Gunshots at McKinley terrify the school -- and you won't believe who brought the gun

By Erin Strecker
April 12, 2013 at 02:05 AM EDT
Adam Rose/Fox
S4 E18
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This week the McKinley crew had to deal with a dose of reality far worse than being disqualified from Regionals: There were shots fired at school and the kids — most of whom were in the choir room together when they heard the gunshots — were justifiably terrified.

If viewers didn’t know going in that tonight’s episode was going to be intense (there was a warning prior to airing that the episode dealt with “school violence”) they could be forgiven for thinking we were in for a standard song-and-dance hour. For the first half of the episode, the show seemed to be moving more slowly than normal, with a plot that involved Brittany telling everyone that an asteroid (or a comet? Both!) was headed for Earth, and they would all be destroyed. While no one seemed to seriously believe Brittany, the prediction did allow Mr. Schuester the perfect opportunity to tell the kiddos the theme of the week: Last Chance, which meant, “singing our last songs to each other, or [to perform and] make it feels like it is.” I’ll take “Foreshadowing a Tragic Event” for $400, Alex.

Brittany’s prediction made her reorganize her priorities, which involved making sure Lord Tubbington knew he was loved. Brittany explained to Sam she has stopped singing to Lord Tubbington when “he joined the KKKK, which is the Klu Klux Klan for cats,” but Sam suggested bringing Lord Tubbington to school so the kids could all sing to him and then maybe he wouldn’t be threatened over competing for Brittany’s attention. (Why she didn’t just remind Tubs that he’s the only one she has a web show with we’ll never know!) The kids sang a sweet tune, but the worry about their doom was all for naught, as Brittany discovered that the “meteor” was actually a dead ladybug, and the “telescope” was a Pringles can.

Her heart full of shame, Brittany disbands the astronomy club once she learns her findings aren’t quite scientific. Becky, a member, confesses to Brittany she is scared about the future and wants Brittany to stick around school for another year. “Brittany, I’ve always looked up to you. Let’s both not ever graduate. The world out there is really scary. Someday they’re going to make me leave here. And I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Brittany tells Becky she can’t stick around with her, but that if she prepares, there is nothing outside McKinlely to be scared of. They pinkie-promise everything will be OK, and all seems swell.

NEXT: Shots are fired at McKinley

Before we can move on with events, however, we have some relationship drama to catch up on. This week, the I’m Glad I’m Not In High School Anymore Moment came to us from Ryder. Ryder is still convinced the “perfect girl” he’s been conversing with online is real. So when he sees a cute blonde in the hallway, he’s sure it’s the Katie from his dreams. Instead, it’s just a random girl named Marissa — but Ryder doesn’t find that out until he leads her into the choir room Troy Bolton-style and performs one of the sweetest songs on record, Elton John’s “Your Song.”(Just because we need some levity, here’s Elton performing the tune in 2010 with Lady Gaga at the Grammys!)  Marissa was flattered, but informed Ryder she wasn’t the mystery girl, even though the photo he has is of her. Catfishing! Ryder realizes that it may be a hoax, freaks out, and assumes Marley and/or Jake are behind the prank. They assure him they’re not responsible, but Ryder can’t figure out who else would do something like that. (Hmm, maybe the girl you were really mean to?)

But the relationship issues weren’t just limited to students. Coach Beiste, a.k.a Shannon, invites Will to have a nice Italian dinner a la Lady and the Tramp with her in the locker room. (Romance?) Many viewers must have smelled trouble right away, but Will couldn’t smell anything over the locker room stench, so Shannon’s nervous confession that she had a crush on him caught him off-guard. Pro tip: If you’re going to do a big declaration, definitely make sure you do a quick Facebook “Relationship Status” check. Shannon didn’t, which meant Will had to awkwardly explain to her that he and Emma were back together. He was very nice about the whole thing, but it was clearly uncomfortable for everyone.

In an effort to move past the awkwardness, Will had Shannon come to a special “The World Isn’t Ending” Glee practice that Schu decided to have once Brittany told everyone the meteor wasn’t real. Mr. Schuester even said he would rap, which he presented like a treat as opposed to a threat. Unfortunately, Schu’s rapping wasn’t the only threat.

Shortly into practice, they all hear two gunshots from somewhere outside the room and are instantly upset. Will follows the procedures and turns out the lights while all the kids (save for Brittany, in the bathroom, and Tina, who was outside) hide. The following five minutes of television were easily the most intense Glee has ever been as the students crouch down on the floor and begin to cry. Will and Shannon attempt to keep everyone calm and quiet, but there is a lot of drama: Sam unsuccessfully attempts to leave to rescue Brittany, Kitty begins confessing her Mean Girls crimes to Marley, and Artie chillingly films the gang’s goodbye messages on his video camera until Sam turns the camera off. Ryder attempts to call Marissa, but the phone rings in the room — meaning his mystery girl is a member of the Glee club.

NEXT: Who was responsible?

