Oh, Glee. You've gone and done it. You've thrown yourself head-first into the territory of Tuesday Night Special and you don't even care. I was willing to cut you some slack with the bullying and Don't Text and Drive PSAs. I was. I was willing to just look the other way and acknowledge that as your attempt to be relevant to modern teens.
But this? This week's PSA? It was straight from another planet. And I'm not talking about Brittany's suggestion that alien abductions should be the prom theme.
"Choke" started off right. The girls are hanging around a locker talking in the hall about prom and the future and the things high school students talk about. Then Coach Beiste walks by and suddenly we've launched into a public service announcement about... domestic violence?
Excuse me, what?
Domestic violence, while a real issue, and one of which I am not making light, had - has - no place in this show and especially not with the sloppiest set-up known to man. We haven't seen Coach Beiste in weeks and suddenly she's here and being used to teach the girls a lesson that none of them seemed not to understand in the first place. And humanize Sue.
The ONLY good thing to come out of this story line - aside from getting Dot Marie Jones back on my screen - was "Shake It Out." That was awesome.
But I still want to know who in the writer's room decided we needed a weekly message? What happened to cohesive story lines and build-up that made sense? What happened to good story telling?
Now that my frustration over that is (sort of) out of the way, let's move on to the relevant scenes from the episode.
Puck needs to graduate. In true Noah Puckerman fashion, he plans to put the moves on the teacher in order to coax a passing grade out of her. And when that doesn't work, he'll just quit school and head to the West Coast a few weeks early. Until his dad shows up out of nowhere asking to borrow rent money and Puck sees himself in the future doing the same with Beth and decides that cannot happen to him.
Did we even know Puck's dad was a deadbeat?
The scenes with the guys rallying to help Puck and Finn's "No Man Left Behind" attitude were fun and a nice distraction from the PSA of the week. This is a show about a ragtag group of students who found themselves brought together through their mutual appreciation for glee club and the sometimes awkward friendships that formed as a result. Seeing them come together to try to help Puck pass, even if he still made an F, felt a little like the good ol' days of Glee.
And speaking of the good ol' days, Kurt and Rachel's NYADA auditions helped to bring this show full circle back to the beginning of Season 1. Kurt and Rachel (and Mercedes and Finn) were, and are, the heart of this show. Kurt and Rachel, from the beginning, have been the two with the big dreams. (That's part of the reason that "Saturday Night Glee-ver" made a little sense to me.)
This show has always been about Kurt and Rachel making it to New York after graduation. Now that Rachel has flubbed her audition and may not see her Broadway dreams come true, we're where we were in Season 1 - except this time Kurt's the winner that Rachel always was. He's the one coming out on top. As much as I love Rachel, as the song goes "you can't always get what you want."
I don't know what Ryan Murphy and Co. plan to DO with this "twist," but I do like that someone else is getting a chance to shine. And not just because he's wearing gold lame' pants.
What did you think of "Choke"? Do you think Rachel will miraculously make it into NYADA?
Miranda Wicker was a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in 2017. Follow her on Twitter.