This photo released by Fox shows the McKinley family of the past and present joining together to remember and celebrate the life of Finn Hudson in "The Quarterback" episode of "Glee." The high school musical drama said goodbye to Finn, its beloved singer-quarterback, while paying tribute to Cory Monteith, the late actor who had portrayed him, in a much-anticipated episode that aired Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013.
We all loved Finn.
We laughed when he said something funny, smiled when he mastered a dance move and swooned when he did something unbelievably sweet. He may have just been a character on a television show, but to us and millions of other "Glee" fans out there, he was a person that we rooted for week after week on our screens.
With the passing of Cory Monteith, we wondered how "Glee" was going to explain the absence of one of its biggest stars--and tonight it happened. For one hour we all sat in silence (not counting the crying) as "Glee" honored Monteith's memory and laid to rest one of the sweetest characters in TV history, Finn Hudson.
If you couldn't face the heartbreaking episode, or if you missed a moment while you were drowning in a sea of tissues, we've gathered up the episode's most powerful moments. "The Quarterback" was undoubtedly the toughest hour of "Glee" we have ever had to sit through, but it is arguably the most beautiful episode they have ever aired.
"Being Together Is Hard. It Makes It All More Real."
The episode opens in the auditorium. We've all been there dozens of times, through happy numbers and somber ballads, but nothing quite compares to this performance. On stage, most of the New Directions (both old and new) are dressed in black singing along to Rent's iconic hit "Seasons of Love." It's both powerful and beautiful and that combination of tone only grows stronger and stronger throughout the entire episode.
It's been three weeks since Finn's funeral, and in a voice-over Kurt (Chris Colfer) is still finding it difficult to believe that he lost his stepbrother. "I'm going to spend my entire life missing him," he reflects. After a gentle goodbye to a silent Rachel, Kurt flies back to Lima, Ohio, for a special memorial that Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) has put together to honor Finn.
Mercedes (Amber Riley) kicks off their singing tributes to the late quarterback with an awe-inspiring rendition of "I'll Stand By You." She remembers that this was the song that Finn sang to his baby's sonogram, back when he thought he was the father of Quinn's (Dianna Agron) child. It was a sweet gesture and reminded us all of how far Finn had grown in just four short years.
"How Do Parents Go On?"
Kurt and his parents are sorting through Finn's belongings, trying to decide which items they should keep and which they should donate. Finn's room is filled with Glee memories: Pictures of him and Rachel (Lea Michele) together, the "Single Ladies" football from the first game they won, and the "faggy" lamp that Kurt tried to decorate their shared room with.
This was Burt's (Mike O'Malley) breaking point. He recalled how he "tore into" Finn about this lamp even though he knew that his stepson "didn't have a prejudiced bone in his body." Burt admits that at the time of the fight, he may have been yelling at Finn, but it was really a lesson of acceptance and tolerance for himself.
Burt reflects that he "should have hugged him more" and then Carol (Romy Rosemont) broke our hearts into a million tiny pieces as we saw Finn's death from a mother's point of view. "How do parents go on?" she sobs. "How do they wake up every day?"
The family shares a bittersweet embrace and Kurt chooses one very special item to remember Finn by: his letterman jacket. Kurt softly explains, "Seeing him come down the hallway in this, it was like Superman had arrived."
"Singing Isn't Going to Bring Him Back."
Everyone is dealing with their grief in very different ways. Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) is focusing on her wardrobe, Artie (Kevin McHale) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) channel their emotions into song, and Mr. Schue is so busy being everyone's rock that he has yet to properly grieve himself. However there are two glee members in particular who are having more outwardly volatile responses than the others.
Puck (Mark Salling) is doing his best to shut out the world. He steals the special memorial tree that was planted in Finn's honor, threatens and insults Kurt in an attempt to get the letterman jacket, and prefers to spend his days under the heavy influence of alcohol. However, through the guidance of Coach Beiste (Dot Marie Jones), he realizes that he needs to step up and figure out his life plan. In the end, Puck decides to pay tribute to his best friend by enrolling in the Air Force.
Santana (Naya Rivera), on the other hand, is opting for a more violent way to deal with her grief. Frustrated with Finn's short life, she unleashes a string of harsh and vicious insults at Sue and then physically assaults her former Cheerios coach. Santana couldn't even finish her gorgeous version of "If I Die Young" without breaking into uncontrollable tears. Luckily, Kurt's kind and blunt words help Santana let go of her anger and she takes comfort in her new gift: Finn's letterman jacket.
"I Loved Finn, And He Loved Me."
Rachel arrives in the halls of McKinley high and brings with her an entirely new sense of sadness and dread. She stands before her New Direction family and talks openly about her lost love saying, "I loved Finn, and he loved me. And I know that he loved all of you." After sharing a heart-breakingly beautiful rendition of Bob Marley's "Make You Feel My Love," Rachel later returns to the choir room for a special one-on-one with Mr. Schue.
Rachel reveals that she still talks to Finn a lot. She can still see his face and hear his voice, but she's worried that one day those memories will fade. Rachel then reveals to Mr. Schue the future that we've all wondered about: What would have happened to Finchel?
"I had it all planned out. I was going to make it big on Broadway and maybe do a Woody Allen movie. And then, when we were ready, I would just come back. And he would be teaching here and I would walk through those doors and say, 'I'm home.'" According to Rachel the two would have lived "happily ever after," and although she never explained this plan to Finn, it didn't matter. "I didn't have to. He knew." she says, "He was my person."
Rachel presents Mr. Schue with a plack she had made to hang in the choir room. It features a picture of Finn and a quote that perfectly describes his "untraditional" intelligence: "The show must go... all over the place... or something."
The episode closes on Will sitting on his couch, finally alone with his thoughts. He pulls out Finn's letterman jacket from his briefcase and we realize that he stole it from Santana. After a month of not letting his emotions out, Will clutches the jacket and begins to sob uncontrollably, while Emma silently comforts her heartbroken husband.
Quotes to Remember:
"He was the first cool kid to be nice to any of us, he was our leader in here."--Mercedes
"I tore into him about this lamp. I was right in principle, but that kid didn't have a prejudice bone in his body."--Burt
"Seeing him come down the hallway wearing this, it was like Superman had arrived."--Kurt talking about Finn's letterman jacket.
"There's no lesson here. There's no happy ending. There's just nothing. He's gone."--Sue
"If I start crying, I don't think I'll ever stop."--Puck
"He was smart, just in an untraditional kind of way."--Rachel
"He was my person."--Rachel
"The show must go... all over the place... or something."--Finn