Lea Michele in GLEE - Season 3 - "Choke" | ©2012 Fox/Mike Yarish

Lea Michele in GLEE - Season 3 - "Choke" | ©2012 Fox/Mike Yarish

Stars: Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Mark Salling, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz
Writer: Marti Noxon
Director: Michael Uppendahl
Network: Fox, airs Tuesday nights
Original Telecast: May 1, 2012

With graduation looming for many of the students at McKinley High, the recent stories for GLEE have become more focused. Whereas most TV shows would deal with graduation and the end of high school during the last couple of the episodes, GLEE has made it a point to wring every kind of potential storyline out of this major milestone.

“Choke” has many focal points, the primary one involving the final audition process for Rachel (Lea Michele) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) getting into New York’s prestigious NYADA.

Rachel decides to do a safe song – one she’s sang since she was very little, while Kurt tackles an out-of-the-box song and takes some chances. Surprisingly, Rachel chokes, barely able to make it through her song without having to start over, while Curt shines.

Tension between the two will likely loom for the rest of the season.

Puck (Mark Salling) also has his own dilemma – he wants to drop out of school because he feels he can’t pass one test. When his father shows up, a drop-out, it gives him second thoughts and asks for help from his friends to help him pass. He doesn’t, but that may bode well for keeping him around another year (season) at McKinley.

The other big issue is that of domestic violence – Coach Beiste (Dot Marie Jones) shows up with a black eye and she claims it was from a gym punching bag slamming her in the face – but it truthfully came from her new husband Cooter (Eric Bruskotter) getting drunk and angry.

The episode tries to tackle another “issue” and although it’s handled with grace by writer Marti Noxon, it still feels a bit out of place so soon after the texting and driving episode and the bullying episode.

Still, GLEE has a forum, so it is important they use it when they can. It’s just that it would have been nice for Coach Beiste to have a decent husband instead of a sleazebag – the character so deserves to be in a great relationship.

Songwise, GLEE had a handful of show tunes, but it was its rock numbers that really soared. Puck got to rock out to Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” (great choreography on this one) and surprisingly on “The Rain In Spain (from MY FAIR LADY). Meanwhile the girls offered an incredible rendition of Florence + the Machine’s “Shake it Out” and Rachel left the episode with a touching “Cry” from Kelly Clarkson.

Good stuff for a pretty good episode – though let’s stick with the end of graduation stuff, and less with the preachy stuff for the time being. I can’t wait to see how the producers keep some of the graduating students around for another year without it seeming like two completely different shows.

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Article: TV Review – GLEE – Season 3 – “Choke”

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