FOX’s Glee continues with “I Kissed a Girl.” Finn (Cory Monteith) is worried about how Santana (Naya Rivera) is taking being outed as a lesbian, and makes great strides to make her feel accepted at McKinley. But Santana isn’t the only girl facing problems in this female-centric episode. Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones) loses Cooter (Eric Bruskotter) to Sue (Jane Lynch) when she has trouble expressing her feelings, and vows to win him back. Quinn (Dianna Agron) is frustrated with Puck’s (Mark Salling) refusal to help her make another baby. And Rachel (Lea Michele) is banned from competing in Sectionals after trying to rig the senior class election.
Glee is rarely short on girl power, so there isn’t really a need to devote an entire episode to the theme. Yet, considering just how great the Glee women are, and how much fun it is to watch them bellow out some great tracks, “I Kissed a Girl” isn’t unwelcome, either. Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” is the highlight, of course, with Santana and Rachel leading the girls from both glee clubs in a fantastic rendition. But Santana’s mournful “Constant Craving,” accompanied by Shelby (Idina Menzel) and Kurt (Chris Colfer), is satisfying, too, in its emotional wallop.
Santana faces being outed as a lesbian in “I Kissed a Girl.” This really doesn’t effect her standing with her parents or friends, though it does spark some creepy flirting from the lacrosse captain. Instead, Santana’s main concern is her elderly, traditional, tough abuela (Ivonne Coll, Switched at Birth). Not only does her abuela tell Santana that she is being selfish by not keeping the secret, abuela banishes her granddaughter from the house. Santana is able to stay resolved with the help of her friends, rather than retreating back into the closet. But that doesn’t dispel the notion that someone Santana loves dearly is disgusted by her. Is Santana’s abuela really this judgmental, or is she perhaps harboring a secret, too, and the disgust is more directed at herself? Hopefully the former, as the latter seems a tad too predictable.
Finn’s affection for Santana is strange, considering how the two don’t usually get along, until Finn reminds Santana that she previously takes his virginity. This act creates a serious bond that is lasting in unpredictable ways. Hopefully, Glee will spend more time, not only with the two of them, but with more of the recent non-virgins, and their first partners. The only weak spot in this arc is Finn’s melancholy “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Great music, yes, but depressing as hell. Plus, the lyrics don’t really fit the situation.
The other homosexual couple continues their own tribulations this week on Glee. Namely, Kurt worries about getting into his dream school when it looks like he won’t win class president. The power of Kurt’s vocals are not in question, demonstrated beautifully in a duet with his steady, Blaine (Darren Criss), in “Perfect.” Setting aside the terrible message that song sends, because no one is perfect, it’s still sad, and wholly realistic, that Kurt could lose his dream because of a dumb high school popularity contest that, of course, Brittany (Heather Morris) wins. Blaine vows to help Kurt find a way to get in, but how can he, with the application already going out? Kurt has overcome plenty, and he will prevail here, just perhaps not in an expected way.
Rachel tries to help her gay by stuffing the ballot box in has favor. Her intentions are honorable, even if her belief that she will get into the dream school herself seems a bit premature. And, facing facts, the senior class would be way better off with Kurt in office. However, the real consequence involves the timing of Rachel’s stunt. This means her punishment includes staying away from Sectionals. Honestly, if viewers think the New Directions cannot survive without Rachel, there is no point in continuing Glee past this season. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a teary absence, and one of the hardest things that Rachel has ever had to face.
The race for Congress ends abruptly in “I Kissed a Girl,” with Burt (Mike O’Malley) taking down Sue and her opponent in a big way, despite being a write-in candidate. Yes, Burt is not the focus of Glee, even being demoted back to recurring character in season three, admittedly without losing much screen time. However, in such a tough campaign, and with Sue and Will (Matthew Morrison) involved, this plot bears more focus. It’s not easy to win the way Burt does, and some attention should have been paid to it. It’s too late now, of course. But it should have been done better, rather than just ending with little explanation of the outcome.
Interestingly, the biggest effect of the entire Congressional election for Sue comes at the very end. Intent on proving that she is not a lesbian (even though actress Lynch is), she takes Cooter on as a boyfriend. This devastates Beiste, who lets it out in a weird, but moving, “Jolene.” However, as the dust settles after the vote count, Sue decides she needs to keep Cooter. Beiste vows to get him back. Beiste is clearly the fan favorite, and deservingly so, so she will probably win in the end. But hopefully Sue will be changed by the entire experience, because she could use the softening up that romance brings. Though, far more likely, she will be even angrier at being dumped.
Speaking of angry women, Quinn isn’t going to let Puck go without a fight. Seeing him as the only way to get another Beth, since wrestling back her first baby from Shelby is looking more and more unlikely, Quinn is startled by Puck’s love song to Shelby, “I’m the Only One.” It appears that Puck confesses to Quinn that something is going on between him and Shelby, and this is a huge mistake. It puts Shelby in a very vulnerable position, and Quinn is unlikely to forget the sensitive knowledge she is privy to. What is coming will be ugly, and one can only hope that it will not result in Shelby losing Beth and / or her job, both distinct possibilities.
“I Kissed a Girl” brings back the zany antics of Jacob Ben Israel (Josh Sussman). Not an integral part of Glee, per se, his supporting bits are amusing and entertaining. They are far more prevalent in season one than two, so it’s nice that, as much of the main cast moves towards graduation, he becomes slightly relevant again. Another nice shout out for a supporting player is when Sue calls Cooter the best thing to happen to her since Becky (Lauren Potter). Cheers to Glee‘s often thankless bit players, who help give the series some serious charm.
Watch Glee Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.