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Recap / Glee S 2 E 18 Born This Way

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Welcome to a supersized Glee, as we're going nearly a hour this week. We start the extended business in the auditorium, where Will has decreed that New Directions need to work on the moves to match the music. Therefore, he calls for "Booty Camp", practice on the steps. Unfortunately, the vengeful spirit of Ryan Murphy's Law is hovering, because about five seconds later we see a prime example of bad coordination; namely, Finnegan waving his mitts around and popping Rachel right in the nose thus breaking it. Oh, we're off to a good start tonight as we cut to a doctor's office and an icepack. Finn, ever guilty and dutiful, stands next to her as the doctor arrives and confirms the break, though a clean break so it should heal just fine. And now, remember back in Acafellas where Rachel said that Barbra Streisand was told to get a nose job but didn't, and the spoiler tag said that if you remember that in a season and a half it'll hurt more? This is what we were talking about. The doc says that with her deviated septum, it's a good time to go under the knife. When Rachel declines, the doc states that opening up the septum may allow more air per breath, meaning bigger belts on the high notes. He puts the seed in Rachel's head by saying that actresses always look and sound their best and that usually does mean surgery. Rachel ponders as we hit the Title Card.


In the choir room, Rachel tells the club that she's thinking about the procedure. Will is horrified that she'd risk her health for vanity, but Santana, after making the obligatory cutting remarks, points out that everyone has things about themselves that they don't like. This leads to ND and their latent irregularities, Will telling them that often the thing they don't like is what's most interesting about them, only for Mercedes to flip it by saying at McKinley, it's what people use to crush them. Cut to Emma's office, where Will laments that his students have image problems. Emma says that it's hard for adults to accept their eccentricities, so maybe asking teenagers to do the same is asking too much. Will wants his legacy to be more than conjugated verbs and glee trophies, that he wants it to be helping people be themselves. He helps Emma clean her grapes (literally, not a euphemism), saying that he's happy helping Emma with her OCD. Emma doesn't like him calling it that though, saying she's given up on trying to change herself, that even though she wasn't born with OCD, it's permanent so she's not trying to change it. Of course, all Will hears is "born this way" and that fires up the electrons, saying that he's going to help through the majesty of Gaga.


Cut to a defacing of a Fuinn for Prom poster. However, it's not a Titan as you'd expect. No, it's Santana, who, in a helplessly in love dose of Insane Troll Logic, monologues internally that if she becomes Prom Queen, she can convince Brittany that it's a royal decree that Brittany has to break up with Artie and get back with Santana. Desperate times and what not. Unfortunately for her, she needs more votes from the jocks, and Sam isn't enough to get them. And since she's clearly done bending over for the Titans, she needs someone else. Perfect timing occurs, as Karofsky arrives. Now, normally, she clearly wouldn't give him the time of day incompatible gender or not. However, his wandering eyes cast over Sam's ass as he's at a drinking fountain, and this pings Santana's gayday. Cut to the Lima Bean where Tina, Mercedes and Santana meet Kurt and Blaine for coffee while Bartie canoodle at a table nearby and Santana pines. Kurt laments about how Dalton lost at Regionals, while Tina and Mercedes tell him that they miss him and ask if he can't come back to McKinley. Kurt, clearly tired of his Gilded Cage, would love to, but there is one closeted boogeyman keeping him from returning. This causes Santana to perk up, figuring that that if she could get Kurt back, she'd be a hero and everyone would vote for her. The key is Karofsky, and she runs off to put her plan into action: "I've gotta gay. Go. Go. I've gotta go". No Santana, you were right the first time.

Cut to the choir room where Will lays out the assignment: ACCEPTANCE. He says that while ND accept each other, they can't accept themselves. The assignment is a song about themselves accepting all their traits, while the second is the Title Drop to help them deal with their flaws. Emma's there with white shirts and a letter press; ND is to wear a shirt bearing something that they're ashamed of or would like to change. To demonstrate, she unbuttons her cardigan to reveal her flaw... "Ginger". Yes. Everyone has a collective "What the Fuck?!" moment as Emma blithely embraces her OCD denials, going on about how she's embraced her gingerness. Right. Cut to Zizes staring at the Prom Queen crown. Puck arrives and, after complaining about how the crown doesn't have real jewels, we get some Hidden Depths from Zizes. Namely, that she was voted Miss Tiara Toddler, Allen County three years in a row; we get a flashback to confirm it. Zizes says that when she got older, she had a growth spurt and was kicked out of the pageant circuit. We then see Quinn hanging up posters and this pisses Zizes off that perfect Quinn will be prom queen, however she's dating Quinn's baby daddy, who naturally says he'll help Zizes win.

