Glee E5 Ep15 – “Bash”

Third time's the charm for Samcedes?

Third time’s the charm for Samcedes?

After last week’s pitch perfect episode “New New York,” Glee returns with “Bash” which falters slightly when held to the same standards. Discordant moods and a wide selection of storylines fail to reach the harmonic levels of the previous episode. But there is good acting, some great songs and a few plot twists to keep up tuning in.

Reminiscent of “On My Way,” Glee sandwiches continuing plots (the endless romantic dance of Sam and Mercedes, and Rachel’s Funny Girl journey) with a surprising moment of violence that is tied up with a PSA. We learned not to text and drive thanks to Quinn’s accident – in this episode, we learn not even New Yorkers are immune to violence and hatred.

The main issue with this episode seem to be conflicting tones – while Glee, at its best, skillfully blends the heart-wrenchingly dramatic and the weirdly cracky humor, this felt a beat or two off. Were two scripts cannibalized into one due to the shortened season? It might be something else entirely, but for whatever reason, the mixture of Sam/Mercedes, Rachel and Kurt didn’t quite gel in the most emotionally compelling way.

Let’s break it down storyline by storyline.

Kurt: First, we open with a candlelight vigil and Rachel, Kurt and Blaine singing the hauntingly beautiful, “No One is Alone” from the Sondheim show “Into the Woods.” These are voices that should always be in harmony, and singing as many Broadway songs as possible. So lovely.

Blaine rushes to the hospital to be with Kurt.

Blaine rushes to the hospital to be with Kurt.

We later learn – over Loft Communal Dinner – that the vigil was for a neighbor’s friend, a gay man who was bashed and is now in the hospital. Apparently, some guys in a pick-up have been going around beating up gays men – and the friends are shocked that this is happening in New York City.

A few days later, after an argument with Rachel, Kurt is walking alone. He spots a man being beaten up in an alley and rushes to help. Evening the odds doesn’t help – the victim runs off and the men turn their violence onto Kurt, throwing punches and leaving him on the ground.

While trying to cheer Sam up, Blaine gets a phone call from the hospital. We see each of the friends receiving word and then wind up in the hospital, anxiously waiting for word on Kurt.

He’s knocked around but he’ll be okay – for now he’s knocked out on morphine. The friends gather around his bed, sad and worried as they see his bruises and cuts.

Left alone, Blaine tentatively touches his fiance’s hand. Singing live (and without accompaniment), he sings “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd; we cut between him in the hospital room, and then Blaine in the round room, doing his solo song for Winter Critique. As the last notes fade, he curls up against Kurt, head against his shoulder.

Sad and beautiful. Darren Criss nails the emotion of the moment.

Kurt wakes up to find his dad – very upset and super mad – sitting at his bedside. Welcome back Mike O’Malley! Burt is furious that Kurt put himself in such danger – what if those guys had a gun? Dad’s upset and mad but Kurt isn’t backing down. He did what he had to do. In the end, Burt’s impressed with his son’s willingness to stand up – but next time, he should do it with his dad at his side.

Side note: While it’s always fabulous to see Mike O’Malley, this moment didn’t quite hit as hard as past scenes between father and son. Gay bashing is a serious subject and injecting Kurt into the mix is a pointed gesture. But what was the meaning behind it? Our ultimate lesson is Kurt’s not a kid and he’s not afraid. But Kurt’s been standing up for himself for awhile, and he’s been shown to stare down detractors and bullies since season 2. Why bring this up again now? Kurt’s a survivor – but we already knew this.

Sam and Mercedes: At the Brooklyn Brownstone of People Who Don’t Live in the Loft (BBPWDLL), Sam enjoys a punchbowl of Lucky Charms and the antics of the red-headed lady who runs a school for lesbians (Facts of Life). Mercedes shares some couch time with her ex. They’re really cool with the friends thing and decisions made in the past – until Mercedes jumps him and they start making out like bosses.


They play footsies at the Annual Monday Dinner at the Loft of Communal Eating, though they’re still keeping it under the table (literally). The next day, they walk along the water and Sam tries to convince Mercedes that they should really try again. Mutual attraction! Starts and stops! New city, new slate, new romance! Sam throws change into the river – all his wishes are going towards the hopes that Mercedes will realize they are perfect for each other. This is adorable. Then there’s stuff about a faux fur coat being thrown into the Hudson River that might be a metaphor. I don’t know.

He leaves her to think about his wishes and when Mercedes happens upon The Carousel @ Pier 62, I feel a song coming on. Even her back-up singers show up! Carole King’s epic “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” is how Mercedes works through her Sam-feelings – it’s good to have Amber Reilly back and belting out the classics.

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