What began as—I have to assume—an attempt to address the issue of teen suicide, along the lines of the "It Gets Better" campaign, instead became an over-stuffed and trivialized account of an actual problem real people face every day, during last night's "On My Way," a very special episode of the Fox musical series.
Sebastian, the evil Warbler, who exists for no other reason except to create just enough conflict to begin an episode and excuse Darren Criss during a stint on Broadway, showed up at the coffee shop to ruin Kurt and Rachel's wedding dress shopping time. He crudely Photoshopped a picture of Finn nude and in heels, a truly horrific image, and attempted to use it as leverage to get Rachel out of Regionals. Finn told the group that he wanted to BEAT HIM UP, before trying to storm off to do so, a threat no one—Finn included—ever really believed.
If you wondered last week why Dave Karofsky showed up out of nowhere and for no reason at all, you got your answer. The writers brought him back to introduce a teen suicide storyline. As telegraphed last week, Karofsky's new buddies found out he is gay and bullied him relentlessly. During a harrowing sequence, he discovered more bullying online and changed into his suit to hang himself.
He didn't die in the attempt, but it was distressing to the faculty of McKinley, who feared "copy cats." The God Squad planned to send an Edible Arrangement to Karofsky, which was either a poorly timed joke or product placement—and regrettable either way.
But in spite of all this sadness, we should be happy that Finchel made up after a brief tiff over the nude picture, which would have disappeared immediately if anyone bothered to listen to Artie. Instead, the problem disappeared immediately when Sebastian turned on a dime and decided not to be an inexplicably conscienceless character.
Who could handle a complex topic like teen suicide better than Will Schuester, the master of subtlety and human empathy? No one. No one could. That's why Will gave Rory his first taste of peanut butter, an act that should convince Rory not to kill himself. You see, if you have something to look forward to, you have no reason to kill yourself.
Not once did Will or the kids suggest that the teens on the edge might have nothing to look forward to. "Glee"'s attempt to simplify the matter was one of the many offensive steps it took in trying to tackle the controversial topic. Suicide has so many aspects to consider that it cannot be glossed over in the same hour that features a regional show choir competition and a fictional wedding.
With a seven-week hiatus on the horizon, "Glee" jammed in Regionals, something that used to matter, and the Finchel wedding, something we're not sure mattered, into the same episode as the anti-suicide message. Instead of a meaningful buildup to the competition, we jumped right in with the Warblers singing "Stand" and "Glad You Came," both auto-tuned beyond recognition.
The New Directions were fortunate enough to get to sing three whole songs, a smart strategic move to gain an advantage over their competition, who only sang two. The only things remarkable about the performances were how sorely missed the Troubletones are and how awesome Jeff Goldblum reaction shots are. The group's third song, "Here's To Us," perfectly demonstrated a theory I call "The Diminishing Returns of Lea Michele."
Naturally, New Directions wins because, why not? They can't tie with the Warblers again.
After Regionals, and presumably before the Finchel wedding, Kurt went to visit Karofsky in the hospital, a scene that would have worked perfectly had the story not just abandoned the teen suicide topic immediately after Will Schuester conquered the issue with the help of peanut butter.
And because the hiatus necessitated a cliffhanger, Quinn got a storyline in which she rejoined the Cheerios and learned about real love from Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry. After refusing to attend the wedding, Quinn changed her mind on the day of and rushed home to retrieve her…bridesmaid dress? But she wasn't attending until 10 minutes before. But they only planned the wedding a week ago at most. Never mind that. Rachel continually texted Quinn as she drove home, which distracted her and led to a brutal car crash that she will undoubtedly survive.
Download or Ditch
"Cough Syrup" – Download
Darren Criss continues his streak as the singing cast member who is the most fun to watch.
"Stand" – Ditch
A lifeless, auto-tuned mess. Makes me miss the days of Criss in the blue and red blazer.
"Glad You Came" – Ditch
Read the above.
"Fly/I Believe I Can Fly" – Ditch
No singers are capable of expressing human empathy quite like R. Kelly and Nicki Minaj.
"What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)" – Download
A sad memorial to the awesome girl power of the Troubletones
"Here's To Us" – Ditch
Lea Michele on the stage by herself just isn't enough anymore.
What did you think of last night's "Glee" episode, Crushers? Do you think the suicide plotline was handled well and with care? Do you think Rachel and Finn will go through with their nuptials? What will become of Quinn? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!