We start the episode off with a disclaimer from Fox. This episode will deal with gun violence. I’ll admit that I was extremely skeptical when I heard Glee was taking on this topic. All I could picture was them being trapped in the choir room and singing their feelings to each other. If there was any music at all during the shooting sequence, I was going to be really upset. Anyone who has been through a lockdown drill (which you’ve done if you’ve been in school since Columbine) knows the key to safety in such a situation is to be as silent as possible. I also thought there was no way Glee could do nearly as well with this issue as other shows that have taken on the topic. In particular, I thought Degrassi dealt with the issue in a masterful way. While this episode wasn’t near Degrassi’s level, I was very pleasantly surprised. The writers managed to be sensitive to the topic without it feeling too exploitative. The actors also got to show off some amazing dramatic skills.
There are no previouslies this week. There are also no New York scenes. The episode takes place solely at McKinley.
We open with the glee club in the auditorium as Mr. Schue is reading the names of their competitors at Regionals. New Directions will compete against the Hoosierdaddies and the Nuntouchables. Please let the second one be singing nuns. Please. Brittany comes in and announces that a deadly asteroid is headed toward the Lima area. Basically, everything to do with the Brittany plot in this episode is incredibly stupid. As someone in the glee club points out, it’s a repeat of the Christmas plot where she and Sam were worried about the Mayan apocalypse. For the first quarter of the episode, we get to deal with this stupidity. She dubs the asteroid/comet/meteorite Tubbington Bop and says it’s headed straight for McKinley.
Here’s my problem with Brittany’s storyline, in general. In the first season, Brittany occasionally had some funny one-liners and was a great background character. Then they started gradually bringing her to the forefront. They tied her in with Santana, which was fine because Naya Rivera is an amazing actress and totally carries the Brittana relationship. I’ve never been a Brittana fan because I never believed that Brittany was in love with Santana the way Santana loves Brittany. I never felt it was convincing. Now, Santana and Brittany are separated, but Brittany has become a main character. The issue is that Heather Morris is not a good actress. Another issue is that the writers don’t know how to write Brittany as a complex character. She is comic relief and should be used so sparingly. Meanwhile, they’ve got Tina in the background with a terrible plot when Jenna Ushkowitz is a far more dynamic actress. I will say there is a scene later in the episode where Heather Morris impresses me more than she ever has before. However, it still doesn’t make up for the fact that 95% of the time, she has the acting ability of a block of wood. She’s a great dancer and an above average singer, but there is a reason she wasn’t originally brought in as an actress.
I’m not going to bother with all the Tubbington Bop crap because it’s incredibly stupid and misplaced in this episode. Essentially, Brittany gets everyone freaked out about this potential thing, but it turns out to just be a crumb on the lens of her telescope. There’s also some bullshit where she and the glee club sing Extreme’s “More Than Words” to Lord Tubbington to try to convey how much she loves him.
Mr. Schue tries to get everyone to calm down and decides they need to go ahead and prepare for Regionals. However, they should also be sure there aren’t any loose ends if the world does end. He declares this week to be “Last Chance” and says they all need to sing their feelings to each other.
Ryder finds out that Katie goes to school at McKinley. He excitedly tells Jake he’s in love with her, but Jake thinks Ryder might be moving too quickly. Jake reminds Ryder that he can’t just stalk the halls until he finds Katie. That’s basically what Ryder does, though. He finds Katie in the hallway and pulls her into the choir room. He goes on to sing Elton John’s “Your Song” to her and it’s so endearing. I want so badly for this girl to be the one he’s been talking to online, but pretty much everyone knows that she’s not. After the song, she is flattered and asks why he picked her. She goes on to say that her name is actually Marissa. Ryder is convinced that he’s been talking to her, but she asks if he’s heard of “catfishing” or Manti Te’o. Shortly after, Ryder runs up to Jake and Marley and asks which of them was messing with him. They assure him that neither of them did it, but he’s sure they were trying to humiliate him. Ryder thinks it had to be someone close to him. Marley asks if he wants to talk, but Ryder says he doesn’t want anything from them. Blake Jenner really did well with this entire storyline. Of the newbies, I think he is hands down the strongest actor.
Will and Bieste are hanging out in the locker room. She’s made them a meal inspired by their love of “Lady and the Tramp.” In honor of Tubbington Bop, she’s decided to tell Will that she’s in love with him. Seriously? This is completely out of left field and I wish they had just kept this relationship platonic. I really loved their friendship and I don’t want stupid romantic feelings to complicate that. Also, I don’t believe that Will wouldn’t tell Bieste him and Emma are back together. Bieste gets upset and leaves the room.
The next day, Ryder gets another text from Katie. She says she was nervous about meeting him, so she lied about her name and picture. He demands that they meet in person or she needs to stop texting him. She tells him to meet her in front of the choir room tomorrow at 3:30.
