Glee 503 Recap: Quarterback (Emotional Upheaval 100%)

Howdy hey, kids! I’m taking over for Riese this week because she is at A-Camp, where I assume she is wearing flannel, hauling firewood, maybe riding a bear or drinking a quality beer. Pour out a quality beer for me, Riese. Actually, I’m cheap and broke and I hate beer, so go ahead and drink that one.

I’ve probably rewritten this one about a dozen times. Initially, I was psyched for the opportunity to recap Glee because I hate Glee with an all-consuming passion. Like if you said I could either put my face into a bag of bees or watch an episode of Glee, I would willingly dive into the bee bag. I was all set to turn my snark to full blast, giving you a play-by-play of how much I hate everything happening, but then I found out that this episode was the Cory Monteith tribute episode. And then I didn’t really know what to do.

To prepare for recapping this episode, I read a lot of articles about the way in which it was made. The fact that most of the scenes are first takes, because the tears were real and the actors were crying too much to continue, is a hard one to swallow. Watching a group of people grieve their real-life loss under the guise of a fictional one is incredibly uncomfortable, incredibly upsetting, and made me think very seriously about whether or not we can call this kind of thing exploitation. Is there a clean way to go about a tribute episode? How do you honor the passing of the actor without having to put the grieving of his friends and loved ones on extremely public display? Ryan Murphy and Co. has exploited extremely tender subjects before. I want to desperately believe that they wouldn’t do the same to one of their own, but man. Something was nagging me as soon as the first tear was shed in this episode, and it didn’t quit.

The episode opens on the latest incarnation of New Directions singing that song from Rent that every theater kid you knew in middle school was super into.

Maybe I don’t like Glee because I never was into the theater kids? I was too busy teaching myself Sindarin and slurping through my braces, so obviously I was too cool for their shenanigans. The old members of New Directions join in the song, with Mercedes taking the lead. It’s really lovely, and I’ll take this time to say that all the songs in this episode are great. Every performance feels like it was dredged up from an incredibly deep part of the person, and it hits you pretty hard each time. Again, it’s uncomfortable for me to talk about how intense and beautiful these performances are because it feels like watching someone sing at a funeral. Actually, it’s meant to feel that way, because these actors are portraying characters who are singing for their friend’s memorial.

five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred times when i felt really awkward and sad for the actors

Kurt is getting ready to return to Lima, where everyone is gathering to collectively mourn Finn in a Shue-organized memorial. It’s implied that the memorial is too much for Rachel to attend. Kurt says that Finn died three weeks ago, and that despite everyone talking about his cause of death, it’s no one’s business. I have a lot of thoughts about this, as did everyone else who saw the show, I’m sure.

So. We don’t get to see the cause of Finn’s death or the character’s initial reactions to his passing, which is in some sense a very smart decision, and in another sense, a very strange one. The specific way in which Kurt chooses not to say how Finn dies makes it sound as if they’re trying to align this situation with the cause of Cory Monteith’s death, which is… uncomfortable, to say the least. While it would be highly uncouth to make this episode about how Cory Monteith died, it’s actually really strange to not talk about how a fictional character has been removed from the narrative, especially by something as serious as death. And I know, this is the episode in tribute to Cory Monteith, but it’s technically also an episode in tribute to a recently passed Finn Hudson, and the constant complication of those two identities made this episode hard to watch for a lot of reasons. Cory was a real human being who was not Finn Hudson, no matter how much his performance may have been influenced by his own experiences or traits. I’m not sure this episode always remembers that, and it’s hard to watch.

