Glee has a long and storied tradition of tackling socially relevant issues. Now for a show aimed at a young audience, namely teens and young adults, it makes sense for them to do that. It’s easier to open up a dialogue for discussion with something familiar.
The question is: how well do they work? Um. See it’s hit or miss. Glee’s writing tends to ride a wave here. Some of these episodes are very good. Some of these episodes are not so good. I wouldn’t say bad per say simply because the actors of Glee do well with the material given for the episode. It’s just that sometimes these kinds of episodes can be a bit overstuffed and not enough focus is given on the real issue that the shows wants to focus on. So in the case of episodes like “On My Way”, “Choke”, and “Lights Out” which have solid performances from the actors. Chris Colfer’s and Max Adler’s performances in “On My Way” are prime examples, however the episodes are viewed as not so good because they tend to be overstuffed with other issues like Regionals, NYADA auditions, and the Catfish plot. These detract from them.
Basically, for a good episode, you need to commit to the story you want to tell. For instance in “Shooting Star”, which critics hated but fans seemed to like, when the shift occurred at the shooting it stayed there. This made for a tense and disconcerting atmosphere and a solid story. Or when the story develops overtime, like Quinn dealing with her pregnancy in season one is a great example of this as well. Season two’s storyline of Kurt dealing with bullying for being gay and also keeping quiet about Karofsky’s sexuality was also good. Now none of these things are perfect, but they were (for the most part) well executed.
Which brings us to “Bash.” Now season five has not had a lot of “very special episodes” because well “The Quarterback” pretty much destroyed us all emotionally. This, however, does not stop the real world for coming in. Ohio is gone. This is New York. And New York? She may be tolerant but a lot of terrible things still happen. So I understand why “Bash” is going to go the way it does. It’s an unfortunate and terrible fact of life that people are attacked for merely being themselves. People are cruel. It’s how life is sometimes. So I think the intentions here are good.
The real worry is that will they give it the attention it deserves or will it get lost in the shuffle of the plot? For the most part tonight, I’ll be serious. Though I will still crack stupid jokes and the like. In regards to Kurt’s plot, however, it deserves me giving it my respect as a fan and as a person. Gay bashing is something that is terrible and needs to be stopped. There also, as I said before, needs to be that dialogue started between the young people who watch this show and the people who surround them.
Alright. I think I’m done with my soapbox now. So let’s recap this thing.
Rachel Got Read (And Still Dropped Out Of School Anyway): So the Opening Night for Funny Girl is in two weeks. Rachel is determined to give it her full attention. Except she still has that pesky thing called New York Academy Of Dramatic Arts. She asks her producer to give her two hours so she can go to school to do the big “Mid-Winter Critique.” So it’s mid-winter? God I have no clue with the timing of this show anymore. Anyway, she’s prepared with a Sondheim song as the assignment. Together she and Blaine give a dynamic performance. Except Madam Tibideaux is not pleased. She asked for solos and not duets. She just fails them at first. Except she admits that it was a good performance (or maybe she didn’t give clear directions? Of course as Rachel with her lead on Broadway and Blaine being the Golden Child they could have thought themselves exempt) so she offers them a chance. They do the assignment correctly with a solo sometime this week. Well that’s not flying with Rachel who has Funny Girl to worry about. She tries to talk with Madam Tibideaux to give her a chance to do it after opening night. Tibideaux remains firm. In fact, she drops some reality on Rachel. Rachel is raw talent and drive. Yet the talent and drive mean nothing without a foundation that an education in these arts can provide. She tells Rachel that’s being delusional when she thinks that Funny Girl will always be there for her. She’s not the first supernova to come through this school and not the last. Yet the thing about supernovas? They burn out. Rachel refuses to listen to Carmen and give up on her dream role for school. She tells Carmen that she has outgrown NYADA. She quits NYADA to commit fulltime to the part. Kurt Hummel, who is now the Only Sane Man In New York, tells her that she’s not thinking fully. That he wants Rachel to have more options with the education NYADA can give her. He tells that in reality the theater world is notoriously fickle and asks what if Fanny is her first and last Broadway role? Rachel takes that as a personal attack. She asks if Kurt is on Carmen’s side, but Kurt says that he’s on Rachel’s side. He just wants her to really think about what she’s doing here. Rachel tells him that he can stay in the safe little box that NYADA provides him and never take risks with his life. She tells him to grow up. Kurt, angry at this tirade, says “Screw you, Rachel.” Rachel storms off and Kurt leaves the restaurant.
