Glee 3x14 "On My Way"

Of course.

Of course. See you in seven weeks Glee.

I couldn’t resist my slighty bitter-filled irony at some of this episode's more controversial moments, but shockingly enough and against all expectations, this was the best episode the show had in a while. No, I am not kidding. That is faint praise considering the mediocre last few weeks (even by Glee standards) and it should be more then apparent by now that I have been grading the show on a curve. Isn’t that how it always goes? Lowering your standards only for Glee to exceed them by a wider then anticipated margin. Naturally, all of this right happens right before another hiatus. Been there, done that…

To say that Ryan Murphy likes to create uproar is an understatement. Half of Glee is designed to ruffle some feathers and keep the audience talking. Glee, more then most television, built its reputation on word-of-mouth PR. Some of the episodes as of late have concluded on cliffhangers, only to fade into their “download the music” plug shortly thereafter. While there is nothing wrong with ending an episode with a cliffhanger, they were not even a little bit subtle about it. Subtlety has long left the building and got run over by bombast repeatedly, but after a heavy episode revolving around gay suicide, did they really have to go throw in a potentially fatal car accident…only to fade to black? Glee, look at your life; look at your choices.

Yes, Quinn’s car accident was not the only problematic part of the episode, but that was one disappointing conclusion and final impression. Fortunately, I am not invested into the show like I once was, so this cliffhanger will not be leaving me trembling in anticipation. In a weird way, it ruined the goodwill after a knockout Regionals performance and a fulfilling conclusion to Karofsky’s storyline. Although I do have to point out, I loved the editing and filming of Quinn’s driving debacle; it had a 70’s Grindhouse feel that when added to the music, it created some suspense.

In general, I despise it when the show takes such a heavy-handed, serious teen issue like suicide because they almost never do it justice. Gone are the days when the pregnant teen or gay kid got made fun of or ribbed a little bit because the show now defers to an after-school special and lesson-oriented approach, accompanied by the Glee quota for shoehorned, clunky dialogue. That has been a problem week-in and week-out. When Quinn was pregnant throughout the first season, no one (to my recollection) said anything along the lines of “Do you know that one in five teenagers are in your position Quinn? Also, Planned Parenthood has a variety of programs at your beckon call.” What Glee did, that made me fall in love with the show, was take a more cynical, satirical undertone. Quinn herself was saying lines like, “Can you please stop speaking? You are grossing out my baby.” No lessons learned, no wrap-up, no discomfort of them taking a teen issue to far. I can bring myself to admit it is not as ostentatious as it could have been…but we are talking about a writing problem that should not exist in the first place.

Inspite my apprehensions regarding the too serious take on matters in the world of Glee, I applaud the show for being so committed to the suicide storyline this week. You can’t really ring out humor from the subject matter (thank God), so I suppose that makes my stance null and void regarding the severity of the context. Regardless, they went THERE and it could have crashed and burned easily, sending Glee into an even greater downward spiral. It would have been a lot worse if they merely addressed it, only to toss it aside for some more ridiculous Finn/Rachel crap (don’t even get me started on their five-minute wedding). Seriously though, wrap this thought around your head; Glee actually had an emotional payoff. Stunning, right? Here I am, thinking this whole Karofsky thing was overplayed last season only to be mostly dropped this season with his rare appearances.

But then, this happened:

First off, kudos to Darren (and Darren’s face) for nailing that number. But that montage…that was so beautifully done, you would think we started watching a live-action Pixar film by way of Sam Mendes (American Beauty). I think we all were watching fearing the worse and deeply concerned over David’s heartbreak. We may not have seen his entire character arch from bullying jock to the closeted, but self-accepting gay he became…but we saw enough to care and did not feel that Glee was being too manipulative.

What came as a result of David’s suicide attempt (by the way, sorry for switching back and forth from ‘David’ and ‘Karofsky’…the former is easier to type, the latter is more the name to the face) also worked out well. The scene with the God Squad (Wow, they were not dropped from the action) had some high points even if they did not follow through all the way. The auditorium scene where Schuester was a respectable human being/educator (OMG, what is happening in the world?) and the feel of it all was sweet and well spirited. On the masterclass of acting front, I have to single out Chris Colfer and Max Adler for playing off each other so well in that hospital scene, which like par from most of the night, was sad, sweet and ultimately uplifting. In fact, David’s flash-forward had a quiet assurance and thought to it that the show should tap into more often.

Not that this was a big deal in the realm of things, but Sue was handled pretty well this episode. A more saintly Sue reads as a disaster in the long run, but I can’t say that I mind. Jane Lynch is too good of an actress, so even when a lot of Sue’s actions and thoughts don’t have much preface, she still can make them work. Blame pregnancy hormones all you want.

I could point out the depressing nature of the show, but that is well-tread territory by now and to their credit, Glee had Regionals as a direct response to that criticism.

For a fleeting few minutes, the episode was a lot of fun. Choreography and energy aside, the Warblers sucked pretty badly, whether that was intentional or not. And by the way, Sebastian’s turn around in the middle pissed me off because it looked like the cop-out it was. That other team of Merlins or Esmeraldas or something were clearly too nondescript to care about. It was still refreshing that in light of all the drama the episode had, the New Directions BROUGHT it when the time came to step up.

First item of note…Golden suspenders and bow ties for the New Directions males. Please tell me those will be available for purchase somewhere. Please. Oh please.

Kevin's voice could not save that mash-up and Naya Rivera finally found something she struggles with – rapping. No need to worry though; the Kelly Clarkson number was KILLER and high-attitude, while Lea Michele’s take on “Here’s To Us” was start-to-finish flawless. Straight to the iPod y’all go.

In hindsight, because I am enjoyed this episode the more I think about it, Glee was so close to having a homerun episode on their hands. Pitch perfect performances, an overwhelming amount of great numbers, the occasional funny line and a decent approach to a heavy subject matter. If they only had some sort of plan for the utter nonsense that is the Finchel wedding, and tightened up the script and detailing a little bit, we can overlook their crack smoking to end the show on a texting-related car accident and enjoy the rest of it for what it is.

But we can’t. Back to love/hating you until you return to my television screen…in April.

Photo Credit: Glee/FOX 5
ScreenGrab Credit: NRNW

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