OMG, it’s totally time for prom on ‘Glee’! Considering that star Cory Monteith (who plays Finn) just turned 29, I’d say that it’s about time he got to go to his Junior Prom, wouldn’t you? At this rate, maybe these kids will graduate from high school by the time they’re 40.
I made no secret of my displeasure with that ridiculous Fleetwood Mac episode in my last recap. Fortunately, the show bounced back last week with a big event episode, and pretty much knocked it out of the park. ‘Prom Queen’ is a lot of fun, has some (at times unexpectedly) great musical numbers, and even touches a few heart strings too.
When his first choice of Air Supply backs out at the last minute, Principal Figgins hires the New Directions to perform at prom. Sue is naturally unhappy about this, but helpfully compiles a list of all the worst songs that Glee Club has ever performed (a list that’s brilliantly accurate), which she asks them to never, ever sing again.
Many of the students are uneasy about prom. Lauren can’t find a decent dress in her size. (After trying on one that makes her look like a giant piece of fruit, Brittany tells her: “I think you look delicious.”) Mercedes is sad because no boys asked her to go. Sam can’t afford a tux or limo. Puck has been feeling emasculated by Lauren’s campaign to get them elected Prom King and Queen. Even Kurt’s boyfriend Blaine is afraid to go due to a traumatic experience in his past.
Rachel, Mercedes, and Sam band together and agree to go as a trio on a budget of only $20 each. However, Rachel is almost pulled away by the return of her ex, Jesse St. James, who has flunked out of college. He apologizes for the way he betrayed Rachel with a performance of “Rolling in the Deep,” and asks her to prom. As a compromise, Rachel invites him to join her cheap date group.
Desperate to win Brittany back, Artie interrupts Home Ec class to sing “Isn’t She So Lovely?” to her. Brittany is charmed by it and forgives Artie for calling her stupid, but still won’t go to prom with him. She’s not ready to be a couple again. Instead, she plans to go to prom solo and steal other girls’ dates.
Kurt is excited about prom and ready to let his freak flag fly. About his decision to wear a flamboyant kilt, Finn says: “It’s like gay Braveheart.” Both Blaine and Kurt’s father are hesitant about him acting quite so… well… gay. But Kurt refuses to be ashamed of who he is.
Still trying to make amends, Karofsky apologize to Kurt again and even cries. Kurt encourages him to come out of the closet, but Karofsky is too scared. Kurt tells him that his moment will come, and he should embrace it.
Prom begins with Puck and Sam singing “Friday.” Yes, that song. Really. It’s a terrible, terrible song, and they know it. They absolutely embrace its awfulness and rock it out. Artie even does a rap interlude. The scene is hilarious and awesome.
Next, Rachel slows things down with “Jar of Hearts.” Finn is torn between his feelings for Rachel and his feelings for Quinn. Sam tells Mercedes that she looks beautiful and asks her to dance.
Puck goads Artie into spiking the punch bowl, which he insists will make him look cool and will help him win Brittany back. Unfortunately, Sue catches Artie in the act. She threatens to torture him with dental instruments like that famous scene in ‘Marathon Man’ if he won’t tell her who was really behind the plan. “We can get all HMO up in your glee hole,” she warns. It turns out that Artie was only spiking the punch with lemonade, so Sue lets him go.
Blaine takes the stage next to sing “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You.”
Finn gets jealous of Jesse’s attentions towards Rachel and picks a fight. Sue ejects both of them from the dance, which ruins Finn’s and Quinn’s chances at being voted King and Queen.
Eventually, the winners are announced. Shockingly, Karofsky is voted Prom King. And by a write-in majority, Prom Queen is… Kurt.
A hush falls over the entire auditorium. Kurt runs out crying. He thought the school had accepted him, but this is how they’ve chosen to humiliate him. Blaine rushes to his side to talk him into going back to the dance.
Backstage, Quinn slaps Rachel for tearing Finn away from her. Rachel says that she should be mad, but actually appreciates the drama of the moment. They both have a good cry and make peace.
After a few minutes, Kurt gets his courage back. He marches back into the auditorium and defiantly puts on the tiara, boasting: “Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton!”. A cheer erupts. The school wasn’t trying to humiliate him after all. They actually love him. Kurt is victorious!
The New Directions sing “Dancing Queen.” Karofsky doesn’t know what to do. Kurt tries to pull him on the dance floor and whispers in his ear that now is his moment. But Karofsky is still overcome with fear. He doesn’t make a scene or put on any homophobic bluster, but he can’t dance. Blaine steps in to dance with Kurt, and Karofsky silently slips away.
The episode ends with a montage of the students taking their prom photos. Artie and Brittany take a photo together. Does this mean that they’re back together?