Brittany disbands the Astronomy Club, which is stupid, but it led to a really great scene between Brittany and Becky. After the rest of the club leaves, Becky asks to talk to Brittany. She tells Brittany they’ve had such a great time as Cheerios and she thinks neither of them should ever graduate. Becky is terrified of what happens after she has to leave McKinley. Brittany tries to explain that she has to graduate. Brittany reassures her by saying that if Becky really prepares herself, the world won’t seem like such a scary place. They pinky promise and hug as Becky tells Brittany she loves her. It is such a sweet scene and made me tear up a little bit.
Later, Will invites Bieste to the choir room for their first annual “Thank god the world’s not ending” party. He claps his hands to get started. At that moment, two gunshots ring out. Everything immediately goes silent. Bieste pulls the door shut. Will turns off the lights. Everyone scatters and hides in parts of the room not directly in front of a door or window. Blaine starts to ask if they’re sure those were gunshots, but Will immediately shushes him. Will tells them all to start texting and tweeting to let people know what’s happening, but not to let anyone know where they are. They hear footsteps in the hall and start to panic. Someone’s phone starts vibrating. They hear someone run down the hall and then both handles to the choir room start rattling. Kitty and Marley are openly sobbing. Sam starts to crawl across the room to try and get out. Apparently, Brittany is in the bathroom and he decides he needs to go get her. Will tells him that he is absolutely not leaving the room. Sam goes to sit next to Blaine, who realizes Tina isn’t in the room, either. We then different scenes around McKinley. A shower runs in the locker room. Brittany hides in a bathroom stall by standing on top of a toilet while crying. The hallways are completely empty. Marley furiously tries to text her mom, who isn’t responding. She’s terrified. We see Marley’s mom sitting in the kitchen, but her phone is on the other side of the room. Marley continues to freak out. Kitty reassures her that no one is going to hurt her mom. She says everyone likes Marley’s mom. Just then, Kitty decides to confess that she messed with Marley’s costumes during Grease. Kitty starts to freak out and runs across the room. I’m not really sure why she did that. I’ve seen the episode twice now, and I still didn’t really understand it. Sam decides to try to get up and leave again, but Will stops him. Sam fights back and Bieste says they need to keep the noise down because Sam is endangering everyone in the room by being so loud. That resonates with him and he sits back down. Ryder crawls across the classroom to be closer to Marley and Jake. Outside the school, Principal Figgins is trying to keep calm. Tina runs up to him and says she needs to go inside because all the glee club is in there and she needs to be with them. When he tells her that can’t happen, she breaks down, crying.
Artie gets out his video camera and starts recording everyone’s last messages, in case they don’t get out. Ryder tells his dad how much he loves him. Marley says she has a journal filled with original songs that she wants people to read. Jake tells Puck and his mom how much he loves them. Artie turns the camera to Sam, who knocks it down, unable to deal with it in that moment. We cut back to Brittany, who hears footsteps in the bathroom. She looks down, absolutely terrified. It’s just Mr. Schue, though. She comes out of the stall and several other doors open. Back in the choir room, Ryder decides he wants to call Katie. He says he still cares about her and needs to leave her a message. He calls and a phone on the other side of the choir room starts to ring. Bieste tells them to turn off the ringing phone. Everyone tells Ryder he needs to hang up. He looks around at them, betrayed. Mr. Schue escorts the people from the bathroom back into the choir room. Brittany runs up to Sam and hugs him. The SWAT team gives the all clear and the lights go back on. Sam hugs Mr. Schue. Kitty hugs Brittany. Sam hugs Blaine. Brittany hugs Arite. Everyone in the room comes together in a giant group hug as they all confess their love to each other. Mr. Schue goes to the middle of the room to turn off the metronome, which has been ticking for the entire time. They all start calling their loved ones.
All in all, we spend about 12 minutes of the episode with most of the characters hiding in the choir room. There is little to no movement. Lines are rarely spoken above a whisper. We are so used to music in the show that the silence seems almost deafening. It is the best 12 minutes of this season. I would argue it is one of the best scenes of the entire series. The tension is so intense that I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin. For people who had lost faith in Glee, this episode felt like the good ol’ days of Season 1. It was absolutely astounding.
The next day, police are going through every single locker, looking for anything that might identify who brought the gun. Security cameras are installed, as are metal detectors. Sue comes into the teacher’s lounge with donuts for everyone. Will and Bieste talk about how this is going to forever change the students. Bieste says half the students didn’t come to school that day. Sue thinks everyone is overreacting and compares it to the brouhaha after Janet Jackson and Nipplegate. Sue says they don’t even know it was a gun. Bieste says she’s positive it was a gunshot. She also says she’s not comfortable with the idea of a student hiding a gun in the school. Will assures them that the police are going to find out which student it is and expel them. At that point, Sue says no one will get expelled because it was her gun.
