'Glee' Recap: Santana's Coming Out Party

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Members of New Directions and the Trouble Tones team in the Nov. 29 episode, titled "I Kissed A Girl."

Picking up almost immediately where the “Mash Off” episode ended, Glee returned after a brief two-week holiday hiatus with an episode revolving around Santana’s coming out.

Much of the episode focused on Santana (Naya Rivera) and the New Directions – and Trouble Tones – rallying to support her process, while Coaches Beiste and Sylvester battled over the affections football recruiter Cooter amid city council and McKinley High elections. Here are The Hollywood Reporter’s top moments from “I Kissed a Girl.”

[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode.]

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After last week’s slap heard ’round the world, Finn comes to Santana’s rescue when she’s faced with a suspension for violating the school’s no violence policy but it comes at a price – both New Directions and the Trouble Tones must come together for a special lesson that features songs by ladies, for ladies. After performances including Pink’s “Perfect” from Kurt and Blaine – which Santana says was yet another “horrible moment” in her life – Puck’s rendition of Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One,” and Finn and the guys sing a stripped down version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” as covered by Greg Laswell, Santana thanks Finn for supporting her process and winds up telling her parents.

While the scene wasn’t depicted during the episode – Santana merely says her parents were “OK with it” – it was a nod that for some, coming out can be an easy process. However, Santana’s real obstacle comes with her religious grandmother. In one of Rivera’s best scenes on the series to date, she tells her grandmother an amazing coming out speech:

“I love girls the way that I’m supposed to feel about boys. It’s something that’s always been inside of me and I really want to share it with you because I love you so much and I want you to know me -- who I really am. When I’m with Brittany, I finally understand what people are talking about when they talk about love. I’ve tried so hard to push this feeling away and keep it locked inside but every day feels like a war. I walk around so mad at the world but I’m really just fighting with myself and I don’t want to fight anymore. I’m just too tired. I have to just be me.”

After the emotional speech, Santana’s grandmother rejects her and says she never wants to see her again. It’s a powerful moment and Rivera delivered in a way equal to Chris Colfer and Mike O’Malley’s scenes during Kurt’s coming out. Plus it affords the show to tell a different coming out story. Also stellar was the lead-in to the all-girl rendition of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” that saw Santana being hit on by Josh, creepy rugby guy who says he’s “just the guy who can straighten her out” and “make her normal.” Rachel, Brittany, Tina, Mercedes, Quinn and Sugar come to her defense in a moment of solidarity.

However, while Rivera continued to shine, the fact that there were no consequences for Finn for pushing Santana out of the “flannel closet” is a missed opportunity. Coming out is an incredibly personal experience and shouldn’t be taken away from anyone who isn’t ready. When Finn tells Santana that he’d never be able to forgive himself if something happened to her – if she were, like a recent It Gets Better participant, to commit suicide – it seemed as if Finn was pushing her out of the closet for his own selfish reasons.

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After Quinn wises up to Puck essentially singing “I’m the Only One” to Shelby, she invites Puck over for a very special date at home but Puck rejects her, finally calling her out on her insanity – “you’re nuts and higher maintenance than [Rachel] Berry and the most selfish person I’ve ever met.” Finally! Later, after Beth falls and cuts her lip, Shelby calls Puck out of class and to the hospital, where he arrives to support her. The duo wind up in bed together and after Shelby realizes what she’s done, she asks Puck to leave. Scorned, he tells Shelby that she doesn’t have the courage to “really go for it” with him and winds up at Quinn’s house for “anger sex.”

After Puck realizes that Quinn is only using him in a ridiculous attempt to have another baby, he turns back into the good guy we’ve been getting to know all season and tells her that all their glee club friends really should be supporting Quinn as she battles a world of problems nobody has picked up on instead of Santana’s secret that everyone was already aware of. He tells Quinn that she doesn’t need a baby or a guy to be great and winds up confiding in her about his relationship with Shelby.

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It’s Election Day for Sue and Burt, as well as at McKinley, where Rachel winds up stuffing the ballot box for a stressed out Kurt, who’s worried he’ll never be admitted to NYADA if he doesn’t win. When Principal Figgins and Coach Beiste call Burt and Kurt in for rigging the election, Rachel later comes forward and confesses to her crime and is suspended for a week – and banned from competing at Sectionals, a big blow to New Directions.

Meanwhile, Sue and Beiste go head-to-head over a guy named Cooter – think about that one for a second – as Sue uses him to dispel rumors about her sexuality much to Bieste’s chagrin. The two traded hilarious barbs the entire episode, but the real highlight was Dot Marie Jones’ first solo when she covered Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” More, please.  

What did you think of the way Santana’s coming out was handled? What were your top moments?

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

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