Let's Discuss: 'Glee's' Farewell to Finn

Going in, I knew this episode would be tough to watch. Tough isn’t the word that came to mind when I saw it though. The word was heartbreaking. The send-off/tribute to Finn was a necessary moment that we all knew was coming after Cory Monteith’s untimely death in July.

No stranger from shying away from the hard topics, “Glee” stepped up to the plate in true fashion. It was the farewell that I, as a fan, didn’t even know we needed. The thing about the makers of “Glee” is they know their fans and when it was over, I felt like they got it, they had heard what everyone was looking for and tried their best to give it to them. Quite frankly, I had very few requirements other than what I’d mentioned in ‘Let’s Talk About…Cory Monteith and Glee'.

The true magnitude of what had truly happened didn’t really hit until the season began. Not seeing Finn for two episodes had sent the orbit of the “Glee” universe into a tailspin. The show just couldn’t acknowledge what we all knew yet.

For two painful episodes prior, we were haunted by the notion that the big smiles of the cast, were happening in the midst of an indescribable personal pain. The heart of “Glee” had ceased its beating and with that, a knowledge that things were never going to be the same again for the happy-go-lucky dramedy really sunk in. 

So with that, “The Quarterback” bid a fond and heartfelt farewell to the character and the actor who’d helped make the show a success. Finn had imbued all of the qualities of what “Glee” stands for. He was a sweet, kind-hearted, tolerant and accepting soul, with a big voice.

He was a good guy, something that wouldn’t have been possible to convey without Monteith’s genuine presence. It’s a character that has been missing so much on TV. With the opening number of the episode “Seasons of Love”, they summed it all up. You couldn’t sum up what Finn Hudson or Cory Monteith meant to legions of Gleeks but you can give it your best shot.

Amber Riley memorably used her breathtaking vocals in “Seasons of Love”, the memorable track from “Rent” and a solo rendition of The Pretender’s “Stand By You” (which Finn had performed in a previous season), her performance was raw and intense. It was so cathartic that it allowed months of pent up sadness to finally find its way to the surface.

Naya Rivera packed a big punch with The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young”. As did Mark Salling’s performance of Springsteen’s “No Surrender” which was beautiful. The cast rendition of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” was also striking, Chord Overstreet pulling at the heartstrings with the equal measure he used plucking guitar strings.

When it came time for Lea Michele to perform, I had braced myself that it would pack a wallop, I just didn’t realize how much of one. Her performance of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” made it real.

Throughout a lot of the episode, you could fool yourself into believing that Monteith’s Finn was being written out because Monteith had left to pursue other things, like other former cast members. Then the cold and sad reality, finally hit. Her performance was to put it simply, moving. Anyone could’ve understood if it had been beyond emotional and yet she showed restraint, this was Rachel’s goodbye to Finn. 

What they demonstrated throughout the episode were the various forms of grief that people go through. Regret for things unspoken, Finn’s stepdad Burt and Sue both felt that sentiment. Mike O’Malley in a performance only he could deliver, Jane Lynch in a controlled and powerful performance. The unbridled grief of a loved one as seen through the eyes of Kurt, Chris Colfer, in an understated turn, as he tried to make sense of a senseless tragedy.

A grief guider; Coach Beiste (Dot Jones) counseling Puck was heartbreaking, both Salling and Jones were spot on. Her memorable piece of advice “Make your line count” was one of the episode’s most touching and profound words of wisdom. Finally, there was the exploration of grief that hadn’t yet expressed itself; a role that Mr. Schue had found himself in. When he finally broke down at the end of the episode, there weren’t any words.

There are so many takeaways or lessons from this episode. Say what you need to say, don’t live for a moment that you might never see come and finally, truly live your life. Writing this was beyond difficult so I can’t even imagine what the cast went through.

I’ve read comments about the performances and in my opinion, what we saw were performances. I couldn’t have shown the restraint any of the cast members did and I am a viewer. So I know that must’ve taken a lot of work and everyone was remarkable. “Glee” needed this episode; their fans needed this episode, a respectful goodbye that helped in the healing process.

A big message from this episode is that Cory Monteith’s death is a sad and tragic result of the disease known as addiction. If you or someone you know is battling it, please take action. You can reach out to Narcotics Anonymous.

[Featured Image by FOX]