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3 YEARS

'Glee' Recap: Shelby's Back and Everyone's a Unicorn

Idina Menzel's return and other top moments from Season 3, Episode 2.

Glee Cheerleader Unicorn Season Three - P
Fox
"Glee"

[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven't already seen Tuesday's episode.]

Rachel (Lea Michele), Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) auditioned for roles in West Side Story and Finn (Cory Monteith) pondered his future in the second episode of Glee’s third season.

While Kurt continued to have touching story lines as he realized he didn’t want to be known for one thing, the drama-filled episode had a number of highlights. Here are The Hollywood Reporter’s top moments from “I Am Unicorn.”

Character continuity. With Idina Menzel returning, there were plenty of references to Puck (Mark Salling) and Quinn’s (Dianna Agron) baby Beth, which Menzel’s Shelby adopted. But it was other references sprinkled throughout the episode that was refreshing to see after what many deemed an uneven sophomore season. Will (Matthew Morrison) dropping out of overseeing the school musical and throwing directing duties to Emma (Jayma Mays) – because she co-directed last year’s Rocky Horror Picture Show – was a perfect example. As was Heather Morris’ Brittany acknowledging that Kurt “went through hell” last year.

Only three songs. Co-creator Ryan Murphy has noted that there likely would see fewer songs per episode, and there were only three in “I Am Unicorn”: Menzel and Michele’s “Somewhere,” Colfer’s “I’m the Greatest Star” (from Funny Girl) and Darren Criss’ “Something’s Coming” (from West Side Story). Would more music have been great after the six-song premiere? Sure, but the episode was filled with solid and dramatic storytelling that clearly came first.

STORY: 'Glee' Season 3: The Battle for the School Musical Begins

Brittany logic. “When a pony does a good deed, he gets a horn and he becomes a unicorn and poops out cotton candy until he forgets he’s magical and then his horn falls off. Black unicorns become zebras.” While Brittany initially notes that she’s not smart enough to run for student body president, she is clever enough to perfectly capture Kurt as his campaign manager – manufacturing campaign posters with unicorns – representing people who know they’re magical and aren’t afraid to show it – as well as NoH8 slogans. A nice touch after last year’s bullying story line. The episode’s best Brittany-ism? When she enters the school presidential race and says, “I’m also a unicorn; maybe a bi-corn. Either way, I’m starting to believe in my own magic.”

RECAP: ‘Glee’ Season 3 Premiere: Hits and Misses

The softer side of Puck. While Rachel was slow to warm to Shelby’s return and Quinn certainly has her issues, it was Salling’s Puck who was the most receptive to seeing her again. He warmed to having a role in Beth’s life and showed that he’s committed to having a positive role in her life. When he confronts Quinn to go see her daughter, he’s quick to dismiss her thought that his only interest is getting back together with her.

Evil Quinn is really evil. Quinn lashes out Shelby when the new McKinley teacher asks her to be part of Beth’s life and does the same with Mr. Shue as she did the Sue’s (Jane Lynch) bidding (it didn’t end well for her). But ultimately it was her fierce exchange with Puck -- after dying her hair blonde again and rejoining New Directions – that reveals how much fight the former Cheerio has in her: she tells Puck she’s going to fight to get full custody of Beth and is willing to pretend to be special to do so.

What were your top moments? Sound off in the comments below.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit