When season 4 opened, Betty was already past the date that she was supposed to have moved out of the house (she was supposed to be out by October, per the lawyer.) Don made it clear in that episode that he wanted them out of the house, telling them so. The agreement had been made between seasons that she and the kids would move out. This was before everything went down with Glen.
Before everything went down with Glen the house was a dead issue. Nothing was going to happen until Betty decided to move on it. Don wasn't pressuring Betty; neither was Henry. It was Betty's decision, and she made the decision based on finding Sally with Glen. Months and months of no movement on the house--months and months after Don and Henry indicated that they wanted a move. Then Betty finds Sally with Glen, announces they're moving and it's done. The move was caused by Sally/Glen.
And you don't think this is out of control? Especially for a twelve year old? You don't think that a kid or an adult would be arrested for this? breaking and entering and destruction of property are all adult level, prosecutable offenses, and NONE of it was justifiable or deserved. I would hope that if any parent had a kid who did this in real life, they would realize that the kid has real issues that need to be dealt with immediately before they get even worse.
No, I don't think he's out of control. (He could become so, of course.) I do think, as WaltzinSpringTm said, that he's angry, of course. When I say it was "symbolic" that doesn't mean it's benign or not juvenile delinquency. I meant "symbolic" in that context literally to say that Glen chose his actions in that incident to send messages or create a scenario that would be understood a certain way. The whole point is Glen trying to show adults that he's not just benign, that he has power too. But given the context and Glen's history I just don't at all see it as a sign that he's unhinged or specifically criminal. He's a 13 year old boy who's angry and feels powerless for good reason. Crossing the line from from something like TP-ing, which is a somewhat accepted prank that reads "childish" to vandalizing a house (which is much more serious) was a large part of the point (as well as necessary for the plan). It just seemed like a somewhat reasonable point given his feeling that his life had been casually disrupted by adult whims, and that kids like him and Sally had no voice against the hypocrisy of adults.
An adult would be arrested for such behavior, but Glen isn't an adult, he's 13. If he'd burned down the house I'd take it as a sign he was dangerously disturbed, this seemed to intentionally cross the line without slapping that label on him. Obviously Glen's not "happy"--I'm sure plenty of parents wouldn't want their kid hanging out with him. But their kids also aren't dealing with the stress Glen is. This kind of acting out is also happening more and more this season in the wider world: riots, protests, water balloons, police brutality, mass murders. It's all bewildering and criminal.
Sally probably doesn't have that great a reputation herself among good parents, quite possibly. She's crossed several "out of control" lines herself: Hanging out with an older boy, even one 13, probably suggests to plenty of respectable mothers that she's fast. (Seemed to come to Betty's mind.) She ran away and stowed away on a train to NYC--which could have gone very badly for her if she hadn't met up with a judgmental woman ready to blame it on her father. Most importantly, Sally's the kid described as masturbating in public (even if her friend was asleep). That's creepy and disturbed too--or would be off the charts if Glen did it. (There were incidents with kids in my school where they did similar and worse damage than Glen but they were considered 'good kids' at heart--frankly in this case that meant wealthy.)
Of course Glen's actions would merit punishment and consequences--if he'd been caught they would have been, hopefully. I'm not saying breaking into a house and throwing things on the floor is no different than riding his bike down the street. I just don't think it sets him so apart from other characters that he's got something seriously wrong with him when so many of these characters do extreme things. The show really embraces humans being weird at times, including kids. I don't see Glen as out of control, because it doesn't literally seem like he is. He's not at Columbine level to me. Seems more like he's angry about a lot of things in the world, and this often makes him eager to give cynical advice or mess up things for adults. But he's still in control, it seems to me. More so than, say, Don was in Season 4 or even Betty is sometimes. Will he join a radical group and blow something up? Quite possibly, given his anger. But so will a surprising number of young people.
Edited by Sister Magpie, Apr 20, 2012 @ 10:58 AM.