Clique Wars: 5/10
Since the glee kids are all freaks, it wasn’t so much about the high school class system as about gay people being marginalized. Kurt convinced Blaine to be his date, even after Blaine revealed that when he invited a boy to Sadie Hawkins at his old school, the two of them got beat up. There is an incredibly tender moment after Kurt gets crowned prom queen where, crying, he says, “We thought we didn’t have to worry because no one was bullying us, but they had planned this instead.”
The Element of Surprise: 3/10
Thanks to Nicole Crowther, prom king and queen was no surprise. There was a moment where we thought Karofsky was going to come out, but he tells Kurt he can’t and leaves. (This after the episode’s one surprising moment, when Karofsky, upon escorting Kurt to class, suddenly breaks down in tears and says, “I’m so freaking sorry” for hurting him.) No unexpected hookups, nothing. Also, why couldn’t we see Will and Emma maybe get closer as chaperones?
Prom King and Queen: 6/10
The race to get votes at the beginning of the episode was overdone, but the reactions to the announcement raise this plot point from mediocrity. Kurt initially flees the dance sobbing in humiliation after he’s named prom queen — even though he’s done nothing but align himself with the girls from day one. It’s not that he doesn’t have a right to be hurt by the vote, but it just doesn’t fit the character of a guy who wears kilts and hits the high notes in a diva-off against Rachel. It seems to fit perfectly within his character, yet he rejects it — why? But the queer kid who most pulled at my heartstrings was Santana. Upset by Karofsky winning and not her, she confesses to Brittany, “I’m gonna be an outsider my whole life. Can’t I just have a moment where I’m prom queen?”
Let’s go through this chronologically.
- Jesse’s return set to Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep” was incredibly anticlimactic, as he and Rachel didn’t seem angry, or sad, or anything, really. Plus, the set design kids in the background were just out of place.
- The producers probably could’ve chosen a more fitting song for Artie to serenade Brittany than Stevie Wonder‘s “Isn’t She Lovely,” but like I said before, the performance was sweet.
- I’m still cringing from Puck, Sam, and Artie (rapping, natch) belting out Rebecca Black‘s “Friday” at the dance, though it was great to highlight Puck since I like his voice. This was the moment that I started to think the song had been overexposed, which is too bad; it might’ve succeeded in a less glitzy setting.
- Rachel singing Christina Perri‘s “Jar of Hearts” while kids slowdanced and Finn made eyes at her? Meh.
- Blaine’s rendition of Black Kids‘ “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You” with Tina and Brittany as back-up was appropriately fun.
- Mercedes and Santana joining together on ABBA‘s “Dancing Queen” reminded me how annoying it is when we only hear half of a song. But it was also a winner.
Symbolism to High School and Beyond: 8/10
This exchange from the beginning of the episode sums it up:
Santana: “Prom is like our Oscars. It’s the most important night of our lives.”
Zizes: “What about getting married?”
Quinn: “Oh, you can get married as many times as you like — you only have one shot at your junior prom.”
These kids, who have been shunned because of choices or simply who they are, struggle to hold on to what they believe will be the one shining moment in their otherwise awful high school careers. The strange thing is, all of them — with perhaps the exception of Quinn, who fears what will happen when she can’t coast on her looks — can go nowhere but up when they reach college. But still, they’re appropriately obsessed with the dance and having a night where everything goes perfectly.