It's safe to say Glee crammed a lot into Pot O' Gold, its first episode back after hiatus.
I'll start at the end, with the Shelby/Puck kiss I was dreading. Hands up who saw this coming a mile off? Oh look, everyone's hands are up.
Surely I am not the only one slightly disturbed by this? Yes, Puck has a thing for older women, but would Shelby really have a moment of weakness just because she's tired? Remember, she was the hard-nosed Vocal Adrenaline coach. She's not a woman to be brought down easily.
I don't think I really want to see where this "relationship" is heading, although I may not have a choice.
This episode also saw the introduction of Rory Flanagan, played by Damian McGinty, the joint winner of The Glee Project. It's a strange introduction, and I'm not sure whether Brittany thinking he was a leprecaun was funny, or just a little bit insulting. Can it be a strange mix of both? Ultimately, he's a very sweet character ("No, I haven't met Colin Farrell yet"; "Would you be my friend, Finn? It would be an honour"), and it's lovely to see him as part of the glee club.
Returning this week was the horrid Quinn who wants her baby back, and will do silly things to make sure that happens. I still stand by my earlier opinion that this is a ridiculous storyline and I plan to ignore it as much as possible.
Santana and Brittany left Mr Schuester's glee club to join Shelby's, which resulted in a brilliant rendition of Candyman with Mercedes. I'm not sure how long having two glee clubs is feasible for, but the Troubletones do rock.
Someone else who rocks is Burt Hummel. Every time Mike O'Malley has a scene he's utterly brilliant, but this episode saw Burt Hummel go to a whole new level of excellence. I look forward to more Sue/Burt confrontations and great quips.
This episode also included constant mentions of Brittany, Rachel and Kurt's presidential campaigns (although I would like to see some actual campaigning being done); Finn feeling threatened by Blaine so being, in turn, a really bad spy, a really bad friend, and just plain mean; and Blaine mentioning yet again "what the Warblers would do" (really unsubtle setting up for the return of everyone's favourite uniformed boys).
Phew, I think that's everything. With such a huge amount of stuff going on, it seems like Glee isn't missing anything out. But it is. (Warning, rant ahead.)
My favourite part of this episode was such a small moment it may have passed many people by. It was the moment when Kurt, Tina and Artie waved and smiled at Mercedes, Santana and Brittany as the Troubletones rehearsed.
My second favourite was Finn reaching out to Rory at the end of the episode and bringing him into the group.
And my third was Finn apologising to Brittany (after being so, so mean) and telling the Troubletones he still wanted to friends.
Those moments showed exactly what I miss about Glee, and what it needs to do more of - storylines that are centred on non-romantic relationships among the glee clubbers.
Where have all the friendships gone this series? Sure, we had a Kurt/Rachel moment in episode one, but that friendship soon disappeared. And when was the last time you saw Kurt and Mercedes, meant to be really close, bonding as friends? When Glee started, sure, there were romantic entanglements, but it was also about friendship.
Fast forward two series, and we get this episode, which contained the following (mostly) romantic relationships to drive the plot forward: a Santana/Brittany/Rory love triangle and a messed up Quinn/Puck/Shelby not quite love triangle. In addition Kurt and Blaine were doing the "we're a couple but Ryan Murphy doesn't want to show it quite yet so he's sitting us four chairs apart" dance, Rachel and Finn were doing the "we're the annoying couple" dance, and Tina and Mike were doing the "inseparable because no one can give us a proper storyline so we're going to practically sit in each other's lap and have that define us" dance.
Artie barely got a look in this episode, because, oh wait, he's not in a relationship. Even Mercedes didn't feature beyond being the catalyst to get Brittany and Santana into the Troubletones, because her relationship is pretty boring.
Bring back the friendships, Glee! I want to see more Kurt/Rachel/Mercedes sleepovers, more Mercedes/Quinn friendship scenes, more of the guys bonding and the girls gossiping.
The end of the episode made a start, with Rory being welcomed to the group, so let's hope it continues.
Darren Criss as Blaine rocked Katy Perry's Last Friday Night with some great facial expressions and acting. It was also good to see the glee clubbers doing a fun number together.
Mark Salling was great with his guitar on Waiting for a Girl Like You, and I've already mentioned how much I think the Troubletones rocked with Candyman.
But the star this week was Rory. New boy Damian McGinty got to show off his vocal chops, and demonstrate why he was a winner on The Glee Project, by singing Being Green and Take Care of Yourself. The latter was gorgeous, and probably resulted in a few more people than just Kurt Hummel getting tears in their eyes.
What Glee did well this week:
Even if there were too many things going on (which I think there were), at least the team behind Glee remembered all their storylines and didn't just ignore major plot points introduced earlier in the season.
Also great this week was Burt and his rotary club friends, and the angry woman outside Figgins' office. It's the little things.
Seriously, do I even need to tell you?!