Are you ready for tonight’s Glee winter finale? New Directions will face off against the Warblers at Regionals. But that’s not all. There are several major plot twists and a cliffhanger that won’t be resolved until Glee comes back to the FOX schedule on April 10. I know the spoilers, and I’m still kinda nervous to watch.
I have mixed feelings about using a serious issue like teen suicide as ratings bait. The storyline was a bit too “after-school special-let’s-turn-this-episode-into-a-teaching-moment” deal. And Quinn’s car accident–broadsided by a truck while she was texting Rachel–was all kinds of contrived. But no matter how suck-worthy the storytelling is–the incredible performances from the talented cast always manages to save the episode from the abyss. Oh, and the musical numbers. Glee competed and won at regionals, but that was a minor plot point compared to all the other stuff that happened.
Max Adler who plays David Karovsky–WOW. His work on Glee has always been notable. But he took some meaty material and made a meal out of it. As much as I want to loathe the guy for what he did to Kurt, Max brings such pathos to the role, I just can’t. And I can’t say this enough–Chris Colfer is f*cking brilliant. BRILLIANT. I can’t imagine him not having a long career ahead of him.
The episode begins with a comic scene: Rachel and Kurt are looking through wedding magazines as Sebastian strolls in with a photoshopped picture of Finn naked and wearing pumps. It’s pretty ridiculous as plot points go–it would have been more ominous if Sebastian had gotten his hands on REAL naked photos of Finn. Nevermind that—the scene gives Kurt and Sebastian the opportunity to trade hilarious bitchy barbs at each other (Kurt: Excuse me…I was distracted by your giant horse teeth!) The point is to blackmail Rachel into dropping out of the upcoming regionals competition.
When Finn finds out later in the choir room, the only thing stopping him from kicking Sebastian’s ass is the possibility of being disqualified from regionals (and isn’t blackmail grounds for disqualification too? ND missed their chance to punt this monster, now it’s time!). Finn doesn’t think he can face the humiliation of an internet scandal and expects Rachel to quit. Of course, Rachel is a star and has no intentions of quitting! And actually, I don’t blame her. “I refuse to give into terrorists,” she says. And despite her pledge to stand by her man even if the shit hits the fan, Finn storms out of the choir room, pissed off. “If that happened to me,” says Sugar, “I’d want to kill myself.” Shades of things to come.
Sue calls Quinn into her office to tell her a secret–she’s PREGNANT, but won’t reveal the father. The conversation is sweet for a few moments–Quinn gives Sue advice on how to manage morning sickness. But when Quinn asks to re-join the Cheerios, Sue’s mood sours. It wouldn’t be fair to the other girls who have worked so hard all season and DIDN’T QUIT. Now get the hell out of my office, says Sue (just as she’s about to “blow some serious chunks” Ew). Good to see the old girl hasn’t softened up TOO much.
Kurt follows Blaine into the auditorium and asks him if he’s OK. “Is this about Sebastian”? Kurt asks “FORGET ABOUT SEBASTIAN” Blaine yells. He quickly apologizes to Kurt, “I’m not mad at you, I just don’t want to waste any time on him.” Blaine wants to try out a song for Kurt to see if it would be suitable for competition. Kurt sits himself on a stool while Blaine sings “Cough Syrup”–an emotional song about pain and escape and elusive happy endings (for Regionals?) Here’s where the episode takes a sharp turn to the dark side. Interwoven into Blaine’s performance are scenes of Karovsky at school after Nick–who saw him at Breadstix with Kurt–outs him to his classmates. He’s taunted, his locker is spray painted with a pink “Fag” . People write nasty messages online. Alone in his room with tears streaming down his face, Karovsky, puts on his Sunday best, wraps a belt around his neck, climbs on a chair and… It’s an incredibly gut wrenching scene, particularly with the song –a terrific and moving performance from Darren Criss–playing as back drop.
