Glee grapples with death of Cory Monteith, Finn and blurred lines between actor and character

On Oct. 10, the Fox channel aired their hit television series “Glee” with a memorial episode in tribute to the late actor Cory Monteith. The 31-year-old star passed away in July of an accidental overdose, leaving behind a legacy of beloved fans. Soon after his passing, Glee’s producers made the decision to write his character, Finn Hudson, out of the series. Not only would fans mourn Monteith’s passing, but they would also mourn Finn’s.

As one of the millions of viewers of the gut-wrenching episode, I couldn’t help but feel slightly torn over the writers’ decision to keep Finn’s death undisclosed, despite Monteith’s passing being highly publicized by the media. Didn’t Gleekers around the world deserve to know how an integral character passed? Or was it in the name of decency and respect for Monteith and his loved ones that it wasn’t addressed? Despite the obvious answer, something still felt a little hollow.

According to Deadline TV, the emotional goodbye to Monteith’s character, drew in 7.4 million viewers. “The Quarterback” was the series’ highest rated episode in over a year. But as catharsis for fans of Glee, the episode was bittersweet. The audience was immediately denied an explanation for what caused Finn’s death by an opening voiceover of Finn’s stepbrother Kurt. We were told this information didn’t matter with an almost passive-aggressive scold. “Everyone wants to talk about how he died, but who cares?” Kurt said.

Jeff Janson with Entertainment Weekly writes, “It was an exploration of grief … earnest, flawed, a little irritating.” In response to Kurt’s opening question, as viewers who have invested their time and emotions in this four-year series, we care about what happened to Finn. Understandably, the producers struggled with the “reality blur” of Monteith and Finn as well as “the characters’ grief and their own.” However, their decision didn’t fully satisfy the viewers’ sense of much-needed closure.

The “Glee” cast and crew thought it important to keep remembrance of both Finn and Monteith alive throughout the rest of the series, which was just picked up for a sixth season. Commenting on the episode, “Glee”’s creator, Ryan Murphy, said, “I just made a decision that we keep mentioning Finn.” Murphy also revealed that Monteith will continue to be honored in future episodes as the shows other characters move on.

“We don’t just say this is done and we’re never going back to it, so that resonates throughout the year.”

As one of the leading roles on the series, his mysterious passing isn’t quite as believable as it would have been if the writers had given a reason for it. Without one, separate from Monteith’s tragedy, Finn Hudson — the adored, comically dim high school quarterback — simply disappears. Fans are left with an emptiness unanswered for, tears designated mainly for Monteith, since the loss of Finn is interjected without comment.

Both Finn and Cory were taken from us too soon, and grievances aside, “Glee” still remains the light under which millions of people have found strength. That is one truth that cannot be criticized.

Opinion columnist Alex Meyer is a creative writing freshman and may be reached at [email protected]


  • I like how Ryan Murphy did Finn’s death. No need to ruin that Character also. It was bad enough that every artical that I read it brings up Cory’s death and how he died but to make Finn diet he same way also is pointless. Finn never took drugs and he even said on the show that he didn’t drink. So let it be, let the fans remember Finn and Cory the way they want to remember him. A big hearted, sometime naive, jock that could sing but could not dance very well.

    • I agree
      The entire world knows how cory died. It’s still hard to believe. Imagine how the cast and lea feel
      in time they will close out the show and finn. I am shocked they are even giving us another season. Leave them alone. Obviously mr Murphy is still grieving the loss of his friend. Every one will have closure. The show was beautiful.

  • I agree..we all know how Cory died.. Was that not enough pain and sorrow. We all know where Finn went. They celebrated their love for him and shared it with the world. Because Cory’s life ended so tragically, doesn’t mean that Finn has to be dragged into it. Let it be…let them be. Can any of us imagine the pain that these people are stilling feeling regarding the loss of their beloved friend? I know I am still mourning his death. They made their decisions and choices. Lets all let them be and honor their choice. Susan Goldman Dickerman…you got it regarding Ryan Murphy. I saw him on a very short interview and he is still so distraught that he doesn’t even want to talk about Cory. He said that it is still too raw to discuss. How sad…he lost someone that he thought of as a dear friend but as an older son, he had told Cory that plus he tried to save him and did not succeed.

  • No explanation for the death, I thought was perfect… the blur between the character and the person.. Finn Hudson / Cory Monteith… fiction vs. reality.

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