Last week I wrote that I was curious to see how Glee would deal with the Cory Monteith tribute. This week I dreaded tuning in. I saw Cory on the carpet at events quite a few times and while I may not have known him well or more than the “hey, how are you?” conversation, he couldn’t have been sweeter to me and to those around him. When I heard the news of his passing, I was on a music video set with Glee cast member Samuel Larsen — I almost felt bad being upset because I couldn’t imagine how Sam must feel. But then I realized something: Glee has had such an impact on its audience that whether or not you knew Cory personally, viewers still felt affected in some way.
“The Quarterback” opened with “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent. Most cast members, new and old, took the stage of McKinley High in simple black clothing and sang their hearts out. It’s powerful how a story can be told with such simplicity in the details. This episode had me tearing up within the first two minutes and bawling within the first 12 (thanks Amber Riley for that beautiful rendition of “I’ll Stand By You”).
Most of what we saw as an audience was from the first take, creator Ryan Murphy explains. Because this tribute episode was filmed so close to the tragic event, the feelings and emotions were still fresh and the wounds were still open ready to bleed. And boy did they bleed. They bled not just for the loss of Cory, but also for the loss of Finn, whom we’ve all essentially “grown” with week after week for the past 5 years. This episode showed all sides of grief – how people grieve differently, how they express themselves after a loss, and how grief can bring people together – and anyone who’s been through a loss can relate to at least one of the characters. For me, I found myself relating to Mr. Shuster; I’ve been through a lot of losses in my life and each time, like Mr. Shuster, I feel the need to be strong for those around me. So this one-hour tribute really hit home for me, and I can confidently say I know it hit home for a lot of you as well.
I need to applaud Lea Michele. She was only in the last 20 minutes of the episode but this girl left her heart on the floor with her performance. For 5 years I’ve made comments about how I think she’s too Broadway for TV, how her acting is too much, and how I wish she would stick to theatre because that suits her more. I have to take some of what I’ve said back after this week. Her tears were real and she gave the most heart-wrenching performance I’ve seen in a long time. The whole cast did. I could feel the pain they were going through when they spoke, and as performers I hope they walked away saying they told their story in the best way possible.
While I thought this episode was beautifully done, let’s be real for a second here. WHY WAS THERE NO MENTION OF HOW FINN DIED?! Yes, I am aware that the whole world knows how Cory died and it’s implied and blah blah blah. Cool. It left me feeling like the story wasn’t fully told and the issue at hand was not fully addressed. I appreciated that they had a little snippet at the end discussing addiction, but by then the story had already been told and was done with. The more we bring this issue to surface, the more people will hopefully start to listen. So yes, I am a little disappointed. PS – where was Diana Agron?!
What were your favorite or least favorite moments from this episode? Keep it 100. XO NM