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Glee Review: A Very Special Episode

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There's no way to properly review this as an episode of television. "On My Way," the final new Glee episode until April 10, was really nothing more than a Public Service Announcement.

I don't even mean that term in the derogatory sense with which I've often used it. It was, truly, literally - okay, almost - a Public Service Announcement, replete with mentions of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation and The Trevor Project.

And, look, if Glee in general, and this episode in particular, helps a single teen see his or her life in a more positive manner, then that's clearly more important than its value as a piece of entertainment. Bullying is a serious issue, so is depression, so is suicide and there's a part of me that's glad there's a show out there tackling the topics in a serious manner.

Rachel Out Front

Moreover - while I remain the type of viewer who wants to be entertained, not educated - I appreciate how the hour really did focus on that one topic and actually did take it seriously.

Any regular reader of my reviews knows that my biggest problem with Glee is how it jumps around from one storyline to another, scarcely touching on serious subject matters - such as last week's insulting way it burned through religion vs. homosexuality - before it churns out a new song to wrap everything up in a tidy, iTunes-ready bow.

I applaud the series for not doing that here, for giving such a prolonged platform to such a heady problem in society.

Was it emotionally manipulative up the wazoo? Of course. The show just drops Karofsky back into our lives last Tuesday, conjures up this entire struggle he's apparently had way, way, way off screen and then yanks as hard as possible at our heart strings by having him attempt suicide.

There's no consistent, thought-out structure or plan at work here by the writers. There's merely the goal of making a societal point and making fans cry.

But, again, for an episode that clearly wanted to send a message about the struggles many teenagers face with identity and acceptance, it was very well done. It's simply up to viewers to decide if that's what they want from a television show.

And no matter what your answer is to that question, we can all stop and give props to Max Adler as Karofsky. Terrific work by the actor here.

Meanwhile, it was hard to tell if New Directions actually earned its victory because we saw so many more of its performances than any other group. I did enjoy Rachel's "Here's to Us," though the reaction by her dads was a tad over the top. Had they never seen their daughter perform before?

I also must wonder: why does the third place team always act so happy when announced as finishing in third place? There are only three teams! (And why are there only three teams in Regionals?)

Elsewhere: Sue is somehow pregnant? Ridiculous. But whatever.

And Quinn is involved in a seemingly life-threatening car accident? This clearly works as a cliffhanger, in terms of making viewers anxious for the next episode, but it's the epitome of poor writing. A good television shows builds to its cliffhangers. You want to be able to go back and see how a story came together, how it led from point A to point B and then to - whoa! - the suspense or emotion-filled point C that leaves you dying for more.

You don't want to think the show just stuck a character inside a car, had her send a text message and then rammed her with a truck because, hey, that will get fans talking! It's just very lazy, and is also likely leading to a Don't Text While Driving episode this spring. And maybe you'll look forward to it, that's fine.

As I said above, it all comes down to what you expect or want from a show such as Glee. In tonight's case, I can't say I expected Karofsky to try and hang himself inside his closet. But once the message of the episode sunk in, and I accepted the PSA theme as it was intended, I could at least appreciate the effort.

What did everyone else think of the special episode? Sound off in the comments and in this poll:

 

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (475 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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also want to mention, House MD did a similar dive, though it waited until Season 5 for that to happen. A complex show with extraordinary wit..was it a comedy? a medical show? a mystery? an ensemble drama?...lapsed into soap. Viewers complained. Writers ignored them. the show dwindled to a fraction of what it had been (and its audience dwindled as well). I'd had to see the Glee writers make the same mistake. Listen to your audience, folks!

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Glee's been struggling since...well, the middle of its first year. Since then,a drift downward, saved by occasional good episodes. This episode wasn't a public service announcement. It was a whole lot of public service announcements, one after the other. Don't bully! Don't commit suicide! Set goals! Teen marriage is a mistake! Texting while driving is dangerous! Not that I disagree with any of the messages, but that's not what I watch TV for. It's sad to see a series that so neatly juggled genres while poking a little dark humor at itself fall into straight soap opera. On top of that, I found the music performances pretty nothing. Sebastian is not a singer...good lord, how many technical enhancements did they have going on his voice? And yes, I feel like the gay thing is getting to be total overkill. I've had it. Down to 3 shows, plus Downton.

