Glee Recap: A Her-story of Violence

lea michele cryThe New Directions’ rehearsal room may be “America’s No. 1 desination for cheap, sappy moralizing” (Sue Sylvester’s words, not mine), but even at its After School Special-iest moments, Glee can still manage to tug at the heartstrings. And in this week’s episode — titled “Choke” — most of the emotional punch was delivered by Lea Michele and Dot Marie Jones, who breathed fresh life into their respective story arcs about potential college rejection and unexpected domestic violence.

If you were too busy studying Finn’s “Save Puck in the backyard” diagram to pay attention to the entire hour, here’s how the action played out:

* After Coach Beiste showed up at school with a black eye, Santana made an insensitive joke that had Roz and Sue (who if memory serves was physically assaulting students in the hallway around this time last year) up in arms, ready to teach the New Directions girls about the perils of domestic violence. (Best moment: Roz dubbing Brittany, Tina, Mercedes, Sugar, and Santana as Hat Rack, Asian Horror Movie, Little Oprah, Rojo Caliente, and Salsa Caliente.) As Sue, Roz, and Beiste embarked on their teaching moment — once again relegating Schue to the role of background ooh-er and aah-er — the tough football coach broke. Turns out her new hubby Cooter had given her that shiner in a drunken fit of rage, and she was afraid to leave “because I don’t think anyone else is ever gonna love me.” (Oh how Dot Marie Jones turned what could’ve been nothing more than a PSA masquerading as a script into something very real.) In what seemed like a pat conclusion, Beiste decided to move in with her sister and thank the New Directions chicas for possibly saving her life, but in an end-of-episode reveal, we discovered the polyester-loving lady had given Cooter a second chance. I liked that the story didn’t wrap up neatly in the course of the hour, but I wasn’t crazy about Brittany’s clueless response to Beiste’s confession (“Did he break his hand?”) or Sue’s wisecracking (“If you don’t have a change of clothes, I have a tent you can wear.”) in the face of Beiste’s plight. You can’t demand we take seriously the issue of domestic violence then crack dubious jokes about its burly victim in the same breath. Especially just because she’s burly.

* Kurt aced his NYADA audition — in front of Broadway legend Carmen Thibodeaux (Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg) — with a last-second switch of song choice from “Music of the Night” to “Not the Boy Next Door.” But Rachel, who’d hilariously pumped herself up in front of the mirror with zingers like “You are gonna shine so bright on that stage that the sun is gonna cry with envy,” choked and forgot her lyrics — twice! The stern rebuke of the NYADA dean — “You get 8 bars; I gave you 16.” — was way harsh, Tai, although probably pretty realistic. Surely this isn’t where Rachel’s NYADA dream ends: Girlfriend is too spunky — and insane — to take a single “no” before giving up, right?

* Puck failed to seduce his way to a passing grade in Ms. Doozenbury’s European Geography class, but before he became a full-fledged dropout, a visit from his estranged father (seeking $500 in rent money) made him decide to redouble his studying efforts — with an assist from his New Directions bros. Yet despite the guys admirably stepping in in the role of Dad — even Blaine! — the episode ended with Puck getting a giant red ‘F’ on his exam.

Anyhow, now that we’ve covered all the pertinent plot details, let’s review the best quotes from the episode:

“If we do Alien Abductions, we could set up corn fields and probing booths.” –Senior Class President Brittany, brainstorming prom themes

“I spent the weekend sending your photo to ivory poachers who could make an absolute fortune selling your enormous white teeth on the black market.” –Sue, spewing venom at Roz

“You finally shed the last five pounds! Congrats!” –Sam, reacting to Finn wanting to make an announcement

“I vowed not to speak with you unless William and Kate got pregnant, Liza passed, or unless one of us was in grave danger.” –Rachel, approaching Kurt’s locker before their NYADA auditions

“Once, La Thibodeaux stopped a performance of Medea at The Met because someone glanced at their watch while she was doing one of her ‘I’m killing my babies’ arias.” –Kurt, basking in the ferociousness of Whoopi Goldberg’s character

“Her dads are doing something called sitting shiva.” –Finn, telling the guys how Rachel was handling her NYADA audition disaster

“Moving on, what rhymes with Pre-industrial European deforestation?” –Artie, hoping the “Rain in Spain” teaching lesson had other applications

And now, let’s get on to the grades for this week’s musical numbers:

“School’s Out,” Puck Even with the hellions-in-the-bathroom, Cheerios-writhing-on-the-playing-field, everyone-in-Alice-Cooper-mascara motif, this felt like something of an afterthought. Grade: C-

“Cell Block Tango,” Tina, Santana, Mercedes, Brittany, and Sugar A faithful rendering of the Chicago classic (no, that’s not a Pizzeria Uno reference), although how come there were only five merry murderesses? Grade: B

“Not the Boy Next Door,” Kurt I loved Kurt’s whole “I had my swans on standby” shtick as he changed directions from “Music of the Night,” but the choreography here felt a little…stilted? I thought last week’s “I Have Nothing” was a more impressive musical moment. Was it just me? Grade: B+

“The Rain in Spain,” The Guy of New Direction (except Kurt) Props to the show for trying a drastically different rock arrangement of the My Fair Lady ditty, but I have to be honest: It mostly made me wince. Grade: C (hey, it’s better than getting an F like Puck, yes?)

“Shake It Out,” Mercedes, Santana, and Tina I got chills — and they were multiplyin’ — as the trio of New Directions divas harmonized against images of Beiste returning home to her abusive hubby. Grade: A

“Cry,” Rachel Rachel may be a maddening ball of crazy, but my heart broke for her as she mourned the loss of her NYADA dreams — with jaw-dropping vocal athleticism — on this Kelly Clarkson ballad. Grade: A

And now it’s your turn, hit the comments with your thoughts on “Choke.” And for all my TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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150 Comments
  1. Carmichael says:

    Rachel failing was so very very beautiful. It made me so very happy

    • Okay says:

      Ouch. . .

      • Carmichael says:

        she’s so need to learn she’s not so high and mighty since the first episode so very long ago

        • Okay says:

          What’s wrong with confidence? She’s confident in her ability. She’s an excellent performer especially for her “age” and she knows it. I don’t remember anything in the past 3 years that would indicate Rachel Berry isn’t the sh*t. I understand your point of view, though.

