This week’s recap of Glee’s very emotional winter finale, “On My Way,” is written by Glee Chat co-host Jessica O’Neal. Check out Jessica’s detailed recap and analysis.
The episode opens with Rachel and a disapproving Kurt perusing a bridal magazine at the Lima Bean when Sebastian walks up. He hands Rachel her engagement present, which is a photoshopped picture of a nude Finn in pumps. Sebastian tells Rachel that unless she drops out of Regionals within 24 hours he will upload that photo and more to the internet. Back in the choir room, Finn is understandably upset and wants to take action against Sebastian. Mr. Schuester says that they will tell the Dalton headmaster, which Blaine predicts will accomplish nothing just as nothing was done when Sebastian nearly blinded him. Rachel tells everyone that it doesn’t matter because she is not going to be bullied by terrorists and they will deal with the consequences. Finn is not pleased with this decision and storms out.
We then go to Sue’s office where Quinn is just arriving. Sue tells her that she is pregnant – though she avoids saying who the father is – and suffering from severe morning sickness. A very stunned Quinn gives her tips for the morning sickness and then asks to rejoin the Cheerios. Sue denies her request.
In the auditorium we see Blaine pacing around, still agitated from the earlier discussion about Sebastian. Kurt shows up and asks if he is okay causing Blaine to snap at him. Blaine apologizes and says that he doesn’t want to “waste anymore time on [Sebastian]” and wants to focus on winning. He then tells Kurt that he has a new song he wants to try out.
Just before Blaine begins his song we are shown Karofsky at his new school entering the locker room. As he walks through, all of the guys begin to crowd around him and the smile fades from his face when he sees his locker. Blaine begins to sing “Cough Syrup” and the show cuts between shots of his performance and Karofsky in one of the most beautifully executed and difficult to watch sequences Glee has ever done. Karofsky backs away from his locker and we see that the word “FAG” has been spray painted across it. He exits the locker room as quickly as he can amid taunts and jeers. Back in his bedroom he gets on the computer and sees that his Facebook page has been spammed with hateful comments about his sexuality. He angrily flings objects off of his desk and wanders around his room, despondent. He then changes into a nice suit, looks up at a rafter in his room, and, crying, steps on to a chair.
In Principle Figgins’ office, Emma, Sue, Beiste, and Mr. Schuester discuss how they should handle the news of Karofsky’s attempted suicide with the students. We are shown the first of many flashback scenes in the episode, this one of Karofsky’s father holding his son, screaming for help.
We then join the God Squad as Mercedes suggests that they pray for Karofsky to find peace. Quinn says that they need to pray for his family instead, that he was just being selfish. Kurt shows up and tells her that she has no idea what he was going through. Quinn questions why Kurt is even there and Joe says that he invited him. Kurt tells them that he had no where else to go and that he feels responsible because he kept ignoring Karofsky’s phone calls thinking they were about what happened on Valentine’s Day.
Back in the hallways, Rachel and Finn apologize to each other for their earlier argument and Rachel says that she wants to get married after Regionals because life is too short to wait for an arbitrary date.
In an unexpected turn of events, Sebastian meets with Blaine, Kurt, Brittany, and Santana to apologize. He says that he deleted the photos of Finn and that the Warblers will be dedicating their performance at Regionals to Karofsky as well as taking donations for the Lady Gaga “Born This Way” foundation. He explains his new attitude by saying that “it’s all fun and games, until it’s not” and we are shown a flashback of him telling Karofsky that he should “stay in the closet” when Karofsky asks for advice on picking up guys.
Back in the auditorium, Mr. Schuester steps into his “good teacher” shoes and shares with the kids the story of how he contemplated suicide in his Junior year of high school. He talks about how everyone has a something that might push them to the edge and cause them to consider ending it, but if they were to do that, they would miss out on so much of life. He asks the kids to think of something that they are looking forward to in the future.
It is then time for Regionals, where one of the judges is a ridiculous man who is the host of late night horror movie show and dressed as a vampire. First up, the Warblers, led by Sebastian, perform “Stand” and “Glad You Came”. They are followed by the Golden Goblets who are a more traditional a capella Chamber group. We only get to hear a little of them singing, but it is enough to make me miss my old choir days (we sang songs much more similar to this than anything New Directions has ever done).
Backstage, New Directions prepare to go perform, but first Finn announces that he and Rachel will be getting married after the competition. They invite everyone to be there, regardless of what their personal feelings on the wisdom of the decision are. They then perform “Fly/I Believe I Can Fly”, “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”, and “Here’s to Us” while Rachel’s dads, Carole, and Burt cheer them on. The weird vampire man announces that the Golden Goblets came in third place (once again, the third place group was overly excited for the news that they just lost), the Warblers came in second, and New Directions won. Everyone in New Directions celebrates while Blaine walks over to shake Sebastian’s hand.
