Damian McGintyGleeks, I'll go with the good news first. The return of the third season of Glee means we finally got our first look at how The Glee Project winner Damian McGinty fits into the hierarchy of McKinley High. This Irish crooner is Lima's first leprechaun!

Or so says Brittany S. Pierce anyway. McGinty has found a home with Lima's lovable ditz as foreign exchange student Rory Flanagan. But with that brogue, she's convinced he's a magical creature, and he's crushing on her so hard, he's happy to pretend.

Now for the bad news.

The Glee Project winners (Samuel Larsen won too, but no sign of him quite yet) were only guaranteed a seven-story arc on the show. I don't think we could possibly be sick of this cutie after just seven shows! Forget the pot o' gold. If I managed to snatch a leprechaun, I'd wish for Ryan Murphy to keep this guy around for good!

The newest member of the New Directions has sweet pipes, as evidenced in a mournful "Not Easy Being Green" and the more upbeat "Take Care of Yourself." McGinty's character manages to flow easily into the plot (kudos to the writers), and he's not just somebody who won a contest and got lucky. The 19-year-old really can act.

But best of all, McGinty's eager to please, cheery face was that must-have big bright spot in what was otherwise a bit of a doom and gloom episode:

Mercedes talked Santana into ditching Glee club for Shelby Corcoran's all-girl group (the Troubletones), who in turn got Brittany to jump ship too. Finn has dagger eyes for Blaine. And of course Kurt and Rachel are still at each other's throats over their battle for class president. Even Burt Hummel stepping in to protect the arts from Sue's destructive path ends up being all Debbie downer when Kurt reminds him that running for Congress to protect the programs that saved his son could end up hurting his fragile heart.

And if that isn't enough dark matter for you, how about the big kick in the pants? Quinn is still set on trying to get baby Beth back from Shelby, going as far as planting evidence of bad parenting in her apartment, then calling CPS. Fortunately, Puck's conscience sent him to clean up Quinn's mischief before they got there (first and only time I have ever seen a CPS backlog being used as a positive thing).

Well done episode from the Glee writers. We had to hash some of this out for the sake of moving the story along. But with all that dark matter, we needed more than one Katy Perry song to make us feel like we were being entertained. Glee needs an adorable exchange student with an infections grin reminding us how nice it is that America offers such amenities as, "Nascar, your half-black president, and Victoria's Secret catalogs."

Let's hear it for Damian McGinty, er, Rory Flanagan. Are you excited he's finally made his debut in Lima?

 

Image via Fox