Amidst the sudden death of Glee star Cory Monteith, many fans of the popular comedy-drama were left mourning the loss of a hero. To many, Monteith was an inspiration in both reality and TV. His goofy demeanor and brilliant voice brought to life a character on Glee that embraced his quirks and followed his heart. Not unlike his character, Monteith’s personality never ceased to bring smiles to those around him.
A spotlight constantly shone down on Monteith’s life, fans were especially shocked when his secret struggle with drugs was revealed as he sought help in rehab shortly before his death in August.
Already in preproduction for the upcoming season, Glee writers struggled to create a departure for Monteith’s character Finn Hudson that would both honor and preserve his memory. A loss as great as this ignited severe doubts amongst fans who feared the show wouldn’t survive the pain.
However, the cast of Glee pulled through in an equally heart breaking and warming tribute to Finn/Cory in their latest episode aptly titled “The Quarterback”.
Simplicity played a huge role in the episode’s development as it opened with a reunion of many old and new cast members harmonizing to Rent’s “Seasons of Love”. While it may have been scripted, the emotion on each person’s face proved that they were grieving for more than just a character- something that became painfully evident throughout the entire show. The song ended with a single but powerful photo of Monteith’s character before fading into the opening credits, marking the beginning of an emotional 45 minutes.
One of the smaller things in this episode that I found myself appreciating was the discretion. Although Cory Monteith’s death and its circumstances had taken over the media for a stretch of time, the writers made it clear early in the episode that his character’s cause of death wouldn’t be revealed. Rather than drawing more attention to Monteith’s death by labeling Finn Hudson’s, the show preserved the character’s innocence and memory.
Although an episode like this comes across as depressing and morbid, many key cast members who had been close with Monteith were finally able to vocalize their grief through songs. For Gleeks it was a cathartic release from the dreadful anxiety leading up to this episode.
On the surface, many of the performances allowed for the audience to see the other side of each character, especially for the normally insensitive ones. To help, the song choices themselves held powerful lyrics that evoked emotions and admittedly many tears. The set list included; “I’ll Stand by You”, “If I Die Young” and “Make You Feel My Love” as sung by Montieth’s on-screen and real life love, Lea Michele.
With each performance came a flood of tears from both the characters and myself that couldn’t be controlled. Luckily the writers provided relief in a few comical and badass moments, including one of the characters standing up to the show’s antagonist Coach Sue.
But perhaps the most moving moment of all came at the end to wrap up the long awaited tribute. Absent until the final moments, Lea Michele’s character finally made an appearance. Her emotional rendition of “Make You Feel My Love” was both raw and heart wrenching as she fought to sing through tears.
In the end, this episode proved to be the seamless memorial that Moneteith and the fans deserved. Although addressing such a serious topic aroused doubts, I can honestly say that there could not have been a more beautiful and modest tribute.