If the point of Glee thus far has been using song and dance to work out any number of “after-school special”-worthy issues, the premise of their tribute episode aims to be consistent. This will be the main theme of this episode: we, the viewers, watch the actors crying while other actors do sobworthy things, while we, the viewers, know that the actors are crying real tears in reaction to a real event. I feel incredibly uncomfortable letting anyone see me cry, and I feel super fucking uncomfortable when people around me cry. Cue forty minutes of watching real people crying real tears while having to act out a scripted scene with occasionally forced jokes? My shoulders could not handle the cringing and eye contact avoidance that was due.

this outfit was actually the only thing that made me laugh in this episode

this outfit was actually the only thing that made me laugh in this episode tbh

We learn that Sue has planted a memorial tree where she caught Finn and Quinn fondling each other, and everyone thinks she is a soulless piece of trash for doing so. Isn’t that her well-worn character trait, being inappropriately cruel while everyone else is sensitive and shining examples of humanity? Serious, serious kudos to Jane Lynch for her entire performance in this episode. Having to play the character making politically incorrect wisecracks throughout a tribute episode about grief is the hardest role in the book. It’s hard to put your grief out there on camera; it’s harder to have to mask it with a role that doesn’t allow you to break character.

Turns out somebody stole the memorial tree, which seems like a cruel act of vandalizing. Turns out that it’s just Puck, who has taken the tree to a seedy motel where he will copulate with it. I’m just kidding, although there is a weird moment where he looks at it while eating an apple with a knife and in any other episode there would have been a joke about having sex with a tree. Jesus H. Christ, this is a hard episode to recap. Puck’s story in this episode is one that’s meant to be consistent with his characterization thus far, and he rebels and gets drunk when he’s faced with grief, because, as he tells Coach Beiste, he’s afraid if he starts crying then he won’t stop. Also his anxious masculinity is threatened by the weakness implied in sadness and mourning, real men don’t cry, country song lyrics, etc. His eventual breaking down with Bieste is probably the only time in the episode where I felt a little cheesed out, but you know what? The cheese was the eye of an emotional storm, and you need those.

Finn’s family brings the toughest scene in the episode. If you’ve been feeling the emotions tugging at your sleeve, this is where it gets exponentially harder not to let it all out. When Finn’s mother says that she’ll always be a parent, but she’ll never have her son again… that’s a deep line for Glee, who has dropped more scissoring jokes than your least favorite ex. One thing I liked about this episode was that they did go there sometimes, and it didn’t actually feel like “too much.” Was some of the dialogue a little forced? Sure, it usually is. Did it feel incredibly awkward to witness what were definitely some non-fictional breakdowns? Absolutely. But when there were hard-hitting lines about loss and grief in this episode, I was shocked to admit that I got it. I’ve been there. I don’t like to think about the loss I’ve experienced in my life, but there were moments in these forty minutes that literally forced me to reconsider them and compare the actors’ grief to my own and shit, that’s the kind of thing I expect out of an Oscar-winning film, not an episode of my least favorite show of all time. I hate that it was at the expense of the actors’ pain itself, but I never thought Glee was going to take me where it did, and I guess I’m appreciative? Maybe?

Picture 57

I should say that a few of the shitty things Finn did on the show are glossed over in a way that’s vaguely uncomfortable. I know that death allows us to look back and remember the best of people, for the sake of our own emotional sanity as much as anything else, but it was strange that the conversation that the family reminisces over is the “faggy lamp” scene of all things. Finn was not the best dude. I know for a fact that we in the queer community made angry blog posts about him on more than one occasion. This showed Burt’s character growth, yes, but it was still strange.

Sam and Artie’s rendition of “Fire and Rain” makes Santana need time alone, only to discover Sue trying to take down Finn’s memorial.

She breaks down, screaming violently at Sue and telling her that Finn never liked Sue. Again, knowing how emotional everyone was at the time of shooting, scenes like this make me wonder how much regard the writers had for the actors’ stability. Later, Sue and Santana are allowed a scene in which they make up, although it’s not the hugfest Puck and Beiste had. Instead, it’s truer to their characters, and Sue says some things that eclipse a lot of the other lines they wrote up to attempt to express the other character’s grief. Again, Jane Lynch is doing some high quality keeping it together. Naya’s doing a stand-up job, too. My cynical ass was impressed.