          • Rolfe says:

            People may be annoyed by Rachel, but there is no denying she is a star. This broke my heart for her.

          • BHappy88 says:

            I cried. It broke my heart too. Rachel is my favorite and always has been; she will succeed no matter what haters!!

    • Rachel Scott says:

      glad i wasn’t the only one who wanted to see her fail because she needed that reality check

      • Amy says:

        Are you serious? How about the reality check that Finn applied for the Actors Studio? Her reality check needs to be to sign up for more colleges!

        • Farrah says:

          yeah for reals. even the most confident SOBs apply to safety schools. and can we just stop for a second and point out the nonsense of beiste thanking the girls in her first confession? what?! basically thanking them and reinforcing such behavior, but yeah okay, Glee, that makes sense

    • Gabriela says:

      LOVED IT TOO!! I hope she realizes what she really wants out of life after all of this. I mean a teenager who was willing to get married and leave all of her dreams behind because of her high school boyfriend?
      I’m sorry but maybe seeing what not getting her dream looks like will put her into perspective! I didn’t want season 3 Rachel Berry to get into NYADA!

    • Lee says:

      Does anyone NOT believe that Thibodeaux (Whoopi) will be in the audience at Nationals and come backstage after the performance to offer her a spot at NYADA?

    • Gleek says:

      Racheal is AMAZING. Her character is suppose to be confident and strong willed. That’s not right to say you’re glad. You’re not a gleek. You’re an ass.

      • Rachel Scott says:

        i won’t say i’m a gleek, but i watch the show every week. just because die hard fans like every character, doesn’t mean that regular fans of the show have to like every character. it is inevitable in every show to have an unlikeable character, and that is rachel for me. it doesn’t make anyone an ass for not liking her and wanting to see something not go her way.

  2. Mr. Hudson says:

    This episode is easily one of my favorites from this season (besides maybe one or two). I cried and laughed through various parts of this episode, even though the whole Beiste-abuse story came out nowhere and I felt like they were too hard on Santana’s (always saying something inappropriate, haha) joke, kids make jokes. I actually thought that Puck might have passed and wow, I felt so bad for Rachel. *heartbroke* I liked the cover of Cry and Shake It Out. I know some people will want Ryan Murphy’s head, but its Glee, Rachel will get into NYADA. Btw, Emmy voters, it wouldn’t hurt to look at this episode, Dot Marie and Lea Michele for all the awards.

    • yep says:

      I loved every minute of this heart-felt episode. It showed all of them are human who can fail and fall. Rachel saw how Kurt’s out of the box performance won him praises. Made her realize she was playing safe with her Don’t Rain on My Parade. Something Rachel never fails at. Puck trew away his senior year til dad shows up. The guys realized he needed intervention. He wanted to pass for himself and the guys but failed anyway, Beiste, oh dear, never saw that coming but such is life-people are not what they seem. She stayed, OMG, why? These 3 showed us that aweful things happen to good people with no reason for them.
      1) Rachel was a shue-in but choked. She showed responsibility for her own demise and congratulated Kurt with praise for his success. 2) Puck a sure failure but he realized he didn’t want to be like his dad and tried to pass geography but failed anyway. Feeling that he let himself and his friends down. 3) Beiste outside is tough and gritty but inside a softie. Secumbed to dometic issues but failed to do what was right for her. Glee girls with Sue and the other coach by her side. But she took Cooter back. All these things showed how human we can be. Lea and Dot had spectacular performances. The girls were wonderful. Music told the story. Music sung beautifully. I think this was the best episode to date. Even with all the drama but good drama it is. Rachel will learn from this what rejection can be in NY. This will be a turning point for Puck-cannot wait. Beiste, I hope she realizes she deserves better. I loved it. Well done Glee.
      The prom promo seems like it will be great as well.

    • dude says:

      I agree with you that this episode was amazing but I do not agree with you about Santana. She’s my favourite character but you can’t make excuses for her no matter what she does just because you like her, that was a hugely inappropriate joke and would have gotten a real student expelled. If she was in a real high school and went up to her teacher and said “Hey, did your husband beat you last night?” she’d be out of that school so fast. That was the one part of the episode I found hard to swallow, we all know Santana is mean but I didn’t buy that she’d make a joke that cruel and actually find it funny.

      • Mary S. says:

        I can’t imagine her getting expelled for that. Detention? Definitely. Suspension? Maybe. Even in the real world I can’t imagine her getting expelled, but especially in Glee world. Karofsky didn’t get expelled and he threatened to kill Kurt. Puck didn’t get expelled in this episode, and he was wildly inappropriate with that teacher. At my school, trying to seduce a teacher into giving you a good grade would be more than grounds for an expulsion. What Santana said wasn’t funny, and Santana’s my favorite character too, but we honestly probably wouldn’t even have thought about it had it not turned out to be so close to the truth. Also, I liked Michael’s point about Sue’s wild hypocrisy in this episode, more so than normal because she was actually being serious. What Sue has done in the past is way worse than what Santana has done, and until Sue seems to feel some actual remorse for her actions, I don’t think she can say anything.

  3. Alex says:

    Why does it always feel like each episode has to have a “theme”? I wish we could go back to the old days sometimes.

    • holla says:

      The old days had themes too.

    • Adam says:

      Well, most great TV has an underlying theme throughout its episodes. Glee’s issues tend to be that the themes are far too overt, literal and heavy-handed in a way that makes it feel like an after school special.

    • diablo says:

      Are you kidding? Series 1 was the worst for themes. Just look at Funk and count the 1,203 times the word funk was used “I’m in a funk” “I’ve lost my funk” “Where’s my cat…funk?”

    • dude says:

      I’m pretty sure this episode didn’t have a theme. The songs were completely all over the place and the storylines were about domestic violence, choking at an audition and failing geography. What was the theme?

    • Alex says:

      Blah, this is what happens to me when I don’t compose myself before writing. What I meant by that was that a whole of episodes are feeling like the themes are becoming more and more overt. Yes, I am aware of the funk episode from the first season but it didn’t feel like every episode was like that. I mean, the A story “theme”is pretty obvious while the B and C story are alright, for me at least.

  4. Sam says:

    Like Rachel would ever choke on that song.

