Strangely, it looks like next week's episode will be the one that fans love - it seems like we're in for Finn/Rachel and Kurt/Blaine sex, or at least the possibility of it - so it's odd that we didn't get that one this week. That's not to say 'Pot O'Gold' was bad, but it wasn't such obvious fan-bait.
Actually, 'Pot O'Gold' had its moments, though as always the stories came in various degrees of ridiculousness. Probably most unbelievable was the idea that Brittany thought Irish exchange student Rory - played by The Glee Project's Damian McGinty, enjoyable enough here - was really a leprechaun.
It's not that this is out of character - as mentioned in the episode, she still believes in Santa - but it feels like a disservice to Brittany. It's fine for her to be adorably dumb, prone to saying silly things, but it feels like it's being pushed too far when she's asking for wishes, and believing that they're coming true.
Anyway, Rory's keen to go along with Brittany, because she's promised that he can get into her "pot of gold" if he grants her three wishes (unfortunately, we never find out what this actually is - I'm betting it's not a "snog" like Rory believes). Her first wish is for a box of Lucky Charms made entirely of marshmallows, so Rory gets down to some serious separating.
It turns out that Rory's time at McKinley isn't great - he might be living with Brittany, but he's getting bullied. A lot. Luckily, Finn's there to offer to be his friend - but he needs something in return. He's heard Mercedes trying to persuade Santana to join the rival glee club, but Santana will only go if Brittany does. Rory agrees to tell Finn if he hears anything.
When Rory delivers the marshmallow Lucky Charms, Brittany wishes again - for her cat to poop candy bars (yes, I know. It's annoying.) Rory asks her to dinner, but Brittany already has plans. Rory will settle for a kiss on the cheek, but when Brittany leaves he's again pushed against a wall - time for his first musical number! He walks around singing 'Bein' Green' - yes, the Kermit the Frog song. But it works, oddly.
Brittany, of course, is on a date with Santana. Except is it a date? Santana wants to have "the talk" - are they dating? Well, Brittany certainly seems to think so. Santana's tearing up because she's so happy (though she also discovers that Brittany thinks Rory is a leprechaun). She moots the possibility of Brittany joining Shelby's glee club, but Brittany needs time to think - she doesn't want to be known as a quitter. Then they hold hands - under a napkin. Cute. Naya Rivera is reliably brilliant.
Rivera is at her best, obviously, with angry Santana. After Blaine leads the glee club in a rendition of 'Last Friday Night' to bring them all together, she's annoyed - she can tell that it's going to be the Rachel and Blaine show all year. But she's got a plan - she corners poor Rory and says that while he might not really be a leprechaun, he's going to grant her a wish. Santana's lovably snarly, isn't she?
Rory ends up putting chocolate in Lord Tubbington's litter tray (sigh) and when Brittany arrives she's thrilled. But Rory has to tell her that Santana found out he was a leprechaun and wished that Brittany would leave New Directions and join Shelby's club. Brittany is conflicted, but she has no choice - wishes definitely have to come true, right?
Rory's a good boy at heart and immediately runs to tell Finn what's happened. Finn goes to confront Brittany and Santana (sparking a whole list of bizarre, stinging insults from Santana - "bacon wrapped, bug eyed hypocrite" is just the tip of the iceberg). When he hears Brittany's quitting New Directions because of a wish he snaps - and calls her an idiot.
That's that - Brittany says it's mean and bullying and she won't accept it. While you're on Finn's side generally - Brittany shouldn't leave New Directions - it's nice of Glee to turn the tables and have you rooting for Brittany.
So Brittany and Santana join the new group - The Troubletones - and they go to perform 'Candyman' (terrifying Will and Finn who have snuck in to watch). Later, Finn goes to apologise to the Troubletones, specifically Brittany, and explains that he doesn't want their friendships to be ruined. Everyone agrees and it's all lovely (though later when Artie, Kurt and Tina go to wave to Mercedes in practice, Santana stops her from speaking to them).
Anyway, when Finn's gone, Rory bounds up to say Brittany's third wish came true - Finn was happy and smiley, and she'd wished that quitting glee club wouldn't hurt anyone's feelings. But Brittany says that actually Finn was heartbroken - and she knows that leprechauns don't exist. As a final, parting shot, Santana tells him to do the whole school a favour and disappear. Ouch.
Later, though, Finn saves Rory from a bullying and apologises for not standing up for him earlier. In fact, he's got a plan - Rory could join the glee club! As a sort of audition, Rory performs 'Take Care of Yourself' and everyone loves it (cheesily, Rachel calls it "magical"). Kurt might be a bit annoyed that Rory can rock the falsetto, but he's won over, too. Hurrah!
So a lot of that storyline was, if not flat out ridiculous, a little silly - mainly because of the leprechaun stuff (and Brittany's trying-too-hard-to-be-whimsical wishes). Second in the list of silliness has to be Sue, because Sue brings a whiff of unrealism wherever she goes.
That's not to say there wasn't lots to cheer about in this plot. Sue uses her television spot to rail against the cost of West Side Story and, after anger from parents, Figgins is forced to withdraw the musical's funding. Even though the Cheerios' costs are far higher, naturally. Of course, Will is furious, and vows to get the money himself.
The glee club is all over the place after losing members and Finn thinks it's time for a pep talk. Unfortunately, Blaine then gets up and gives his own. Talk about tension - loved Blaine's kind of snide: "What were you saying about not turning on each other?" when Finn complains. Anyway, Will brings it all back to the musical and urges them to go out and sell ad space in the West Side Story programmes.
Kurt asks his dad if he wants to buy ad space, and Burt is furious when he hears that the funding has been withdrawn. He bizarrely gathers together the owners of Lima's various funeral parlours and together they donate enough money to cover the costs. Hurrah! Of course, Sue isn't happy about it and issues all kinds of threats. Burt is admirably unconcerned, though.
