After much anticipation, Gwyneth Paltrow is back as Holly Holliday on this week's episode of Glee. She's brought in as the sub for sex education, because apparently all of McKinley High, teachers included, needs it. Along with the sex ed, the focus expands to include love, relationships, and sexuality. The revelations are pretty explosive for some characters, who realize important things about themselves, and by the end, there are almost as many new connections as there are breakups.
While much of the dialogue gets very PSA-like, it's an interesting episode that pushes along lots of developments — and it's fun, of course, to see Paltrow back on the show. To discuss all the show's happenings with me, just
- Holly's sex education skills turn out to be desperately needed when Brittany becomes worried that she's pregnant . . . because she saw a stork outside her window. Sigh. We get it. Brittany's dumb, but between this and her believing there's still a Santa, the writers are making her stupidity unbelievable. In any case, it's the contrivance that's needed to convince Will that he needs Holly's help to get all the glee kids informed (P.S. Why do we need to see Gwyneth as an aerobics instructor? She looks great, but the tangent makes zero sense). Holly shows up to the class clad in head-to-toe leather to perform "Do You Wanna Touch Me" and flinging zingers like "Sex: It's just like hugging, only wetter." While she sounds great, it doesn't seem to leave any of the kids any more informed than before. But if you loved the performance, watch it again now.
- On the opposite spectrum of open sexuality is Emma, who oversees the return of the Celibacy Club. Pushing "chastity charms," celibacy is her own agenda because she's been married to Carl for months but has still retained her virginity. After she recruits Carl to perform "Afternoon Delight" with the club (because Emma naively believes the song is about an afternoon dessert of coconut, pineapple, and marshmallow fluff, not afternoon sex), Carl asks Holly if they can stop by for some sex therapy. When they announce they haven't slept together yet, Holly comes straight out and asks Emma if she's still in love with Will. When she can only say she's confused about her feelings, Carl informs her that he's moving out.
- Holly is also a little confused about her feelings for Mr. Schue. After a cringe-inducing performance of "Kiss" (between the horrible tango and the screechy singing, it's the worst musical number of the night), Will takes a cue from the song title and plants one on Holly, and then asks her out. She declines, saying she's damaged goods. However, at the end of the episode, she stops by the school to tell Will that her over-the-top antics got her relieved of her sex ed duties — and that she might be ready for a relationship with him. I admit that Will and Holly have great chemistry, but realistically, it can't work. Well, unless Paltrow is made a series regular — which, if they toned down her character, I'd be OK with.
- Santana and Brittany are still hooking up, but Brittany admits to Santana that she's confused about their relationship. They seek out Holly to help them determine what the nature of their connection is, and inexplicably, singing the song "Landslide" is the solution. I have no idea why this works, but the Holly/Brittany/Santana performance brings out Santana's serious side. She finds Brittany in the hall later, and tells her that she's a bitch all the time because she's angry. She's angry because she wants to be with Brittany but is afraid of all the implications, especially in light of how Kurt was treated as a gay student. When Santana says that she loves her, Brittany returns the feeling but says she loves Artie too and won't break up with him. Heartbroken and embarrassed, Santana storms off. Whoa. I don't know if I'm more surprised that Santana comes out or that she blames her meanness on her confusion.
- Sue tries to feed Kurt and Blaine the "top secret intel" that New Directions is going sexy for Regionals, so Blaine tries to bring out the Warbler's sexy side by performing for the local all-girls school. Their Warblers's version of "Animal" isn't really sexy, but it is very cute. Post-performance, Blaine decides that Kurt's sexy faces are a cry for help. Feeling that Kurt must be closed off about sex, Blaine reaches out to Kurt's dad, urging him to talk to his son. He begrudgingly initiates a sex talk with Kurt, and despite their mutual distaste for the situation, the fact that the talk is more about the feelings sex can bring up makes it kind of touching.
- Two other relationships move forward this week, but in different ways. First, Lauren's determination to make a sex tape with Puck is derailed by Holly telling them that it would be a crime. This somehow spurs Puck to do the least-Puck and least believable thing he could: join the Celibacy Club. There's just no way he believes what he tells Lauren about joining, but she still wants to keep seeing him (despite her belief that the club is for nerds). Meanwhile, there's another little reveal: Quinn and Finn have been secretly hooking up. I can't tell if Quinn is really into Finn or if she just wants her queen bee status back, so we'll just have to wait and see if they'll be the golden couple once again.
So, how did Gwyneth do in her second outing? I give her a mixed report card. While her character gets straight up obnoxious at some points (though it's not her fault that she has to say things like "Girlfriend, what is up with that?"), she sounds fantastic, especially on "Do You Wanna Touch Me." Besides her, were you surprised at anything, like Santana's realization or Carl and Emma's breakup? Comment below with your thoughts, and as always, don't forget to join the Glee Club in the Buzz community.
Photo courtesy of Fox