    • Tanookie says:

      Ask any seasoned Broadway performer and they’ll tell you that choking on lines/flubbing lyrics always happens when you least expect it. It happens to everyone.

      • Lyria says:

        Very true. Also, Whoopi’s lecture made me laugh because she once stopped a performance of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum because she forgot her lyrics.

    • Emily says:

      I used to dance competitively, and my studio would close out each season with a showcase performance. I’d competed with this one routine a million times and I never had a problem with it, but during the showcase — the last of a million-and-one times I’d do this routine — I completely blanked out three times and I’ll never be able to explain how or why it happened.

      • JAO says:

        Yes, blanking out happens. I was demonstrating a Kata routine that I had done hundreds of times. In the middle of it, I blanked out. Kept moving around and doing something so only my Sensei caught it. Heck, in acting it happens a lot, too — that’s why we have ad libs.

  5. Magui says:

    I’m going to say just one thing about the episode: KURT AND THOSE GOLD PANTS!

  6. Okay says:

    Kinda wondering how Puck’s dad found him out of nowhere, especially if he hasn’t seen his kid in 5 years. Anywho, its completely realistic for Rachel to Choke, it happens.

  7. fiona says:

    I enjoyed rain in spain because is was hilarious and original.

    OH and SOOOOO glad Tina get’s to participate this episode! Loved the shake it out song and Rachel’s cry. Probably Whoopi Goldberg will be back for nationals and see what rachel’s made of and reconsider her decision. By the way why do all these people gamble on one school post grad. they should at least try other performing arts schools in new york

    and mike asking blaine gel tips hahahah

    • holla says:

      Oh, yeah. The gel. I like Blaine, but NO.

    • cte says:

      agree abt rain in spain- sometimes the best musical numbers are the ones that are totally ridiculous or terrible (see Run Joey Run).

      The musical numbers used to fit into the story line or express something about the characters and what they were feeling. Plus, kids would totally joke and do something that crazy and hilarious. Not every song needs to be a perfect production ala Lady Gaga or Nationals

  8. CA says:

    I was more disturbed by Bieste going back to Cooper (even though that is an often too sad reality of domestic violence) then I was by the off color jokes by Britt or Sue.

    I thought Kurt killed his audition. The choreography was very much in line with what you would have seen on stage had you seen the actual musical so I didn’t think it was stilted at all. Though I loved Kurt solo last week, even more so because he was singing his apology to Blaine, the high register of the song didn’t resonate as much with me as a song; even if Chris Colfer has the power voice to sing it….which is why tonight’s Not the Boy From Next Boy would rate better with me.

    • A says:

      I think it was good that Beiste’s situation wasn’t completely resolved at the end of the episode. So many storylines in this show get resolved way too fast and it doesn’t feel realistic, so its nice that there is a hope for continuity (even though there is a chance with Glee that it won’t be brought up again given its record for continuity of some of its storylines)

    • protoscholar says:

      I think that Bieste going back was all too realistic, and frankly acknowledges the complexity of the situation. Remember, this is a woman who had never been KISSED until Schue. She has every reason (and unfortunately a lot of evidence) to believe that she will never find love again. Moreover, most of us assume that people might learn from a mistake made once, so going back isn’t surprising. The way they described the hit, it was 1) the first time, 2) when he was drunk, and 3) apologized for IMMEDIATELY. Under those circumstances, I probably would have gone back on the condition that he stopped drinking and went to AA. The lack of that condition reflects more on her self-esteem than on his actions.

  9. WayneInNYC says:

    Dot Marie Jones was amazing. It lesser hands, I doubt it would have been so moving.

    • chistosa says:

      I agree. She really showed her acting chops in this episode. This performance was Emmy worthy. She was amazing.

  10. Ryan says:

    That version of The Rain in Spain was TERRIBLE. I’m not even a My Fair Lady fan and I was offended.

  11. Emma says:

    Glee- where college auditions and final exams somehow happen in the same week…

    • Rob says:

      It’s called television: a magical place where reality is not real. Um, go watch reruns of Friday Night Lights if you want “realistic fiction”.

    • English says:

      It was just an “exam” Not a “final exam”. You can fail a class so badly that even if you aced the final exam, you still wouldn’t pass the class.

      I happen to agree on your comment though. In season one Regionals were in May but in season two they were at the end of March. The writers say Beth’s birthday is in June but that doesn’t match up with the rest of the timeline. Glee lives in a world where time isn’t realistic. They could use a small lesson from Jack Bauer. :-)

  12. Kristi says:

    This episode was one of the worse I’ve seen

  13. Sam says:

    i feel like glee should have been more responsible with the domestic abuse storyline. especially having a warning before the ep that it would be discussed. a lot of people of triggers and domestic abuse is one of them.

    AND they should have had an actual PSA of some actual organizations that help with those situations. you can’t just have that storyline and those terrible jokes ABOUT the situation and expect it to help people. sigh. glee fail.

    also the rachel berry i know wouldn’t have choked on DROMP. but of course the writers have been systematically killing her since s2 so this is just the final cut.

    • Dryden says:

      I agree about the trigger warning.

      Let’s also call BS on all the commenters referring to a domestic abuse storyline as an after-school special. Argue all you want whether the story was effective, but please don’t marginalize something significantly affecting people as trite.

      • Angie says:

        When I hear dialogue like, “You never think this can happen to you,” or “I don’t think anyone else will ever love me,” I’m sorry but that just screams after-school special to me. There’s a way to get the information across without sounding like a pamphlet. I agree that it’s a serious issue, and I feel like more thought should have been put in trying to convey it in a realistic way (of course this Glee and I’ve learned to lower my expectations).

        • Georgia says:

          I’ll agree that the “You never think it could happen to you” was trite, but considering Beiste hadn’t ever been kisses before last year, I think it was totally believable that she would stick it out with Cooter in fear of never finding someone else. I kept waiting for a Chris Brown/Rhianna reference, but I guess RM is more worried about getting permission to use their songs on the show to offend them.

          • Jennifer McKenna says:

            they did make a Chris Brown/Rhianna reference. Santana made it in the hallway when she first saw the shiner. That’s the comment that got everyone started on the domestic violence issue.

          • Georgia says:

            Must have missed that when flipping channels, thanks for clarifying, I was confused as to why they wouldn’t make such an obvious reference.