Cut to the principal’s office. Figgins, Will, Ema, Beiste and Sue have gathered to figure out how to break the terrible news of Karovsky’s suicide attempt (yes, he survives). Figgins is afraid there will be copy cats. Will is all “Blah blah Facebook, twitter and tumblr, blah blah, the pressure to protect your reputation is so much worse than when we were kids. The edifying dialogue is just on the verge of killing the scene when Sue begins to cry–at first blaming it on her hormones, but then admitting that she wished she would have done more when she was principal and handling the Kurt/Karovsky bullying situation. The five second flashback of Karovsky’s dad finding him lifeless on the floor–screaming for his son to come to– says more than any stupid speech ever could about the havoc bullying can wreck.
Cut to the God squad–Mercedes, Quinn, Joe and Sam–praying for Karovsky. Mercedes explains that Karovsky is in the hospital after his dad found him in time. Quinn wants to pray for his parents. She’s not in the mood to cut Dave any slack. She thinks what he did was selfish. “I went through the ringer,” says Quinn, “But I never got to that place.” Kurt overhears as he enters the room. He admonishes Quinn for comparing her situation to Karovsky’s. Quinn had it tough, but she was always loved. “The despair, the self-loathing…” Kurt tells Quinn her attitude is harsh and reductive. “Have some compassion,” he says. Classmates are still writing stuff on Dave’s facebook like “better luck next time” and “try, try again.”
Quinn changes the subject. She wants to know why non-believer Kurt is at the prayer meeting. “After everything we’ve been through,” says Kurt, “I had nowhere else to go.” He sits down and tearfully confesses that after Valentines Day, Karovsky kept calling him, and Kurt never returned his calls. OK. If I were an adult in the room, I would sit Kurt down across from me, take his hands and tell him that IT WASN’T HIS FAULT. The thing is, David is and was one MESSED UP DUDE and he’s NOT KURT’S RESPONSIBILITY. I would advise Kurt to walk away if he didn’t feel comfortable. After all, this is a guy who harassed and tortured him. It probably felt like he was being stalked, and you can’t blame Kurt for not wanting to deal with that mess. There was no way Kurt could know that the phone calls were a cry for help. So yeah. Just when you want a couple of adults around….they are nowhere to be found.
But I digress. The group plan to visit Karovsky in the hospital with an edible bouquet (is that some sort of product placement?)
Finn and Rachel apologize to each other. Boyfriend vows that no amount of nasty gossip would ever make him want to take his own life. Rachel is ready to give up regionals if it would make Finn comfortable, but he says no way. Rachel realizes that life is too short. She wants to get married now. Well, not right that minute, because Finn has gym class. Heh. The new plan is to get married right after their regionals performance.
Kurt, Blaine, Santana and Brittany (Go queer kids!) march into the Lima Bean to confront Sebastian. “Let me break it down for you,” says Santana, “from one bitch to another…all this vicious underhanded crap has got to stop.” Sebastian’s snarky comeback is…wait for it… There isn’t one! He agrees. Sebastian apologizes to Blaine for nearly blinding him with a rock salt slushie. Blaine isn’t buying it…yet. Sebastian reveals that he’s destroyed the Finn photos. He wants the Warblers to win regionals fair and square. The Warblers have decided to take donations at the competition for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way foundation, and they’ll be dedicating their performance to David. Why the attitude adjustment? We flashback to the gay bar Scandals, where Sebastian is telling Karovsky that he’s far too fat and ugly to be loved. And, oh. By the way. Stay in the closet. Yikes. “It’s all fun and games…until it’s not,” he says. So Sebastian, capable of feeling guilt, isn’t a total sociopath after all.
Will this signal a permanent personality change for Sebastian? Or will the writers do what the used to do with Sue–flip him back into his evil ways in the next episode. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m ready for nice Sebastian. At the very least, never lose the bitchy repartee with Kurt!
Will holds a “sharing circle” with the kids in the auditorium. He’s got a jar of peanut butter and a spoon in order to introduce Rory to something he’s never had before. Rory finds a new favorite food. What…there’s no peanut butter in Ireland? Will asks the kids to promise, that no matter how depressed or hopeless they feel, to try and imagine the amazing experiences they have ahead. Yes, we have once again entered the land of turgid teaching moments!
