On My Way
Tonight's 'very special episode' of Glee is an odd pairing of issue-driven teen drama and the show's annual Regionals showcase. Spoilers ahead: following a locker room outing, troubled Karofsky attempts to hang himself and so McKinley's misfits deal with the trauma in their own individual ways - and band together to celebrate life and their sparkling futures in song (don't you know how this works yet?!). The end result is an episode that's not afraid to stand up on its soapbox, so you might come away feeling slightly manipulated; however, it's so well-meaning and a worthy attempt at addressing the 'It Gets Better' schtick that it's hard, and a little bad-mannered, to knock it.
Early on, a character flippantly states that she would probably kill herself if a compromising photo of her was published on the internet. Five minutes later, Karofsky (sensitively played by Max Adler) is dressing up in his best suit and fashioning a noose from a belt. A lot of resulting scenes, including a discussion between teachers concerning responsibility and a God Squad prayer meeting, aren't fun TV and bear the weight of heavy hands as different viewpoints and arguments on the subject of teen suicide are raised. However, the conversations being had tackle weighty themes that the show's target teen audience may be contending with, and the show has never been afraid to confront the dilemmas of modern youth; even though older viewers may roll their eyes at some of the hand-wringing, some fourteen year-old somewhere might reconsider their options after watching this, so props to the creative team for going there.
Beyond the drama of Karofsky's personal struggle, which results in an admission from Will and showcases a newly pregnant (!) Sue's sympathetic side, On My Way is all about the music. A truce is established between New Directions and the Warblers, whose bullying frontman Sebastian was previously mean to Karofsky, and so Regionals becomes not a competition but a show of unity and good triumphing over adversity. So, a lot of 'inspirational' songs are interpreted and dedicated to a recovering Karofsky, including a mash-up of Nicki Minaj and R. Kelly that rises above the blandness and is the show at its musical best. Of course, because surely this will be the year that New Directions win Nationals, the group succeeds and bag another trophy. Take that, bullies!
Which brings us to the episode's shocker of a conclusion. As if one character's brush with mortality wasn't enough for one show, the episode ends with a car collision cliffhanger (reminiscent of similar shocks in Cold Feet and Six Feet Under) that could very feasibly result in a lead character's death. Uh-oh. Of course, with this being TV, said character was en route to Rachel and Finn's hastily rearranged nuptials, brought forward as a carpe diem reaction to Karofsky's crisis. How will it all pan out? Well, we won't know for a couple of weeks seeing as Sky are taking an Easter break next week. See you in two.