Glee "Lights Out" Review: (Another) Very Special Episode of Glee

Glee S04E20: "Lights Out"

Watching "Lights Out" was like running down a checklist of pre-selected sermon topics: Sam lectured everybody about being overly attached to their electrical devices, Kurt and Rachel teamed up to slut-shame Santana because they are such wonderful non-judgmental friends, Ryder and Kitty bonded over their experiences as survivors of sexual abuse—waaaait, one of these things is a way bigger deal than the others, and yet, it was plowed through with the same sentiment Glee tends to have for all traumatic experiences, great and small, which is to say: not much. Not to harp on this issue some more—but then again, why not? It's a giant red ball dropped in the middle of a field just begging me to kick it—but look at Glee's treatment of the school-shooting stuff, the holy grail of high school dramas/dramedies/whatever-Glee-feels-like-calling-itself-this-week. The "Lights Out" episode title referred to the balloon-induced power outage that plunged McKinley into darkness for most of the episode. I don't know about you, but if my school had just experienced an "incident" not too long ago, and half the student body was assumed to be suffering from "like PTSD or something" if Marley's ditzy diagnosis is to be trusted, I think any alteration from the normal daily operating procedures would be a big deal, especially something sudden, like the lights just cutting out in the middle of class. On the opposite side of the spectrum, what kind of high school students cheer when the lights come back on? I'm sure the schoolwork being forced on them in class was minimal, without so much as an overhead projector (Those are still used, right? I'm not that old, RIGHT?) at their teachers' disposal. 

Yet for all the handwaving with Ryder's storyline and the blatant checkboxes embedded in the script just so no one can complain that Glee didn't address teachers' roles in addressing and dealing with abuse (Schue said he had to report it. Check.) and turning Sam into the token moron who just didn't get it ("Why you complaining, bro? You got felt up by a hot chick in the shower!"), I wonder if Glee realizes just how dark Ryder became. It would be fascinating if Glee was the type of show that thought things through and made decisions with any sort of deliberateness, but chances are, traumatized Ryder and the ease with which he resorted to psychological warfare in order to catch his catfisher are just an unintended side effect of whatever they're passing around the writers room these days. 

I mean, the dude exploited his own childhood trauma purely to try and catch a "tell" on the face of someone in New Directions who might be the owner of the phone that rang during the shooting scare that might belong to the person leading him on. He did this, then acknowledged the way his molestation changed him and gave him a bunch of trust issues... as he attempted to manipulate his catfisher into revealing him/herself, and also possibly to punish the person for most likely exacerbating his trust issues some more... except he claims to still have an actual attachment and attraction to his pursuer, even going as far as to blow off a real date with Kitty to wait by the computer for "Katie" to come back. What do you say: Is the Kitty the culprit?

In New York, Kurt and Rachel teamed up to tell Santana about how she's wasting her life and she's a giant fail and it was basically the same speech that Kurt, and then Kurt and Santana, gave Rachel back in the part of the season when Rachel actually wasn't annoying and repulsive. Santana was revealed to be working three jobs to support herself, including a dancing stint at the Coyote Ugly bar, and Saint Kurt basically called her a slut. So that was nice. For all of its progressive, free-thinking blah blah, Glee really has a serious problem with women being comfortable in their sexuality and sensuality. I'm confused, but mostly grossed out.

Saint Kurt checked in at his Vogue.com internship where SJP returned to handwave Kurt's apparent low office attendance due to his NYADA classes because it's okay if you under-perform at a position you were woefully unqualified for anyway as long as you have a boss who understands what a special, special snowflake you are. Seriously, how did this woman get her job? There doesn't appear to be a professional bone in her body. Lip service was paid to Kurt's brilliance, "quality over quantity" and all that, mostly to keep cynical old women like me from complaining about Kurt's storyline, except it won't work because it's an insulting storyline. 

The writers also suddenly remembered that there was supposed to be a Kurt's-dad-has-cancer storyline from waaaaay back in December and tossed us a line about how Daddy Hummel is fine. This isn't how storytelling works, Glee. 

Kurt helped Isabelle chair the NYC Ballet Gala. Santana and Rachel tagged along and Santana was inspired by the magic of song to quit dancing for money like a whoooooore and go dance at a NYADA extension school because remember, kids, if you don't enter the most prestigious performing arts school in New York City immediately after high school, you are a FAILURE. 

I guess Santana hugging her inner-child-self was sweet. My inner-child spends a lot of time shaking her head in disgust, so I can totally relate. 

Also, if you haven't heard, Glee has been renewed for two more seasons because even though the story itself is a wreck, that iTunes gravy train just won't stop rolling. I am so excited in a masochistic way. How about you? 


And while we're at it, what did you think of "Lights Out?"



MUSICAL NOTES

– Glee playlist: "You Lost That Loving Feeling" because the Righteous Brothers are awesome. "Everybody Hurts" was decent, Slushie montage and all. "Little Girls" was far more enjoyable than Sue's ode to Nicki Minaj, I just don't particularly like Sue as a singing character. I never have. It has nothing to do with Jane Lynch's ability (which is epic), its just not SUE, you know?

– Puck dumped Kitty. Thanks for giving that story some lip-service too, Glee.

– "I will admit, I rejoined Cheerios with the sole purpose of destroying it from within." Why can't we have that Blaine/Sue storyline? I was excited about that one. 

– Speaking of Blaine, did this happen?

I only ask because I've watched this episode twice now and I don't recall it happening even though this and a few other pics were handed out in this week's Fox-approved-Glee-images goody bag, clearly marked as belonging to this episode. There were also images of Sam and Blaine interrogating Becky, which I distinctly remember as being in the promo for "Lights Out" but didn't see in the episode. It could just be a mix-up. It probably is just a mix-up, but it seems like a big mix-up. (AND IT WAS IN THE PROMO, MAN!)

– Becky: Sue's amazingly dismissive attitude of Becky was mind-boggling. DID YOU NOT LISTEN TO A THING THE GIRL SAID WHEN SHE WAS HANDLING THE GUN IN YOUR OFFICE? 

– Why do you think Becky met with Figgins? Do you think she came clean about the gun?

– "I will allow you to speak. Just don't sing." 

– Schue spying on Jessica Sanchez from American Idol was uncomfortable. Dude is such a creep these days. 

– Do you think Kitty's the catfisher?

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