        • yep says:

          You have the right to your opinion but there are people all over who go through domestic abuse. It was brought to Glee girls attention that this subject is not a laughing matter. But it signaled an eye opener for Beiste to realize what happened to her. It took me twenty years to realize what a deep hole I was in. I realized it too late for me. Years have passed and I’m still in recovery. I loved this smart intelligent story. Beiste’s story was out of the blue but these 3 stories paralleled each other in their own way. Showing the human side of everyone. Frailties. failings. Devastation. And there are more. These Smart story lines are an opening to significant and important poignant stories in the succeeding episodes to bring this season and Glee as we know it to a close.

          • Angela says:

            I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with a similar situation in your life. I hope your recovery continues to be helpful to you and better days come along for you.

      • Scarlett Rose says:

        I think Glee has failed miserably at any attempt at “lessons” in the past due to a lack of continuity and/or quick resolution. This episode would have been the same, but Dot-Marie Jones knows how to bring the goods. First elements of brilliance in a Glee episode in a long time.

  14. Dryden says:

    “Shake It Out” is a series highlight. I got goosebumps.

    • Georgia says:

      Loved it as well. Was so worried about the show ruining that song for me, but the girls did amazing, especially Naya.

    • Sookie says:

      I absolutely loved that version! I downloaded it first thing this morning! Goosies!

  15. Angie says:

    Way too preachy about domestic abuse. It was so afterschool special, that it made me cringe. I was a little surprised that Beiste stayed, but I thought the jokes about her situation were cruel and misplaced.

  16. Jasper says:

    I loved the first 15 minutes or so of this episode — it was fun and light and snappy and reminded me of the first season of GLEE. But then…this show has to try to shoehorn in some major issue per episode. I wonder who decided to turn Glee into a never-ending after-school special.

    • Gabriela says:

      I know right?
      These are my predictions for next season: They’ll do a rape related storyline, someone will get a major drug problem, an athlete will have a problem with steroids, they’ll talk about abortion, and so on..

      • Lily says:

        There is an indication that Brittany might be raped.. (remember First Time episode) so that can happen… Blaine seems to have a problem with alcohol and anger… maybe some alcoholism while not able to cope with his long distance relationship with Kurt ? Sam might get into steroids…. Abortion… Tina ????

        • A says:

          Uh, they’ve already dealt with abortion (though it didn’t push through) with Quinn. Or maybe I’m remembering it wrong.

    • Sookie says:

      I honestly don’t know what Glee you’ve been watching. Glee is all about dealing with “issues”. If this episode bothered you then you just don’t get it.

      • yep says:

        I agree with you. The story line for Rachel is that even since she has faced devastation in her quest for NYADA she has the tenacity and drive to persevere. And never stop one of the qualities that keeps Rachel as a favorite for many fans including me. In the subsequent episodes we will see how she fairs with her tenacity and drive to her dream. To me this is as admirable quality to have.
        The story for Puck he changed his mind after seeing his dad and stopped resigning himself to being a loser and drop out. He wanted to graduate but had to pass the geography test. When he flunked the test his face said it all, he will have to face those demons again to get back on track to try and graduate. Not be a loser. We will see how he tackles and applies tenacity to his dilemma.
        Coach Beiste, her future story line is how she will accept that she deserves better and how she will tackle her tenacity to get away from her dysfunctional home life. Also this was a learning experience for the Glee girls to not make light of these types of serious domestic issues. Something that Santana speaks before thinking out the reprecussions. All the girls learned how serious things can be which could affect anyone even those whom they think they know well. This could happen to them. Be aware. As for Beiste her feelings were buried deep and only through song did she become aware of how serious her situation could be. But she didn’t act on what was the right choice for her. How will she face or react to any future domestic issues? And mostly, will she be determined and have the tenacity to face her demons and know she deserves better? Will she suceed? I don’t know how anyone could not love these story lines for exceptional characters to overcome.
        The boys were supportive of Puck and tried to help a mate in need.
        Finn a loving supportive boyfriend who helped coach Rachel for her audition and then hold her when she was devastated and breaking. His face showed how he felt her pain. These kinds of things happen for no reason to good people-reality bites. Adult issues that all the Glee kids will soon learn. Not everything in life is roses, there are many thorns to sort through.
        Now if anyone hated or disliked this episode because of one thing or another, there is nothing else to say to convince you that life can be wonderful, beautiful and rich in promises for the future: but life can also be full of trials and tribulations full of disappointments some of which can hurt like a knife. Life can suck no matter what one does. Just keep moving and never stop believing like their season 1 song. Deep, Bold and Beautiful. I LOVED THIS EPISODE.

  17. Rachel Scott says:

    this episode wasn’t the best, and i hope they don’t have rachel somehow get into NYADA with a second chance audition or something. choking happens to the best people and i think she needed this reality check that she can’t always be great. i’m so sad that beist went back to her happen, but we all know that sometimes that is the case with domestic abuse victims. i did like cell block tango, i just wish they did all of the parts of the song, but i know that would have been to long.

    • dan says:

      Whoppie Goldberg is on at least one more episode. Don’t know if Rachel gets into NYADA, but there has to be a reason Whoppie’s character will be back. Sitting in the audience at Nationals maybe?

  18. MEL31602 says:

    Episode was okay. I knew the Rachel choking story line was coming since it was obvious one of the two would choke based on the episode title and since Kurt was taking the risk it was obvious it would pay off for him and thus Rachel would fail. Domestic violence storyline was a bit random but Dot Jones played it very well. I think it was added in b/c Nene Leakes is an advocate against domestic abuse- when she was on Celeb Apprentice her charity helped abused women I believe.

  19. Darth Pablo says:

    Why you gotta bring up Uno’s? I havent had a pizza from there in over 6 years! :(

  20. MorganBaby says:

    I wanted to cry at how bad this episode was. It was awful. The Rain in Spain made my ears bleed. I did like Cry, Lea Michele always hits it out of the park.
    Ryan Murphy, why do you hate Rachel so much?

    • Lyria says:

      Because she’s a woman. Most of the women in Ryan Murphy land are crazy/make terrible life choices that lead to suffering.

