I don't normally do reviews on Glee, just a commentary on the music, but this special episode is really deserving of more attention, so that is what I am giving it.
First off, when I heard that Glee was doing a guns in school episode, I was worried because Glee can be uneven and their track record on serious subjects is a little iffy. That being said, I think this episode was very well done and fit nicely within the framework of the Glee universe.
The best school shooting episode I have ever seen was One Tree Hill's (see my review of it at http://bab5guy-tvreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/my-review-of-one-tree-hill-episode-316.html) and so a comparison between that episode and this one are pretty much inevitable. They are obviously very different (if only because of the tones of the shows themselves), but there the comparison is valid and understandable. My one complaint is that Glee did no buildup for this episode in prior episodes. There was never really a hint that Becky was so scared to confront the real world that she would bring a gun to school, so that was very jarring. One Tree Hill was much better at providing a build-up of sorts that made Jimmy's actions understandable. That said, I do love how the episode resolved everything by the end.
I have to admire what Sue did and love that it was perfectly in character. If Sue was going to give up her career for a student, it would be for Becky or another student with Downs. Let's face it. What Becky did was stupid, but it was a mistake and no one was ever in real danger. She was feeling insecure about the future and thought the gun would protect her. She never threatened anyone with it and never did anything that would have purposely brought harm to another student. So when Sue lied to Figgins and said that it was her gun, I thought it was one of the most heroic things that Sue has ever done. Sacrificing oneself to help another is one of the highest forms of love and Sue showed that she had that.
The quiet scenes where they showed everyone in lockdown were among the most intense scenes I have ever seen. From Brittany in the bathroom to Sam freaking out to Artie getting the members of New Directions to tape messages to Tina freaking out because she was outside to Marley's mom alone in the cafeteria, it was perfectly done. No melodramatic music, just complete silence except for the shuffling of feet and the noises from the hallway. It felt so confining and so suffocating that you couldn't help but hold your breath to see what was going to happen next. There was no escape from what was going on. It seriously reminded me of the BtVS episode "The Body" in that you had no where to go to escape what was going on.
The storyline about Ryder and Katie was a little weird and felt a little out of place in this episode, as did the storyline about Brittany and the "meteorite". I think that they were meant to provide some relief from the seriousness of the rest of the episode, but it was definitely jarring when we went from one to the next. I was hoping that they would reveal who has been communicating with Ryder, but that hasn't happened yet. I will say that I thought maybe Ryder was going to go off because of what was happening (and hence be the shooter), so I was pleasantly surprised when he didn't.
Overall, I was impressed with how well Glee pulled off this episode. Despite the disconnect between the shooting storyline and the other storylines, I thought this was well and thoughtfully done.