The Glee winter finale left fans both sad and shocked, as it featured a suicide attempt and life-threatening car accident. What is the fate of Quinn? How did the show handle such a delicate topic of teen bullying?
Our Round Table panel of Matt Richenthal, Miranda Wicker and Chris O'Hara checks in below with a few answers. What is your take on these topics?
What was your favorite scene from the episode?
Matt: Easy: Hiram's panicked speech prior to his daughter marrying Finn. Jeff Goldblum always slays me and he was at his Jeff Goldblum best here, going off about kidnapping Rachel, Barbara Streisand's underground mall and other stream of consciousness topics.
Miranda: Agreed. Anything involving the parents trying to stop the wedding, really. Their elaborate scheme followed by Jeff Goldblum's "I'm going to fake an epileptic seizure" made me chuckle.
Chris: It's unaninimous. Goldblum had some gems, like his admission that he doesn’t drive, but for me the best scene or scenes were the ones that featured the “new Sue.” Maybe it was just hormones but her remorse over not acting on her suspicions about Karofsky and the support she later showed Will at Finchel’s wedding were epic.
What was your favorite performance?
Matt: Rachel's "Here to Us." Partly for the over-the-top reaction of her dads partly because Lea Michele is just ridiculously awesome and partly because it fit in so well with the overall idea of this being the final Regionals for the senior class.
Miranda: I'm a sucker for all the Sectionals/Regionals/Nationals performances, so definitely the New Directions performances at Regionals. I loved the mash-up of "Fly/I Believe I Can Fly," even though I usually hate any and all performances of the R. Kelly song. I also loved "Stronger," but, like a reader pointed out in the comments, it's puzzling that we never see the Troubletones practicing with the New Directions. Perhaps they're too busy prepping with the Cheerios for their own Nationals.
Chris: Favorite performance without a doubt was Blaine’s version of Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup.” It was a very passionate and emotional performance. Intermixed with the scenes of Karofsky’s humiliation and subsequent act of desperation, it made for a very powerful and moving few minutes.
Did the show handle the topic of teen suicide well?
Matt: I've made it rather clear that I'm not a fan of Glee as a Public Service Announcement. I just want to watch Glee as an Entertaining, Humorous, Musical Hour of Television. But if I strip away preconceived notions, and other problems I had with this episode, my answer is yes. The moments spent specifically on Karofsky, and the reactions of those around him, were handled with delicacy and respect.
Miranda: My answer to this is skewed based on a personal experience with a student who committed suicide almost two years ago. I so desperately want to say that yes they handled this well, but no, I don't think they did. Eh. I don't know. Maybe they did.
There wasn't enough build up for me to really understand what Karofsky's life has been like since leaving McKinley, but the thing about teen suicide is that it's driven by impulse. In that regard, they were spot-on. He had a harrowing, forced outing in the boy's locker room of all places and went home devastated and turned to suicide as his only option without really thinking it through that yes, he did have options. I just wish he'd played more of a part in this season's episodes because I like the character and think Max Adler portrays him so well.
I think they DID handle the adult reaction to a teen's attempt at suicide well, though, because every emotion expressed by those five characters are exactly those expressed by administrations and faculties all over when something like this happens.
Chris: I echo Miranda’s answer here and I also appreciated Kurt’s objections to Quinn’s comments, as well as Joe’s eventual resolution to his religious objections to Santana and Brittany. A friend of mine took his own life his freshman year of college and I remember the priest at the funeral asking us to pray to God so that he would forgive our friend for his sin of taking his own life. I was abhorred.
I actually went to a Catholic high school and was in a group, no lie, called “The God Squad.” After that funeral service, though, my views on religion were forever changed. I, at one point in my life, was in a very dark place and had some unhealthy thoughts myself - but someone close to me reminded me that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I thought Will’s “Peanut Butter Solution” was very well done, even if Rory looked like Joe Black eating that peanut butter.
Will Quinn survive her car crash?
Matt: I don't see the show going there. I just see this as a means for it to dedicate an episode down the line to the dangers of texting while driving.
Miranda: Hmmm, it's a tough call. We haven't had a death of a leading character on the show, but it somehow seems too..."easy" to off her in a texting-and-driving car crash. However, we've had so many near deaths that it makes sense that we'd have and actual one now and she seems like as good a character as any. Her death would drive the story along instead of just being for shock value. So basically, I don't know, but I'm fine either way.
Chris: I think we might lose the lovely Q. I feel like the show is ready to lose a main character in this fashion. Quinn had resolved her issues with her friends, she got he spot back on the Cheerios, she proved to herself and everyone how smart she was by getting into Yale. As much as I love seeing her each week, it might be what the show needs. Now I’m sure someone will look up the details of her contract and prove me wrong or otherwise and I too thought about doing so, but I chose to instead make my guess and see how it pans out.
Sue's pregnancy: OMG or WTF?
Matt: WTF with an asterisk: this is the sort of thing Glee does, right? It gives us a serious topic of teen suicide one moment, and the the medically absurd storyline of Sue Sylvester the next second... even though fertility treatment is also a pretty serious subject for millions of women. But whatever. There's no point in watching and complaining. As long as Sue makes me laugh, I'm fine with it.
Miranda: Completely WTF. She announced she wanted to have a baby last week, right? That she was just beginning treatments? I could go into so many medical reasons why her already being pregnant is both implausible and completely impossible, but I think I'm just supposed to be swallowing a healthy dose of "Suspension of Disbelief" here. So I am. Because WTF, y'all?
Chris: I neither had an OMG or WTF reaction. I thought it was a good twist to her character and, as we saw this week, will open up all kind of great scenes going forward as she deals with the ups and downs of her pregnancy.