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'Glee' recap: 'Yes/No' ... maybe?

January 18, 2012 |  9:56 am

Despite the fact that it featured a deluxe synchronized swimming production worthy of "America's Mermaid" Esther Williams, six musical numbers, and two (count 'em!) marriage proposals (along with news of one elopement -- congratulations, Coach Beiste!), there was something intimate about "Glee's" first episode of 2012, "Yes/No." Maybe it was because, after kicking off with a Sam/Mercedes duet of "Summer Nights" from "Grease" that brought us right back to 1978, the episode took us literally inside Becky Jackson's head.

It turns out Becky's inner voice belongs to Helen Mirren as the Queen of England (in her mind, she can sound like whoever she wants, Becky's inner voice explains). In any event, Becky/Helen/the Queen lets us in on a little crush she has ... on Artie. Alas, despite a pleasant, mutually handi-capable night out at Breadstix and a bold proposition on Becky's part, the crush proves unrequited. (It's OK. Coach Sue is waiting to pick up the pieces of Becky's broken heart with a tub of ice cream and a chair pulled up close to a TV tuned in to "Lifetime television for ovaries.")

But Becky is not the only one vying for a "yes" in the romance department.

Other couples whose relationships are at a crossroad include …

Emma and Will: Emma is ready to tie the knot with Will -- and ultimately, encouraged by Sue, broaches the topic of marriage with him. First, in the faculty lunchroom, she inadvertently blurts out a proposal following a fantasy musical number, the retro "Wedding Bells." But then, later, at home, she asks him his intentions more deliberately. As it turns out, Will had been planning to propose, asking the New Directions gang for proposal-song ideas (somewhat inappropriately, but whatever), and calling Emma's parents in to request their blessings. Wacky ginger supremacists Mr. and Mrs. Pillsbury not only fail to give Will their blessing, they talk him out of wanting to marry Emma altogether. Is he really in for sharing his life with her, OCD and all? Ultimately, though, Will realizes that, yes, he is ready to accept Emma, flaws included. Cue aqua number (Rihanna's "We Found Love," performed by the New Directions, including Artie on a floatie!), heartfelt proposal and waterworks. 

Sam and Mercedes: Since his return to McKinley, Sam has been (sweetly) after Mercedes to rekindle their summer romance, but Mercedes, while flattered, is firm: She's with football star Shane now. Sam decides he needs a letterman jacket to win back her heart, but all the sports teams are already full, their seasons well underway. Coach Beiste does offer one solution, which Sam takes her up on: a spot on the synchronized swimming team -- complete with a hilarious coach, played by "Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast member NeNe Leakes, who greets Sam by commenting on his mouth ("I've never seen lips like that on a white child! ") and nipples (crooked, she says) and offering a stark warning ("If you pee in my pool, I will kill you"). Though Sam's letterman plan backfires, earning him a face-full of slushy from some mulleted hockey players, Mercedes' allegiances do begin to shift. While singing Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" with Rachel, Tina and Santana, she realizes she still has feelings for Sam. The girls advise her to take things slow. But it's pretty clear that the flames of Mercedes and Sam's summer fling have been reignited.

Rachel and Finn: While shopping for rings with Mr. Schue, who asks him to be his best man (again, appropriate? whatever), Finn confides that he's thinking about joining the Army. He wants to be a hero, like his dad (only "without the whole dying part"). Mr. Schue -- apparently suddenly remembering he's actually an adult and Finn's teacher -- alerts Finn's mom and stepdad, who break some tough news to Finn: His dad didn't die a war hero in Iraq, but rather was dishonorably discharged and lost his life to drugs ... in Cincinnati. Finn is crushed. Confused. Rachel sings him a meaningful love song, "Without You," and presumably inspired by Mr. Schue's proposal, Finn surprises Rachel (and the rest of us) with a proposal of his own. Yes, with a ring. Her response? Yes? No? We'll have to wait two weeks -- for the forthcoming Michael Jackson tribute episode -- to find out.

Would Finn have had better luck if he'd popped the question using Artie's proposed proposal song for Will and Emma, a mashup of “Moves Like Jagger/Jumpin Jack Flash”?

What did you think of the episode?


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-- Amy Reiter

Photo: The glee club performs in the "Yes/No" winter premiere episode of "Glee." From left are Cory Monteith, Dianna Agron, Lea Michele, Naya Rivera and Chord Overstreet. Credit: Adam Rose/Fox