The Oct. 10 episode of Glee, “The Quarterback,” was difficult to watch—regardless of whether or not you’re a Glee fan. As members of the McKinley High school said goodbye to Finn Hudson, you couldn’t help but be painfully reminded that the stars were saying goodbye to their friend, Cory Monteith.
1. Opening With Seasons of Love
On it’s own, “Seasons of Love” is an emotional song; paired with the cast’s impressive range of voices and raw emotion from losing their friend, this opening number had us feeling everything right off the bat.
2. Finn’s Mom’s Emotional Breakdown
Everything about Finn’s Mom Carole—played Romy Rosemont—was powerful and hard to watch; It was difficult to remember you were watching a sitcom as she cried and talked about losing a child.
3. Kurt’s Dad and the Lamp
One of the first time we see the softer side of Kurt’s dad Burt (Mike O’Malley) is when he defends his son against Finn, who used a derogatory term; in this scene in “The Quarterback,” we’re reminded of that scene when Burt says Finn “didn’t have a prejudice bone in his body.” Burt continues to show his emotional side as he laments that he didn’t hug Finn more.
4. Kurt Discovers His Letterman Jacket
The letterman jacket, which Kurt (Chris Colfer) finds early in the episode, ends up being the central plot in the episode, as each use it to feel a connection to their beloved quarterback; however, you can tell that it was the most special to Kurt—who lost not only a close friend, but also a brother—who said “Seeing [Finn] come down the hallway in this, it was like Superman had arrived.”
5. Mercedes Sings a Song of Finn’s
Mr. Shue invites the students to sing a song to remember Finn—despite the students saying that “singing won’t bring him back;” he encourages them to pick a song that he sang, that reminded them of him, etc. and while most sang sad songs of grief, Mercedes’ (Amber Riley) choice of singing “I Stand By You,” which Finn sang to (who he thought was) his unborn child was spot-on and emotional.
6. Santana Opens Up
Between his puppy-dog love with Quinn (Dianna Agron) and his picture-perfect romance with Rachel (Lea Michele), it’s easy to forget Finn had a brief relationship with Santana (Naya Rivera); however Santana’s powerful feelings throughout the episode proved that she was one person who didn’t forget about their connection.
7. Puck Cries—and Doesn’t Stop
There’s something deeply emotional about seeing the tough guy cry—and Puck (Mark Salling) was no exception; after admitting to Coach Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones) that he couldn’t cry because if he started, he “didn’t think he could stop,” he finally cries as he sings “No Surrender” for his late best friend.
Puck ends up saying some of the most touching things about how his friend always guided him in the right direction, though he ultimate chooses a new direction as he takes Beiste’s advice and “becames his own quarterback.”
8. Sue Sylvester Is (Momentarily) Nice
Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) was always the perfect caricature of a nasty, mean-spirited gym teacher; watching her breakdown and admit that Finn was “one of the good ones” and reveal that she had always thought he’d make a great teacher somehow made her character whole, and more real.
9. Rachel’s Beautiful Tribute
Rachel singing Adele’s version of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” was without a doubt one of the hardest moments to watch during the hour-long episode. As you heard her—whether she was belting out the words with tears rolling down her face or imagining the future she can now never have with Finn, you couldn’t help but feel like you were watching Lea talk about Cory—not fictional characters.
10. Mr. Schue Finally Cries
Throughout the episode, Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) has trouble expressing his own grief as he has to act as a rock for the rest of the students. In a touching final moment, he breaks down and cries to remember the student that helped make his glee club what it was.
11. BONUS – The Cast Films a PSA
While they didn’t address how the character of Finn Hudson died, it’s no secret that the real Cory battled addiction and ultimately succumbed to his death by lethally mixing different substances; while some may have been concerned that the show would romanticize addiction, they did exactly the opposite.