And holy fucking wow, they make Lea Michele come out and sing a song? This is the point when the episode becomes stupidly painful. Is it beautiful? Oh, absolutely. It’s “Make You Feel My Love”, and when Lea Michele starts singing, you realize everything in this episode has been leading up to this moment.

Rachel has lost Finn, and Lea Michele has lost Cory, the person she was going to marry. Coupled with the reaction shots, I know without a doubt this was a room of friends mourning the loss of Cory, not actors in character, acting out grief.

Picture 58

At the very end, it turns out Mr. Shue has Finn’s jacket after everyone blamed Puck. Mr. Shue has been attempting to keep everyone together, which Rachel acknowledges when she comes to Lima, but now he’s breaking down. He has Finn’s jacket, which is… weird for a teacher, let’s be real. Also, he totally joined in on the angrily interrogating Puck thing, so uh, what was up with that, dude? I don’t know. He and Emma have a moment. Against all odds, it’s touching.

Final thoughts:

  • I know this is a tribute and that’s important but fuck, I literally spent so much of this episode wanting to punch Ryan Murphy in the face for trotting out grieving widows and emotionally traumatized people and making them fucking sing and dance so everyone in the world can see their extremely personal mourning, and this is somehow the worst. I don’t know. I have the most conflicted feelings about this episode. I’m looking for a bag of bees so I can stop feeling so stressed out by the process of recapping this. I know the actors requested to be a part of this, but how much pressure would there be for them to make this happen? How is their ability to grief compromised by the fact they have to be characters as well as people? I don’t know, I just have a lot of feelings about protecting their feelings.
  • We should probably talk about the blatant lack of Quinn. Didn’t she have a relationship with Finn that was a pretty big fucking deal? I don’t think you can deny a deep level of trust when you are capable of convincing a teenage boy that his premature ejaculation in a body of water got you pregnant. Frigging Principal Figgins gets a moment to deeply grieve Finn, and Finn’s girlfriend of multiple years is banned from the set? Mmk, Ryan Murphy. I see your diva status, and it has been noted. I understand that Brittany had scheduling issues, but leaving out Quinn is a big deal, fella.
  • I need to let out a gigantic sigh and go take some Xanax. This was a beast. I hope you all fared better than I did.

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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. Do we know how the actors feel about the episode? I hate Glee as much as the next angry blogger, but as someone working in the performing arts I can also see this as his friends thinking it’s a fitting tribute. I don’t REALLY want to use the analogy, but it struck me as the actor’s version of a State funeral – communal public grieving rather than exploitation.

    Though maybe I continue to hope the best from Ryan Murphy and you’re dead on.

    • We know Lea was very active in how it was done. We know that some volunteered to be in it.

      I think they pretty clearly centered around people who were upset but not the closest to the grief and could also act. I think they left Lea as much alone as possible. And I don’t know what they could have done to make it more tasteful. To not do it would be worse.

  2. Thanks for taking this on, Kade. I haven’t watched the episode yet since I have a lot of mixed feelings towards the treatment of Finn’s character/exploiting the grief of the actual cast members. I was disgusted to read that Brad Falchuk said the hardest thing in filming the episode was to keep the actors in a perpetual state of grief for 2 weeks because they didn’t want anyone to “fake” their grief. How cruel do you have to be to do that to people in mourning??

    And yes, the blatant omission of one of the most important people in Finn’s life was incredibly disrespectful. I’ve read some rumour-mills that Ryan Murphy (duh) and Lea Michele (!?!??!?!?!) apparently hate Dianna and don’t want her attached to the show anymore. Does anyone have any more info on this unbelievable gossip? I mean, LEA HATING DIANNA!?!?

    • I think the rumour mills are just that – Rumours. I came across an article on E that pointed out Dianna’s absence as being as result of her own scheduleling issues. She just was available. Supposedly she attended Cory Monteith’s funeral.

    • THIS! This, Papi! I agree with every single point you’ve made.

