This week's Glee is called "Choke," a title that applies to different characters in different ways. Rachel (Lea Michele) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) finally get their NYADA audition, and one of them bombs it. The girls are ashamed to learn that their jokes about Bieste (Dot-Marie Jones) being domestically abused turn out to have hit on truth. And Puck (Mark Salling) contemplates dropping out of high school just before graduation, but if he decides not to, can he even pass?
Among the other weighty topics Glee takes on, spousal abuse is a strange one. Because much of the action of the series takes place at a high school, a look at home life is limited, and this is one crime that goes on mostly behind closed doors. However, as usual, Glee writes the pathos well, and Dot-Marie Jones nails the part of battered wife with amazing sincerity and heartbreak. The story may feel a little cheesy and forced into the larger arcs, but there should be no complaint about the level at which the scenes are performed.
Why, oh why, did "Choke" have to ruin Bieste's happy ending, though? She is introduced as a character who has a hard time finding a man. Then Cooter (Eric Bruskotter) comes along, and he seems perfect for the football coach. The two have a whirlwind romance, and are soon married. But now, it turns out that Cotter hits women. It's a heartbreaking and unexpected twist for the lovelorn Bieste, and certainly one that she doesn't deserve.
Of course, no one deserves domestic violence. And in Bieste's situation, having waited so long for a man, she is even less likely than most to leave her guy. By the end of "Choke," Bieste has returned home to give Cooter a second chance. While the odds are stacked against Bieste to find love again, given how long it takes her to do so the first time, no guy is better than a violent one. Plus, she is a very sweet woman, with a huge, caring heart. Surely someone else will see that eventually.