      • really? says:

        Kind of agree Lyria but I also disagree. If you look at the women characters on Glee, they may have issues but they are also the strongest characters. The males on the show are afterthoughts (unless your gay of course) and get portrayed as idiots. Either way, I missed Rachel singing so much, I was getting sick of mercedes and her one voice wonder. More Naya and Rachel!

    • Chance says:

      Because Lea Michele is a terrible person and from all indications a nightmare to work with.

  21. A says:

    Cell Block Tango was HOTTT!!! Also, I know they’re trying to do a good thing but why does every Glee episode have to be a public service announcement

  22. Angela says:

    I felt really bad for Rachel. Forget about what people think of the character one way or another, those sorts of moments are scary and embarrassing and definitely upsetting and I feel for anyone who freezes up in big moments like that (I did like the “sitting shiva” line, though, that did make me chuckle).
    Kurt, on the other hand, was fantastic. Loved that performance. And I agree on “Shake It Out”, and also liked the “Cell Block Tango” performance, too (but that’s mainly just ’cause I like that song).
    And Beiste. Oh, poor Beiste. There were some “after-school” aspects in the dialogue and such, yeah, but at the same time, I think Jones elevated that whole story alone with her acting and played it very convincingly. Shame she’s going back, but this is not uncommon, as I understand it, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens next for her. I like her character, I hope things turn out well. And I agree wholeheartedly that the “weight” joke and the “hurt his hand” joke were really awkward and weird and not good responses.
    Some goofy moments in this show, as always, yes, but some very poignant, intense moments, too.

  23. Davey says:

    Michael, you skipped Kurt’s Music of the Night which was actually very good and funny.

    • Davey says:

      I meant you skipped rating Music of the Night.

    • Dennis says:

      i love the phantom of the opera and kurt wrecked that song it was horrible, i hoped a stage light would fall on his head it was SO painful to listen to.

      • holla says:

        Really? I loved it.

        • really? says:

          It wasn’t great and it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t a song that was going to get him into NYADA. I just don’t get his voice apparently. I loved Rachels look when Kurt asked if he was better than Michael Crawfords version….haha…loved that she didn’t even try to lie to him about it.

  24. Randomx6 says:

    As always the female gets F’d. Let’s see…Quinn broken back, Blaine’s bf texts another guy…Rachel chokes on the thing she has wanted all her life, Puck suddenly discovers, 12 hours befoe the final, that he wants to graduate but can’t pull it off, Beiste is a victem of domestic violence, Shue can’t move his marriage up…

  25. L says:

    predictable storylines, you knew Rachel was going to be the one to choke, and the abuse storyline, a bit of a surprise, but Dot Marie Jones was fantastic and made it believable. Although inappropriate, I had to laugh at Sue’s tent comment.

    Shake It Out and Cry were fantastic. loved the harmonies of Mercedes, Santana and Tina.

  26. STW says:

    Totally powerful episode in every way.

    Loved the juxtaposition of Rachel’s story of expected success with Puck’s story of expected failure and Beiste’s story that was unexpected, period, and seeing the turns and twists given to each.

    And the support of the guys for Puck, of Finn & Kurt for Rachel, and of Sue and Roz and girls for Beiste was an amazing way to bring almost every single character into the story.

    First, the incredible scene with Beiste — Glee was, in small part, showing some fans who for a year have been glibly and thoughtlessly throwing around accusations of “abusive relationships” in order to try to score points in what they perceive as a ‘ship war,’ what’s really at stake with domestic violence. And during the weeks when the U.S. Congress is voting on the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) — one of the major pieces of legislation that helps women escape domestic abuse, and care for their children when they do so —Glee, on freaking FOX network, has the guts and verve to show exactly what’s at stake in the legislation being opposed by a party that considers FOX News to be their personal party soapbox. The twist at the end was one of the most powerful, painful, and real turns — absolutely the right choice for telling this story at this point, and acted with heartbreaking integrity in a scene filmed flawlessly to one of the best songs Glee has done.

    I love how we saw Finn being there for the love of his life — helping her at the start of the episode, supporting her in the moment of her audition, and holding her tight as she wept her heart out at the end —and being the only one before whom she wasn’t even going to try to “swallow [her] pride and bite [her] tongue / Pretend [she’s] okay with it all / Act like there’s nothing wrong.” And how we saw him in his leadership role, noticing Puck’s absence and mobilizing the guys to try to help — something that they couldn’t do for Puck, but they did their best to give him the boost he needed. It brought us right back to Finn’s persistent role from the start of the series — the guy who brings the group together and comes up with a plan to try to deal with things — sometimes with success, and sometimes not, but always trying.

    And I love seeing the evolution of Rachel Berry who, even in the midst of her misery, was able to be truly happy for and supportive of Kurt, who is getting his dream just as she has lost hers. THAT’s what’s changed about Rachel from Season 1 to now: she has let others into her self-obsession and developed a sense of compassion and love for others that her diva-ness cannot override or overcome. Now, for the first time, she has to face a crisis of confidence about her ability to be a star. This is something the show has been leading up to all year — first with her reaction to the other kids just like her and Kurt in the Season Three opening episode, then in her going up against Mercedes for the role of Maria and realizing how extremely well Mercedes did. Now we see Rachel having to face that immense talent and self-confidence aren’t, alone, enough to make it where she wants to go — where so MANY want to go and so few actually get there. She needs to be willing to take risks, to take chances (remember her singing the song in 1×05 “Taking Chances” when auditioning for “Caberet”? See what Glee did here?). This is something she’s done across the course of 3 years in learning to have personal relationships — she’s reached out to others and risked being rejected, only to succeed in the end and to win herself her true love and life-long friends. Now she needs to learn that she’s got to take professional risks as well, and be willing to know that some of them might fail (“some will win, some will lose”) but that if she doesn’t take chances, she’ll never get anywhere. This is a story and struggle that has the potential to telescope the character of Rachel Berry into entirely new levels of amazement and triumph in the end of this season and into Season Four. SO WELL DONE!!!!

    Dot during Jenna’s, Amber’s, and Naya’s flawless rendition of “Shake It Out” just got herself her Emmy nomination. That scene was brilliant, and it was so powerful and painful and real for them to write it as they did.