When Mercedes says she can’t imagine anybody in the room killing themselves, Will reveals that he almost stepped off the roof of McKinley when he was caught cheating on a test. He couldn’t deal with the humiliation of facing his father. Puck laughs at the idea of killing yourself over getting caught cheating. But Will says everybody has that one thing that might push them to the edge. Just think of all the stuff he would have missed out on if he had killed himself! The opportunity to be the Worst Spanish Teacher evah, and to teach Glee.
Then, Will asks each kid to share what it is they’re looking forward to in their future. Sam wants to make enough money to take care of his folks, Artie wants to see his kid’s first steps, Finn wants to change his Dad’s dishonorable discharge to honorable, Santana looks forward to her grandma loving her again (aw), Brittany is waiting for Lord Tubbington to kick his ecstasy addiction (lol), Blaine wants marriage equality for all…Kurt wants to see his Dad effect change in Congress… The best? TINA JUST WANTS A SONG. Ha.
Anyhoo. Yeah, I was kinda rolling my eyes here at this super-special scene from Will. Will’s suicide revelation kinda saved the moment, but not quite. There’s something about that guy that just bugs.
It’s time for regionals! One of the judges is local Lima horror show host, Svenboolie, played by Glee co-creator, Ian Brennan. He’s very skeery. Rachel’s dads and the Hudson-Hummels are in the house! It’s nice to see parents at the competition–we so rarely do. The curtain opens and it’s the Warblers singing “Stand”. The theme tonight is “inspiration”, so there is that. The Warblers haven’t been the same since the Tufts Beelzebubs stopped arranging and singing their songs. But this is miles better than the warmed over boy band stylings of “Uptown Girl”. Grant Gustin is a good dancer (and please, Ryan, let us see his tap dancing skills some day) but his performance style is charisma-free. In other words–he’s no Darren Criss.
Oh look–there’s Blaine smiling and clapping in the audience. It’s so easy for him to forgive and forget. The entire group is smiling–except for Kurt, who mostly keeps on a bitch face. I mean forgive? Yeah sure. Forget? NEVER. Finn stands up first. A lady from the 3rd group, asks why he is cheering the competition. “Life’s too short,” says Finn, “You should try it!” At that, everyone is on their feet, smiling. Kurt stands–not smiling. Another reason for not smiling? “Stand” is boring as hell.
After, Sebastian reminds the audience to make a donation to one of the Warbler’s charity baskets. It really annoys me that Sebastian co-opted the Karovsky suicide thing to assuage his own guilt. The McKinley kids knew David. Finn, Puck and Mike played football with him, and Kurt had major history with him. New Directions should have been leading that charge. It makes the Warblers look like heroes when their behavior has mostly been anything but.
The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” is next, and it’s a much better tune. The first Darren-less Warblers song that I’ve found tolerable, and it’s mostly on the strength of the song. If the original doesn’t shoot up the charts tomorrow, I’ll be really surprised.
The Catholic madrigals take the stage (Figgins is all blissed out!) “Those Golden Goblet madrigal singers were way better than I thought,” says Puck. “Are you high? They were so loud, I couldn’t hear their instruments” — Brittany, of course! Will warns the kids not to let the competition get into their heads. It’s show circle time! But not before Finn invites the gang to his and Rachel’s wedding after the concert. Yes, it’s just so frigging ridiculous! Quinn and Kurt don’t look happy. The others look surprised. Will is red faced, because it was his little sharing circle that inspired the duo to jump right into marriage.
And…here’s were the Daniel Radcliffe Trevor project PSA runs….the hotline number for struggling LGBTQ youth flashes across the screen.
The New Directions are up! The first number is a mashup the Anders brothers
borrowed stole whatever from The Sing-Out’s Afro Blue. Those Anders boys, always taking a tip from the Sing Off (The Beelzebubs were season 1 runner ups) “Fly/ I Believe I Can Fly” combines R. Kelly and Nicki Minaj. What a combo, eh? I’m a Darren Criss fan, but I have to say he should never rap. Ever. Sebastian and the Warblers cheer them on, as does the Berry-Hummel-Hudsons. The Troubletones take the stage to sing Kelly Clarkson’s hit, “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” and it’s pretty awesome. Not only because of the song, but because Naya Rivera and Amber Riley rule the school. Sue enters the auditorium and takes a seat.
