Thursday night, the emotionally heartfelt and tear-inducing episode of Glee aired, aptly titled “The Quarterback.” This episode of Glee was a tribute to the late Cory Monteith and to his character Finn Hudson.
Most were very pleased (myself included) with the way Glee and FOX handled the goodbye to Cory and to his character, Finn. But, there are some that wanted more. Some were upset that the show did not include a means of death for Finn Hudson, claiming this lack of information prevents closure. A reason doesn’t change the fact that Finn Hudson died, so why does one need a reason for closure? Chris Colfer’s character, Kurt, expressed this amazingly well early in the show by saying, “Everyone wants to talk about how he died, but who cares? It's one moment in his whole life.”
Some are upset that Glee, a show known for dealing with sensitive issues, failed to incorporate Monteith’s addiction issues into the death of Finn Hudson, but this would not have accomplished anything. The circumstances surrounding Monteith’s death are completely irrelevant to Finn Hudson’s death. They are not the same ‘person,’ and at no point was there ever any indication that Monteith’s character Finn struggled (or even experimented) with drugs. How could the producers of Glee justify ending Finn’s life that way? They couldn’t, and I’m glad they didn’t. It would have served no purpose, other than to tarnish the memory of the character.
By not incorporating a cause of death into the episode, Glee was able to accomplish a rather complicated and astonishing feat—the ‘line’ separating Cory Monteith from his character Finn Hudson was blurred just enough to allow a little of each to cross over into the other. If it was declared that Finn Hudson died as a result of drugs, it would have put too much emphasis onto Cory; conversely, if Finn Hudson was said to have died in a completely different way (a car accident for example), it would have taken away too much from Cory. By not saying how Finn died, a perfect balance of actor and character was achieved. We were able to mourn the loss of Finn on Glee, while still remembering and mourning the loss of Cory.
Slightly blurring that line between Cory and Finn created a ripple effect through the rest of the cast. As their characters paid their musical respects and worked through the pain they were all feeling by the death of Finn Hudson, we were also allowed a small glimpse into the sadness the cast was feeling by the loss of their friend and costar Cory Monteith. The strongest of this was evident when Lea Michele’s character, Rachel, made her appearance in the latter half of the episode.
Standing in the glee club room and touching her necklace with the name “Finn,” Rachel quietly and simply said that “Finn was my person.” Everyone knows the relationship between Finn and Rachel extended very deeply off-screen as well, and Lea has an identical necklace with the name “Cory.” By fusing this element into her appearance on the episode, we could feel Rachel’s pain at losing Finn, but we were also deeply hit with how much Lea loved and is mourning the loss of Cory. When she performed her rendition of “Make You Feel My Love,” it was as though we were watching two separate hearts breaking in the same body. The truth and depth of Lea’s emotional, and probably most difficult performance of her life, was breathtaking, and it honestly could not have been done better.
Overall, I can’t even find the words to describe how well everyone involved did in creating this masterful work of television. “The Quarterback” was, by far, the most emotional and involved episode of any television show I’ve ever watched. Glee drew you into their world to share in the remembrance and celebration of Finn’s life, as well as Cory’s. So, no, it doesn’t matter how Finn died. It doesn’t even matter how Cory died. All that matters is how they lived. The people who's lives they touched... the lives they changed... and the people they loved and were loved by... That’s all that matters, and that’s all that should be remembered.
Well done FOX. Well done Glee. Well done everyone. Thank-You!
In honor of Cory Monteith, Fox Broadcasting Company, 20th Century Fox, and Columbia Records will be donating all proceeds from the sales of the episode "The Quarterback" and all songs featured in the episode to Cory's favorite charity Project Limelight.
May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013
Rest in Peace