    Lea’s final song — both her singing and her acting — is one of the best things she’s ever done; my heart was breaking over and over. It was filmed with exquisite intention, echoing the other times we’ve seen her owning the stage in confidence (“Don’t Rain on My Parade” in 1×13, “Firework”, “Maybe This Time,” and “Taking Chances” — the last of which, in the filming of “Cry,” they very intentionally contraposed with her choice to do nottake a chance and do DROMP here) and in tears (“Take a Bow”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, “What I Did For Love” among others). And letting the song be the soundtrack not just for Rachel’s heartbreak but for Puck’s letting himself and, we’re to understand, the guys, down as he goes from being comic relief back to be semi-tragic, like we saw back in 1×04, spiked the episode’s power up into a new plateau. Now, for both of these characters, we’re left stunned, wondering what comes next and how they, and all those they love and care about, will get there.

    Fantastic creation by every single person involved — actors, writers, crew and all.

    I can’t freaking wait to see how they tell the story in the final four episodes left and what they have in store for S4.

    Not enough words to say how much I’m loving this season of Glee and anticipating next year.

  27. Carrie says:

    Kurt has the worst facial expressions when he sings, not to mention that when he sings that high it hurts my ears. He has a beautiful voice when he sings a bit lower (I want to Hold You Hand) but his voice is very grating when he sings like he did in this episode. Although it was really nice to see him in an outfit that didn’t distract from what was being sung/said when he donned the black shirt and gold pants.

    Other than that I am really glad that Rachel didn’t get her way. I love Rachel but I kept thinking throughout the last song Whoopi would be standing there as she sang cry and things would just work out for her. It’s nice that she’ll have to work a bit at it and didn’t just automatically get a make up.

    • Gabriela says:

      I’m sorry but no one is worse than Blaine in the worst facial expression while singing department. I also hate that Rachel is incapable of finishing a song without crying her eyes out.

      • Julie says:

        Songs Rachel has sung without “crying her eyes out”: Firework, Don’t Rain on My Parade (the first time), Taking Chances, Defying Gravity, On My Own, Gives You Hell, Baby One More Time, Papa Can you hear Me, Go Your Own Way, Only Child, My Headband, Here’s to Us…and that’s just the solos. There are countless duets, and group numbers where she doesn’t tear up at all. Making blanket statements make you sound like an idiot.

        ALL the actors make various faces when they sing. Naya and Amber have looked constipated more times than not; Darren is doing facial gymnastics; Chris looks like he has no teeth and doesn’t know where to look…and the list can go on.

      • KSM says:

        They did make a joke about how Rachel cries all the time when she sings in the episode. But, she doesn’t do it all the time. I’m pretty sure it was appropriate in this instance, however.

  28. holla says:

    I could have done without the Beiste storyline (and I love Beiste) but NOT without Shake It Out. I LOVED it. And even though I knew Rachel choked, that girl is gonna be the death of me. I was devastated for her. I didn’t really care for Kurt’s dancing, but his ass looked great in those pants and the note at the end was fantastic. And I know I may be alone on this one, but I thought the arrangement on My Fair Lady was fun.

  29. Linderella says:

    Great episode although I could have done without the Rain in Spain number. I thought the Cell Block Tango was terrific and it seemed that song served as the catalyst for Coach Bieste realizing she couldn’t cover up her home situation. And I’m sure we haven’t heard the last from Rachel Berry and her NYADA aspirations. The music was exceptional tonight.

  30. Amanda says:

    Rachel still reminds me of the kids that got overly praised as a child and then when it comes to the real world of what they want to do – they’re either too over-the-top or not good enough. She falls into the over-the-top catergory and this choking of hers was long overdue.

  31. Tracee says:

    Loved this episode. Could have totally done without the Rain in Spain and School’s Out numbers though.

    Whoopi is supposedly going to be in 3 episodes this season, so I expect Miss Berry will find her way into NYADA. What I think is so funny is that Rachel and Kurt knew everything about her, but had never heard of NYADA before Emma gave them the brochure earlier this season.

    When we saw that Beiste had gone back to Cooter, I immediately texted my friend “OMG – he’s going to end up killing her.”. Amazing performance by Dot Marie Jones. Hope this storyline does not end more tragic than it already is.

    • Tracee says:

      Oh and I loved that the girls recycled their outfits from Season 1’s Journey to Regionals to sing backup to Kurt.

    • LC says:

      I am fearing the same thing, but hopefully Glee won’t kill off one of the most likeable characters on the show. If they have to revisit it with a death, it best be Beiste shooting him, being inspired by Cell Block Tango(thanks for including my favorite musical # in this episode and doing it justice).

  32. sam says:

    Dot Marie Jones deserves an emmy nomination. she is such a great actress — she was so moving in the never been kissed episode last season.

    • LC says:

      I love her stories so much. I myself being a “burly girl” identify so much with her story arcs, she always manages to make my eyes watery.

  33. Mark says:

    Is anyone else insulted that he only mentions Whoopi Goldberg as “Oscar Winner” rather than Oscar, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner Whoopi Goldberg.

  34. CX says:

    Lea Michele’s “Cry” was absolutely, breathtakingly amazing. Slezak, you didn’t even give “My Man” an A. I think she’s long overdue for an A+++.

  35. Nick says:

    In my opinion, Shake It Out is one of, if not the best song they have done in this show thusfar.

  36. Kalee says:

    I’m surprised that the past 2 episodes of Glee have been “simply great” and not just “it was good… but I have some problems with it.” Okay, my only problem was Puck’s dad. Was that his house Puck was cleaning or something or did he just find him out of thin air?

    I’m even more amazed that Blaine FINALLY didn’t get on my nerves these past two episodes. Anyone else notice the complete absence of his bow-ties these same last two episodes? I think the bow-ties were a huge source of “Look, I’m confident in myself but really this is just trying too hard” smugness fakery.

    Was also really worried that Glee would waste “Shake It Out” as a simple performance just to sell on iTunes but glad it perfectly fit into the story.

