Five Wonderful Surprises From Glee's Midseason Premiere

In last night's new episode of Glee, "Synchronized Romance" "Yes/No," Mr. Schue finally proposed to his OCD-crippled cupcake, Emma. It was a fun, fizzy, and yes, romantic episode that featured something I'd figured Glee had all but run out of: surprises. These were the best five:

1. Helen Mirren is the Voice Inside Becky's Head

"You may be wondering why I sound like the Queen of England. It’s simple. In my mind, I can sound like whomever I want. So lay off, haters!"

When I first heard the great Dame Mirren would be offering her voice to the show, I figured she'd lend her stately tones to someone like Kurt or Sugar Motta. But pairing her with Becky was a truly inspired choice, giving Sue's hench-cheerleader some hilarious new layers. Kudos, too, to Becky's Artie-wooing plot—a brave choice that acknowledged how even oddballs and outsiders aren't quite sure how to deal with the mentally disabled.

2. NeNe Leakes Can Act

I have no idea whose idea it was to put The Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes in the role of a synchronized swimming coach, but she knocked it out of the park. Seriously, make her a series regular. I couldn't get enough.

3. Glee Goes Dark—Real Dark

Well, I think we can all honestly say we didn't see this one coming: In an intense scene, Finn's mom, frantic over Finn's apparent choice to enlist in the military to follow in his father's footsteps, finally told Finn the truth about his dad: He wasn't killed in the Gulf War. He returned, suffering heavily from PTSD, and died of a drug overdose. Um, whaaaaat? Can we get back to Grease singalongs, please? This is freaking me out.

4. The Proposal!

You know, the one thing Glee had yet to really tackle was an homage to the great Esther Williams and her synchronized swimming numbers from old Hollywood musicals. This number, set to Rihanna's "We Found Love," had it all, including Artie in the deep end.

5. The OTHER Proposal!

Any guesses as to what Rachel is going to say? I'm having visions in flowy white, two gay dads giving her away, and Kurt and Blaine, both in tails, doing an all-male tribute to Top Hat on the Beth Israel congregation ballroom floor.

What did you think of the episode? Are you happy to have Glee back?

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