The hardest word to say is “goodbye.”
The tagline for “The Quarterback” has been rolling around in my head for the past couple of weeks. It’s heartbreakingly true. A “goodbye” is so final, but so is death.
When Cory died, less than four months ago, for the majority of Glee
fans it was their first true brush with celebrity death. With the young Glee
cast, it was their first true loss of a friend, a brother, a comrade. With Lea, it was the loss of the love of her life.
Cory Monteith was a person who was plagued by his own inner demons. He was also a person who was described as being “kind” and “generous.” He was a serious actor dedicated to his craft, but also a lovable goofball. He knew that he was lucky. He changed his own circumstances in life. He came into our lives for about 45 minutes every week as Finn Hudson. It was our only real connection, for the most part, with Cory. Interviews notwithstanding we, as fans, really knew him as Finn.
Most people/reviewers/critics tend to praise Chris Colfer, Lea Michele, or Naya Rivera for their performances. I read, shortly after Cory died, that his gift lied in deceptively simple performances. He gave performances that were…merely what they were. It isn’t a bad thing honestly. It’s refreshing. Cory took characters that seemed simple on paper and made a layered and nuanced performance.
If not for Cory, Finn would not be Finn. Audiences felt, and related to, his struggles of popularity versus following your heart, feeling lost in the world, slowly finding what you truly love, learning how to accept others for their differences, and the hardship of being a good person. Finn was not a perfect character, but he was a real character. It was thanks to Cory that we have that.
Cory was not the best singer or dancer on Glee
. He did, however, have the biggest heart. It’s a tragedy that ultimately the demons he thought he had tamed, that he had shared with the world, caught up with him.
This episode tonight will be difficult. It is, however, a necessary difficulty. It will be cathartic for both the fans and for the cast and crew. Tonight, we will all be united in mourning for someone who meant different things to different people.
Tonight, we are all one united Glee
family. Regardless of whether or not the show drives us insane. Regardless of whether or not we stopped watching. Regardless of whether or not you even liked Finn as a character. Tonight, we are united in our mourning for someone who died before his time.
We will watch the episode. We will cry and sob. We will go through tissues upon tissues. We will release our own grief as a fandom. I will release my grief as a fan of Cory and Finn entirely. Then, we will celebrate the life of Cory Monteith and the legacy of his character Finn Hudson.
Cory Monteith was our
quarterback. Tonight, let us honor him the best way we can and let his friends, his family, eulogize his character to us.
Kurt talks about grief. We learn that it’s been three weeks since Finn died. It still feels surreal to him. Burt, Carole, and Kurt are all hurting as they sort through Finn’s thing. Burt keeps the lamp that was the first huge blow-up between the Hudmels. He said that he should have hugged Finn more. Carole, Finn’s mother, describes the heartwrenching grief that is losing a child. I cannot imagine something more painful in my life. It’s a constant ache. Kurt takes Finn’s jacket and gives it to Santana. He also refuses to give Puck the jacket. Seriously though a special shoutout to Romy Rosemont and Mike O'Malley they did such a great job and delivered one of the best scenes of the show I have ever seen.
Puck is not dealing with his best friend’s death well. He’s drinking. He’s acting out. He steals the memorial tree that Kurt bought in Finn’s honor and keeps it with him a shady motel room with him. He shows up drunk to the locker where Beiste is. They have a really great talk. Finn is gone and all that Puck has is what he thinks his friend would have wanted for him. He needs to be his own guiding influence. Dot Marie Jones and Mark Salling act the hell out of this scene. Puck is blamed for taking Finn’s jacket by everyone when Santana tells him that it was missing. It’s, like all of this episode, raw and real. Puck brings back the tree and replants it. He says that if he can’t Finn guiding him then he needs to find his own guidance. So he joins the Air Force.
Santana is having trouble reconciling her anger. She is scared that Finn died thinking that she thought the worst of him when that is far from the truth. She lashes at Sue when the woman tries to take the memorial they erected down. Santana pushes Sue in a moment of anger saying the woman never gave a damn about him. She breaks down in the middle of her song and runs away screaming when people try to hug her. She runs to the auditorium where Kurt meets her. She tells Kurt all the nice things about Finn that really meant a lot to her like how he would ask during the time the had sex if she was “okay” and meant it. She goes to see Sue in order to apologize for pushing her. Sue admits that she was right and that it kills her that Finn died thinking she hated him. Kurt gives Santana her jacket. When the jacket is taken, she kind of goes a little crazy to find it. She tells Mister Schue, Will, that she may not be coming back to Ohio because it reminds her of Finn. Will says that’s okay.
