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Episode Review: 'Glee' plunges into nostalgia

FOX

By Brianne Johnson, Senior Arts Editor
Published October 17, 2013

Three episodes into its fifth season — and three months since the death of actor Cory Monteith — “Glee” finally addresses the mortality of its star quarterback, Finn Hudson, as, in the words of Cheerios Coach Sue Sylvester, a “self-serving spectacle of our own sadness.” But for the show’s cast and fans, such a “self-serving spectacle” is just what the doctor ordered.

“Glee” ’s Monteith memorial episode is not for the critics: The actors wring their eyes and kick furniture like the amateur cast of an after-school special and the writers seem to pluck lines straight from the pages of “Death for Dummies.” Each character embodies a step in the grieving process — anger for Puck, denial for Mr. Schue — singing their way toward solace. But remember: This episode is not for critics, one-time watchers and you who jumped ship to Vocal Adrenaline after season one.

“The Quarterback” offers comfort to fans who have endured the show’s decline, plunging into the cast’s grief-stricken nostalgia with full force. As explicit as stepdad Burt Hummel’s reclaim of Finn’s bedroom lamp or as subtle as the “Don’t Stop Believin’ ”-era red t-shirt worn by Puck’s Mark Salling as he croons his goodbyes, memories of Finn Hudson envelop the episode. And Lea Michele’s sob-worthy and sincere rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” as heartbroken Rachel Berry? It’s no wonder there isn’t a dry eye or shoulder in the classroom.