Kurt leaves, the idea that he always plays it safe ringing in his head, and sees someone being beat up in an alley. He goes to break it up, and when the original victim runs away, both assailants turn on him: "Look, another one." What follows is a surprisingly restrained scene that very straightforwardly shows punches being landed, but doesn’t play up the violence and hate of the act, making the muted sights and sounds of Kurt being beat up all the more real. The haunting scene of each New York friend getting a call in the middle of their various daily activities is really one of Glee’s best. The parts are all there, which makes me wish all the more that this storyline had been given a little more time, a little more weight or circumstance. It very closely skirts the edge of the randomness that comes along with such an act of violence vs. feeling like it was used just as a plot device.
It does lead to two touching scenes, first as Kurt’s friends gather around him while he’s still unconscious; Blaine holds his hand and gives a brief little performance (the vocals sounded live) of "Not While I’m Around." He curls up beside him until Burt arrives, who is slightly less saccharine about his support. He’s angry at Kurt for being so rash and putting himself in harm’s way. But they’ve both been fighting this kind of hate in one way or another for a long time, and he’s proud of his son. He just tells him not to do it again unless he’s got his dad by his side. Oh, Burt!
Inspired to rethink her prejudices after Kurt’s ordeal, Mercedes tells Sam that saying she can’t date him because he’s white is like her saying she can’t be friends with someone because they’re gay. She wants to sing her feelings out, so she goes into the studio and sings him a song filled with lyrics like, "You’ve taken all the best things from me and thrown them away." Lyrically, it makes no sense to sing this to her semi-boyfriend. But Amber Riley’s original song, "Colorblind," is really lovely and, outside of this situation, I thought the lyrics were very good. It's continually amazing how expressive she can be simply standing in front of a microphone, performing to one person. The whole thing hearkens back to that iconic performance of "I Will Always Love You" (which we’re reminded was originally performed for -- you guessed it -- Sam). A
The episode ends on Kurt getting out of the hospital with some serious cuts and bruises, an apology from Rachel, and a Midwinter Critique performance at NYADA. He sings the final Sondheim tribute, "I’m Still Here," and it’s thankfully a lyrically fitting song choice for the moment. Kurt is still standing after his terrifying ordeal. He's also still a strong character whom we know and understand, not just a plot device to be rolled out when needed. He’s sure of the person that he is and the person that he wants to become; he’s a student at NYADA and he’s willing to take risks when he believes them; and the guy knows how to work a room. Burnt orange shirt and all, he’s a damn good performer. B+