"Glee" missteps this week with an attempt to cram actual pertinent plot and unnecessary Very-Special-Episode preaching in a mishmash of themes and topics. It might be a coincidence that the show returns to more musical theater songs this week, a mainstay of the weaker early season episodes, but the Broadway curse is back, with the episode falling flat more than it soared. Perhaps they should have done two Whitney tribute episodes?
Let's dispense with the worst of it first. Britt went to her first student council meeting (hasn't she been president all year?) and learned the school is having prom and has to come up with a theme, and while this is dropped until next week's prom episode, Santana and the girls shift focus to start joking about a bruise on Coach Beiste's face. Roz Washington shows up to talk about Santana and the girls laughing about the idea of domestic violence, and the teachers powwow to discuss, immediately thinking this is a huge problem even though they've tended to ignore all the other problems of the student body (remember when Kurt Hummel was getting hit daily? Nope?). Sue wants the girls to sing songs about violence against women to reclaim it.
They decide to pull out an incredibly sexed up and inappropriate version of "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago. It starts out with the girls dancing with boys on stage, but we get some eventual flashes to Beiste and Cooter, illuminating that she's a victim of domestic violence. Roz and Sue call them cray cray and that they missed the point of the whole thing. Can Roz take over Glee club from Schue? Beiste breaks down and admits to Roz and Sue that Cooter hit her, and as much as Beiste is one of the better characters "Glee" has, this storyline just feels pointless. Where's the true connection to the kids? Why are we taking in this Very Special Message?
The girls apologize and show their pride for Beiste with Florence + the Machine's "Shake It Out," which is a great song shoehorned into the worst plotline of the episode. We also realize that Beiste is giving Cooter a second chance even though she's told Sue she moved in with her sister. Who knows what we're supposed to feel about this plot line that we'll probably never see again. At least Dot Marie Jones acted the hell out of it.
In our continued run through of what's up with the graduating New Directions, this week we check in on Puck, who we know has a post-grad plan of cleaning pools in SoCal, but to escape Lima he has to also escape high school. All he needs to do is pass the European geography test to graduate, and when his teacher doesn't succumb to his advances in exchange for a D, Puck's only recourse is to break into song with Alice Cooper's "School's Out." It's a sequence reminiscent of Season 1 Glee with big production fantasy blended with high school tropes (trashing the bathroom, rock and roll cheerleaders). Of course, when the fantasy drops it's just Puck in front of his Glee pals, angry. Finn wants to help him, and recruits the "bros" of New Directions in the locker room (after a great and weird aside between Blaine and Mike about hair gel) to help him prep to pass Senior year.
Meanwhile, Puck is ready to skip town early for LA until his father reappears for the first time in five years asking him for money. Puck gives it to him so he'll never have to see him again, an exchange that inspires him to avoid being a true Lima Loser, focus and graduate. For some reason during the cram session the show thinks a punk rock version of My Fair Lady's "The Rain In Spain" is needed. It's not, and the less said the better. He passes, he thinks, but we'll come back to that later.