After the competition, Quinn is once again called into Sue’s office where Sue tells her that she is going to let her rejoin the Cheerios. Quinn changes into the uniform and runs into Rachel in the hallway. Quinn tells Rachel that she wants to support her and Finn by coming to the wedding.
We then get to go to the hospital where we see Karofsky. Kurt visits him and tells him that he is glad he’s not dead to which Karofsky admits he is too. Kurt says that he should have returned Karofsky’s calls, but Karofsky asks why, when all he did was make his life hell for months. Karofsky goes on to tearfully explain how his best friend told him he never wants to talk to him again and his mom believes he has a disease from which he might be cured. He doesn’t know what to do and says that he can’t go back to his school. Kurt tells him to go to a different school and that there will be days where “life just sucks”, but that he will be able to get through it because he will have Kurt and others who love him by his side, offering support. Kurt then tells him about the lesson from Mr. Schuester to think about something in the future that they are looking forward to. Karofsky doesn’t think he can do that, so Kurt says he will help and tells him to close his eyes. Kurt paints the picture of Karofsky as a successful sports agent being greeted at work by his partner and their son so that he can take off work early and they can take their son to his first football game. Kurt says, “And you lean over to your partner and say—” and Karfsky opens his eyes and finishes the sentence by saying, “I’m so happy right now.” The scene ends with them holding hands and agreeing to be friends.
It is now time for the Finchel wedding and everyone begins to congregate at the Courthouse. Sue tells Mr. Schuester that she is pregnant and wants to help the glee club, no catch. We then see the parents of the bride and groom discussing the wisdom of their actions and ways in which they can stop the wedding.
Rachel comes out in a wedding dress she somehow had the time to buy and gets a text from Quinn saying that she had to go home to change into her bridesmaid dress. It cuts between the wedding party waiting for Quinn and Quinn stuck on a country road behind a slow tractor. Rachel texts Quinn to find out where she is and, as Quinn texts back the words “on my way”, she is hit by a truck. “To be continued…”
Jessica’s Thoughts: This was one of the most difficult hours of television I have ever had to sit through, but it was also one of the most beautiful. I barely even noticed the Regionals subplot with everything else that was going on around it, but I will mention that I thought the performances for it were good. The highlight, for me, was the Kelly Clarkson song. But it was the non-Regional performance of “Cough Syrup” that will never leave me.
Everything about this sequence was nothing short of amazing. In just a few minutes they were able to show the story of Karofsky’s journey into depression leading to the suicide attempt better than they could have done using any other method. Max Adler did an absolutely brilliant job with his acting. My heart ached for him as I watched him sink into despair. And, for once, the cuts back and forth from the actual performance of the song served only to enhance the emotions they sought to convey. Darren Criss was incredible. The passion and feeling that he put into his performance accentuated the desperation Karofsky was feeling perfectly. I guessed where this scene was headed, but that in no way lessened the pain that ripped through my heart when Karofsky took that one last gasping sob and stepped up on the chair. I have never cried so much during an episode of Glee.
Another scene that I want to mention was one of the shortest in the episode, but also one of the most powerful: the flashback to Karofsky’s dad discovering him. I had finally slowed my crying when this scene came out of nowhere and punched me in the gut. I am so glad that it did not last longer than it did because I honestly don’t know if I could have handled it. His dad holding his body and screaming for help just….it undid me.
It was the hospital scene, though, that I think I will remember above all else. Chris Colfer and Max Adler both deserve every award they can get for this scene. Everything about it was perfect. Seeing these two characters who have been at such odds with each other come together and grasp hands as friends was one of the most moving things I have ever witnessed. Karofsky’s pain as he shared the things he went through in the days leading up to his suicide attempt broke my heart into even smaller pieces than it had already been broken into. But it was the story of hope that Kurt painted for him that I found truly moving. The hope in Karofsky’s eyes when he opened them and said “I’m so happy right now” with a huge smile on his face…I can’t even begin to describe what this did to me.
If you listen to Glee Chat, you know that I was aware of the impending car crash and Quinn’s involvement. I knew it was coming and I thought I was prepared – I wasn’t. I don’t know if it was because I was already such an emotional wreck from everything else, but the final shot of her being rammed by that truck shook me to my core. I can’t believe we have to wait six weeks to find out her fate. I am clinging to my belief that having her actually die would be too heavy for Glee, which likes to end on hope. They can send a powerful message about the dangers of texting while driving without having her die. I really hope that turns out to be the case.
Watch Daniel Radcliffe’s latest PSA for The Trevor Project which aired during last night’s episode of Glee.