Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about Glee and its faerie courts. Faerie mythos is completely not my department of expertise, so I’m mostly throwing this out there for you all to continue to be excellent in comments, but there was some truly fantastic stuff going on regarding Puck, Kurt, the prom crownings and gender in last night’s episode.
Because one of the things that came out of the series of crownings that took place, and how they took place, is that kings mean less than queens. Not only has the prom queen title always been more important to the girls of WMHS than the prom king title has been to the boys — as evidenced by the way women have consistently pitched strategies for winning the times to the boys, but not the other way around — but the prom queen title has always come with a lot more power, whether to wound or to elevate.
Certainly, it’s the prom queens and queen bees who confer that power in “Prom-asaurus.” Santana and Quinn, in a strange, and incredibly messy, plot overrule the will of the people (let’s face it, their people, even if they’ve both significantly fallen from grace over the last three seasons) to declare Rachel the victor. Not only does it not remove any of their true power (they are acting as regents here), it makes them more powerful, not only by declaring Rachel queen, but having a secret they could always choose to use against her later.
Meanwhile, with Dave Karofsky (who was only ever prom king because of Santana’s machinations) is missing from the scene, and Kurt is left to crown both Finn and Rachel, passing on his own power (because the shame of what was done to Kurt went both ways; he shamed that audience that tried to mock him in recognizing his power when he accepted that crown last year) to his brother and his closest friend for a single night in merely symbolic form.
Rachel and Finn still don’t really learn anything from the events of the prom, but Kurt’s blessing of magic will be enough to get them to New York, one imagines. Certainly, Rachel hopes so as she grabs her tiara (not a full crown like Kurt had, she is a lesser power) from Kurt to fasten it on her head herself. But Kurt still retains control of their power, taking their scepters for safe keeping as the dance begins.
Interwoven with this, we have Puck, who opened the door for Kurt’s entrance into faerieland (Dalton) in S2, and has been struggling with his own powerlessness this season, crowning himself so that he can crown Becky queen of the anti-prom. It gives them the power to attend the prom proper and to be part of the broader WMHS world that Puck has felt increasingly marginalized from and that Becky, while a central figure of (and a queen bee like Santana and Quinn herself), has always existed in with her power overlooked, misunderstood or condescended to by too many of her subjects (something which, by the way, brings up some narrative parallels for Kurt and Becky, which I should totally tackle another time). Of course, granted her power, Becky then pulls of the thing Puck’s never been able to do: spiking the prom punch, and we all know the power of libations and food in faerie.
All this talk about crowning of course, raises the question that Deconstructing Glee raised earlier today: is Kurt still pregnant? I’m not sure, but the answer may depend on whether Finn and Rachel are ready to go out into the world on their own under his aegis.
And finally, of course, there’s Blaine, and who’s always been faerie and onion and changeling, showing this time what is, we think, his true form. But whether that means he’ll rule at prom next year or never rule again remains to be seen. It depends on what Glee ultimately decides to do with its arguments about authenticity vs. performativity and how those things intersect with power and gender.