Will has been a rock for everyone during this time. It’s him who arrange the memorial week for the glee club and for them to sing their feelings of grief and loss to Finn. He hasn’t cried once since he gotten the news of Finn’s death. He and Rachel share a great scene together that I’ll get to in Rachel’s section. At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that Will took the jacket. The episode ends with him crying over Finn’s lettermen’s jacket and letting Emma comfort him.
Rachel is the hardest hit obviously. She comes to see the memorial herself, which she thinks is beautiful. She also uses the assignment to metaphorically find her voice after Finn’s death. She thanks Will later because she was scared that she wouldn’t be able to sing. She sing for Finn because he was the first to hear her when she sang alone. She talks about the plan she had. She was going to get big on Broadway and be a star. Then she was going to come back to Ohio where Finn would be a teacher. She would leave Broadway for him so they could have a happy ending. She doesn’t have a plan now, and it’s scary. She does have a plaque that has the classic Finn quote on it: “The show’s gotta go…all over the place…or something.” She and Will hang it in the choir room together. I have no clue how Lea Michele was able to do this, but she did it beautifully.
Everyone else is obviously devastated. The whole episode just focused on the handful of the old guard. You can tell that line between the characters and the actors was very thin. It was okay for that.
This is one of the best episodes that Glee
has ever done in its history. It embodies the imperfect character that they are celebrating, while also honoring Cory.
It’s really hard writing about this.
I’m writing this immediately after the episode. I feel…clean? I cried. I have a whole pile of tissues next to me and a glass of mostly drunk wine. It was hard to watch but it was a necessary thing to watch. Seeing Cory’s family, because they were his family, grieve on screen together almost felt like permission for me to cry over it. It was the cathartic release I was hoping for.
Cory, and Finn, was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Cory was a good person who loved a lot of people and those people loved him back. Finn was the same way. I think the legacy that Glee
wants us to remember is that legacy of love and being thankful for the good things in our lives.
I think it's good release for everyone. Ultimately, we have to move on and honor the legacy.
After all the show does gotta go all over the place…or something.
Sorry, I had to.
There will be no grades for songs this week. They were all fantastic. It feels wrong grading what is a person’s a grief through music.
Also I do want to stress that you should buy these songs on iTunes. All the proceeds are going to a charity that Cory supported called Project Limelight
“Seasons Of Love”
sung by New Directions: The moments the chords started…I just lost it. It’s a fitting tribute. Like I said, a legacy of love. Everyone sounded so beautiful. I like New New Directions but I was glad that the old guard was given point here.
“I’ll Stand By You”
sung by Mercedes with New Directions: Mercedes starts off the tribute week to Finn by singing one of his best known songs. This was a really sweet song when Cory sung it. Amber’s voice goes from quiet to soaring. It was like being in church and had a very gospel quality to it.
“Fire and Rain”
sung by Artie and Sam with New Directions: This was another really nice song. It was quiet and I appreciated the quiet after Amber taking us all to church. Kevin and Chord sound really good together. Again I liked how everyone kind of joined in it. It kind of showed how they were all really united through song and by grief.
“If I Die Young”
sung by Santana:
We didn’t get a full version of the song on the show. Naya, however, put a song that I thought was a little too on the nose (and I honestly didn’t like it before this episode) and just put…This is one of Naya’s best songs ever. Just every part of it and again people joining in on the chorus. I also appreciated that someone couldn’t handle a whole song and that it was Santana.
sung by Puck: I know Cory and Mark were good friends off set. I don’t know why but I think this song captures both friendships really well. I like that it’s a Springsteen song. It’s really quiet. I appreciate the quiet here because Puck, as a character, lost his best friend and brother.
“Make You Feel My Love”
sung by Rachel: This was the hardest song. Lea killed every single moment of it. Just all this…all the performances were honest, but this was like super honest. This was a song Lea chose that had a special meaning for her and Cory. We may never know why but it’s….just…again this song is the best song that Lea Michele has ever sang in her life. The raw honesty. I could never do that and the fact that she could just tells me how strong she is.
That’s it for this recap.
Uh I’m not going to talk about the episode coming up on November 7th
. Instead, if I may, I would like to leave you with a song that I think informs the legacy of Finn Hudson the best.
From season two episode “Born This Way” is “I’ve Gotta Be Me”.
Rest in Peace, Cory. You were our quarterback, too.