In one of the saddest hours of television ever, “Glee” paid tribute to Finn Hudson. Packed full of tear-inducing songs and heartfelt performances, “The Quarterback” was a fitting tribute to the late Cory Monteith.
This was the best episode of “Glee” in a very long time. If only it hadn’t needed to be made.
The writing was sharp and smart in a way that “Glee” hasn’t really been for years. The characters reacted realistically to the death of their friend. There were even, miraculously, a few laughs scattered throughout.
A quiet, honest scene between Burt, Kurt and Finn’s mom was a clear standout. Carole Hudson’s description of how a parent goes on with life after the loss of a child was all too real. The scene featured gorgeous writing and impeccable acting.
Rachel was heartbreakingly absent until the last fifteen minutes of the episode. Lea Michele, who was dating Monteith, gave a strong, beautiful performance. I will never understand how she got through this.
The one questionable moment in the episode was Tina’s complaint about wearing black. It felt all wrong. She might be annoying, but even Tina isn’t that callous. Though we did see her grieving later, so perhaps she redeemed herself.
What made this unbearably hard to watch was knowing that these reactions were probably real. This wasn’t acting. These people truly lost a friend. A family member. The “Glee” cast has always been known for its closeness, and that closeness means that this was actual grief.
Finn’s cause of death was never explicitly revealed, and the episode was better for it. Like Kurt said in the opening scene of the episode, what led to Monteith’s death was one single moment in his life. There were more important things to dwell on.
Making Monteith’s death a teaching point could have felt cheap, and the choice to avoid that approach was a safe one. Instead, the cast filmed a short clip about addiction that aired at the end of the episode. It was tastefully done.
The episode was handled with class and respect. I believe that every cast member loved Cory Monteith, and I know that every viewer loved Finn Hudson. “Glee” will never be the same.