Glee was always going to find it difficult to follow up last week’s episode, which tackled the issue of school shootings, and true to style this week’s episode Sweet Dreams failed spectacularly to be any good.
Its main problem was tone, which was just all wrong for me – from the very beginning the recap to the end of the episode.
Of course, Glee couldn’t know that the week this episode would run would be the week that the Boston Marathon was attacked, or that there would be a huge manhunt for the suspects. But Glee chose to tackle a very dark issue, and had a responsibility to look at it in a careful way. For me, this episode of Glee didn’t do that.
Last week, the kids of New Directions, plus the teachers, plus the whole of McKinley, experienced a terrifying situation where they thought a shooter was in their school. While they discovered afterwards that the gun mistakenly went off and belonged to Sue Sylvester (or so they thought), I don’t think that takes away from how horrendous the situation was.
But instead of handling it seriously, Glee decided to throw comedy at it. The ways the New Directions showed post-traumatic stress I could handle. Although Sam pretending to have a twin brother Evan was slightly over top, and Tina’s dressing ‘steampunk’ actually reminded me of season one Tina, and so on, I could handle the way the kids acted.
Glee was trying to show they were badly affected, and although they didn’t get the tone right, I got what was being implied.
The rest though, was a right mess. Coach Roz came back to take over the Cheerios, sauntering in to the teachers’ dining lounge and proceeding to make fun of the whole shooting situation, justifying it by saying that it wasn’t a real shooter. WELL, THEY DIDN’T KNOW THAT AT THE TIME, DID THEY?
And then she took it a step further by calling in Becky and Blaine, and proceeding to blame Blaine, saying she thought he’d done some weird voodoo to cause Sue to bring the gun in and it go off accidentally. Yes, this is wonderful. Not. While the scene may have been slightly amusing, it was mostly just offensive.
Becky almost cracked and told Coach Roz that it was her gun, but managed to keep quiet, although Blaine has guessed that something strange is going on.
He’s done more than Will, who I thought last week had got the hint Sue was throwing to him about Becky. Instead of looking out for her (like Sue asked) and his other students, Will has turned back into a complete jerk. Yes, this is his way of showing the effect the shooting had on him, but goodness, for once why can’t Glee write Will as a grown-up? There are other ways to show Will was affected, instead of just recycling the ‘Will is an idiot, Will is selfish, Will is horrible, someone makes Will see this, Will makes amends, everyone forgives Will’ storyline.
This time, it was seeing Marley, Unique, Sam and Blaine sing one of Marley’s own songs (and to be honest, they’re not as bad as I feared) that made Will realise what an idiot he is. That, and going to visit Finn at the University of Lima.
The scenes with Finn, and Puck, were probably the best of the episode, and actually showed some semblance of continuity, from Finn’s make grilled cheese sandwiches (with an iron now) to Puck’s words about wanting to be better than what everyone assumed he would be. I thought the partying was a bit much and was worried it would go on for the next few episodes, but it was a great twist to have Puck be the one to tell Finn to man up and study lots, while still having some fun. I thought it showed real maturity and character growth on Puck’s part.
What wasn’t amazing was Will’s desperation to be Finn’s best friend again, but it did prove a vehicle to get Finn back to McKinley and helping the New Directions again.
Meanwhile, in New York, I wasn’t loving the story much more than I was at McKinley. Rachel was auditioning for Funny Girl on Broadway. Shelby came back to help her out and give her some advice. While it was lovely to see Idina Menzel again, and be reminded of just how amazing her voice is (on my one my favourite songs – Emeli Sande’s Next To Me – as well), the character of Shelby just feels a little awkwardly written. It seems no one – not the writers, not Rachel, not Shelby – can quite figure out what Shelby’s role in Rachel’s life should be, and it’s this weird mix of mentor, friend, stranger and not-quite mum.
Rachel decided to take Finn’s advice and sing something from the heart, so chose a version of Don’t Stop Believin’. This was actually quite a heartwarming moment, as Rachel imagined the old New Directions turning up to support her in her performance. The group (minus Rachel) wore the same outfits they wore in season one, and it was amazing to see how much they’d all grown, yet be reminded of where they’d come from.
Anyway, Rachel aced it, as she found out when she got a call back audition. *Yawn* When is this girl going to have to seriously work at something? Everything seems to fall a little too easily into her lap.
Despite us spending a lot of time in New York this episode, there was no Santana, and Kurt was related to a bit part as the best friend, just supporting Rachel but seemingly having no character or life of his own (despite studying at NYADA, interning at Vogue and generally being all round fabulous). Bring back the best characters, please.
I can’t pick any this week, since I didn’t really like this episode. I hope the rest of the season picks up (and by the looks of next week’s promo) it will.