There are no more shots fired, although watching Brittany in the bathroom is extremely stressful (she’s rescued by Schu). The kids are later able to safely evacuate the school, but the question remained the next day: Who was responsible? The police didn’t find a gun in anyone’s locker, but later in the day, Sue went to Principal Figgins’ office and confessed. The gun was hers; she has it at school due to recent events; she felt she would be better able to protect students with a gun. She explained the gun accidentally fired when she took it out to perform a safety check, and then when she dropped it, it shot again — accounting for the two shots. Figgins believes her and seems understandably sad about the whole situation, but thanks to the school’s zero-tolerance policy, Sue would lose her job.

Sue’s calm explanation didn’t sit right with Will, who went to see her as she was cleaning out her desk and asked for help to make him understand. It was touching that Will wanted more info to go speak on her behalf to the administration, but of course, her decision had been made: She would take the fall because (as viewers learned via flashback and which Will does not know) the real gunperson was Becky, who brought her dad’s gun to school. While talking with Sue about how nervous she was for the future, Becky shows her the loaded gun, which Sue instantly tried to get away from her. Unfortunately, Becky panics, a shot is fired, and then she drops the gun, where it fires again. Sue gives her a hug, and tells her she’ll take care of this, which, by confessing to a crime she didn’t commit, she does.

Back in the present, Sue told Will there is nothing he can do, but to please keep an eye on Becky for her. “She’s tough, but like all the kids, she gets scared sometimes,” she explained. Thanks to Jane Lynch’s matter-of-fact delivery, this line totally brought on the tears. While obviously people sometimes do extreme things — and fortunately, Becky didn’t wind up actually shooting any students — it still seemed out of character for her, regardless of how overwhelmed or scared she might have felt.

Can you imagine Becky not being wracked with guilt once she discovers Sue has been fired — and won’t her dad notice the gun missing and/or moved? She’ll likely confess to someone, whether that be her parents, Principal Figgins, or another student she trusts, like Brittany. This better not be the last we see of Jane Lynch. She shouldn’t be stuck outside McKinley High’s walls as a consequence of seemingly the most protective things she’s done for a student.

The episode ends with Sue walking out of McKinley and the kids gathered in the auditorium singing “Say” and comforting each other. We also see a few more of the highly emotional video goodbyes, ending with director Artie’s own confession:  “I just want to say I’ve had the best experiences of my life in this room and I love these people more than anything.”

NEXT: Ryder gets Catfished & Musical Grades

Other Thoughts:

-After trying to figure out who from the Glee club Catfished him (It’s Unique, the only girl he didn’t consider, right?) Ryder attempts one last-ditch effort and tries to arrange a 3:30 meet up outside the choir room,which “Katie” agrees to. But she doesn’t show and Ryder – realizing he’s been stood up – joins the rest of the Glee club in the auditorium. Gone but not forgotten? Will someone eventually confess?

-Speaking of confessions, Sam announces to Brittany he knows he could be more supportive of Lord Tubbington, so he buys them another fat cat, Lady Tubbington. Are Sam and Brittany growing on you, too?

-Without being invited to do so, Will sets up an online dating profile for Shannon, and it turns out, he knows her pretty well. She gets a message rather quickly, but it turns out to be from Ken Tanaka, McKinley’s former football coach and onetime Emma Pillsbury fiancé. It turns out that there actually aren’t that many fish in the sea.

Musical Grades:

Your Song (Original by Elton John): Hey there, cute blonde girl! Ryder has got a surprise for you and it’s not creepy! He’s just going to pull you into an abandoned room and serenade you a bit. Romance! B+

More Than Words (Original by Extreme):  A silly and sweet candlelit ode to Lord Tubbington, with most of the Glee club regulars participating. Important Shallow Side Note: How great did Sam look during this song/the episode? Is it the longer hair?  Keep doing what you’re doing! B

Say (Original by John Mayer): The closing auditorium number. They kids are all understandably shaken up, so this secret choir practice — that involved them all just sitting around being there for each other — made perfect sense. Bonus points for Sam on guitar. B+

NEXT: Top Lines

Top Lines:

“Shut up, Tina.” –Brittany

“Hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your wife.” –Brittany

“I’m really surprised that Jesus Christ Superstar chose to end the world this way, as opposed to the way he chose to kill off the dinosaurs, which was a global yeast infection.” –Brittany

“Does that mean you can have angel sex?” –Sam with the deep questions!

“Guys, start tweeting, texting but don’t say where we are. Shooter have smartphones too.”

“Thinking about me and you dating makes me dryer than the cast of Hot in Cleveland.” –Kitty denies Catfishing Ryder

What did you think of Glee’s decision to do a “school shooting” episode? Did you like how things turned out? What did you think of Sue’s choice to cover for Becky, even though it meant losing her job? Is there any way Jane Lynch can return to the show, or is she done?

Speaking of people not on the show, did you all miss the NYC crew this week? On a lighter note, who here wishes they could arrange a play date with Lady and Lord Tubbington (Paging Downton Abbey: Cat Edition!)

Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.
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