“Nobody treat me with kid gloves, OK?” Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry says when she first appears in “The Quarterback” episode of “Glee” on Thursday night — 46 minutes into the broadcast. “I don’t know what to say either.”
There were a lot of things left unsaid during Thursday’s episode of the Fox show, which said goodbye to Finn Hudson, the character played by the late Cory Monteith. What was left unsaid was how Finn died, but what was said was how much of an impact he left on the McKinley gang, and how much they all will miss him.
The show opened with a performance from the current New Directions in honor of Finn, with the old New Directions — Kurt, Santana, Puck, Mercedes and Mike — joining in on “Rent’s” “Seasons of Love.” The number was followed by a scene with Kurt, in New York, packing his things to head back to Lima, Ohio, for a special memorial for Finn, held three weeks after his funeral.
“People keep asking me, ‘How are you feeling? What are you feeling?’” Kurt (Chris Colfer) said. “I have no answers. Honestly, what can you say about a 19-year-old who dies. Everyone wants to talk about how he died too, but who cares. One moment in his whole life. I care more about how he lived and anyone who has a problem with that should remember that he was my brother.
“I’m going to spend my entire life missing him,” he added.
“Glee” went on to honor Finn in a very “Glee” fashion, with the gang performing songs in tribute to the late character, or, to express their emotions.
Amber Riley’s Mercedes was first up.
“He was our leader in here. We love you, Finn,” she said, before performing The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You.”
There were other songs — Artie (Kevin McHale) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) dueted on “Fire and Rain,” Santana (Naya Rivera) got through most of The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” and Puck (Mark Salling) sang Bruce Springsteen’s “No Surrender” — and lots of emotional moments.
There were likely few dry eyes among fans when Carole Hudson-Hummel (Romy Rosemont) and Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley) went through Finn’s things with Kurt, trying to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Keepers included a lamp and Finn’s letterman jacket, which Kurt hugged close.
Burt broke down recalling a moment where he missed out on an opportunity to embrace Finn.
“It was the perfect time for a hug, but for whatever reason, I gave him a pat on the back,” Burt said. “Now he’s gone.”
And Carole sobbed on the floor trying to figure out how to “breathe” without her son in the world.
Even Sue was left emotional. Confronted by Santana over her behavior toward Finn over the years, Sue revealed she thought Finn would have eventually become one of her co-workers, teaching at McKinley for the next 30 years.
“He was such a good guy, and I’ll never get to tell him,” Sue said. “There’s no lesson here, no happy ending. It’s just nothing. He’s just gone.”
No one was left more devastated by the loss of Finn than Rachel, who made her first appearance in the episode (in the Glee Club choir room) 46 minutes in.
“I loved Finn,” she said. “And he loved me and he loved all of you guys.”
One of her most beautiful performances, Lea — as Rachel — sang the Adele version of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.”
“I talk to him a lot,” she told Mr. Schue later on. “I can still see his face and I can hear his voice so clearly. Do you think that I’ll ever forget? Because I’m afraid that one day, I will.”
After a heartbreaking closing seen where Emma comforted a sobbing Mr. Schue (after he was so strong for his current and former students), members of the cast took part in a public service announcement about addiction, advising people that they can get help by calling 1-800-662-HELP.
-- Jolie Lash