every season to produce some sort of glee drama. By far, the best part of this ridiculous storyline was Burt's decision to run for office. It could mean great things for the Hummel family, and Burt has always been a character close to my heart for his support of his son.
Beyond that, however, this episode seemed like pure filler: a convenient placeholder to give fans a rest between character development heavy episodes. That might seem harsh, but when an episode lands between two of Glee's best (episode three, "Asian F," and episode five, "The First Time," both of which have been dubbed by some critics a few of "Glee‘s best installments ever"), it is hard to be anything other than a little bland.
Grading the Songs
With that said, let's move on to grading the newest additions to my iPod line-up, including the vocal debut of Damian McGinty.
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Bein' Green - A
An excellent introduction to our newest cast member, Damian McGinty, aka Rory, the foreign exchange student. As an Irishman pretending to be a leprechaun, Rory does indeed wear a lot of green, and this stands out clearly in the overly red halls of McKinley High, so the song fits thematically. His voice is smooth and delicious, and this performance only makes me want to wrap Rory up in a big hug. I also like it when Glee shows some music diversity, and I doubt you could get more eccentric than a song originally sung by a frog puppet on the first season of a popular kid's educational show.
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Last Friday Night - A-
Blaine Anderson appears to have some sort of affinity for Katy Perry. While I feel that the show should be careful not to overuse one particular artist in general, I do appreciate how Darren Criss' voice transforms Perry's songs into something greater. The beginning of the song sounds a little odd and over-autotuned, but once it hits the chorus, the pure fun of the lyrics take over. Seeing the performance only enhances this feeling. Blaine was right; the glee club (and the audience) needed to be reminded what glee was all about, and this song did the trick.
Waiting For a Girl Like You - A+
It has been far too long since Mark Salling's gorgeous voice has been featured. As soon as I heard this song by itself, I immediately teared up, imagining Puck singing this song to Beth, and my reaction was the same when I finally got to see the young father try to soothe his crying daughter with the song. The only criticism? It was way too short.
Candyman - B+
The vocals alone are quite good, but the performance itself is what should cause the New Directions to worry. The outfits; the dancing; the girl group power is all working for the Trouble Tones. But this well-produced number begs the question: won't it be a problem that Shelby, hired for the sole purpose of showcasing Sugar Mata's voice, is now relegating the tone-deaf singer to the background?
Take Care of Yourself - B
I had to look up the original song for comparison on this one. It was originally sung by Teddy Thompson, a British folk-rock musician who has drawn comparisons to Roy Orbison. Glee's version of the song is very faithful, and McGinty's delivery is commendable. Most likely, this song was chosen as a vehicle for showcasing McGinty's falsetto, which it did creditably. Overall, however, I feel that this song, while it might be a good audition song, did not best serve as the closing number for the show. And, biased as I am, I felt that Chris Colfer's falsetto would have better fit the song.