Glee is back after a three week break, building quite a bit of anticipation for this new episode “Pot O’ Gold.” As had been advertised, and one might guess by the Irish-themed title, this episode was the debut for Damian McGinty, winner of the Glee Project reality series. Sure enough, the first line in the first scene of the episode belonged to Damian’s character, foreign exchange student Rory Flanagan, and we find out it’s his first day of school at McKinley. Not only this, but Brittany (whose family is hosting him) thinks he is a leprechaun, so he facilitates that misconception because she has apparently promised him her “pot o’ gold” once he grants her three wishes. Being a virgin, he really puts all his efforts into making Brittany’s wishes come true. The first of which is to have an all marshmallow box of Lucky Charms, and the second being to make Lord Tubbington (her bunny) poop candy bars.
Meanwhile, Quinn and Puck have their own plotline as they vie to babysit for Beth in the eventual hope that they’ll regain custody. Shelby agrees that she could use some extra time for herself and lets the pair babysit Beth while she goes out for a run. Deviously, Quinn uses the opportunity to plant items around the apartment to make Shelby look like an unfit mother including a book on baby sacrifices and hot sauce, proving just how immature she still is. Instead of devoting this time to actually becoming a fit mother, she commits a crime to bring down the woman who actually has been that figure for her daughter. Though Puck thinks these actions are extreme, he too wants their baby back and says he’s on board.
Rory, being a new student, is lonely, without friends, with his crush on Brittany seemingly the only connection he has at school. So Rory asks Brittany out to dinner, but she’s busy, and as Brittany believes, he’s only supposed to eat four leaf clovers anyway. He gets pushed against the lockers, having trouble with some of the football players, and this leads into the first song of the episode, an internal monologue: the ballad “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” In a series of green outfits, Rory walks through the school, contemplating being different, but how it’s ultimately worth it. He wanders through hallways, into the lunch room, sitting on bleachers, and, of course, staring at Brittany during class time as she eats her box of Lucky Charms marshmallows, wearing his signature color all the while.
Mercedes approaches Santana about joining Shelby’s Glee Club, promoting how it’s all girls and she’ll be sure to get some solos. Santana’s main concern is leaving Brittany behind, but otherwise she’s all set to say goodbye to “New Directions”, or the Rachel and Blaine show, as it’s becoming. It turns out Brittany was busy because she had plans with Santana at Breadsticks. Eating their dinner, Santana has to ask, are they dating now, because it’s gone unsaid. Brittany however sees it very clearly in her head. That yes, this is a date, isn’t Santana paying after all?, and that “last week when we were in the bath together, wasn’t that a date?” Brittany reminds Santana what she’d promised last year: “if I’m single and you’re single, then we mingle.” So Santana, feeling comforted and happier than she’s been in a while, admits her plans to leave Glee Club urging Brittany to do the same. Britt however doesn’t want to be seen as a quitter, especially not as she’s running for President. Santana uses her wits to threaten Rory into getting Brittany to leave Glee Club. To avoid Santana exposing the truth (that there are not leprechauns) Rory says Santana’s one wish is that Brittany join the new choir group, and Brittany, believing she has no other choice, obliges.
Blaine brings the second song of the episode, “Last Friday Night” to remind everyone during this time of unease that Glee Club is really about fun. As a group number set inside the choir room, everyone is dancing around, reinvigorated with spirit, yet the inappropriate content of the lyrics is somehow unaddressed. Teens singing another Katy Perry anthem inspired by drunken escapades of hooking up and committing crimes. Fun and Glee Club and “Last Friday Night”? Okay… I mean, the song is definitely upbeat. When Puck stops by Shelby’s apartment, he launches into “Waiting For a Girl Like You,” solo and playing guitar to help put Beth to sleep. Seeing how much help Puck can be, Shelby admits how hard it is to be a mother alone. Puck quickly responds “if you ever need any help, I’m here for you, always.”
Sue Sylvester, still running for Congress, publicly announces the musical’s budget on her news segment to criminalize McKinley High’s arts as wasteful. She urges the people to protest and Principle Figgins, beaten into submission by public outrage (in the form of a brick thrown at him by the sole, rotund rioter/stalker carrying a sign that says “I’m angry”), cuts the $2,000 from the musical’s budget. Mr. Shue decides the best way to replace the budget is to sell ad slots in the program. Kurt jumps on board at the opportunity to spearhead the fundraiser to look good for his concurrent bid for school president. When Kurt approaches his father about buying a space, and explains why the original budget got cut, Burt takes matters into his own hands. Burt gathers his own funders and brings them to the Principle’s office, providing full sponsorship for the musical. Then before he leaves the school he catches up with Sue and threatens to campaign against her with whatever it takes. Sue tries to intimidate him, mocking his refusal to let go of the baseball cap disguising his baldness (that she says doesn’t fool anybody) and makes fun of him for having had a heart attack before strolling out of the scene.
Later on, Shue approaches Burt about running against Sue, as someone who is a working man, and of the people. Turns out Burt is one step ahead. Though he missed the deadline to get on the ballot, he can still win being a write-in candidate. Due to campaign laws, Sue has to allow her opponents equal airtime in the media, so Burt gets to promote himself with his own segment on the local news to run with “How Sue C’s It”. Burt takes the opportunity, fully bald and without his cap, to remind the audience that the arts are more vital than ever in times of crisis, because everyone needs an outlet to express themselves. Most especially for young people still dealing with other overwhelming concerns at this phase in their lives. And he reminds the audience that the arts cost much less than things like Sue’s cheerleading team, providing budgetary details of what she costs the school on a weekly basis, which is more than the annual musical’s budget. This genuinely articulate version of the Joe The Plumber figure may just pull through.
The newly titled “The Trouble Tones,” rivaling “New Directions,” perform a lively version of Christina Aguilera’s “Candy Man.” Being a strong, all girls group proves to be an asset with a great vocal performance to go with the flashy period piece setting as patriotic airline stewardesses. Even Finn and Mr. Shue admit after watching the performance, that the “The Trouble Tones” are gonna be big trouble. While the loss of these three talents deals a blow to “New Directions” a three-girl group can only go so far in the show choir world. The choreography was mostly simple and flirty, rather than bold and strong with random, nameless dancers in the background. Nonetheless, “The Trouble Tones” are very intriguing and will prove a barrier to our flailing Glee Club.
Rory, once again getting beat up against the lockers is rescued by Finn. He knows it’s not easy being the new kid and brings Rory to the Glee Club, saying there’s always new talent, a new voice to replace what’s missing. He sings “Take Care of Yourself,” a love ballad about parting ways just as members of the Glee Club are splitting apart. The song even hits some high notes, which doesn’t seem to make Kurt very happy (because now someone else can do what he does, without it labeling him into a corner). Though as Rachel comments, “he’s magical.” The song is used to bridge the characters juxtaposed in montage by what they are feeling, and as the song comes to a close we see a moment that everyone will be talking about: Puck and Shelby back in the apartment, as Puck moves in for a kiss, then cut to black! Is there another primetime cougar-boy romance in the making? Or could this be part of Quinn and Puck’s plan to make Shelby look like an unfit mother. Can’t say I didn’t see this one coming, though I’m still a little unnerved by what this may mean for Glee.