"Glee" said goodbye to Cory Monteith and his character, Finn Hudson in an emotional tribute episode Thursday night. The story picked up three weeks after his funeral with the cast still in mourning. Their "assignment" for the week was to sing songs in remembrance of Finn to honor his memory and celebrate his life. Virtually the entire cast of the show came back for this special memorial.
Monteith's on-and-off-screen girlfriend, Lea Michele, didn't appear until toward the end of the episode, but her scenes were the most powerful. In most of the scenes it was evident that the raw emotions on the faces of the cast were genuine. Viewers could see Lea Michele mourning her lost love just as Rachel was mourning hers.
“I talk to him a lot. I can still see his face, and can hear his voice so clearly," she told Will. "Do you think I’ll ever forget it? Because I’m afraid that one day, I will.”
Everyone got their chance to mourn Monteith as the episode progressed, with Will finally succumbing to his own tears in the end. And yet, TVLine's Michael Slezak applauded the show for keeping this as positive as possible. "I’ve got to say, I’m incredibly happy the show didn’t give us a cause of death, or have Finn die in the same sad way as Cory himself," he wrote. "Kurt’s explanation that the cause wasn’t at the heart of the matter rang so so so so resoundingly true, no?”
By skipping the funeral and not giving a cause of death, "Glee" instead focused on the celebration of life and the memories of a young man taken too soon. Creator Ryan Murphy told E! Online that the show will continue to honor Monteith's memory as the season progresses. "I just made a decision that we keep mentioning Finn," he said. "We don't just say this is done and we're never going to go back to it, so that resonates throughout the year ... We're trying to be sensitive and also have some fun and go back to some optimistic stories ... I think he would have wanted that, he always loved that about the show."
After such a heart-wrenching and emotional hour, "Glee" takes a baseball break, returning to Fox on Wednesday, November 7 at 9 p.m. ET.
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