Kurt’s Assault: Kurt walks out of the restaurant and hears screams for help in an alley. He runs down to intervene what is a gay bashing in progress. He pushes the guys and tells them that he is not afraid of them. This allows their original victim to take off running. One of them hits him on the head with a bottle while the other one goes at his face with a series of punches. They drive off leaving Kurt collapsed in the alley. Blaine gets the call at home. Sam calls Mercedes. Mercedes calls Artie. Artie calls Rachel in the middle of rehearsal. They all rush to the hospital. The doctors tell Blaine that Kurt has some cuts and bruises and a hairline fracture of his orbital socket. He needs to be kept there for observation. The whole group goes to see Kurt, who is passed out from the morphine. Rachel says that she should have been with him. While Blaine tells her not to blame herself that Kurt would have stepped in either way. The group leaves to give Blaine a moment with Kurt. Blaine sings to his fiancée gently before climbing into bed next to him. Burt comes storming in the next day when Kurt is awake. He alternately chews Kurt out for rushing in without thinking and tells him how proud he is of him. Kurt tells him that he dealt with hate his whole life. It’s something he’ll always have to deal with. Burt is just clearly terrified because Kurt could have been hurt a lot worse then he was. Kurt tells him that he knows who he is which is the man that Burt raised. Burt reaches out and holds his son’s hand. Kurt battered and bruise returns to the apartment. Rachel apologizes for what she said, but she is still quitting NYADA. College isn’t for her right now. She also tells him that she loves him and she wants him to know that. Kurt tells her that he knows and he loves her too. Then the New York crew with Burt go to see Kurt give his Mid-Winter Critique performance bruised and battered but still determined to play on.
Samcedes Gives This Ship Another Try: Mercedes has tried to be firm with Sam. Still with his dorky hot charm and his hilarious misreading of The Facts Of Life, she can’t help it. Plus their relationship has always been weird and maybe this time it can actually be explored correctly. Sam goes hard at convincing her to just give it a shot. Mercedes says that with all the women he’s dated though, she’s not sure how she compares. Yet she eventually decides to give it a clue after Sam treats the East River like a combination wish fountain/faux fur dumping ground. Let’s be honest those are the worst things that have been thrown into that river. Mercedes introduces Sam to her background singers and friends. Sam awkwardly babbles, does weird impressions, and acts seriously awkward for a guy that attractive. Mercedes friends tell her that they like Sam but she needs to think about her image. She could be isolating the women she wants to buy her record by dating a white guy. Mercedes lets these get into her head. So Mercedes tells Sam that she can’t do this because she needs to think about her career and what it would mean for her to be in a relationship that’s really not in the norm. Sam tells her that she shouldn’t care what people think. She tells him that this is the real world and she needs to consider this. After Kurt’s attack, however, Mercedes and Sam both do thinking about it. Mercedes asks him to come to the studio where she’s recording. They have a real legitimate talk here. Mercedes said that Sam had good points but she feels like some of hers are valid, too. Mercedes admits, however, that she doesn’t want anyone to dictate her relationships but her. So she tells Sam that she wants to give them a shot, a real and legitimate shot.
Bec’s Thoughts Of The Episode As It Happens
Huh. I always thought this was going to take place after. The song’s pretty.
I already feel the need to hug Kurt.
No. I’m with the producer guy. You need to pick.
