Video: 'Glee' Bids A Teary Farewell To Cory Monteith
After two weeks of so-so Beatles tributes, the cast of Glee finally gave a heartfelt farewell to late star Cory Monteith (and his character, Finn Hudson) in an episode full of tears, songs, and just enough cynicism to lighten the heartache for a moment or two.
Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver, Canada hotel room in July. An autopsy found he died from an overdose of heroin and alcohol (Monteith had checked into rehab in April.) Creator Ryan Murphy decided to continue the show and address his death—after getting the okay from Glee star and Monteith's girlfriend, Lea Michele—in an episode.
The episode, titled simply "The Quarterback," was emotional but oddly voyeuristic, since all the cast members' grief is real. Was it the most satisfying tribute we could ever ask for? No, but it was, in its own way, true to all its characters.
As previously announced, the show didn't address how Finn died, just the impact his loss (much like George Bailey) had on everyone he knew. The episode was set a month after his death and well after his funeral, when the memorial in the school hallway was starting to become a point of contention with new principal Sue Sylvester.
We spent most of the episode waiting for Rachel (Lea MIchele) to make an appearance and when she did, she told her fellow Glee Clubbers, "Don't treat me with kid gloves," before launching into Adele's "Make You Feel My Love," which Rachel first sang with Finn. She later confessed she didn't know if she'd ever be able to sing again. It was rough to watch her put on a brave face and then dissolve into tears.
Unexpectedly, it was another character, Santana (Naya Rivera) who couldn't make it through her song, "If I Die Young," but got choked up and ran off. Like hardhearted Sue, this episode was about showing she Santana had a heart after all. Sue also shed tears (but didn't sing) after admitting that it "devastated" her that Finn had died thinking she hated him, and that she'd fully expected to be teaching alongside him for the next 30 years.
Besides those two stand-out songs, there was a duet between Artie (Kevin McHale) and Sam (Chord Overstreet, one of the show's strongest voices) of the always-moving "Fire and Rain," by James Taylor, which has the added layer of reminding us of the death of River Phoenix, also to drugs.
Puck (Mark Salling) returned to rage and rant over Finn's death, uprooting the tree that Sue (of all people) had planted in his memory and trying to get Finn's letterman jacket from Kurt. He sang Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender," got the coach to retire Finn's number and decided to join the army since Finn was no longer around to keep him on the straight and narrow.
Mercedes (Amber Riley) sang "I'll Stand By You."
The only comic relief came from Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), who sought out counseling not for her grief over Finn, but for being forced to wear black for so long when she was already well past her Goth stage. Miss Pillsbury wisely handed her some pamphlets we only wished existed, "When to STOP talking," and "Wait, am I callous?"
At the show's end, there were several PSAs from cast members urging anyone with an addiction to seek help.
After this episode, Glee is taking a break and will return Nov. 7.