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i just have to mention that i thoroughly enjoyed the warblers! sebastian is so so so attractive and their songs were good. the competion was hillarious and i almost died laughing when brittany responded to a worried puck "are you high - i couldn't hear their instruments at all", i also love that we got to hear her singing voice again. as for rachel - thank goodness she got to shine! i don't know why the writers insist on making us believe that she is always over the top and over-confident only to move along their other plots e.g. Mercedes. speaking of mercedes - stop trying to get us emotionally involved in this ridiculous love triangle when shane is not even present!!! helloooooooooooo! Glee -writers need to go back to school and learn how to write sensible plotlines that are well developed but as long as i enjoy the music i will still be watching :)

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The thing with sebastian and karofsky was stupid and just an excuse to end the bullying between the glee clubs. I mean I'm sure it happened but it seemed forced. And I also asked a question about rachels dads, why hadn't they been at all the other competitions? I found that odd...... Love glee!! Wish they would start doing more popular/main stream songs ..... I'm less interested when I dont know the songs.....I fast forwarded through two songs this week cause I didn't know the song and got bored.

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I started crying as soon as he put the suit out on the bed or tested the strength of the belt, can't remember which came first. I was like nnnnnnnnnnnnnooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn't really see it as a PSA, but I can see how u could. On the other end though, this is a show that focuses on teen issues, drama, and angst with splash of humor thrown in for flavor. This (bullying) in the recent years had become a major front runner in teen issues (although when I was in school no one seemed to care about bullying, where was their zero tolerance policy when I needed i?! But I regress), its been an underlying theme in glee all along, I dont see how one character at some point, whether it was karofsky or not, was going to be taking on this tragedy. It was just inevitable to me.
As for quinn, I was shocked, but, eh...... Shes becoming less and less one of my favorites.

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@Where's Waldorf Sam and Mercedes could have been the best thing in this season, but too bad there is also invisible Shane. Their love triangle doomed the story into pure stupidity because Samcedes is the only side ever showed to us yet she chooses Shane... Karofsky's story was heartbreaking because though not well but it is a developed one since season one. The actor also pulled it off nicely. As for Quinn's car crash, it's a soap cliffhanger which again proved just how awesome those glee writers are. Personally I agree with Karofsky attempting to hang himself as the final scene and cliffhanger would be a lot more powerful.

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Quinn won't be dead. Dianna Agron has been filming scenes and recording a song in the studio for the next episode. So, unless you're suggesting that her ghost might be singing a song, well, she's pretty much dead then.
I agreed that Glee might be getting "too" gay lately but I'm proud that there's a show out there that feels the need to tackle this teen sexuality stuff. Although too much spotlight on "gay" people might annoy people.

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For those worried about Quinn being killed off, photos of Dianna in a wheelchair on set with Kevin in his have been leaked. Dunno if it's permanent or not (or if she is a ghost) but she WILL end up in a wheelchair, so seemingly will survive (unless like I said she's a ghost, although would a ghost need a wheelchair?).

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@Glay, so true!
I'm not a homo-phoebe but there is more to life than the struggle of gay people.

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Woah, I did not see the thing with Quinn coming at all until she was in the car.
Glee is poorly constructed. Their intentions are good, but they don't follow them through correctly. CW shows are a bit more professional. The writers of those shows don't let personal views affect their writing. Is there a reason why Kurt is always the hero? Why did they write Quinn to be so bad to the point where we can't sympathize with her?
The best thing has been Sam and Mercedes this season. Not only are they entertaining but their characters have kept their integrity, especially Mercedes. They let this happen over several episodes so we get enough appreciation of the idea. They could tackle so many issues by having them together, e.g. racism or being poor in a relationship. I'm honestly waiting for their scenes every episode.
The song choices and how they are worked into the show aren't as good as they used to be too. I was disappointed in the "Michael" episode.

Glee Season 3 Episode 14 Quotes

In the last week, you either enjoyed a delicious curry or a hug from Principal Figgins.

Sue

You give the gay community cutting edge fashion that's usually only seen on Puerto Rican pride floats.

Sebastian
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