I love Sam’s understanding of The Facts Of Life.
Also Blaine reading Sam to sleep with Star Wars fanfiction is priceless and amazing.
Yeah. We all knew that was going to happen!
Oh wow. Sam is actually being charming. This is really, really cute.
Hey. Look at the New York fantasy sequence. God I was hoping either Mercedes or Unique would sing this. Oh my God this is amazing.
Sam baby you are making such a bad first impression. Such a bad first impression.
Oh hey. It’s Madame Tibideaux. Why did they change the pretty Round Room into a lounge?
This seems to be a bad idea for Rachel to sing this. Or is it just me?
Holy shit. Carmen is telling Rachel EXACTLY what I’ve been saying! And of course, Rachel doesn’t listen. But it was said! OHMYGOD I LOVE YOU WORLD!
Okay so interracial relationships are bad in the record industry? This is genuinely heartbreaking to me.
Kurt Hummel continues to be the only sane man in New York.
Rachel is refusing to listen to him. “Screw you, Rachel.”
Wow. That…that was quick and brutal. I’m shaking a little bit.
Okay so it’s a commercial break. But didn’t Blaine move out with Sam? Is Blaine still living with Mercedes? Or did Blaine move out too? I’m confused.
Another adult conversation from Sam Evans and Mercedes Jones.
White Chocolate makes his return.
Good on Amber getting her song featured on the show. That was awesome. Rock on girl.
Kurt and Burt…I need my tissues again.
Wow. Oh Kurt. “God you’re sappy.” I love you.
I love the bit of meta humor about Samcedes. (But seriously can we get a duet here?)
Burt mouthing along to the song is so cute. Goddamn Kurt! That was amazing.
I would have loved to have heard Carmen’s critique.
Now. Will this be mentioned again is a real question? My money is on “no” but I’m cynical like that.
“No One Is Alone” sung by Rachel Berry, Blaine Anderson, Kurt Hummel, and Sam Evans: This was not a bad song. It was sweet and sad. The four voices sounded very good together. It set the mood for the more serious portion of the episode, which is about the bashing. It just felt a bit out of place? It starts suddenly and ends suddenly. In the end, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it. B
“You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” sung by Mercedes Jones: HELL YEAH! I’ve been needing either Amber Riley or Alex Newell to cover this song! Now what’s the word here? It’s FLAW-LESS! God. I loved the whole fantasy of it with the carousel and it going to nighttime and the band just appearing randomly. She sounded amazing. A
“Broadway Baby” sung by Rachel Berry and Blaine Anderson: It was good. I’ve never really heard Follies songs before. Um I wonder about the song choice? It just seems really braggy on Rachel’s part when you get to the lyrics. She already has the success. Lea and Darren sound good. I just think that given the character it wasn’t the best choice. B-
“Not While I’m Around” sung by Blaine Anderson: So here’s something weird. On the iTunes download, there are more people singing it. On the show it’s just Darren. I get why they did it. It was still just a surprise. It was very quiet and just Blaine singing. I feel bad judging it since it comes from such a bad turn. It was good though. It was genuinely good. B+
“Colour Blind” sung by Mercedes Jones: So this is Amber Riley’s first original single. Okay. They made it relevant to the plot. The setting for it was really simple. It was just her singing to Sam with a piano. I definitely dug it. Amber sounded great and it came from a genuine place. It was really pretty and lovely. It also showcased Amber’s softer vocals, which we do not get enough of. A-
“I’m Still Here” sung by Kurt Hummel: Chris Colfer needs so many more solos. He needs all the solos in fact. It was flawless from beginning to end. This was Kurt Hummel declaring that you can beat him down but he will not stay down. He acknowledged his past but became stronger for it. God I loved it. Seriously, I loved it. A+++
Next week: People realize that Kurt Hummel is actually legitimately talented and awesome. Blaine, meanwhile, splits his pants. Artie though gets an STD.