There was a lot of fantastic pop culture writing about Glee‘s farewell to Cory Monteith yesterday, and the messages were all very similar. It was a very good episode, probably the best the show could do with the very sad situation it found itself in. Like many others, I watched the episode even though I haven’t watched Glee for a while. And I won’t be back after this episode either. I just had to see it.
It was hard to watch. The tears were so obviously real, the emotion was incredibly raw. The lines between performer and character were so blurred, you stopped watching Rachel and knew you were watching Lea Michele. Were we saying goodbye to Finn, or to Cory? Both, really, but it was a difficult tightrope to balance. We don’t know how Finn died, I doubt we’ll ever know. But it is safe to assume that it was not from a heroin overdose. That wasn’t who Finn Hudson was. Sadly, Cory Monteith struggled with addiction from a very young age. He’d recently been in rehab, before his death. His girlfriend, Lea Michele, said she loved and supported him through it. From all accounts, he was a sweet, humble guy. His troubled life and premature death is a real tragedy, and even though it’s not how Finn died, you could feel all of that in the episode.
I wrote that tweet during a commercial break, and by the end of the episode I still felt that it was true. Two things from the episode stood out to me. That scene, in which Burt talked about all the things he wished he’d done differently with Finn and Finn’s mom sobbed about losing your only child. And Lea Michele barely getting the words “He was my person” out. There were many other sad, but well done moments – Lea Michele’s song, Santana’s inability to speak genuinely rather than cover her grief up with jokes, the opening performance, etc. But those moments stood out to me.
There are little things about the episode that I didn’t like as much. I thought it should have ended with Rachel, not Will. I wished that Quinn had at least been mentioned, since it felt that she would have a deeper relationship with Finn than Santana did. I didn’t love Sue’s declaration that there was no lesson to be learned from Finn’s death. But those are minor. Overall, I’m very impressed with how Glee handled the episode. What did you guys think?