Well, I didn’t see that episode of Glee coming at all.
Shooting Star started off pretty ridiculously, and then 17 minutes in just morphed into something completely different.
Is Glee allowed to tackle the issue of school shootings? Yes. Did Glee do it well? I’m not sure, but I thought it was pretty compelling. Was Glee right to tackle the issue of school shootings? Again, I’m not sure. While there have been plenty of serious issues tackled by the show, the threat of violence in a place where you’re meant to feel safe is an issue that seems a little outside of Glee‘s ‘everything can be made okay by singing’ remit.
Still, like I said, the episode was pretty compelling. It all started with Britney predicting a meteor/comet/asteroid was heading towards earth, and everyone needed to say they loved each other. While Britney decided to focus on her love for Lord Tubbington, Ryder sang Elton John’s Your Song to the girl he thought was his digital soulmate Katie, and Coach Bieste confessed to Will that she wanted him to be her boyfriend.
And then, shots went off in the school. Trapped in the dark in the choir room, most of the New Directions fell to pieces while Will and Coach Bieste did their best to keep it all together.
It was the little moments that Glee did well here – the pots boiling over while Marley’s mum hid in the school kitchen, Britney crouching on the toilet crying, the metronome playing, Kitty’s confession to Marley that she took in her clothes during Grease, Blaine showing that he doesn’t always have the words when Artie switches on his camera, Britney’s relief when Will found her and the revelation that two other pupils were hiding in the toilets as well.
Recently I’ve been watching Glee with my mind half on other things, but when those shots went off I found it difficult to think of anything but Glee. The acting here was phenomenal, I thought everyone caught the fear really well. Granted, anyone who’s been through that terrible experience of your safe haven being not so safe probably wouldn’t have found this at all realistic.
Those 10 minutes of Glee before the all-clear was called were riveting, but there were some dodgy bits afterwards – Sue’s comment about stepping out of character and Kitty’s sarcastic comment about dating Ryder jarred slightly. Having been pulled into something so dark for 10 minutes, it was difficult to be pulled back out of it and back into Glee world.
The gun was brought to school by Becky, but Sue took the fall for her in the first serious scene we’ve ever seen between her and Principal Figgins. Sue’s actions are nice, but to be honest I didn’t really think it was the way this should have been played out. I didn’t like that it was Becky who had brought the gun in to school – it seemed a lazy of Glee‘s writers – but Sue taking the fall for her can’t have left Becky in the best place.
However, Sue’s speech to Principal Figgins about how she’ll be remembered was moving – that despite all that she’s done, this is what she’ll be remembered for. Of course, there is a hidden meaning – Sue being remembered by Becky for her actions is more important that all the other stuff – but again, I don’t see how this helped Becky to resolve her feelings about moving on and being scared of the future.
And then, after a brief scene with Tina and Blaine discussing the shooting and a scene where Will and Sue talk and Will sort of gets that Sue may have been covering for Becky (still don’t see how this is responsible), that’s about it. We go back to Ryder trying to find the real Katie, Will signing Coach Bieste up to internet dating (Ken Tanaka responds), and Sam buying Britney another cat.
It all ends with the glee kids together singing Say by John Mayer (followed by their messages as taped by Artie, which I didn’t love). It’s a lovely moment, and sums up Tina’s comment about the New Directions being a family, but I still just felt so in shock from what had happened previously that I felt a little out of sorts watching the group singing.
This is such a difficult one because of the nature of the episode, but I’ll pick the acting. Everyone brought their A game to the scenes between the gun going off and the all clear being called, and it’s a credit to them that that part of the episode came off as largely moving, rather than largely melodramatic.