Sue goes to tell Principal Figgins. She says it’s registered and in light of recent events, she felt more comfortable with a gun in her desk. Figgins tells her they aren’t going to get into a debate about the merits of armed teachers. They have a quick discussion about the causes of gun violence in schools. She says she was just doing her daily safety check when the gun went off. It was an accident. She covered up the evidence in a panic. She apologizes and says she’s ready to take her punishment. Figgins reminds her they have zero tolerance policies about this kind of stuff. Sue sadly talks about how after all her hard work and dedication to coaching and mentoring cheerleaders, this is going to be the thing for which she is remembered. Figgins apologizes and says he has no choice.
Blaine and Tina are walking down the hallway together. He talks about staying up the night before with his family. Tina says her parents didn’t want her to come to school. She goes on to say that she wishes she had been in the choir room with everyone. Blaine tries to say she really didn’t because it was so terrifying. Tina tells him that they’re her family and she needed to be close to them. She said she didn’t want their last memory of her to be her bitching about not getting solos. They both start crying and hug each other. Blaine tells Tina he loves her and that she was absolutely there with them. They walk off, hand in hand. Regardless of the ridiculously creepy crush fiasco, I love Blaine and Tina’s relationship. I’ve wanted them to be besties for a long time.
Kitty tells Ryder that she absolutely did not “catfish” him. Ryder tries to tell Jake it makes sense that it’s Kitty. He says Brittany’s with Sam, Unique has a different ringtone, and Tina wasn’t in the room, so that leaves no one else but Kitty. Jake thinks it could be a member of the band. Ryder is still going to wait outside the choir room at 3:30 to see if Katie shows up.
Will helps Bieste set up an online dating profile. They talk about how much they need and love each other. She’s already got a match! And it’s Ken Tanaka. Great callback to season 1. Love it.
Brittany goes up to Sam in the hallway and hugs her. She asks if he feels any better, but he says not really. He tells Brittany that she’s all he thought about during the shooting, and she assures him he was all she thought about. They talk about Sam’s relationship with Lord Tubbington and I’m so done with everything about that stupid cat. Anyway, he goes on to say that he got her something to start a fake family. He goes on to pull another really fat cat out of his gym bag. Brittany asks how long the cat was in the duffel bag and he says it was a while. They say “I love you” to each other.
Sue packs up her office as Will walks in. He asks why she did it. She tells him that she already explained her reasons to Figgins, but he says bringing a gun to school just isn’t like her. We then get a flashback to what actually happened. Sue is in her office talking to Becky. Becky tells Sue how scared she is to graduate and go out into the world. Sue tries to reassure her that she’ll always have a spot with Sue. Becky says she needed to protect herself and pulls the gun out of her jacket. Sue tells Becky she completely understands and asks Becky to hand her the gun. As Becky hands it over, she accidentally pulls the trigger. She is startled and drops it on the ground, where it goes off a second time. Becky starts crying as Sue hugs her and promises to take care of things. Back in the present, Will asks Sue to give him something so he can talk to Figgins and try to appeal on her behalf. Sue isn’t budging, though, and asks that he look after Becky because she gets scared sometimes. She goes to leave, but looks back and gives Will one more “thanks buddy” before walking away.
It’s 3:30 and Ryder is standing outside the choir room. Sue walks by and asks why Ryder isn’t at the “mandatory school assembly.” Apparently, the glee club is having a secret meeting. Ryder stands there a minute more, but no one shows up. He texts Katie, but there is no response. The glee club meets in the auditorium and sings John Mayer’s “Say.” As they sing, we see a couple more of the videos made in the choir room. Sam tells his parents he loves them and they need to feed the cat in his backpack in his locker. Unique tearfully encourages anyone watching the video to stay true to who they are. Kitty says she has had the best year of her life because of glee club. Artie talks about how much glee club has meant to him and how much he loves the other club members.
I think this episode is going to be really important in setting up next season. I have a theory. Ryan Murphy has said next season is going to be different and most characters are going to be in the same place. This episode basically set up Jane Lynch’s exit from the show. Matthew Morrison very badly wants off the show to pursue a music career and other endeavors. Jayma Mays has already been reduced to a guest star. I firmly believe this will be the last season set at McKinley. There are several things pointing toward a time jump. When season 5 starts, I think it’s going to be set a couple years from now. If that’s true, I’m actually really excited. We’ve all come to the point where we don’t want to just see any glee club. We want to see what happens to the members we already know and love. I do include the newbies in that because I am now invested in their characters. I know not everyone feels the same way. I think next season will be mainly set in New York and revolve around more of the original characters. It’s just a hunch right now, but I really hope it’s right.
Next episode: It’s all about dreams.