Rachel takes the stage next with “Here’s To Us” the girls eventually join her. The boys sing from the balconies. Rachel’s dads freaking out in the audience is just too adorable. I love the way they dote on her.
Who won regionals? Ian aka scary tv guy delivers the results. The Golden Goblets come in third. And…drum roll…New Directions WIN. Thank Jeebus. After reading the spoilers, there seemed to be the possibility that they would lose. It would have been too much to take. Blaine strolls over to the Warblers and shakes Sebastian’s hand.
After, Sue calls Quinn into her office. She’s had a change of heart. Maybe it was watching the girls perform, or what happened to Karovsky–but Sue admits that she always admired Quinn–for all the ways that make them different. Nice Sue decides to welcome Quinn back into the Cheerios. “You’re not going to regret this,” says Quinn, “I’m going to win us a National Championship in this uniform.”
Aw. Klaine holding hands in the hall as Quinn shows off her Cheerios uniform. “Hey Fabray, looking good!” calls out Blaine. “Thanks boys…catch you later!”
Rachel walks by. Remember that scene from the promo where Quinn tells Rachel she’s not going to stand by and watch her marry Finn Hudson? Yeah. That scene was cut. There was also some stuff that featured the girls going bridal shopping. Also cut.
So, although it’s not totally clear in cannon, the two are on the outs at this point. Quinn decides to support the Finchel wedding because she realizes that Finn makes Rachel happy. Quinn wants to come to the wedding if it’s not too late. YESSS says Rachel. Hugs!
Cut to Karovsky in the hospital. Kurt comes to the door with flowers. “Can I come in?” he asks. This was THE most powerful and emotionnal scene in the episode. Forget the writing. The scene worked because Max Adler and Chris Colfer are amazing, mad-talented actors. Watching these two connect on camera is just incredible.
“I’m really happy that you’re alive David,” Kurt says as he tears up. “I should have returned your calls. Karovsky reassures him, “After the way I treated you?” “It’s OK,” says Kurt. “No, it’s not OK.” Karovsky now fully and completely understands the horror he put Kurt through last year. For the first time, Karovsky seems truly contrite. “I put you through hell for months…I couldn’t even handle it for a week,” he says. Karovsky breaks down as he talks about how his best friend never wants to talk to him again, and his mom is convinced he has a disease. Heartbreaking. Karovsky says he can’t go back to that school. “Then go to another school,” says Kurt. Wouldn’t it be crazy if Karovsky ended up in a Warbler’s uniform?
Kurt tells him it won’t be easy, but David will get through it. Kurt will help him, and so will the people who love and accept him. If they can’t accept that? Screw them! says Kurt.
Kurt repeats Mr Schue’s exercise with Karovsky. And what seemed so trite and contrived in that dumb “sharing circle” becomes alive and incredibly moving in the hands of Chris Colfer. Kurt helps Karovsky imagine his life in 10 years–moving the hell away from Lima, working the job of his dreams, a handsome partner and a beautiful son whom his parents are just about to take to his first football game.
And suddenly—Karovsky has that “a ha” moment. He finally internalizes the idea that there is, indeed, life after high school. And it doesn’t suck. This sounds so dumb on paper, but I swear to you, the scene resonates, because Max and Chris imbue the scene with so much truth and honestly. God, I love watching fantastic actors work together.
Karovsky asks if they can be friends, and Kurt takes his hand and says yes. For as much as I’ve raged about Karovsky, I’m really OK with this. In an interview with TV Line, Max says Karovsky and Kurt have too much history to ever be a couple. He doesn’t believe Karovsky’s feelings for Kurt are sexual–he is somebody to admire and look up to. “I think there is a true friendship there,” says Max, “Kurt really is the guy that helps Karofsky see the light and brings him out of his darkness.”
