I didn't go to my Junior Prom -- I was the kind of kid who hated high school and held my own silent rebellions against its traditional constructs -- but I definitely understand the importance of the event in the life of a high schooler. And I think "Glee" did a solid job of capturing all the different perspectives through the various members of the glee club.
It would have been easy for "Glee" to be way too serious about prom, like it's been about just about everything this season, but there were some really funny moments mixed in with the show's typical melodrama. I did think the moment when Karofsky had his little breakdown to Kurt, then before things got too sappy, he just sort of snapped back into "this isn't how a man is supposed to act" mode, was outstanding.
Of course, in the end, this ended up being another one of Kurt's big issue episodes, though it went in a direction I wasn't expecting. Karofksy was voted prom king and Santana expected that shed be voted queen, but instead the winner was Kurt, in a write-in campaign. Only rather than being proud and owning his moment, Kurt ran from the gym embarrassed. It was a stunningly introspective moment for an overly extroverted character, and a rare moment of vulnerability for him.
It also led to some major drama in the glee club, with the Quinn-Rachel tension coming to a head, Santana breaking down in frustration and Kurt and Blaine facing some serious realities. Did things get worked out a little too quickly? Sure, but it was kind of adorable, so I'm gonna let it slide. And the fight between Finn and the suddenly returned Jesse St. James didn't have an instant resolution, and will hopefully hang over the rest of the season, so it's not like "Glee" had one of its "everything is back to normal" endings.
Also, it helped that this was one of the stronger episodes of the year from a humor perspective. Finn's description of Kurt's original prom outfit was outstanding. "It's like gay Braveheart" is one of the lines of the season. I adored Brittany's plan to just dance with everyone else's dates, and Puck's obsession with spiking the punch was a nice bit of classic high school mischief.
I really wanna hear more of Sue's list of the worst songs Glee has ever done; I agree with Run Joey Run and the Hair/Crazy in Love mashup. And her "Alias" style interrogation/almost torture of Artie after he was caught "spiking" the punch (with lemonade) was fantastic.
Oh, and it wouldn't be a prom episode without dresses, so lets grade those:
Quinn: her dress had that classic prom princess look, a definite A+.
Mercedes: A little too much pink for my tastes, and sparkly in weird places. B-
Rachel: The dress was a solid B, though I wasn't a fan of the strapless look on her.
Zises: Her original yellow abomination was an F, but the blue was a serious upgrade to solid C+/B- range. Would've been higher, but the sleeves were weird.
Santana: I really want to give the "Satan" red an A, but the ruffled floral sash downgrades it to a B.
Tina: On just about anyone else, this is a C-/D+, but with Tina's style, it's a solid B.
Brittany: She can do no wrong in my book. An A just for being Brittany.
With the dresses all graded, let's move on to the music.
Rolling in the Deep - A
I was never a fan of Jesse, but damn if that mofo can't sing the shit out of a song. The a cappella arrangement on this really shined the focus on the voices of the leads, making for a really outstanding performance.
Isn't She Lovely - A
God, I love Stevie Wonder, and Artie did an admirable job living up to the original. I also loved Brittany's embarassment at being performed to, and how she didn't just take him back because of a good song.
Friday - F-
OH GOD MAKE IT STOP! WHY ARE MY EARS BLEEDING?! I WISH I WAS DEAD!
Jar of Hearts - C
I'm getting a little tired of Rachel singing these "message" songs to Finn, and this song seemed entirely lyrically inappropriate for what's supposed to be a fun night.
I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You - A
Blaine's had some really great songs with the Warblers this year, but hearing him backed up by Tina and Brittany was spectacular
Dancing Queen - A
I've been asking for more Santana songs all year, and a Santana/Mercedes duet to cap this episode was just perfect.