To be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure how to review something like tonight’s episode of Glee. The performances, dialogue, and music from all the cast during tonight’s beautiful, heartbreaking tribute to Cory Monteith and his character, Finn Hudson, go beyond any comments that I could have about plot structure or directing. No, tonight’s episode of Glee, fittingly titled “The Quarterback,” was as emotionally earnest as television gets, displaying the raw reactions of not just characters grieving a fictional death but of real people dealing with the tragic loss of a co-worker and friend. It was a thoughtful and respectful hour of television that honored both the character of Finn Hudson and the life of Cory Monteith wonderfully.
While it was hard to get through (I usually keep notes during each episode of Glee but barely have any for this one due to how immensely invested I was in watching it), I think “The Quarterback” is exactly what Glee fans needed to mourn the loss of both Cory and Finn, and I personally just want to send my immense gratitude and respect to the cast and crew of Glee for giving us this episode because I know that it must not have been easy.
Every reaction to Finn’s passing within the episode worked for me and felt authentic to the characters (aside from Tina’s selfish attitude but that’s only one minor gripe). Everything from Puck being lost without his best friend to Santana releasing her pain through anger to Kurt deciding to focus on celebrating his brother’s life, rather than discussing his death, were all deeply satisfying emotional moments that I connected with.
However, the three scenes from tonight’s Glee that just completely wrecked me featured the people closest to Finn: his family (Kurt, Burt, and Carol), Will, and, of course, Rachel. When Kurt, Burt, and Carol went through Finn’s clothing (Kurt commenting on how big Finn’s arms were), it was Burt’s one line, “I should have hugged him more,” that first started the waterworks, and then Carol’s emotional breakdown, lamenting about how she will always be a mother, even though her son is gone, finished me off. The honesty in what they both aid, the simplicity that Burt thought Finn needed to be hugged just a little bit more when he was upset, or Carol saying how every morning when she wakes up, there’s that first moment that she forgets that he’s gone, were absolutely perfect and authentic ways that these characters would remember and grieve Finn.
Even though Burt became Finn’s stepfather after he married Carol, Finn already had a father figure in Will, and it was the right choice for Glee to end the episode with Will coming to grips with Finn’s death, finally breaking down and crying for the first time since he’s passed, as he clutches his former student and friend’s letterman jacket. I was glad to see Will be the emotional rock that he needed to be for his students in this episode. After season after season of having Will slip into the same immaturity that plagues the high schoolers, Glee reminded us again tonight about why Will is such an integral part to the series and illustrated again why he truly is the best teacher that any of these kids will ever have.
Finally, if we are talking about the most emotionally affecting moments of tonight’s episode of Glee, we must discuss Rachel’s return to McKinley, specifically Lea Michele’s tear-inducing rendition of “Make You Feel My Love” and her heart wrenching speech to Will, as the pair of them hung a plaque of Finn (with the quote “The show must…go all over the place…or something!”) in the choir room. Rachel’s description about how both she and Finn believed that she would become a Broadway star and then return back to Ohio to be with him as he taught at McKinley, the fact the she knew that she’d be “home” when she was with him, was beautiful. Finn was, is, and always will be Rachel’s person, and even though he’s gone, she will never forget his smile, his voice, or, most important of all, his love.
Before I finish this review, I just want to say that so much credit needs to be given to Lea Michele for her performance in this episode. She was not just saying goodbye to her onscreen love interest but also her real life boyfriend, and she put all her pain and heartache out here in tonight’s episode of Glee for millions of people to see. That takes strength and courage beyond imagination, and I want to applaud both Michele’s commitment to this series and the talent that she continues to display every single week on Glee. For me, Finn and Rachel have always been the heart and soul of Glee, and even though the series has lost part of that with Cory’s passing, I know that Michele and Rachel will always give me a reason to watch Glee for however long it continues to go on for.
As a fan of Glee and a huge fan of Cory Monteith, both as a performer and person, I just want say thank you again to Lea , and the rest of the cast and crew, for everything you did during this episode. You allowed me the opportunity to say goodbye to Cory and Finn, and that’s more than I could have ever asked for.
What did everyone else think of “The Quarterback?” What is your favorite memory of Finn from Glee?