Glee” returned with full force on Tuesday night. ‘I Am Unicorn’ was a heavy episode that featured mommy issues, unicorns and Broadway songs. Kurt is running for class president, Rachel is after the role of Maria in McKinley’s production of West Side Story, and Shelby a.k.a Rachel’s mom, a.k.a the lady that adopted Quinn and Puck’s baby, is back. The New Directions aren’t wasting any more time on silly homages to Lady Gaga, this time they are focusing on what’s important. The return of Shelby could mean a lot of things. Will Rachel and Shelby develop a mother/daughter relationship? Will Quinn and Puck be a part of Beth’s life?

The Players:

  • Director: Brad Falchuk
  • Writer: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan
  • Cast: Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Heather Morris, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Jenna Ushkowitz, Mark Salling, Matthew Morrison, Ashley Fink, Chord Overstreet, Harry Shum, Jr., Cheyenne, Darren Criss, Jayma Mays, Jane Lynch, Mike O’Malley, and Idina Menzel (guest star)

Episode Title: “I Am Unicorn”

Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel) returns to the halls of McKinley High. Meanwhile, Mr. Schuester initiates a boot camp for some of the members of New Directions.

The Good:

  • “Booty Camp”: Mr. Schu feels that some of the Glee kids are struggling with their dance moves. With the help of Mike Chang (New Direction’s best dancer), he enforces a “Booty Camp.” Finn is one of the students who needs to step up his game. He’s struggling during dance rehearsal, but also questioning what he’s going to do after graduation. Luckily he has Rachel there to lean on.
  • Shelby a.k.a. Rachel’s biological mom: Although Idina Menzel’s return to “Glee” felt forced (see below), her character, Shelby, creates opportunities for plot development. Not only is she Rachel’s mom, but she’s also Beth’s (Puck and Quinn’s daughter) adoptive mom. Shelby is linked to several characters and that makes her important.
  • Kurt the Unicorn: Brittany offers to be Kurt’s campaign manager with the line, “I think you’re the biggest unicorn.” At first, Kurt is thrilled, but when he sees the pink and glittery posters, he decides to tone it down. Kurt wants to be class president, but he fears that he won’t win because the glitter and unicorns make him appear “too gay.” Kurt’s character begins to develop deeper. Last season he dealt with bullies and was constantly battling to be accepted. Now, he’s battling to accept himself.
  • Impromptu Shakespeare: Kurt tries to bring out his inner male by performing a scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. He’s Romeo, and Rachel is his Juliet. It was such a horrible performance and that’s what made it perfect. The whole point is that he can’t be Romeo. It’s not who he is.
  • Kurt and Burt’s Chat: Kurt goes to his dad for some advice on how to be more masculine, except Burt knows his son and lets him know that he’s gay, like really gay. Burt compares Kurt’s singing to Diana Ross and his dress style to Willy Wonka. It’s a cute moment, and also great to see how far these two have come since season one.
  • Harsh Ending (SPOILER!): Last night’s episode didn’t end with a group performance, unfortunately. Instead, it ended shortly after Blaine finished his performance of “Something’s Coming.” Blaine decided that since he’s a junior he wouldn’t audition for the lead in the high school’s musical production (he’s obviously not trying to step on his boyfriend’s toes). But when Blaine is asked to read for Tony, he freezes, and bang, the episode ends. Clearly this is going to create some tension between him and Kurt.
  • Brittany For President (SPOILER!): Santana’s encouraging words push Brittany to run for president. Can you imagine a debate between Brittany and Kurt? It’s going to be magical!
  • The New, New Quinn (SPOILER!): After Shelby shows Quinn a picture of Beth, Quinn decides to rejoin the New Directions. It’s joyful to see her return, but when she reveals her true intentions (she wants her baby back) it’s horrifying (the look on Puck’s face is priceless). It would have been believable to see Quinn clean up her act after seeing a photo of her daughter, sort of like a wake up call, but this way also works.

The Bad:

  • McKinley’s New Teacher: Remember Sugar from last week’s episode? The Aspergers girl who sang horribly? Well her dad is paying Principal Figgins to let Shelby teach and form a second choir club where Sugar will be the star. This sounds like a terrible idea, especially because Sue’s campaign to ban the arts is gaining more and more popularity. Shelby’s a great character, but the way she’s introduced felt contrived.

The Music:

  • “Somewhere,” West Side Story – Idina Menzel returns as Shelby. During her first run–in with Rachel they perform a mother/daughter duet. The performance is strong, emotional and very, very appropriate.
  • “I’m the Greatest Star, ” Funny Girl – This isn’t the first time Kurt takes on a song made popular by a female singer, but the song was a strange choice at the time. Kurt is after the part of Tony in West Side Story, but his performance doesn’t scream gangster. Still, his performance was fun and riveting, and it created an opportunity for character development. 
  • “Something’s Coming” West Side Story – Blaine also auditions for a part in the high school production. His performance wows the judges to the point that Coach Beiste starts to cries. Blaine delivers a great performance every time.

Overall:

“Glee” delivered another strong episode. It’s great to see that they are cutting back on the fluff and focusing on what’s important.

Rating: 9/10

“Glee” airs Tuesday nights at 8pm on FOX.

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What did you think of Glee’s premiere? What do you expect this coming season? Let us know!