Like the episode, I’m sort of just going to ramble all over the place.
I guess I’d argue that Rachel’s and Kurt’s auditions were the primary plot here, but it’s hard to frame a domestic abuse plotline as a background thing without feeling like something is wrong. But still, the show began and ended and focused on the auditions. It was a good story, with little to discuss, other than how disappointed the Tumblr fangirls/boys will be when they learn how flattering dance belts can be. I was disappointed they put so little effort into Music of the Night — it was an awful performance, and it shouldn’t have been. Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that Kurt was unable to tell with absolute certainty that Music of the Night was terrible –and Rachel didn’t see it either? Anvils make for lazy audiences. It was all very heavy handed (he took off the mask, showed himself, that’s how Kurt always wins) but Kurt’s audition was a victory moment — the tearaway tux was genius and those gold lamé pants, well, sheesh. Mostly? That shirt showed off why it’s ridiculous we never see Kurt in the gym with the boys. It was adorable to see Kurt sort of flail wildly at the end, because he so rarely loses his composure.
Puck’s journey from not caring, and lighting musical instruments on fire (hey, Quinn, it’s an homage) to wanting to not be his dad is terrifying. Because he finishes it up by failing — and that failure is caused by either the inability to focus (like, ADHD, for instance) or self-sabotage (or hey, both). But, whatever it is, Puck’s never been lazy, like his teacher suggests, helpfully. Hey teachers: stupid and lazy are not the only possibilities.
There was an interesting cut, actually, from Puck talking about his dad and someday having to beg his daughter for money and having no dignity — and then it cut very quickly right to the kid who was only recently homeless and working as a stripper. Yup. Ouch. And Sam’s parents should always have been “safe”. He used to go to a boarding school and they moved to Lima for his dad’s job — his dad wasn’t a working class guy, but somehow, it all still fell apart. Finn wants Puck to finish high school “just in case”, but the reminders are everywhere. Nothing in Lima is safe.
Not even marriage, or first love. Beiste’s story was heartbreaking, and real in so many crazy ways, including the way she allows it to all fade into the background. For the story to work, she had to take him back, and I will be shocked if this is not revisited very soon.
I am puzzled, frankly, by the amount of freaking out that is happening on the Internet about the Beiste storyline. Granted, I am often puzzled about a lot of things, being neuroatypical has that effect. But a few things:
- I am very overweight and very, very focused on this right now as I am on a diet. Still, I did not interpret a single comment directed at Beiste as a “fat joke”. Mostly, because I don’t see her as “fat”. I see her as big. She’s very big, but she’s very freaking strong too. And sure, now that everyone has forced me to look at her in that way, sure she has some fat on her body she could lose if that was her thing, but I really do think that the jokes were about her general shape (and socially unacceptable propensity to eat entire chickens for meals) as opposed to her fatness. And in many cases, I think people were really trying to tell her how they perceived her as strong. And even if they weren’t? None of Coach Roz, Santana or Sue are given any kind of blessing by canon that their words are good — totally the opposite; they all say awful things, all the time. Kurt had to call Sue out himself on her calling him “Lady”. Coach Roz told Sue her child would come out “all weird looking” with “rabies and wings”. There’s also some gender stuff here that I think people are not noticing — the other characters see Beiste in a male-gendered way and therefore are not judging her size the way they would with a person they perceived to be more feminine.
- Glee plays a very long game, and this is lost on the majority of the people squawking about it online. Sometimes it’s lost on me too. Conflicts and major storylines are rarely resolved in a single episode, sitcom-style. It’s more of a soap opera, where things happen and continue to echo around the place until they come to a conclusion.
- It was really good how they very quickly and neatly addressed the issue of domestic violence in a not traditionally gendered way. Most women will not be asked “Why didn’t you just hit him right back?” Because they are not perceived as powerful enough to hurt a man. But in a situation where a women may be abusing her male partner, or this is happening between to partners of the same gender, this is something that could come up, and Glee (through Beiste) addressed it beautifully. She’s not a violent person. Just because someone hit her, doesn’t make her somehow ready to clobber someone she loves. It’s in stark contrast to the stories from Cell Block Tango, of course, and that’s why that happened like that.
Oh, and Rory and Sugar showed up again. I need to rewatch, but they disappear at the same time and reappear at the same time, don’t they?
Time Travel is canon.