      I stopped watching Glee around Season 3 and but read AS recaps, and I have not seen the episode yet! I have seen a few youtube clips and I must admit it has gotten me a bit emotional, IDK if I will be ever ready to see the actual thing. I’m a Gleek but I’m not sure I am/will be comfortable seeing how the actors *relive* the grief. I may watch it out of curiosity tho, but alone!

      I’m no stranger to death of a very close family member, and/or a close friend, but I guess you don’t get *used to* the whole experience, seeing Lea cry her heart out, I’m not sure I can handle it, ya know? And then there’s the Quinn thing and the rumors of Lea Michele and Ryan Murphy not asking for Dianna Agron to be part of the episode. For sure there will be no (other) official statement except for the “schedule conflict” story they will be sticking to, but I’m not comfortable with the reason that they don’t want to “share the glory of this episode with her because they don’t see her as a team player,” IMHO I don’t think Dianna even thinks of the glory, I want to think that Dianna wants to be part of the episode not for the glory or to even be seen on TV, but because she is sad just like the rest of the cast, staff, and crew, and she shared a few years of her work life with Cory (+) whether *they* like it or not.

      Kade, great recap! Thanks for taking over such a tough position, but you did well!

      I maaay or may not have a lot of feelings about this and long comment is long. >.<

    • Quinn and Finn barely interacted after they broke up in Season two and the one time they did was so he could try to beat her up in a wheelchair. Harldy an important person to have around.

    • I am not buying Leas “intense dislike” of Dianna. It sounds a little made up to me. The only way this could be true is if Lea drank one too many glasses of the Kool Aid that Ryan Murphy is serving.

  3. I think you’re reading too much into Quinn’s absence. You acknowledge that Heather Morris wasn’t able to attend filming because of scheduling issues/new baby, but don’t consider that it might have been the same story for Dianna Agron? I see no reason for Ryan Murphy to deliberatly leave her out of the story. From what i’ve read she simply wasn’t available when the episode was shot.

    Great recap otherwise.

    • I’ve read that Ryan Murphy didn’t ask for her to be in the episode (and she was the only original cast member besides Heather who wasn’t in the episode), and that there were personal grudges against Dianna. That’s different than Dianna having a scheduling conflict if it’s clear she’s not wanted.

    • Even if he left her out not wanting to draw up new contracts so someone who Finn had nothing but a contentious and unpleasant relationship with could be around is perfectly reasonable.

      Santana and Finn made up in I Kissed a Girl and she was grateful for what he did. We may think it is absurd but that is canon and they don’t have to draw up new contracts just to have here there since she is on the show. Whereas Quinn and Finn had almost zero positive interactions. Their last big scene was him attacking her in a wheelchair and Dianna would require lots of paperwork.

      She was invited to the onset memorial to him. She just didn’t get to be on a tv show.

      (Both Mark and Amber do still have contracts. Both have complained online about being called back. Amber while shooting Dancing with the Stars and Mark after moving into a new house).

  4. I haven’t seen The New Normal so I wasn’t aware of that. Perhaps all this talk of schedueling is just a way for them to save face. Either way, it’s a real shame she wasn’t there.

    • Ryan took shots at himself, shippers, Lea, Matt and glee in general on The New Normal.

      Not saying Ryan isn’t a diva but other actors asked to be in the episode. She was in it 3 times last season even though she wasn’t a regaulr and she was at the memorial arranged by Lea and Ryan.

      Any way I Ryan just doens’t see Quinn as part of the show so didn’t writer her anything and because he knew she was promoting her movie and knew if she was in the episode then people who expect her to have a storyline in it.

      People like to build up this methodology with Diana that she hated the stories she got even though everyone has gotten more than one shit storyline and that Dianna got out of glee. Dianna and some of the other grads were never going to be followed by season 3. They were let go.

      Some cast are still under contract and stuck until Ryan says yes or no.

