Review: Glee’s ‘The Quarterback’ (Cory Monteith Tribute Episode)

The Quarterback

We were all shocked by the tragic death of Cory Monteith earlier this year and at the time I wondered how the writers of Glee would deal with it. I wasn’t sure if they’d just write Finn Hudson, his character, out of the show and pretend that nothing had happened. However, in true theatrical style, they dedicated an episode to the talented performer.

Titled ‘The Quarterback’, as Monteith played a High School Quarterback, this episode had me in tears right form the start and throughout. The episode began with the song ‘Seasons Of Love’, which is not only one of my favourites but is present in a play that deals with the realities of drug use. This was a very fitting choice to make as Cory tragically died from a heroin and alcohol mix overdose. What hit me while I was watching the first couple of minutes was that every single tear was very real. Not only were we watching these fictional characters sing their heart out in memory of their dead classmate, we were watching real human beings mourning the death of their friend.

For me the stand-out performances came from Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera), who sang ‘If I Die Young’ and Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), who sang Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’. Lea Michele was Monteith’s on-screen girlfriend as well as off-screen girlfriend. The pain that young woman must have been going through while on set and singing to Cory is something one can only imagine, however I had so much more respect for her after watching. In fact, every single one of those cast members who appeared in the episode deserves a round of applause. Whilst it was a heart-breaking prospect to have to deal with; having to portray a death on screen that had also happened off screen, not once did any of them make it about themselves and not once did you think any of them were there for anything other than Cory. It just goes to show that Cory Monteith really did touch the lives of so many people, from cast members to Glee fans all over the world.

Almost everything in the episode was done on the first take, which I thought was another fantastic decision made by the producers. Not only did it allow each and every actor to portray their genuine emotions, it illustrated that in life we sometimes don’t get second chances. There are no second, third or fourth takes when it comes to how precious and fragile life is. This is what I took away from the episode. That and Cory Monteith was a really genuinely lovely guy who will always be remembered by fans as that awkward teenage boy who had a heart of gold.

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