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Glee - Episode 5.03 "The Quarterback" - Review

I am not going to critique this week’s episode. In my opinion, that would just be in poor taste. There were some flaws in the episode (like giving the amount of time since his passing – definite timeline issues when you factor in a normal school year), but in the grand scheme of things those flaws really aren’t all that important. This was an episode about Finn and giving everyone the opportunity to say goodbye.

The episode centered itself three weeks after Finn’s funeral. Mr. Schue decided to hold a memorial of sorts for glee club past and present to express themselves in the best way they all know how – in song. The songs were all touching and if you couldn’t hear the emotion in the performances – even being pre-recorded – I don’t know what show you were watching, but it wasn’t Glee.

I liked that we weren’t given a cause of death. When it was first reported that they were considering having Finn die in a similar manner to Cory, I have to admit I was a bit steamed. I know that they could have tied it into a “college experimentation” plotline, but I did not see Finn going down that path and I think it would have cheapened his character in the long run. That being said, I didn't want them to just write him off either. As much as everyone comes home on this show, it just would not have made sense for him to never show up again. I know that there are people out there who feel like we should have been given some cause of death, and I can respect that. Kurt’s statement on the matter echoes my own opinion: in the grand scheme of things, that one moment of his death and how it happened doesn’t matter. What matters is how he lived his life and what legacy he leaves behind.

Another thing that I’ve seen many people take issue with is that Quinn and Brittany were absent from the episode. I can see not having Brittany in the episode, since she and Finn didn’t have the connection that he had with most of the other characters and Heather Morris was weeks away from having her baby. I can definitely see the frustration over Dianna not being there. Quinn and Finn had a significant history together and it did seem odd that she wouldn’t be there as well. Although, the episode was so packed as it was, I don’t know how they would have managed to add in scenes for her as well.

What I think I really respected the most about the episode is that it didn’t show everyone grieving in the same, cookie-cutter manner. Everyone was grieving in their own way and they did feel true to character. You can really tell that Ryan Murphy and Co. took quite a bit of time in writing this episode, and I’m sure it was an incredibly difficult process for everyone involved. When I was watching the episode, I could see and feel the raw emotion emanating from the cast. The tears we were seeing weren’t fake tears, they were 100% real. We weren’t just seeing the grief of the characters, we were seeing the grief of the actors themselves, something that made the pain all the more real and made me turn into a blubbering mess for the majority of the episode.

One of the scenes that got to me the most was the scene with Burt, Carole, and Kurt going through Finn’s things. Burt had only been a part of Finn and Carole’s life for a few years, but he really did view Finn as a son, and lamented the things he thought he should have done differently or done more. Carole’s grief was so palpable. She has to continue to wake up every morning and remember that her son is gone, a daily reminder of her grief. We go through life thinking that we will one day bury our parents, but always in the distant future when they have lived a full and rewarding life. We don’t really plan or think about it going the other way, and I’d have to think that it would almost be worse for a parent.

I liked the interaction with Santana and Sue. Sue’s struggle with how she treated Finn and how he would have died thinking that she hated him resonated with me. As much as this show plays Sue to be the foil, she has shown many times that she actually likes these kids to some degree. And her sentiments that maybe there isn’t a message to gain from Finn’s passing, that he ultimately is just gone and it won’t serve any greater purpose is a sentiment that I think can definitely resonate with a lot of people.

Obviously, the scenes with Rachel are what got to me the most. The vocal itself was absolutely heartbreaking, and trying to watch her as she sang ripped what was left of my heart into tiny little shreds. She viewed Finn as the love of her life, regardless of whether or not they were together at that moment in time, and she is left having to refigure out that part of the plan for her life. And her worry that she’ll forget his face or his voice is a fear that so many people have. Lea Michele just knocked it out of the park this week. How she was able to come in and do that is beyond me, but the performance she gave was incredible.

Where exactly Glee goes from here is anyone’s guess. We know that several storylines for this season had to be altered and/or removed due to Cory’s passing, and Ryan has said that they aren’t going to ignore the fact that Finn is gone, which alleviates a worry that I have. Finn was very much the heart of this show and his absence and passing shouldn't be ignored. I think the main issue the show will face going forward is finding a balance. Glee is a comedy. That doesn’t mean that it can’t have dramatic moments on occasion, but you have to be careful about how many you put in. And a part of me worries that if we come back and everything is super bubbly it won’t seem realistic either. There is a very fine line to balance here and how they manage that will be the thing to watch going forward.

Musical Picks:
“Make You Feel My Love” – I’ve already commented how amazing this song was. It turned me into a weepy mess during last week’s promo. Listening to the full song combined with the performance was almost too much.

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