  5. I mean no offence to the person who wrote this recap, but I really do wish Autostraddle had managed to get someone who actively watched (and enjoyed) Glee to write it just this one time. Those of us who follow the show know that Lea was very much involved in the decision of what to do about Glee after Cory’s death, and she was involved in the fact that this episode was going to happen, as well as what Rachel’s part in the episode was going to be.

    The actors and writers made it very clear that this was going to be a chance to show young fans, who may never have experienced the kind of grief they felt after Cory’s passing before, how different people grieve, and how every response is okay. The episode was a chance for those fans, and others, to say goodbye to a character and actor that they have probably followed for over four years. For me, as a long term fan, it was like attending a memorial service. Of course the tears and emotions were real, but I don’t think it was exploitation. I think it was a beautiful and fitting opportunity for everyone to say goodbye to a character that was such a central part of Glee’s world. I cried throughout, but it did provide me with some closure.

    • Different people have different opinions? Although I stopped watching Glee towards the end of S3/beginning of S4, I was a faithful fan before that. And watching this episode…it felt exploitative to me. And uncomfortable. It wasn’t cathartic for me at all, and hearing and knowing about the production behind it didn’t make me feel better about the episode. It actually made me feel worse. And although Kate’s not a long-time watcher, her recap actually reflected my feelings on this episode.

  6. Seasons of Love was a quite beautiful tribute; I think it balanced all the elements well (newer characters starting out, long-term characters coming in, very nicely filmed, beautifully sung, etc.).

    From what I’ve read (which let’s face it, could mean something or nothing at all), it does seem the cast for the most part wanted to do this and really shaped certain aspects of it (and speculation has included the idea that heavy lifting was done by Naya Rivera plot-wise and other actors song-wise to compensate for those who didn’t feel comfortable/ready to participate more fully). It does seem that Lea Michele was truly committed to doing this episode, and that the others worked to make it as safe a space as possible for her to participate as much as she was willing to.

    I have a lot of feelings though, about the lionization of Cory Monteith and in the tribute episode, his character. These feelings don’t have much to do with Cory Monteith, a human being with whom I was not at all acquainted, but with the way in which Glee fans have responded to this death. I think his family did a wonderful job in building something positive by providing the media with information about ways in which people could support people suffering from addiction.

    But I am also continuously angry about the huge numbers of people who can recognize the humanity of a person struggling with addiction when that person is a white cis het male who is famous through being on a popular TV show, but have little to no interest in recognizing the humanity of the millions of people who are not in the financially blessed position of a famous actor. If every person who claimed to have a profound emotional reaction to Cory Monteith’s death channeled their energy and/or emotion into recognition of that humanity and support of those people, we’d have a profoundly different system in place to support people struggling with addiction.

    It also makes me think again about the spectacle, where because of mass media dissemination and consumption many people (who did not actually have any acquaintance with Cory Monteith) are experiencing grief (in an abstract form, but still grief) but that a similar emotional connection is totally absent towards non-individualized groups of people experiencing profound repression and physical, mental, and emotional hardship.

    • Unfortunately, it’s easier to feel sorry for someone (or feel some sort of empathy) when you feel some sort of connection to them, in the sense that they are like you or embody what you want to be (white cis het famous). Sad, but it’s reality. It would be nice to see people connected with Cory Monteith and/or the show using this as an opportunity to help other people struggling with drug addiction, even if the people don’t have such a glamorous situation.

      • They did a PSA at the end of the episode and all the proceeds from the songs featured in the episode will go to Cory’s charity.

        • Yeah I just saw that, sorry. I’m not in the US right now and my only way to see it is torrent, so the end was cut off. Still, it would be great to see them really take this on. But the PSA is a good start.

  7. I was (am?) one of those music/theatre kids, and if I were standing in the terrible, lonely place where Lea Michele is standing I would be so relieved to have the opportunity to grieve musically, amongst and for others who felt varying degrees of my same pain.

