‘Glee’ Recap: McKinley High Says Goodbye to ‘The Quarterback’
The ‘Glee‘ world was thrown into turmoil when one of its stars, Cory Monteith died suddenly and tragically of a heroine overdose on July 13 at the age of 31 after struggling with his demons to stay clean and sober.
In order to allow its fans, as well as the cast and crew to heal from Monteith’s passing, Cory’s character Finn was laid to rest in tonight’s heart-wrenching episode ‘The Quarterback,’ giving both character and his real life counterpart a fitting memorial.
The surreal episode opens with the members of the New Directions, new and old joining together to sing ‘Seasons of Love’ from the musical ‘RENT’ with Rachel Berry (played by real life girlfriend Lea Michele) and Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) notably absent. As the song ends they turn towards a photo of Finn (Cory Monteith).
Back in New York, three weeks after Finn’s funeral, Kurt (Chris Colfer) is packing to head back to Lima for a memorial Mr. Schuester is organizing. In the course of his monologue he mentions that it’s not important how Finn died (because as Ryan Murphy mentioned in previous interviews it’s not the cause of death that matters) and he says goodbye to a sad and grieving Rachel who is locked in her room off-screen.
Emma (Jayma Mays) is distraught that no one has come in for grief counseling and Sue (Jane Lynch) tells the other teachers that she memorialized Finn with a tree in a memorial garden which she planted where she caught him and Quinn (Dianna Agron, who was not invited back to participate) fondling one another. When the others yell at her for her insensitivity she tells them it’s just her way to grieve and that their job as teachers is to help the kids move on.
Mr. S announces that the assignment of the week is to memorialize Finn through song, which a bitter Puck (Mark Salling) lamenting that it won’t bring their friend back. Mercedes (Amber Riley) kicks things off with ‘I’ll Stand By You’ by the Pretenders, which was the song Finn sang to the ultrasound of what he assumed to be his unborn child with Quinn.
Later, Kurt is in Sue’s office where she tells him someone ripped up the memorial tree and she needs more money for it. Cue a flashback of Puck pulling the tree out of the ground and taking it back with him to his hotel room. In present time when Kurt asks Sue why someone would do that, she says people do strange things in their grief.
In Finn’s room, Kurt, his dad Burt (Mike O’Malley) and Finn’s mom (Romy Rosemont) are in his room packing away Finn’s stuff and sharing their memories. Burt regrets not hugging him more when he had the chance and Kurt takes Finn’s football jacket and wears it. Meanwhile, mom Carole breaks down in tears because even though her son is gone and she no longer has a child she still has to be a parent.
Puck runs into Kurt the next day and demands Finn’s jacket, telling Kurt he has nothing of Finn’s and varsity jackets are only for those who have earned them. Kurt refuses.
In the auditorium, the New Directions led by Sam (Chord Overstreet) sing James Taylor’s ‘Fire and Rain.”
Out in the hallway, Santana (Naya Rivera) visits a memorial that has been set up. Things take a turn though when the new mean Cheerio Bree (Erinn Westbrook) starts removing the candles at Sue’s urging due to a fire hazard. An outraged Santana marches to her office and rails on Sue, telling her she’s a horrible person who has always hated Finn. In the course of their heated argument an angry Santana pushes Sue and leaves.
Will goes to visit Emma in her office and says he doesn’t need grief counseling, at which point Emma reminds him he hasn’t cried or allowed himself to properly grieve since he heard the news. She tells him he needs to let it all out and that she’ll be there for him when he’s ready to cry.
Puck shows up in the locker room drunk where he’s confronted by Coach Beiste (Dot Jones), telling her that no one understands what he’s feeling. When she presses for more details he says if he lets himself cry he won’t be able to stop. However she’s able to get tears out of him and to admit that he stole the memorial tree. When she suggests that he needs to start being his own quarterback, Puck suggests they retire Finn’s player number in his honor.
Back in the choir room, Santana sings ‘If I Die Young’ by the Band Perry but before she can finish the song she starts crying. When the others approach to console her she screams in frustration and runs to the auditorium. She’s followed by a worried Kurt and they share their memories of Finn. When she’s about to cry again, Kurt covers Santana in Finn’s jacket and leaves her to be alone as requested.
Once again in the choir room, Puck plays guitar and sings ‘No Surrender’ by Bruce Springsteen. Santana bursts into the room and says Finn’s jacket has gone missing and accuses Puck of taking it. As do Kurt and Will, even though Puck assures them he doesn’t have it.
After threatening Puck, Santana goes to apologize to Sue, at which point Sue says she was 100% right and that she will always regret that Finn died thinking she didn’t like him. As she tells Santana, it couldn’t be further from the truth and she considered him a good person who would have made a great teacher.
As the New Directions add drumsticks to the memorial, Rachel arrives on Kurt’s arm.
In the choir room, a heartbroken Rachel sings the first song she and Finn used to sing together. She performs a tear-filled version of Adele‘s Bob Dylan cover ‘Make You Feel My Love’ while the members of the club watch her and share in their grief together.
In the hallway, Santana is hanging up reward posters for Finn’s missing jacket in order to get it back. She tells Will she going to bring it back to New York with her and has no plans to come back to Lima because it reminds her of everything she’s lost. Santana lets herself be vulnerable and hugs Mr. S while she cries.
Outside, Puck is replanting a memorial tree while Coach Beiste looks on. Puck says that now that Finn is gone it’s up to him to pilot his own life and he thinks he’s going to join the army. As Puck drives off on his motorcycle she notices a message carved into the tree, the word “Quarterback.”
Rachel goes to talk to Mr. Schuester and she admits that she doesn’t know how she’s doing but that she still talks to Finn in her head because she never wants to forget his voice or face. She thanks Will for letting her know that she’ll be able to sing again and she asks if he will hang a plaque she had made in Finn’s honor in the choir room.
After they hang up the memorial plaque, Emma goes home to find Will crying into Finn’s jacket.