It’s time for the Finchel wedding. Sue decides to crash it. She congratulates a surprised Will on his win at regionals. She thought New Directions was fantastic. And oh by the way…Will? I’m pregnant! But my baby daddy is a secret. “I think you can win at nationals,” says Sue as she offers to help. Sincerely. “I don’t think there’s a catch,” says Sue to a skeptical Will, “I just really want to help you…Isn’t that weird?” As if Sue can barely believe her own new and improved self.
The Berry dads and Burt and Carole scheme to stop the wedding. They realize their plot to dissuade their kids from tying the knot was a complete and utter fail. Hiram says, “Now, even Patti Lupone couldn’t talk Rachel out of marrying Finn.” “But Barbra could,” interjects Leroy. Burt: “Who’s Barbra” All these years living with Kurt, and you don’t know who Barbra is Burt? Ha! Since Babs is shopping in her underground mall, Hiram hatches a wacky plan to kidnap Rachel, and spirit her off to Broadway. I LOVE MR. AND MR. BERRY.
Finn sees Rachel in her wedding dress. That’s bad luck you know. Rachel’s phone buzzes. It’s Quinn. She ran home to get her bridesmaid’s dress. We see Quinn stuck behind a super-slow tractor. Back at town hall, Rachel paces the floor. She texts Quinn to hurry. “Chapel of Love” is the soundtrack. Quinn is still stuck behind that damn tractor. Rachel doesn’t want to start without her. They only have 5 minutes before they lose their spot. Rachel really really wants to wait. Finn says, we have to go now. Rachel texts Quinn one more time. “Where are you?” Hiram decides he’s going to fake an epileptic seizure during the ceremony.
Quinn picks up her phone. She doesn’t see the truck coming. It broadsides her on the drivers side. Fade to black. And yeah…that’s the cliff hangar. Quinn hit by a truck.
In the real world, Quinn would probably be dead. But we’ll find out soon enough when the photos that were taken at an outdoor shoot the Glee kids were on Tuesday hit the web. Honestly, how did the producers think they were going to keep her fate a secret?
Anyway, EOnline, posted this, “We’ve been given clearance to tell you that Dianna Agron will return to the Glee set in some capacity, whether it is a dream sequence, a reduced role, a flashback or a flashforward, etc. We have it on good authority that nothing has been set in stone yet as far as the fourth season of Glee —including whether Dianna will be a series regular.What we can tell you is that there certainly will be major repercussions of Quinn’s crash, throughout the rest of the current season. And one possibility we can rule out for you is the idea that Quinn will be dancing around the choir room in the very next episode.”
Uh. Ok. Personally, I don’t think Dianna is coming back next year, but you never know.
So yeah. Mixed feelings. I really loved the first few episodes of Glee when the producers tried to get back to basics. I LOVED the West Side Story storyline, that not only contained some wonderful performances, but good old fashioned non-gimmicky story telling. “Yes/No” and “The Spanish Teacher” also fall into this category. But I guess with the ratings taking a dive, it’s time to pull out the tricks. Ryan Murphy once said he felt the suicide route would be too dark a story line for Karovsky. Like he often does, Ryan changed his mind. If tonight’s episode helped even one person out there watching, then I suppose it was worth it. But exploiting an issue as heavy as suicide for ratings does not sit well with me. Max and Chris kept the suicide storyline from feeling completely sensationalized, overbearing and trite. The Quinn car accident was basically cliffhanger 101.
The Sectionals performances were better–if only for the fact that everyone in the cast got a moment to shine like a star. These competition episodes should have the performances front and center. The overbearing storylines really dwarfed New Directions achievement. Oh yeah…they won regionals. Seems pretty miniscule next to a suicide attempt and a death crash…
I just hope the rest of the season isn’t so over the top. But I’m not holding my breath.
Download Glee at iTunes:
- Cough Syrup – Blaine
- Stand – Sebastian & The Warblers
- Glad You Came – Sebastian & the Warblers
- What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) – The Troubletones
- Fly / I Believe I Can Fly – New Directions
- Here’s to Us (Glee Cast Version) – Rachel
Glee Behind the Scenes
Here’s To Us
Glad You Came – The Warblers
What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) – The Troubletones
Sebastian Blackmails Rachel – Kurt gets bitchy