    A little public? Yes. Maybe uncomfortable for others to watch? Yes. But every time someone asks me to sing at a funeral I think “Thank God,” because singing is raw, real, emotional, visceral: a physical action that allows you to take the pain and grief of loss and turn them into something beautiful, cathartic, and memorializing.

  8. I think that the actors came out through various venues and said it was an important and right episode to make — that made me more comfortable with the fact that it happened.

    However, it did not make me feel more comfortable as a viewer. The pretty much lack of story line and quite real sobbing felt pretty intrusive to watch. It reminded me of this time when I ended up going to a celebrity’s house for brunch (without knowing she would be there) and it turned out to be a brunch with her closest friends and family where she tearfully announced her engagement to another celebrity. Man, I am a fan, but those emotions were not mine to have.

    In some ways, I would have preferred a memorial concert for Cory, but Naya and Jane and Romy (who plays Finn’s mom) really gave standout performances. And I fully accept that this episode was really not for me, and if the actors got what they needed out of it, then good for them.

    However as a teacher, Will Schuster has done some pretty inappropriate things, but stealing the jacket another student is using to grieve, grilling another grieving student, and sobbing into it on his own pretty much tops the list.

  9. This was a really hard episode to watch. I sobbed through the whole thing, knowing the actors weren’t really “acting.”

    Kate/Kade, thanks for not making this recap full of jokes that while normally appreciated, would just have been distasteful here.

  10. The scenes I thought were great were Burt/Kurt/Finn’s mom.

    Santana and Sue.

    Actually I thought Santana was great all around because like her and Sue, I wasn’t a fan of Finn always, so I could appreciate their grief.

    And I just thought Burt/Finn’s mom were great. I felt their hurt.

    Some of the other scenes seemed forced or just not good? For instance the Beiste/Puck scene reminded me of the forced acting I’ve seen in school plays in my youth. But that could have just been me.

  11. Also, really odd there was no Dianna Agron? Quinn was closest to Finn outside of Puck and Rachel and was close to him before Rachel, so that was befuddling.

  12. Basically… all of this. It was really uncomfortable to watch because the actor’s death is sad, but Finn’s didn’t really make me feel anything. And the omission of Quinn weakened it as an episode.

    I was kind of nonplussed (the actual definition) throughout it. And I don’t know how the show will feel moving forward.

  13. I really think Naya Rivera did an amazing job in this episode. She was acting, she was being Santana, and showing Santana would grieve and she was consistent throughout the entire episode. I just re-watched all the clips, and during Artie & Sam’s song she looks like she’s about to jump out of her skin when they sing “I thought I’d see you again.” Which is Santana’s whole deal; she wasn’t friends with Finn but they certainly had a history, and he was a part of her life. Impermanence is a shock to the system, and she showed that really well. Even her singing “When I Die Young” I felt was in character; tight lipped and slightly rushed. Trying not to be emotionally detached and get it over with while still wanting to do it… and of course cracking under the pressure of all her feelings coming up. So intense. I could be wrong (obviously I don’t know her) but it appeared to me that Naya using acting as a vehicle for her grief in the way that Lea uses singing. That’s impressive.

  14. “And I know, this is the episode in tribute to Cory Monteith, but it’s technically also an episode in tribute to a recently passed Finn Hudson, and the constant complication of those two identities made this episode hard to watch for a lot of reasons. Cory was a real human being who was not Finn Hudson, no matter how much his performance may have been influenced by his own experiences or traits.”

    I stopped watching after season 3, but this quote pretty much sums up all my feelings about the whole idea of this tribute episode. Cory seemed like a good guy, but Finn was frequently horrible and so watching clips of this episode gives me a lot of confusing/conflicting feelings. It’s weird watching people grieve over a friend under the guise of characters grieving over a character I spend a lot of time reviling.