Actually, Will is so impressed with Burt's actions that he goes to see him and asks him to run for congress against Sue. Burt's already a step ahead - he's looked into it and is planning to run as a write-in candidate. After all, New Directions saved Kurt's life. And the first Sue knows about it is when Burt delivers a fantastic "Burt's corner" speech on her TV station. Ouch.
Later, Burt and Carole take Finn and Kurt to Breadsticks to chat to them about the congressional race - Kurt is a bit worried about the stress, considering Burt just had a heart attack, but otherwise they're on board.
Of course, Sue comes over to hand Burt a heart-inducing burger and give him some more threats - although she adds that at least he's reminded her that she entered this race for her sister, not due to her arts vendetta. She'll still be fighting the arts, like, but now she wants the money for special education classes and teachers.
So that storyline was fine - a bit silly, because of Sue, but I'm always pleased when Burt Hummel makes it on to my screen. The third main strand of the episode, though, was clearly the best - mainly because Mark Salling and particularly Dianna Agron have been doing such stellar work recently.
Puck and Quinn offer to babysit Beth so that Shelby can have some time alone - it's tough being a single mum. But Quinn's still got her dark soul thing going on, and when Shelby goes out she plants various dodgy things around the flat - evil books, baby botulism, and hot sauce marked "Beth's". She explains that she wants to call child services so they can get Beth back. Puck seems a little uncomfortable - Shelby's a good mum - but he does want Beth.
In a handy reminder, Puck talks about how his pool cleaning business is booming, and tells us all that he's a fan of older women. We do know this already, of course, but it made what was to come up later a little more obvious than it could have been. Anyway, Quinn wants him to get a proper job if they're going to raise Beth - she's called child services.
In another fantastic moment from Agron, Quinn tearily explains that everyone else has plans - college or New York or even a pool cleaning business. She has nothing, and even she can't screw up Beth. Even if she never achieves anything, at least she'll always have Beth to call her own. It's heartbreaking stuff, and actually gave Quinn genuine reasons for her horribleness (even if it's still kind of hard to swallow that she's this bad).
This is the stuff that Glee does best - emotion with a little twist. Puck's feeling guilty, and even more so when Shelby announces that her condo manager needs a pool boy - it's a year round job. Puck ends up getting the job, and goes to thank Shelby - inside, he begins taking away all the things Quinn planted.
Shelby's too frazzled - she'd just put Beth down and now she's crying - but Puck manages to soothe his daughter by playing 'Waiting For A Girl Like You' on Shelby's guitar. It's unbelievably sweet, and then Shelby spills her guts - she always wanted to be a mum, but it's hard. And it's not just the normal stuff that's hard - the mess, the lack of sleep - it's that there's no-one to share the amazing moments with.
Puck stares into her eyes and tells her that if he ever needs any help, he's there for her. He takes her hand, but she pulls away. But is it any surprise that, later, when she's watching Puck with Beth, she has second thoughts? And the episode ends on a stunner - Puck and Shelby kiss...
So 'Pot O' Gold' was, like many episodes of Glee, a bit of a mixed bag. When Glee is good, it's brilliant - let's hope there's more of that as the season continues.
- Brittany being on the front cover of American Cheerleader was fun, considering Heather Morris herself has done that.
- Speaking of locker paraphernalia, I love that Santana has a drawing of Lord Tubbington.
- Enjoyed Finn being uncomfortable about Rory's adoration of him. "Thanks. Um, at ease."
- "Someone's got to look out for Brittany. It's a special place she lives in. Yeah, it's beautiful, but someone's got to help her cross the street."
- Cory Monteith did some good work in this episode. I particularly liked his jealousy of Blaine, and hope we'll see some more of that. Blaine was a bit annoying this week, to be fair.
- "Isn't this a date? Aren't you paying? I ordered the shrimp."
- Blaine does another Katy Perry song. Seriously, Blaine. Expand your record collection. It's getting a bit weird.
- I quite like Sugar's bizarre, fleeting appearances. Is that wrong?
- The Troubletones? I preferred Santana's suggestions - Hot Bitches or Hot Messes. Even Brittany's 'Free Beer' is better than The Troubletones.
- Best bullying ever? "SAY U2 ARE OVERRATED."
- I also love that Finn scared the bullies off by threatening them with Coach Beiste.
- Seeing that Breadsticks Gutbuster made me so, so hungry.
- We're going to have to meet a lot more glee clubbers if the Troubletones and New Directions are going to have enough to compete according to the show choir guidelines (unless those backing dancers for 'Candyman' were bonafide members).
- Figgins makes me smile. "I'm caught between a rock and a different, equally hard rock."
- "Do you know what has no expiry date, voters? MY RAGE."
- "The arts are going down. Today, the musical, tomorrow, glee club. Next weekend, PR, opera, brunch and Tom Bergeron."
- I love the fact that Kurt has the Banana Republic Mad Men collection.
- "This isn't Dalton. We don't have blazers." Miaow.
- A crematorium oven that also stone bakes pizzas? Why have these not been rolled out nationwide?
- Kurt bags Burt's campaign manager post, then in Breadsticks later admits he's worried about his dad running because of his heart. This seemed odd to me (like continuity had missed something), but I suppose the two aren't mutually exclusive.
- A nice subtle moment when Burt said if he wins Kurt will be in college, and then he couldn't quite work out what to say about Finn. I'm enjoying this Finn "what the hell do I next?" struggle.
- Puck is getting too cute. Showing his customer a photo of his baby when he could have had sex instead? What's happened to you, Puck?
- "I'm literally horny with fear."