You might want to have a box of tissues at the ready: Lea Michele's final farewell to the late Cory Monteith is impossible to get through without tearing up. Glee aired its tribute episode last night, and it was predictably intense. For a show that has never shied away from the dramatics, there was an air of authenticity this time. This is what made the episode so poignant; it's honesty in dealing with our lives after someone close to us passes.
Ryan Murphy denied the audience an explanation of why Finn died. He instead focused on grief — the slow motion way time ticks by for those who have lost loved ones. The waterworks were in full force, but it took Jane Lynch's character, Sue Sylvester, to ground the cast in the present. “We are not making a self-serving spectacle of our own sadness," she said while removing Finn's memorial from the fictional high school. That may have come off as cold, but Glee fans know that Sylvester's means of dealing with grief rarely involves shedding tears. Ryan Murphy chose not to flashback to Monteith's character. This emphasis on the loss, the "emptiness" that comes with death that Lynch talked about, was unexpected, but honest. It was, for lack of a better word, a "real" take on the notion of death; something that hasn't been handled so respectfully and openly, since Sesame Street bid farewell to Mr. Hooper.
Lea Michele's rendition of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" was the episode's climax. Michele breathed life into the phrase commonly thrown around in theater: When words aren't enough, sing. And, sing she did.