And now for a scene that gave Faberry shippers the palpitations. We cut to the doctor's waiting room, where said Fan-Preferred Couple sit. Rachel thanks Quinn, who is clearly happy to help out the love of her life, though of course hiding it by saying her nose is awesome and pressing for a Prom vote. Semi-awkward small talk ensues, mostly Rachel asking Q how she manages to look how she looks. Q replies with a verbal example of her fractured psyche, admitting she has a warped sense of the world and that as a hot 17yo, she can get away with anything. The doctor arrives and Rachel asks him if there's a way to see what she'd look like with Quinn's nose. The doctor gladly complies, and from there we go into the Faberry anthem, the song voted by fans as the best overall song Glee ever didnote  in different polls.

Afterwards, Mood Whiplash as we cut to the hallway where three students see Zizes's campaign poster. They're excited that someone like them is running for prom queen, and want to vote for her. Unfortunately, Quinn happens by at that exact moment and the switch is flipped, her finding Zizes and baring claws by telling her that she might win, but anyone who votes for her will be doing so as a joke. Unintentional Foreshadowing for two episodes from now as Zizes replies that she wants to win by any means necessary. Claws are bared and gauntlets are thrown down, tempers flaring before Zizes tells Quinn that she may have been born pretty, but she's ugly inside. Quinn tells Lauren that she just made the whole thing personal. Dun dun dun.

Cut to the Lima Bean where Santana and Karofsky sit. He tries to posture, saying it's about time Santana asked him out, since he's such a stud. She tells him to drop the act, since she knows he's gay. We get the expected denials, including an excuse about wanting to see what jeans Sam wore. Santana then declares him a "late-in-life gay"; stay closeted, married, drunk for relations, kids, job, outed. She tells him that she's a lesbian, but she needs a beard to be prom queen, and of course threatens to out him if he doesn't play along. We return from break to Fuinn arguing in the hallway over guess who. Finn of course doesn't like that Quinn's helping Rachel get a nose job, because this week's Glee lesson is about acceptancenote . Quinn says that she doesn't like this week's lesson, we'll soon see why. Finn says that he loves it and that cues up a number with an appropriate title, with Mike dancing along. Afterwards, Rachel reveals a picture of her with Quinn's nose and it's basically a brunette Dianna Agron. Wait a minute... Anyway, Rachel hands out copies, fends off their objections and announces that she's getting the nose job.

After the break, we're in the lounge where Will and Emma have a talk. He's upset that she put 'Ginger' on her shirt when he wanted something about her OCD. Emma thinks that the kids won't see her as a role model if they know about her flaws, not understanding that the best role models have flaws too. Will agrees, saying that a real role model would accept their flaws and work on them. Emma's still got the idea that since she wasn't born with OCD (diagnosed at 5), there's no point in trying to change it. Will says people "humor" her mental-illness because she's "so cute about it", but it's keeping her from enjoying her life. He then decides to purposefully be an asshole by shoving unwashed fruit at her, saying that she works so hard at counseling to avoid her own problems.

Will, sorry, but whether the heart's in the right place or not, you're an idiot.

Speaking of, we're back in the choir room with Figgins... and Karofsky. He proceeds to recite a speech (obviously written by Santana who mouths it to him) where, in between a montage of slushy tosses, he says that he's reformed, gives the group a heart-felt apology and reveals that Santana helped him rehabilitate, showing him stories of people committing suicide for their bullying, and in the process Foreshadowing Karofsky's own attempt in Season 3.. Santana says that ND is incomplete without Kurt, and that she took it upon herself to rehabilitate Karofsky in hope of bringing Kurt back in time for Nationals. And in a case of obvious Blatant Lies designed to move her plot to get Brittany while also taking her frustrations over Brit's rejection out on her, Santana says she and Karofsky fell for each other. Cue the collective "No. Just... No" Reaction. The two also have started a new club, the Bully Whips, which patrol the halls and stop bullying. We then get cut to them in action; specifically them stopping Azimio. This indicates that, though it's all show at this point, if Karofsky's willing to defend people from his best friend, that maybe the crocodile tears aren't as fake as we think.

