Cory Monteith’s death was one that you remember upon the exact moment you heard the news. It was not only the death of a talented and young actor and artist, but also the death of a beloved character.
One of the first questions that crossed people’s minds after hearing the news was, “How will ‘Glee’ handle it?” Would the show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, use Monteith’s real-life addiction as another one of the show’s life lessons and write that Finn Hudson, Monteith’s character, died from drugs? It was the question on everyone’s mind, and we could not wait until Oct. 10 to find out how Finn would die.
But we never found out. Monteith’s tribute episode, “The Quaterback,” reminded us that it did not matter how he died — what mattered was what he did while he was alive.
The episode showed us that we should not care how Finn died, but that we should focus on what a great character he was and how both Finn and Monteith affected the lives of so many. As Finn’s stepbrother Kurt (Chris Colfer) put it so perfectly in the opening lines of the episode, “Everyone wants to talk about how he died, too, but who cares? One moment in his whole life … I care more about how he lived.”
The tribute episode was beautifully done. It begins three weeks after Finn’s funeral and many members of the original cast reunite to attend a memorial that Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) held specially for the glee club. Each character dealt with Finn’s death differently.
We saw how Finn’s teacher, parents, stepbrother, best friend and girlfriend coped with not having him around anymore. The heartbreaking thing was that the tears were real and unstaged. No acting was required for the emotion in this episode. Yes, the characters lost Finn, but the actors lost a friend, and for Lea Michele, a boyfriend.
One of the more difficult scenes to watch was of Finn’s mother (Romy Rosemont) and stepfather (Mike O’Malley) separating their son’s belongings. Then there was Mercedes’s (Amber Riley) performance of “Stand By You,” which Finn sang in the first season.
But with each emotionally draining part came a nice memory of Finn or a little joke.
Watching the episode, you could tell how very special of a man Monteith was. In the first season of the show, Mr. Schu tells Finn that “sometimes being special sucks.” And special he was, both as Finn and as Cory.