Not content with spending several episodes building up to sophomore prom last year, Glee returns to that most American of high school traditions complete with spiked punch, bad dancing and... dinosaurs? Well, that's new. Having spent most of her senior year exploiting her 'fluid teen sexuality' and getting caught up in her cat Lord Tubbington's Ponzi schemes, Brittany is told off by Principal Figgins and must deliver a hit prom to hold on to her Senior Class President role, which she needs to hold on to as she's flunking everything else. Brittany being Brittany, she views the existing prom committee as a 'terrorist cell' and eschews their plans in favour of her own theme: dinosaurs. Inspired by Joe's appearance (she's reminded of a caveman) and whatever craziness goes on in that blonde head of hers, Brittany's unconventional prom becomes the backdrop for some more familiar angst and old rivalries.
Still reeling from her self-exclaimed 'death of a dream' last week, Rachel is hoping to be a prom candidate as she's written off any hopes of red carpets in her future. Unfortunately for her, it's Quinn, Santana and another peer who are up for the sparkly tiara previously worn on Kurt's head. Already hurting from her NYADA rejection, Rachel is upset that her boyfriend is campaigning with Quinn (despite the latter being confined to a wheelchair) because it drags up old memories of her being the 'sad little Jewish girl' at the series' start who had to watch from the sidelines as Finn dated the pretty blonde cheerleader. So, of course, she does what any slightly (!) self-obsessed drama queen suffering from prom fever would do: organise an anti-prom! The disenfranchised - in the form of Kurt, Blaine (facing prom's terrifying hair gel ban), Puck and Becky - congregate at a hotel for Rachel's 'I'm a victim' party but, unsurprisingly, it turns out to be a bust and Finn turns up to drag them to the real thing.
What have they been missing? Well, a frankly bizarre performance by Brittany of a dino-themed Kesha song so bad I thought it was a joke written specifically for this episode. Meanwhile, Mike Chang's getting all excited about triceratops, Sam and Mercedes are all cute on each other, Sue is chaperoning the punch bowl, and the kids of Glee club provide an age-appropriate tween pop soundtrack - even One Direction get a look-in!
The main thrust of prom concerns Quinn's hopes to be crowned prom queen and, unfortunately, it's this that makes the episode feel like a Version 2.0 redo of last year's prom story. Although Quinn and Rachel don't have another throwdown in the girls' restroom (they've grown up a little bit, at least), the differences between the roles they've fulfilled in high school are once again highlighted and it seems only poster girl Quinn can win, despite - if not because of - her recent setbacks. Quinn, who's been OD-ing on the rehab, plans on taking her first public steps to collect her crown and the revelation that she's been hiding her progress to win the sympathy vote doesn't sit well with Finn. Needless to say, a counting of the votes leads to something 'unpredictable' at the episode's conclusion, resulting in a contented prom experience for both Quinn and Rachel.
Also in play here is a down-in-the-dumps Puck gracing Becky with an alternative crown, a sweet story strand that also allows for the return of Dame Helen Mirren as Becky's interior voice - hellsyeah! There's also a runner involving Blaine's gel-free afro that is more amusing than it has any right to be, and a small moment where Tina cries because she doesn't want prom - and the year - to end will likely resonate with any Gleeks who are realising this may be one of the last times all these characters are in one room for a good long while. After all, it's a double bill next week and then the season finale after that. Happy endings all round??