'Glee' Recap: Cats and Guns in Schools
'Glee' Recap: Cats and Guns in Schools
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Glee loves dealing with sensitive, topical, controversial issues. From teen suicide to domestic violence, nothing is off limits, even if it probably should be. In "Shooting Star," two gunshots go off in the school, leaving everyone terrified.

Glee is available on Amazon Prime.


Part of me wants to admire Glee for using its platform to address serious social issues, but I really don't think it's the right place to do it. Gun violence in schools is a sensitive issue, and Glee is a wacky musical comedy. It doesn't help that, when you really think about how the storyline gets resolved this week, it seems dangerously irresponsible.


The Shooting

There's no way I can recap this week's Glee in chronological order because I need to skip right to the second half, when two gunshots are heard in the school and New Directions (minus Tina and Brittany) are terrified and lock themselves in the choir room. They're all incredibly scared, crying and trembling in the darkness. After 20 minutes of silly fun about fat cats and comets, the juxtaposition is jarring.

In the shadow of terror, the kids practice the lesson of the week by letting their true feelings come out. Kitty confesses to Marley that she messed with the Grease costumes to make her think she was fat (which, like everything on this show, will probably have no consequences). Marley has a secret journal of original songs. And everyone loves their families.

Sam is especially frustrated because Brittany was in the bathroom when the shots were fired and he is desperate to save her, though Will and Coach Beiste prevent him from leaving. Will, on the other hand, leaves and finds Brittany standing on the toilet in the bathroom, frozen in fear. It's weird and disorienting to see sweet, innocent Brittany genuinely scared.

Tina, meanwhile, is stuck outside, frustrated that she isn't with her friends. Clearly she didn't watch the school shooting episode of One Tree Hill, where Lucas and Nathan ran in to save Peyton and Haley. In fact, I urge you to track down and watch the One Tree Hill episode, season 3's "With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept," because it's really great.

Anyway, SWAT gives the all clear and, after a few horrifying minutes of being locked in the choir room, filming their final goodbyes to their families thanks to Artie's camera, they leave. No one was physically injured, no one died, everyone was just really, really scared and their innocence was stolen.

Who Fired the Gun?

In the aftermath, metal detectors are set up and the school vows to find out who fired the gun and that student will be expelled. That's when Sue admits it was her gun.

Just like the scenes with Sue Sylvester making fat jokes about Coach Beiste in the domestic violence episode last year, this part of Glee is very uncomfortable. Sue is not a character who is grounded in the real world, so hearing her talk about real-world issues like guns in schools is difficult for me to accept. This is the same woman who accused Burt Hummel of being half-baboon.

It's obvious from the start that Sue isn't really to blame and that the story of her gun accidentally going off is a lie. She gets fired and as she packs up her things, we learn that it was actually Becky who brought the gun into school and accidentally fired it.

Becky is scared of growing up and having to leave high school, so she needs the gun for protection. This part doesn't make much sense, because she might need metaphoric protection from the harsh and cruel world, but a gun can't shoot a metaphor and there has been absolutely no indication that she is in actual physical danger. It also doesn't make sense that she was easily able to get her dad's gun and bring it into school. If you have a daughter with a mental handicap like Down Syndrome, shouldn't you be a lot better at making sure your gun is locked away safely?

The real question is: Will Sue stay fired? Did Glee really just write Jane Lynch out of the series? Only time will tell, but I hope this is the one time the show actually has consequences (unlike Quinn's accident or losing Sectionals).

More importantly, what Sue did is NOT noble. Becky Jackson is a mentally handicapped girl who brought a gun into school. Yes, she didn't intend to fire it, but what's to stop something like this from happening again? Is Sue telling Will to watch after her really the best solution? By sweeping Becky's involvement under the rug, Sue is preventing her from getting the help she needs and the punishment she deserves. And if you think I'm being overly harsh, I'm simply taking Sue's advice and treating Becky the same way I would treat a student who doesn't have Down Syndrome.

Even worse, by protecting one student, Sue permanently traumatized everyone else at the school. If she came forward right away about what happened, they could've made an announcement over the loudspeaker and the threat would've been over after a minute or two. Instead, by waiting several days, she let everyone live in constant fear.

So the overall message and resolution to this episode is wildly irresponsible and not noble at all like we're clearly meant to believe. The girl who brought the gun to school and put everyone's lives in danger is STILL going to the school and no one knows it was her. Isn't that, in some ways, scarier than two gunshots?

Brittany Loves Lord Tubbington

OK, now that I've addressed the gun-shaped elephant in the room, let's get to the stuff that was wacky and fun to watch. Brittany, fearing a comet is going to hit Earth, vows to spend her final days making amends with the person she loves the most. And it's not Sam or even Santana, it's Lord Tubbington.

She even names the comet after him, Tubbington-Bopp. It almost seems moot to point out that the Hale-Bopp comet, which led to the Heaven's Gate cult suicide, was big news 16 years ago, so the notion that Brittany (or the young teens watching Glee) would get the reference is absurd.

To make Lord Tubbington feel better, Brittany brings him into school so New Directions can sing Extreme's "More Than Words" to him. The looks on everyone else's faces (which make it clear they're all thinking "WTF? Are we SERIOUSLY singing to a freaking cat?") are hilarious.

In the end everything is resolved because the comet Brittany saw with her telescope was actually a dead ladybug on the end of a Pringles can. Sam, being the world's best boyfriend, decides to get a fat girl cat from the shelter named Lady Tubbington so Brittany's cat won't feel so lonely.

Ryder Gets Catfished

Ryder spies his Internet girlfriend, Katie, in the halls of McKinley and goes crazy trying to track her down. He succeeds and sings Elton John's "Your Song" to her. She loves it, but unfortunately, she's not Katie and she lets Ryder know he's been catfished, just like Manti Te'o.

He loses his mind, accusing Marley and Jake of pretending to be Katie to mess with him, but they both deny it. When everyone is locked in the choir room during the shooting scare, Ryder decides to call up Katie to profess his love for her, and a cell phone in one of the bags in the room rings. No one answers it because they're all paralyzed with fear.

Kitty denies that it was her and Unique has a different ringtone, so we're all left scratching our heads. The most infuriating part of the episode is that they don't reveal Katie's identity. Is this storyline really worth two episode-ending cliffhangers? The only way this will make me happy now is if it's Neck Brace Cheerio (or if it's a Fight Club situation and it turns out Ryder has multiple personality disorder and Katie is one of them).

Coach Beiste Finds Love

Inspired by the theme of the week, Coach Beiste prepares a Lady and the Tramp dinner for Will (complete with spaghetti cooked in the training room hot tub) and professes her love for him. We get it, Glee, Coach Beiste is vulnerable and sweet, but you need to stop crushing her dreams.

Beiste is embarrassed, but Will tries to cheer her up by creating an Internet dating profile for her (her favorite food is "everything"). She's shocked to learn she has one guy interested, a former football coach living in Oregon. And it's none other than Ken Tanaka, Emma's ex-husband. Excellent callback, Glee. Now if only someone would tell us what happened to Matt Rutherford.


Next week on Glee: Rachel auditions for Funny Girl (it's about time, it feels like they've been talking about it for half the season). Also, Idinia Menzel and NeNe Leakes return as Rachel's bio-mom, Shelby Corcoran, and Coach Roz Washington.


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(Image courtesy of FOX)

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