    Sad that Sugar’s part on Cell Block Tango got cut, but very happy that Tina got a lot to do throughout the episode! Finally! :)

  37. please don't hate me says:

    I have mixed feelings about the Beiste story. Domestic violence is obviously never acceptable.
    However I think there’s a big difference between her husband getting drunk, lashing out once, and immediately feeling remorse and someone habitually hitting his wife/telling her she deserves it/threatening her with violence.
    I think it’s great that they had her telling people that he hit her, even the one time so that she will have people supporting her if it happens again. I’d like to think that she had a photo taken of the evidence, so that if it did happen again she could go to the police with proof that it wasn’t a one time thing. I’d also like to have seen her telling her husband that she’s back on the condition that he take anger management, and the understanding that if it ever happens again she really is gone for good.
    That being said, certain lines seemed overblown. “You girls may have saved my life.” Again, he lashed out, hit her once and felt terrible about it. If he ever did hurt her again, I don’t get the feeling that it would be so life threatening. I think that this particular situation is one that could theoretically be worked through with counseling and therapy. Most domestic abuse cases are much more severe, and should result in the abused leaving as quickly as possible, but I didn’t get the feeling here that she really needed to leave for good over this.

    *cue all the angry replies about what a terrible person I am.”

    • Carrie says:

      Um, no. Remorse is actually a distinct phase in the cycle of domestic violence–in cases where beatings occur regularly, after an explosion of violence, it is very, very common that the perpetrator will express guilt and continue to do this every time. Hence, a cycle of domestic violence. I think that attempting to minimize what Cooper did is part of a really toxic sort of mindset. No, Cooper feeling terrible about what he did does not in ANY WAY justify his actions. And it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that Beiste leave her relationship for good, because domestic violence–whether it occurs once, or habitually, with or without remorse–is not acceptable. At all.

      • no name this time says:

        The bad thing about this type of abuse is that the abuser seems likable -caring -friendly. No one knows about it because they hide it so well. They could be pillars of society. When the doors shut and it’s the 2 of you another person oozes out of the pores of one’s significant other. There could be nothing to instigate his or hers outburst except for what is in their mind as inferior or unacceptable actions that you did. And yes Beiste has insecurity issues that has imprisoned her into this dysfunctional homelife. I’ve said it in another post that I was a victim of it. It doesn’t take long after the honeymoon for the abuser to hit you when you least expect it. Verbal bullying is first and constant til you don’t believe in yourself-question yourself. For me it was paying the bills wrong, laundry wasn’t done right, didn’t cook to suit him, on and on. Every day, every minute til your fight is gone. Then it doesn’t stop there-verbal. Where did I go? Inward, to protect myself. After most of the attacks he never apologized for it it was my fault he lost his temper. But the times he did, he cried and felt ashamed and sorry and begged for forgiveness. My friends tried to reach me but were too late, I was in too deep. But everything was my fault in his eyes and also my eyes as time went on. NO ONE is immune. Twenty years later I dug myself out of the crater I created and fought back-divorce, lost everything. If people think that after you marry and things start to get rough, all you have to do is say forget this I’m out you are mistaken. The thing I love about Glee this season especially, Finn and Rachel is how they are shown as both working toward their relationship together and willing to compromise. A stepping stone to a sound foundation of a relationship. If it is one-sided then it doesn’t work. A person can only give so much without taking so long- bend to the abusers demands as he says they are what is needed in a good relationship. He took and took. Building blocks to the soul for me is song. That is why I love Glee. As hard as life has been for me and for many others in the same and worse boat, Glee with all of the PSA’s this season has touched lives and opened alot of eyes to said issues. Mostly, teens who the show is directed toward. But to many others who take the message and are grateful for it without publically announcing it. For those of you who put down the messages of this show as contrite or illogical or worse crap, I wish you a life of insecurity and debasing on a daily basis til it rots your soul-lost in the winds til you catch a limb and a breath of air which leads to hope for oneself and a tiny glimpse of a future to hold onto. I’m beyond that now. Music is my passion and I will watch this show til it ends.

    • Sookie says:

      It seemed to me the abuse had been going on if not physically then emotionally. He hit her because she didn’t do the dishes. Not exactly a hitting offense (not that there is such a thing). It indicates a long term control issue in their marriage. Beiste has poor self esteem and Cooter uses that to have control over her. Now admittedly Cooter never came across as abusive but as Bieste said you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. The remorse he showed is very typical in abusive relationships. Counselling and therapy might help both of them but I would definitely reccomend that she leave the house.

      I actually thought they were heading toward an abuse storyline with Mercedes this year with her football boyfriend. I think the issue was well handled and I hope it is not just left hanging.

    • You’re not horrible. I suppose it’s good, in a way, that you don’t know how common it is for abusers to be remorseful after each and every time. Remorse doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again, not at all.

    • murley says:

      you are not a horrible person. you are, perhaps, a little naive. you’re perspective is a little worrisome. cooter may be in a position where he could be helped by therapy. despte that, beiste should get out of that house. there is no okay scenario in which you punch your wife in the face. none, end of story. if that is even an option for a man then you deserve better. does that mean a man who can be abusive deserves no compassion? no, there is pain there behind the violence and that should be addressed and helped so that person can have the life they deserve as well. but never, ever tolerate violence. even one time. because it means something; it is an indicator of a larger issue and it is NEVER just this one time isolated mistake that will never crop up in some form again. please remember that.

    • Kristina says:

      I’m no expert, but I think this kind of thing is rarely out of the blue. She did say “No one knows what happens behind closed doors” in response to the girls saying how nice he seemed. This may have been the first time he hit her, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been abusing her emotionally and verbally before now, which can be as damaging as physical violence. I agree, the lines wre probably a bit overblown, with the intention of underscoring the potential danger of denying the reality that the cycle of abuse is likely to make it wore, not better. And yes with counseling and behavioral therapy the situation could possibly be remedied, but I think I’d err on the side of caution myself and get out until there was some definite proof of change.

  38. MarkDallas says:

    This was a new low for Glee. What I learned from this “Very Special” episode:

    — It’s very important that GIRLS be lectured to about taking spousal abuse seriously. *we all know they are the instigators* WHY AREN’T THE GUYS BROUGHT INTO THIS CONVERSATION?
    — GIRLS, make sure those dirty dishes don’t pile up!
    — It’s okay to joke about spousal abuse when you’re having a very special episode highlighting abuse. Everybody jokes about it all the time, right?
    — RE: the Puck Support Group: Kurt clearly isn’t a “guy” but his partner in sodomy somehow is.

    • Singingal says:

      Kurt wasn’t there, that’s what Michael was referring to, not insinuating that Kurt isn’t a guy. And why wouldn’t Kurt be there? Because he himself has stated in the past he should be in the girls group. Makes sense.

