Glee, 4×18 “Shooting Star”

[BEWARE: Spoilers ensue]

Before I watched this episode I was told that something very unexpected happened during the ~42 minute run time. This made me very excited for the episode and I constantly kept guessing what the event was going to be during the first half of the episode.

“Shooting Star” starts off with Brittany telling the Glee club that she predicts that an asteroid is on it’s way to hit Earth and destroy it, which nobody, except Sam, takes seriously. Despite this outlandish prediction, Mr. Shuester themes their weekly assignment on last chances, what the Glee kids would say to others if it was their last chance to see them again. This was standard for Glee – something kooky ensues, usually due to Brittany or Sam’s antics, none of the other characters take it seriously (and neither does the audience), and Shuester turns it into a life lesson for some reason. At this point I was only waiting for the twist, so I didn’t care much for Brittany’s asteroid thing and her issue with proving to Lord Tubbington, her cat, that she truly loves him. Eventually she finds out that she was not viewing an asteroid through her telescope, but it was actually a bug on her lens (and that her telescope was actually a kaleidoscope). Oh the hilarity!

There is a subplot involving Ryder and this girl, Katie, whom he has been talking to online. He’s completely into her, yet has never met her. Glee set up this subplot several episodes back and by that time it was already obvious that Katie didn’t actually exist and that someone was pranking him. This episode reveals this to be true, when he finally runs into the girl “Katie” only for her to tell him that someone else has been giving him her photos. I liked this subplot more than the asteroid one, even if it’s cliched and the twist about Katie was obvious. At least there was some mystery in finding out who “Katie” actually is. At this point, I thought the surprise during the episode had something to do with this subplot, but it turns out that we have to wait till next episode to find out who “Katie” is (I’m betting it’s Wade/Unique).

During a Glee club meeting, two gun shots are fired somewhere else in the school, sending the Glee kids and the entire school into a panic. This definitely caught me off guard, since I did not expect Glee to ever attempt a shooting episode. What ensues is 10 really well acted minutes of the Glee kids, minus Tina and Brittany, trapped in the choir room trying to stay safe. Tina is able to evacuate with most of the students and is ushered outside by cops, while Brittany is trapped in a bathroom stall. The short scenes showing Brittany alone in the bathroom were my favorites; those scenes made me feel as terrified as she was. The quiet scenes in the choir room broken by tiny sobs and the Glee kids telling each other their “last chances” were really good, all the while I was feeling unsettled, wondering who the shooter was. Is it a character we would recognize, or one of the faces in the background? Was someone shot? Will someone die? I was trying to anticipate what was going to happen next.

Then I remembered a quick scene that occurred earlier in the episode between Becky and Brittany, in which the former tells Brittany that she’s worried about graduating and that life after high school scares her. I didn’t mention this scene earlier because it didn’t have much significance to the plot, but once I remembered it I knew the shooter had to be Becky. I really wanted to be proven wrong, because such a reveal would be so disappointing. I wanted to see Glee do something serious and go all the way instead of dipping their toe and deciding to back out. Of course I didn’t get what I wanted.

Eventually the cops show up to get the Glee kids safely out of the school and the scene cuts to a new day (I think it’s implied that an entire week passed). Nobody got hurt and the shooter was still on the loose. While Mr. Shue, Beiste, and Sue are discussing the shooting, Sue reveals that the gun fired was actually hers, which she had on campus to protect herself. The gun went off twice because she accidentally pulled the trigger while cleaning it and dropped it.


Not only is it incredibly obvious to the audience that she’s lying, it’s obvious to the other characters in the show as well. Mr. Shue and Principal Figgins both imply that they know she’s covering for someone else, but she gets fired for possession of the gun anyway. The episode shows us, through flashbacks, that Becky confronted Sue about her worry for graduation and she pulls her dad’s hand gun out of her bag. It’s not really revealed whether or not Becky thought about killing herself or anyone else, she just kind of had it on her. Sue tells her to hand the gun over, causing Becky to accidentally fire the gun and drop it, resulting in two shots.

School shootings are a very serious matter and I actually felt insulted that Glee ended up treating the whole issue like a mistake. Not only did they use Sue’s character to brush off the whole event as an “oops, my bad,” but the writers also made the character make a choice that could actually leave the students at McKinley high school in potential danger. A student brought a gun to school with the possible intention of using it, yet covered for said student in order to keep her from getting expelled. Sue actually allowed herself to get fired in order to protect a student who posed a threat to their school. I can’t even comprehend that.

The episode wraps up it’s moral in a pretty decent cover of “Say” by John Meyer. Ryder is frustrated that he hasn’t found out who fake Katie is, Tina and Blaine share a moment while holding hands (implied possible future relationship? God I hope not), and Kitty shares a hug with Marley. I guess they’re BFFs now or something.

Glee actually impressed me for a second. I understand why the writers took this episode in the direction they did, but they executed the outcome of the event terribly.  The episode ended feeling too preachy to me, but I did like how the Glee kids reacted to the situation while trapped in the choir room. It felt genuine to me. I’m wondering how Glee will address the shooting in tonight’s episode.

Oh. And there was this moment when Beiste told Shue that she loved him, but that moment was so stupid and unnecessary I do not feel compelled to address it fully.


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