At what point did you start crying? For me, it was in the first few seconds of "Seasons of Love," the opening song of Glee's tribute to Finn and the late Cory Monteith. "Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes—how do you measure the life of a woman or a man? In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried, in bridges he burned, or the way that she died?"
From the time Glee announced that it would devote an episode to Finn, people have wondered how they would tackle his death. An accident? An injury gone bad? Or, in a case of art imitating life, an overdose? Ultimately, they didn't reveal any cause of death, and it was a good call. As Kurt says, "Everyone wants to talk about how he died, but who cares? It's one moment in his whole life."
There was no lecturing or cautionary tale—just plain grieving and celebrating Finn. Mercedes recalled him as the "first cool kid to be nice to any of us." Kurt remembered him as Superman in his red letterman jacket, walking in the halls of McKinley. Burt regretted not hugging him more. Santana was so afraid of letting her guard down that she lashed out at everyone. Mr. Schue encouraged everyone to grieve, but wouldn't take his own advice. Puck was a raging mess.
But I think the moment I ugly-cried the most, second to Lea Michele's song, was when Carol broke down. "How do you wake up? How do you breathe? You keep being a parent even though you don’t have a child anymore."
"Nobody treat me with kid gloves, okay?"
By the time Rachel arrived in the final stretch, I'd cried through "Seasons of Love," Mercedes's "I'll Stand By You," Artie and Sam's "Fire and Rain," Puck's "No Surrender," and Santana's "If I Die Young." But when she stood there and sang "Make You Feel My Love," looking so heartbroken with tears running down her face, I was just bawling. What must it have been like for Lea Michele, who was Cory's girlfriend, to shoot that scene just weeks after he died?
Showrunner Ryan Murphy said, "Almost everything in that episode is from the first take of every performance because the actors and the crew had a really hard time shooting it. I've never seen a crew that can't continue shooting because they've left the room sobbing."
The tribute episode was moving, sensitive, and tasteful—which I honestly did not expect, given Glee's track record. But I'm glad that it was done beautifully. Here's hoping all the other episodes will be half as focused and well-thought out as this.
Glee airs on Fridays, 4pm satellite and 8pm primetime, on ETC and JackTV.