      Some great numbers and Dot was fantastic. Lea had some nice moments as well. One of the better episodes this season.

    • Ashley says:

      Rachel also wasn’t with the rest of the girls during the whole domestic abuse situation. Not because she’s not a girl and he’s not a guy, because her and Kurt were busy rehearsing for their audition.

  39. Shawn says:

    this episode finally reminded me of old glee. It was the perfect balance of songs comedy and drama. I think that the story line with Shannon felt out of the blue only because she hasn’t been on lately but as always dot was amazing. I hope that glee just doesn’t ignore her story like they did with Dave’s suicide attempt. I can’t say that I was rooting for Rachel to choke on her song but I think it does set up what should be an interesting story arc even tho this should have been in the beginning of the season…… What college even a performing arts school doesn’t already have admission decisions made by the spring? One of my favorite lines was Kurt’s saying that he had his swans on standby since it reminded me of Rachel saying he’s always around about the pianist when she was singing with Shelby. when glee makes fun of itself it’s at it’s best.

  40. Morgan says:

    This episode was incredibly disappointing. From a pure writing standpoint, what they did to Rachel was horrible. She has worked, and worked, and worked. Even when people told her it was silly. Even when the people who were supposed to be her friends mocked her for her ambition, she kept going.
    And how was she repaid? The writers had her choke.
    That’s really unfair and honestly, sexist. Any woman with ambition on this show is told to pump the breaks in one way or another. Sometimes it’s valid and sometimes it’s not but no one is told to go for it. For example:
    *Rachel: Her determination is mocked regularly by the glee club (who are supposed to be her friends). She is regularly told she is crazy or annoying by the people who are supposed to care about her.
    *Mercedes: Aside from the fact that all her story lines are about either her weight or how ignored she feels, when Mercedes says she has big dreams no one (barring Sam 60 episodes into the series) has offered her anything but criticism and/or reasons not to pursue her dream.
    *Santana: Even her quest for fame was thwarted by her sex tape. While it was a good message to send (that you shouldn’t do anything to get famous), it was sent with a female character, further proving that, in these writer’s eyes, ambition is a man’s game.
    Whereas Finn is applying to an incredibly prestigious acting academy with no acting experience and will probably get in.
    Maybe this is an overreaction. We haven’t seen the rest of the season. Rachel could very well be empowered in another way by the finale. But for now, I just don’t see how this is fair.

    • kateshomesick says:

      I am going to tell you something now…I consider myself a hard working musician myself- in the classical field nonetheless..but anyways. I worked my butt off, I prepared for auditions/entry exams like crazy. Professor told me that I had everything one needs to get in… AND I still didn’t get in because I couldn’t bring it…multiple times I -just slightly- choked. Sometimes it was technically as perfect as it should have been, other times it lacked in interpretation and so on…once I forgot my lyrics (which wasn’t an issue at all with the committee at all…). The competition to get in to conservatories is off the chain and not in a good way. We sometimes had 360 people trying out for 6 spots…Basically: besides talent, knowledge and ability you need to be really lucky and/or have to have already contacted professors on the committee…The pressure that waits for you in those entry exam rooms can be unbearable…

      As far as storytelling goes what happened to Rachel might have been not the wisest choice…other than that…I thought it was realistic for once. Also the divas comment…was spot on…just for the sake of being mean (and they DO have the power)…I’ve heard way worse…

  41. dude says:

    The jokes were off-colour but they were honestly my favourite part of the episode. That and the cell block tango.

    • holla says:

      If there’s a hell, I’m definitely going but I laughed out loud when Brittany asked if Beiste’s husband had broken his hand.

  42. Sookie says:

    I guess this means that Puck will be back next year with his amazing abs!

  43. DCwriter says:

    Slezak, I notice a theme with the Puck-hating on all of his numbers. You never give him a good grade. I think you just don’t like him.

  44. Nate says:

    My favorite parts were actually the Cell Block Tango and Shake It Out…because we finally got a chance to hear Jenna Ushkowitz sing this season! I was worried at the beginning when Tina was prop-Christine for Kurt (and then again when she was his backup singer, have Tina and Kurt ever spent quality time together?), but, even if it’s just for now, I was glad to really hear her voice, however ill-fitting the music may have been. Speaking of that, the whole Puck storyline (especially the “Rain in Spain” number) seemed really silly to me. I personally have never heard of a high school class, or even an exam, just on European Geography, although I will admit to being moved by Puck’s F to the strains of Cry. And on the note of the NYADA auditions, I was actually glad to see Rachel choke, and her and her family’s overreaction (include shiva (or “shee-va,” as stated by Finn), which would have made more sense to many if it had been explained as a Jewish mourning ritual), as both her and Kurt coasting along with no Plan B to NYADA is just irresponsible, and, especially since there will be a season 4, there should be some exploration of these consequences. Oh, and the DV storyline, which thankfully showed how Santana’s smart mouth (the others were punished for being bystanders I guess) can go too far, was a great storyline for Shannon, Roz, and Sue to act like adults and I hope it is explored more in the remaining episodes this season.

  45. Marcus says:

    Glad to hear everything sucked for everyone but Kurt, for a change. He’s been getting crapped on all season.

  46. Mason says:

    I thought the Cell Block Tango was atrocious – one of the worst numbers of the season. I agree with Sue that they “butchered” it. I actually thought it was intentionally bad at first, until I read Slezak’s recap and the comments here. The only 4 or 5 merry murderesses? The incredibly abbreviated version? The unconvincing Tina as petty, vindictive murderer? It was just weird and poorly done.

    And I didn’t like the domestic violence story line. It just seemed like a chance to introduce more tedious sermonizing in a season that has already had too much of it. I love the show, but not this storyline.

  47. J says:

    Rachel made me cry so hard

  48. I was almost hoping that La Thibideux might have forgotten something in the auditorium and returned just in time to hear Rachel sing “Cry”.

  49. Laure says:

    Lea Michele was incredible last night. I was laughing until Don’t Rain On My Parade and then cried straight through Cry.

  50. Laure says:

    P.S Sue was right about them butchering Cell Block Tango. If you’re going to do that it’s not just dance moves it has to be ferocious.

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