After last week's episode, one could surmise that the writers don't know what makes Glee good beyond the costly productions. Indeed, the season premiere was kind of a mess, with errant plotlines flying left and right. But the second episode of the season, "I Am Unicorn," strikes the good parts of the show, returning back to the first season, a bygone era when one could respectfully say that Glee was not bad.
It's not all pretty how Glee reenters this world, though. The second season was so awful on the character front that a lot of the material in the episode, meaningful character development, comes out of nowhere. Shelby randomly pops up through a contrivance (if Sugar becomes a running gag...), Quinn and Puck finally remember their baby after a year, and Rachel has major problems with her mother after not caring for a year (of course, these problems disappear once the singing starts). Essentially, it would work if this episode were the second episode of the second season, not the second episode of the third season. (Yes, that is a very big gap.) Ignore the second season and everything works fine. But regardless of how Glee reached this point, it's a solid episode for tackling character issues in nontrivial ways (which is to say it wasn't the par for the course, crappy stuff that's been the norm).
The biggest thing to come out of this is Quinn returning back to normal--in order to get custody of her daughter. Yes, this point was never even hinted at before this. However, if not for the writers' prior incompetence, this would seem like a logical step. Quinn is supposed to be the blonde bitch and this is something she'd do. Puck is supposed to be the dude who appears to not give a fuck but actually cares. From these development, it looks like the writers will be giving Puck and Quinn more to do this season, although this is Glee where entire episodes can be erased from memory.
Kurt's plot was fine as well, with the realization that Kurt doesn't want to be defined by his sexual orientation. I'm not sure how sorry I feel for Kurt since he makes it a point to let everyone know he's proud of being gay, but Chris Colfer sure sells the scenes. And Brittany being Kurt's campaign manager then as his rival was funny, so I was pleased with most plots.
Looking ahead, I don't believe Glee will continue on the course set by "I Am Unicorn." Some plot elements may carry over, but the show has be so flimsy that the promise of something good down the road is usually dispelled. The writers have missed the mark plenty of times in the past, so one solid episode differing from the pack doesn't lead me to believe the show will change for the better.
If there is one piece of evidence proving the writers have no clue what they're doing, look no further than Sue. It's old by now, purely vindictive and evil. The writers are going to continue to tug at our heartstrings (like the one time she and Will went to the hospital) while having her do mean things, and it's just ridiculous.