The familiar voices of The New Directions sing “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent” to kick off “Glee’s” third episode, a touching, sob-your-eyes-out tribute episode to the late Cory Monteith. “Glee” decided to pay tribute to not only Cory, but also his character Finn the only way they knew how — through song.
Key characters from the series, who’ve been apart of the show since the beginning, sing touching tributes throughout the episode. Mercedes (Amber Riley) never disappoints with her powerhouse gospel range while singing a bone chilling cover of “I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders. It’s raw emotion and as always, showcases her incredible vocal ability.
Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Artie (Kevin McHale) perform an acoustic duet of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” The lyrics of the song held true for many of the cast members mourning their dear friend with the line, “but I always thought that I’d see you again,” reminding audience members to appreciate every moment of life because of its fleeting nature.
Series bad boy, Puck (Mark Salling), sings “No Surrender” by Bruce Springsteen to Finn’s empty chair bringing back memories of their friendship, and the realization that Finn made him a better man.
Santana (Naya Rivera) shows us a softer side of her usual sassy and dare we say bitchy persona with a tender version of the Band Perry’s “If I Die Young.” Before she could finish the song she broke in to a fit of tears and ran out the classroom.
This demonstrated the verifying stages of grief. For example, Puck gets angry, while Mr. Schue focuses on helping his students grieve that he seems numb to the process up until the very end of the episode by breaking down in sobs. Sue Struggles with the fact that she was so busy picking on Finn that he may never know she actually liked and respected him. Even Kurt’s dad regrets the fact that he didn’t hug Finn enough.
The episode did a great job showing all the different ways that it is possible to grieve the loss of a loved one. Watching the characters grieve Finn gave us a look in to how the actual cast members are taking steps toward closure.
The real heart breaker is when the all too familiar voice of Rachel (Lea Michele) appears in the final fifteen minutes of the episode. Rachel throws it back to her early schoolgirl outfit days at McKinley and ditches her New York glam look, which is a refreshing and nostalgic touch. She brings cast members to tears with a perfect cover of “Make You Feel My Love,” the Adele version of the Bob Dylan tune, as she clutched to her gold “Finn” necklace.
The tears were real and the emotion was so raw that we felt as though Lea was pouring herself in to this beautiful tribute. The camera pans around the room and showcases the different cast members comforting each other as we all sit at home grabbing for our second box of tissues.
Rachel explains to Mr. Shue that she doesn’t know how she’s doing at all and as he encourages her that something better may come along, she disagrees with a simple phrase, “Finn was my person.” A line that parallels Finn and Rachel’s onscreen relationship to their real-life love story.
Since news of his death fans wondered how they would address Finn’s absence from the new season. Many fans are upset that they didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to talk about the dangers of addiction, and instead decided to not discuss Finn’s cause of death. Although we think that’s how it should be. “Glee” has dealt with many real-life struggles on the show, and gives great advice on how to deal with them. This episode was different because it wasn’t just the death of a character, but of their actual cast member, friend and lover. “Glee” balanced the loss of the character and the human being with grace and a touching tribute.
Kurt’s character sums it up with an all too coincidental connection to the media attention Cory’s cause of death received with the line, “Everyone wants to talk about how he died too, but who cares? [That’s] one moment in his whole life — I care more about how he lived.”
“Glee” now faces the challenge of demonstrating moving on from one of life’s biggest losses, as the cast members themselves work to move on.
What did you think of the episode? Have you downloaded the songs/cried your heart out listening to them yet? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @Speakeasymag