  15. RE: Kade’s View of the Glee Tribute and Emotional Exploitation

    I a few articles that noted the cast members could choose to participate or not, and the level to which they would be involved in the episode, based on their own comfort level. If you watch closely, Artie and Mercedes and Sam don’t have much to do outside of their individual (heart wrenching) songs, they don’t have any real scenes to perform lines in. Mike never says anything at all. Supposedly most of the heavy lifting plot-wise went to Naya, Jane Lynch, and the man who plays Puck because they felt like they could handle it.

    I just wanted to say that I totally see where Kate is coming from as someone who doesn’t do a lot of public crying, that would probably make an episode like this tough to watch. But as a performer, I know that sometimes doing the performance can be a form of healing and therapy. I have been in situations where being able to perform scenes or do songs has allowed me to cleanse emotions that I otherwise couldn’t express. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if the cast says that this was their choice and they wanted to have public memorial for Finn for their fans, then I take them at their word and respect that decision. It doesn’t seem fair to place our own personal uncomfortability, about emotions or otherwise, around them, you know?

    Also, I think I would maybe be more willing to see it as exploitation if FOX stood to make a lot of money off of this episode. Now, clearly the episode got super high ratings- which was obviously going to happen- but the PSA at the end noted that all of the proceeds from downloaded songs from the episode would go to a rehabilitation center or some type of anti-drug non for profit. Lea’s been tweeting fans to also donate to that same charity all weekend.

    Sorry for the long post, I’m just a reluctant glee fan and I just had a lot of feelings about Kade’s feelings about the cast’s feelings, you know?

  16. maybe I’m heartless but this episode did nothing for me, in terms of storytelling how exactly did the plot move forward? this was just wrong, didn’t like the song choices and also felt that Ryan Murphy was exploiting the cast for his own personal reasons. I guess I’ll continue to see the dantana scenes on youtube, because watching the whole show is unbearable

    • Yeah, Cory spontaneously died. There is literally no way to have this episode move the plot forward without re-writing the entire season.
      I stopped watching this show after Finn outed Santana and then made him heroic but still just no way to have this episode not stick out.

  17. As gut-wrenching as Lea Michele’s performance was, the one that really got me was Santana’s song. Probably because I can relate to trying to push through the grief and support everyone but eventually hitting a point where you can’t keep the tears back anymore. But the fact that that was both so in character for Santana to run off and also so honest really hit me hard. Actually, the honesty from the actors in general in this episode hit me really hard.

  18. “Riese this week because she is at A-Camp, where I assume she is wearing flannel, hauling firewood, maybe riding a bear”

    Marni’s bear costume proves that this sentence is 100% factual.

  19. I have to confess, I’ve never liked the character of Finn. I’ve never understood why he’s portrayed as such a great guy when generally he’s a prick and really after Finn out Santana, I totally gave up on Glee.
    I did however watch this episode because well, how could you not. I cried and during every song and remembered the people in my life that just up and died.
    Despite, my general dislike of Ryan Murphy, I thought all the music was spot on. I loved Jane Lynch and as always she rocks. I love Naya and her portrayal of how Santana would react to tragedy was spot on. I have to give love to Lea, she not only lost a friend and lover but the man she believed she would marry and spend the rest of her life with. I cannot imagine what she is going through. I’d totally give her a Golden Globe just for this one performance, if only for the kind of heart it takes to go on after life punches you in the face.

  20. Yo, I just have to comment on this because if there one thing I cannot stand, it’s people recapping Glee when they don’t like Glee. Like, by all means, hate it. Just don’t go into that community and publicly trash it, and ESPECIALLY not on an episode like this. It’s not just that everything is crazy biased in the recap, but you don’t know what’s going on and so you don’t know where these characters stand with each other.

    Several actors made it very clear that this episode was done with the consent of everyone. No one was forced to participate; in fact, people asked to participate. Also, as C.P. eloquently commented above, performers find solace in their art, no matter how painful it is.

