Glee has never been a show that shied away from hot-button topics, but this Thursday’s “Shooting Star” (9/8c, on Fox) runs headlong into one of the most polarizing debates facing the nation today. (WARNING: Stop reading now if you want to stay completely in the dark about the episode’s central story arc. Everyone else, read on.)
Executive producer Ryan Murphy Tweeted last week that “Shooting Star” is “the most powerful, emotional Glee ever,” and I can’t say that I disagree. Yes, the hour is bound to upset some folks, and likely to infuriate others, but you can’t say it’s not filled with powerful images and performances that stick with you after the credits stop rolling.
Below, I’ve put together a list of 10 scoopy tidbits from “Shooting Star.” Again, if you want to go into the episode totally sheltered from the central plot (which might potentially make its impact more powerful), then stop reading now.
1. This is a 100 percent, Lima-centric episode. That’s right: No New York City, no Rachel, no Kurt, no Santana. (And no Emma, Finn or Sugar, for that matter.) (I miss Sugar. There, I said it.)
2. Things kick off on a kooky note, with Brittany stressed out about a comet or asteroid (or maybe a meteor) that’s coming to wipe them off the planet. The eventual origin of this fear is classic Brittany, as is her theory on what killed off the dinosaurs. (Let’s just say this here product would’ve helped ol’ T. Rex, if the Lady Pierce is to be believed.)
3. Also, before the episode’s “big incident,” Ryder spots in the hallway the girl he thinks he’s been falling for over Facebook and text-message these last few weeks. (Spoiler alert: If you’ve heard of a dude named Manti Te’o, then you know that there’s gonna be a few bumps on this road to love — or wherever it’s heading.)
4. Right at the start of a New Directions rehearsal focused on “last chances” to share one’s feelings, two shots ring out in the halls of McKinley. It’s a gasp-inducing moment that rips the frothy high-school musical off its foundation and transports it to a dark and harrowing world.
5. Much of the ensuing action is claustrophobically confined to the choir room, where Schue and Beiste hit the lights, find hiding places for the students and try to keep down any noise that might attract the attention of a shooter/shooters.
6. The hour reaches its emotional crescendo as Artie breaks out his camera phone and records his fellow glee-clubbers’ messages to their loved ones — just in case.
7. Heather Morris may be one of the show’s resident funny ladies, but no one will be doubting her dramatic chops after a near wordless scene in the McKinley High ladies room.
8. Some might spot the episode’s big twist from five miles out, but it really doesn’t matter. The direction the show’s writers take prevents “Shooting Star” from turning into Law & Order: Lima, while still retaining its teeth.
9. A major character’s future on the series is likely to be the subject of speculation after episode ends. No, I’m not exaggerating when I say “major.”
10. And finally, there’s a Hot in Cleveland joke from Kitty that’s almost too rude for prime time. (It did make me laugh, though, in spite of myself.)
Will you be watching Glee this week? Surprised Ryan Murphy & Co. are tackling guns in our schools this season? Or is it exactly the right time and place for this subject? Sound off below!