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:


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+.


(Wanted to touch up my post from last night now that I've come down from the post-episode excitement.)
Definitely glad to see at least a little bit of positivity in this week's review. Was the episode perfect? Absolutely not. I'm a Gleek for life but I'm not disillusioned. Maybe because I've been through a lot of what the characters are going through, I found this episode to be one of my favorites. I'm glad they took this matter seriously, because I was a little disappointed last week with how quickly they skipped past Joe Hart's religious dilemma.
The Karofsky/Kurt scenes had me tearing up a bit. Yes, I saw the attempted suicide coming since last week's episode when Dave's classmate saw them at Breadstix. It didn't make it any less emotional, because I like Dave's character and was moved by how much a person can change.


All I could think about this whole episode was Rory and his freaking peanut butter. Brother: "Where are the guys during Stronger?"
Me: "Probably off eating peanut butter with Rory in the boy's bathroom.."


The performances at Regionals were a little mediocre in my opinion. I wasn't wowed or anything, and it was pretty obvious that New Directions would win. And then Quinn's car accident...such drama, and not good drama. So typical! I'm confused as to why phone calls couldn't be made...because in real life, THAT'S WHAT SOMEONE WOULD DO! I hope that they write her character out, not because I have some weird hatred of Quinn/Dianna, but because 1) it would be kinda refreshing if they managed to keep it a secretly that Dianna would be leaving the show, and 2) the way that truck hit her car, there's almost no chance a person would survive. At least make something in this show the least bit believable.


I rolled my eyes for most of this episode, mainly at Kurt. I really like Karofsky's character and I thought his suicide attempt was sad. However, every time they showed Kurt, I felt like the show was basically giving us Ryan Murphy in character form. And even though Quinn isn't high up on my list of favorite characters (and she expressed her opinion kinda insensitively), what really bothered me was when Kurt basically dismissed her pregnancy as though it wasn't traumatizing enough to ever warrant committing suicide. Bottom line is that you never know what might bring people to their breaking point: bullying, giving birth at the age of 16, dealing with the grief of losing someone you love. So preachy, but that really pushed my buttons when I watched the episode.


This show did have a lot going on as far as competing story lines, but ultimate I thought it was one of the better shows of the season.
The Kurt/Karofsky hospital scene was really well played by both actors.
Believable and memorable.
The ending of the show with Quinn's crash while texting- took my breath away.
That is how it happens, carelessly, in the moment, random. A lot for one episode- sure. But spend a day in the life of a teenager. They got a lot right and many of the messages are lingering.


i have to admit that they didn't build up to the quinn car crash very well, but i think thats what made me love it even more. i wasn't expecting quinn to get hurt, i was expecting her to make it to the wedding at the last minute befor rachel walked down the aisle. in those last moments when it showed her driving in the car in her bridesmaid dress on her way to the wedding i was excited and happy that she was going to support her friends getting married. finally the old quinn i love was back. then when i saw her pick up that phone from the seat my smile faded, my heart sank, and the tears filled my eyes. in that moment i knew something was going to happen, and when it did i broke down completely. the tears have barely dried from my eyes and they will most likely keep coming for the next 7 weeks until i know that quinn is ok or not.


My only problem is that this show is becoming the teenage gay show. There are other problems that teens have. Sam being homeless, being a minority in a predominately white school, why is the rich new girl buying her friends? If you are going to show high school and show its problems. show all of it and make it truly dynamic, make it fun and funny, troubling, sad and joyful but for everyone because we were all there once.


I like the way they handled it Karofsky had always been on the periphery. In other words, no one was thinking about him. The same way he was feeling, like nothing forgotten. Kurt was the only person he could actually relate to. So he acted on his crush which was brave but being ultimately rejected, at a different school, feeling like he was nothing that kind of self-loathing as a teenager is not unsual. it was handled well, especially the scene with the adults at school. Powerful. Glee is not a serial. its episodic in its nature so storylines can be inserted and still have continuity.


DCBWrote: "As for the Q-crash, yeah we saw that one coming down the street." OK, your bad pun aside , I guess my eyesight's a bit better than yours--I saw that from SPACE. :-)


It just keeps getting more predictable; Karofksy holding a belt? Saw the hang-man coming, texting and driving? Knew a truck would appear out of nowhere.
They're running out of ideas; up next: Disney week! (though i wouldn't mind a redenption of I won't say I'm in love from Hercules...)
Even better: murder in school property á la American Horror Story circa 1994

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Glee Season 3 Episode 14 Quotes

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


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