    Another thing to remember is that you can call this exploitation all you want, but they had to do SOMETHING. Oh, I know that they didn’t HAVE to, but Glee is on the air because of fan support. Not many people take it seriously, but it has an incredible fanbase that has bought the music, tickets to the movie, tickets to the concerts, and merchandise. Mourning a celebrity is hard; you never quite feel right or sane because you didn’t KNOW them. This was a way for the writers and cast and crew to let us know that our mourning mattered.

    For Cory AND for Finn.

    That’s what really gets me about this recap. I don’t need to be reminded that Finn made some bad, bad mistakes. I KNOW what he’s done in the narrative, and I still loved him and he was still my favorite character. Straight, white, abled boys aren’t the only people who related to him. Fat, queer, disabled women of color like me saw a lot of themselves in Finn, even with (and especially because of) his awful mistakes and his tendency to say the wrong thing. And as someone who has watched and loved the show since the beginning, I think that Finn wasn’t always framed as the hero. Oh, sure, that was the trope he was given, but the whole point of the “stereotypes” of each character is that they are deconstructed. Finn fucked up, but he wasn’t this evil, bastard douchebag that people make him out to be.

    In the tribute episode, they acknowledge that with the f**gy lamp. That lamp represents a huge fucking wrong Finn did…but he kept it as a way to prove something to himself and to Burt. THAT was Finn’s arc. He was about LEARNING. Yet most people, just like on the show, don’t care about the second part. Another important thing to remember? We didn’t get to the end of Finn’s story. He had so much farther to go and there is so much story and growth that we will never see.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: 1. someone who hates Glee shouldn’t recap and criticize the hardest episode in the show’s history to watch, not to mention act or WRITE or edit or film. 2. Ryan Murphy isn’t the spawn of satan and he lost someone very important to him, too. These writers did the best they could. It would have been stupid to ignore the relation to real life because it is on every viewer’s mind anyway. 3. The episode where many people mourn Finn Hudson isn’t the episode to remind people how much you hate Finn Hudson. We don’t get the resolution to his story, so I DON’T want to linger on the bad things he did. I just fucking don’t, and neither do other people who related to the lost boy who made terrible choices and who wanted the world to slow down and who was expected to be so much that he didn’t understand.

    Seriously. With all due respect to the writer (I’m a big fan of Kade’s work on the site), this shouldn’t have been written. I know I’m going to sound like a cry baby, but I read recaps of the tribute episode to feel a community and not feel like a weirdo for still being devastated by the death of someone I didn’t know. To come to this and have the first thing I read be a total fucking demolition of a show that saved my life and allowed me to fully realize my queerness and identity? Really not what I (and I’m sure others) needed.

    I hate this phrase, but: There is a time and a place.

  21. Well I, for one, really enjoyed the recap. I’m glad it was written and I think that Kate really hit on all the feelings I had, too – most of all being uncomfortable with the lionization of Finn’s character when he was really an awful person. Sure, some people may have loved him – and by all accounts Cory Monteith was a wonderful person. But the show doesn’t have a Cory Monteith character; it has a Finn Hudson character, and Finn’s character has a history of being given credit for being a minimally respectful human being. I’m not begrudging the actors their moment to really remember Cory in a way that they felt would help them heal, but the show is still a television show.

    And yes, sure, the actors have said that they did the episode because they wanted to do it and that nobody was forced to participate. But one, we don’t know how much pressure there was to actually do it – lots of times people say they’ve done something of free will when they really haven’t, or when they’ve been pressured into doing it. Or maybe they volunteered and then it ended up being harder than they thought but didn’t want to back out because they had already said they would do it. But two, the fact that they volunteered doesn’t take away from the fact that it *feels* exploitative to me, as a viewer. Maybe they felt like they had to do something, but that “something” didn’t have to be this episode.

    I don’t know, I used to love Glee, now I don’t really like it, and I didn’t really like this episode. But I did really like this recap, and I don’t think it matters whether or not you’re a big fan of the show or not. I think it’s pretty clear Kate knows enough about the context of the show.

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