Of course, the honest feelings are yet to come. We cut to Kurt, Burt, Will, Karofsky and Mr Karofsky in Figgins' office. Burt pointing out that the bullying only stopped because the top bully stopped. Mr Karofsky says his son was a good kid, and that he doesn't know what was in his mind. Burt reminds us of the death threat, and of course Dave says it was a figure of speech. All good points around, but Kurt looks to have a suspicion that all is not legit. He asks for a moment alone with Karofsky. After reiterating that he doesn't out people, Kurt asks for the truth and gets the entire plan. Kurt sits both appalled and impressed at Santana's plan. He agrees to return if Karofsky helps him start a chapter of PFLAG in Lima. Karofsky agrees as we cut to the ladies room where Rachel reveals what looks like a fully healed nose. Of course, gender based toilets can't keep a Puckerman down, as he arrives to argue about her nose job, then asks her for one hour of her time the next day, and he won't bug her again. Rachel agrees.

Cut to Kurt's triumphant return and thus, with four episodes left after this, the full Season 2 New Directions are now complete. Of course, a return means a goodbye; we see Blaine and the Warblers arrive and sing as Kurt tears up afterwards and swears to Blaine that "I'll never say goodbye to you." This is the last we see of the Warblers until Season 3. After the break, it's Kurt's turn to sing for his triumphant return to McKinley - and since this is an extended edition, we get the entire song, which earns him a long-overdue standing ovation from his groupmates. Afterwards, we see Zizes walk by Quinn... and hit her with a personal Wham Line: "Hey, Lucy". This of course stops Q dead in her tracks. We go into a classroom where it's revealed that she and Puck did some theft and B & E and came up with information about Quinn: Moved to Lima around 12-13, formerly overweight with acne, brown hair and bad eyes. Here's where it gets interesting: Q claimed to go to Fairbrook Middle School, but it was just a front, as the location of their house put them near Belleville Middle School. And here's the reveal: Belleville has no record of a Quinn Fabray. They do however... have a record of a Lucille Fabray, or Lucy for short. Yep, Quinn's not the first name, but the middle name and from here on in, Quinn will be referred to as Lucille or Lucy whenever possible. Anyway, you can guess the rest; transfer, losing weight, getting a nose job, contacts, dyeing her hair. The trigger was, as you'd expect, bullying, specifically, the kids at her old school calling her 'Lucy Caboosey'.

And this explains pretty much everything about Lucille Quinn Fabray. The bullying plus her bastard father broke anything good inside of her, so she became everything she wasn't, allowing Russell to live vicariously through her, using her as a tool to make himself look good. Wouldn't be shocked if there were a few black eyes in there as well. Now we get the crux of her behavior during the past two seasons. And who was the only one who actually saw her as a person and not a pawn? Yep. Can you blame Dear Lucille for falling for her?

Lauren asks if she did it because she hated herself, but Quinn says it's because she loves herself. Blatant Lies of course. Hell, we can see in her eyes how broken she is. And it's about to get worse. Lucy was so wrapped up in pouring her heart out she forgot to whom she was pouring it out to. See, Zizes was so touched by Q's story that she decided to share it with the rest of McKinley... namely, printing out a copy of Quinn's old face and putting it on the bulletin boards (although how Zizes found out the nickname, God knows). Cue the slowmo laughter as Quinn runs to see the laughing students and the proof of Zizes' plan. She rips the poster off and has an understandable crawling freakout.

And now, more Mood Whiplash. We cut to the mall where Puckleberry talk. Seems she refuses to listen to anyone... except Barbra Streisand. To elaborate, after Kurt reminded her of Babs' story, we then get a flashmob set to a song called "Barbara Streisand"note . Well it is rather abstract, but that not surprisingly seems to do the trick as we go to break.

We return to Emma in a therapy session, wasting nearly all the session's time cleaning her chair. Her therapist suggests that OCD is treatable, like any other disease that can be cured. We of course know otherwise as Emma seems torn here, not wanting to lay on a couch and spill all, but not wanting to treat this chemically. Emma then says that her OCD is a part of her, while the therapist disagrees saying it's keeping her from being he. She then writes Emma a prescription and schedules another appointment.

In the hallway, Quinn and Finn talk, Quinn thinking that her campaign is over and us thinking it's a good thing. Finn disagrees, pulling out a picture of Lucy he keeps in his wallet. He says that it's a picture of his girlfriend, and he likes it more than the old one. Q calls it terrible, whereas Finn says it's the first one where you can really see her. They kiss, we didn't need to see that, and Finn exits. As Lucille walks, she sees the three students from earlier, gazing at her poster and saying that it makes her seem more real. They promise her their votes. Zizes arrives to reveal her plan backfired and now Q's at the top of the polls. She apologizes, but Q says that she respects her for loving herself the way she is, while Quinn had to change so much about herself before she could love herself.

We then start the home stretch with Brittany showing Santana her shirt, which reads "I'm With Stoopid", complete with an arrow pointing up. Santana's shirt says "Bitch". This disappoints Brit-Brit, who wanted Santana to wear a shirt Brittany made for her, which reads "Lebanese". Santana at first says she's Hispanic, and then it clicks that the shirt's meant to say "Lesbian". Seems while Karofsky's slowing tiptoing out of the closet, Santana's still in hers for now. An arguement ensues, Santana reiterating her beard situation, Brittany reminding her and us she's still with Artie for now. Then the truth comes out, so to speak, Santana said the big three words and Brit did not reciprocate. Brittany says that she loves Santana, but clearly Santana doesn't love Santana, or else she'd put the shirt on and they'd dance. Ooh, seems our Rainbow Bicorn's grown a pair. Cut to Emma's office where she stares at her bottle of pills before finally taking one. Cut to the auditorium, where Will congratulates ND and then shows off his shirt: "BUTT CHIN". Rachel then arrives: "NOSE". She is of course not getting the nose job (and we see Q subtly approve), but is sitting out the number due to her nose still healing as well as not wanting to chance Finnegan popping her again. We then cue up the Title Dropnote  as we then see Emma, in her proper shirt ("OCD"), join in. Of course, there is one missing and we see her in the audience next to her fellow beard and with her proper shirt on, this extended episode ending with two afraid to be themselves staring at those who are proud of being Born This Way.

Next Time: Another tribute episode, where we separate the truth from the Rumours and take another trip down the back Rhodes.

Songs performed:

  • "I Feel Pretty/Unpretty", from West Side Story and by TLC, performed by Quinn and Rachel
  • "I've Gotta Be Me" from Golden Rainbow, performed by Finn and Mike
  • "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane, performed by Blaine and the Warblers
  • "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard, performed by Kurt
  • "Barbra Streisand" by Duck Sauce, performed by a Flashmob
  • "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga, performed by the Glee club

Tropes Present:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Remember way back in "Acafellas" when Rachel tells Dakota Stanley (right after firing him) that she doesn't need a nose job because Barbra Streisand didn't need one?
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The trio of girls who decide to root for Lauren, then Quinn.
  • The Beard: Santana and Karofsky for each other.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: After Santana confronts Karofsky about checking out Sam's ass.
    Santana: You really need to be more careful with your leering.
    Karofsky: I was just checking out what kind of jeans he was wearing.
    Santana: Like that's any less gay.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Lucy (or Lucille) for Quinn.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Lucy Caboosey".
  • Flashmob: Unlike the sequence in Dream On, this one wasn't All Just a Dream. The glee club hosts it for Rachel to "Barbra Streisand."
  • Foreshadowing : We'll find out in the third season that being a ginger, and Emma's "ginger supremacist" parents contributing to her anxiety disorder, are part of what led to her OCD.
  • Formerly Fat: Surprisingly, Quinn Fabray.
  • Freaky Is Cool: The whole point of the episode.
  • Freudian Slip: Santana after realizing the perfect plan to get elected prom queen.
    Santana: I've gotta gay. Go. I've gotta go.
  • Fridge Logic: How did Lauren find out Quinn's old nickname? Sure, B & E will yield you a fair amount of info, but nicknames aren't generally put on someone's file.
  • He's Back: Kurt. In a top hat, no less.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: Guess exposing Quinn's former self to the school only ended up getting her more votes, huh, Lauren?
  • "I Am" Song: "I've Gotta Be Me," sort of.
  • Meganekko: Quinn.
  • Nice Hat: Santana's Russian fur hat and Kurt's white top hat.
  • "Not Important to This Episode" Camp: Not a Tracksuit in sight.
  • No Yay: In-universe reaction to Santana and Karofsky hooking up. Tina says she might throw up. Puck nearly does.
  • Offhand Backhand: Done by Finn to Rachel courtesy of his terrible dancing.
  • Reality Subtext: When she was 15, Lea Michele was told she'd need a nosejob if she wanted to make it in the entertainment industry. Much like Kurt, Michele's mother told her Barbra Streisand refused the same procedure and look at her now. By contrast, the other actresses' plastic surgery isn't a big deal. As Santana says, "If you don't like something, change it."
  • Shout-Out: The nurse drawing the lines on Rachel's face for plastic surgery, backed by a pop song? Very Nip/Tuck.
  • Ship Tease: While they've had moments before and after this episode, this is one of the more blatant examples of Rachel and Quinn having UST.
  • That Man Is Dead: Quinn hates her Lucy Caboosey self.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Will. Also Zizes when she spreads pics of "Lucy Caboosey" around as part of her campaign. And Puck for helping her, despite his complicated relationship with Quinn.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: See the trailer for "Born This Way?" Sorry if it spoiled Kurt coming back to McKinley for you.

Example of: