Glee 5.3 ‘The Quarterback’

Earlier in this season’s run of Glee the Cory Monteith/Finn tribute episode aired and from the first few bars of ‘Seasons of Love’ a beautiful song choice from the musical Rent, I had goosebumps. The episode features so many cast members who wished to be a part of this episode and it’s a bittersweet moment to see so many come together.

The thing with Glee is that it doesn’t lose its uniqueness even when its mourning the death of one of their own – there’s still a few gags littered in the episode and it does cram a little too much into the episode – a lot of ideas and a lot of plates juggling at once that at times it almost feels not quite right. However, I suppose this episode was never about that: this was about saying goodbye to Finn Hudson – not just on-screen but off as well. You can feel the raw emotion of the cast as they sing and act their way through this and I easily got lost in the moment, until I found myself in floods.

During the scene where Carol, Burt and Kurt are sorting through Finn’s clothing is when I first properly broke down. Romy Rosemont who plays Finn’s Mom Carol broke my heart in this scene with the sheer grief and loss emanating from her character; you couldn’t imagine what it must be like for a parent to lose their child, but she gives such a moving performance, like she’s broken. The three of them really are amazing in this scene, and that final image of the three of them on the floor crying and holding one another is heartbreaking.

Naya Rivera’s Santana goes through many stages of grief in this episode; she’s numb with grief, she becomes extremely angry and honest with Sue, a scene which dazzles with passion and becomes so overcome that she can’t finish her song and runs hysterically from the room – something the audience is certainly not used to.

Matt Morrison’s Will I found one of the most heartbreaking; Emma points out to him early on in the episode that she is yet to see him cry about Finn’s death. Will believes he needs to be strong for the kids even though he admits he’s heartbroken. There’s a strand through the episode regarding Finn’s letterman jacket – it disappears and most people believe Puck to have stolen it. When it reaches the end of the episode, we learn that it was in fact Mr Schue who stole it. He completely breaks down clutching the jacket and being held by a crying Emma – this completely shatters my heart and is the final image we’re left with. To end on that note left me with tears streaming – it was a fitting and emotional tribute to the character and to the person – Cory Monteith.

Understandably, Lea Michele didn’t appear until about 10 minutes before the end of the episode, but it’s fair to say when she did appear, I truly started crying more then. The actress has lost far more than her cast member and friend, she also lost her boyfriend and she shows great courage here; her rendition of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ is beautiful, sombre and so wonderful. The raw emotion from it is easy to hear.

Off the back of this tribute episode, it was announced that after season 6 which Fox had already commissioned before Cory’s death, it would be the last season of Glee. While I can’t say I’m not surprised it’s bittersweet. It was also sad to hear that Murphy had a plan for the end of Glee and it included a reunion for Finn and Rachel. We’ll obviously never see that, but the talent and the generosity of Cory which he gave to his character Finn in the show can live on. I think this tribute episode was a beautiful way to celebrate his legacy.

RIP Cory Monteith

 

Carol:  I always thought…how do parents go on when they lost a child? When I saw that stuff on the news, I shut it off because it was just too horrible but I would always think how do they wake up every day?…How do they breathe honey? (voice cracks) But you do wake up…and for just a second, you forget. And then…oh you remember…and it’s like getting that call again and again every time. You don’t get to stop waking up. You have to keep on being a parent even though you don’t get to have a child anymore (cries) (Glee, 5.3 ‘The Quarterback’)

Glee Top 50 part 1

After Glee began airing in 2009, it has covered well over 500 songs, bringing to light some great new music for me. Albeit, some of their songs are not so great, and some may argue that they ruin a lot of classic songs. I’d like to argue that some of the covers are even better than the original (one springs to mind straight away – Glee’s cover of Rebecca Black’s song ‘Friday.’) For me, I like to take the covers as what they are and appreciate the work, effort and the voices behind them, because Glee has some brilliant voices within its cast. So without further ado please see my personal top 50 Glee songs: (as I’m terrible at favourites I’ll be organising this list in season order)

Season 1

  1. Don’t Stop Believing

The song that made Glee famous is first on this list; at the end of the Pilot episode when Mr Schue was walking away from his teaching career, he heard faint voices in the distance, and as the cast’s version of this Journey song gets louder, the love for this show and its cast does too.

2. Somebody to Love

The cast’s group performance version of this Queen classic is a winner also, bringing the group together at a pivotal time.

3. Hate on Me

This is the first song from the episode Throwdown that I’ve picked and I love this song; it has got such a beat and Amber Riley singing the main vocals for this is fantastic.

4. Keep Holding On

The end song for this episode is Avril Lavinge’s ‘Keep Holding On’, and it’s one of the first songs that brought me to tears. Coming at the end of an episode where Sue and coincidentally the entire school finds out about Quinn’s pregnancy, you feel the emotion that’s coming out of the Glee club as they support their member

5. Thong Song

My first guilty pleasure song of the list is this as Mr Schue desperately tries to hide his feelings for Emma by helping her with her wedding songs. It’s a amusing performance of a classic 90’s song.

6. True Colours

Another end of the episode song now and a chance for Jenna Ushkowitz to properly shine for the first time.

 

7. Don’t Rain on My Parade

Lea Michele’s first solo song on this list and it’s a corker – singing this as their first song to launch their bid for Sectional glory, it’s sung with determination and finesse.

8. You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Their other song sung at Sectionals, this classic rock song is fab and showcases the vocals of Cory Monteith and Lea Michele particularly.

9. Like a Prayer

The Madonna tribute episode ends with this beaut of a track and it’s a group effort, with a little help from a full gospel choir that just helps to make the atmosphere electric.

10. Total Eclipse of the Heart

Following Rachel’s faux par at trying to juggle 3 boys’ feelings for her, it all ends in tears with her losing Jesse and her shot at Finn. Queue this guilty pleasure classic, complete with ballet dancing scenes.

11. One

This U2 classic rock song is a fantastic end to an episode that is a bit underwhelming. However, his song is further proof that the cast know how to belt out a rock song.

12. Dream On

Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison duet this Aerosmith song – do I need to save more?

13. Poker face

After the truth about Rachel’s birth mum is revealed (in the form of Idina Menzel), the two come together at the end to sing this Lady Gaga hit, but much slower than Gaga’s version. However it’s gorgeous to hear these two voices together.

14. Faithfully

The season finale and the New Directions are at Regionals and their set list is filled with Journey songs. This duet between Finn and Rachel is their opening number and just before it, Finn tells Rachel he loves her. It makes their duet to each other even lovelier.

Season 2

15. Empire state of mind

We enter Season 2 and the Glee cast belt out this in the season 2 opener, trying to drum up their rep. It’s a great way to open the season and recent enough that new viewers to the show will feel at ease with the format.

16. One of Us

At the end of an emotional episode in which Kurt thought he had lost his Dad, the Glee group come together for this sweeping song that emits love and hope.

17. Teenage Dream

It’s the introduction of the Warblers and another iconic moment for Glee – the introduction of Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson. As he takes lead vocals on this Katy Perry number, you know you’re witnessing a special moment and thankfully he’s stuck around to create more magic.

18. Singing in the Rain/Umbrella

This episode introduces us to Holly Holliday and Gwyneth Paltrow’s first guest appearance on the show. The mash-up of the musical classic and Rihanna’s first big hit sang by Paltrow and Matt Morrison in the lead vocals is a hit.

19. Dog Days are over

Mercedes and Tina take the lead on my favourite Florence and the Machine song; another end of episode number it’s a positive ending, despite the fact that the end of this episode saw the break-up of Finn and Rachel.

20. Thriller/Heads will Roll

This fantastic mash-up completely works and the performance itself is brilliant with a Halloween-esque style and a pop/rock feel.

21. When I get you alone

The Valentine’s Day episode had a particular angle that had many fans rejoicing – Blaine and Kurt admitted that there could be something for them in the future. But before that, Blaine had a crush on an older department store worker and he enlisted the help of the Warblers to serenade him with this song – it’s only short, but it’s brilliant.

22. Sing

This cover of the My Chemical Romance song is punchy and made even more awesome with the fact that Sue joins in for a one-off performance with the kids.

23. Animal

Another Warbler tune and this one has joint lead vocals for Blaine and Kurt, and the performance is made comedic when in a bid to be sexy, Kurt only manages to look pained and uncomfortable. Blaine and the rest of the Warblers however look cute, especially in their Dalton uniforms.

24. Kiss

Gwyneth Paltrow’s back and she that initial chemistry between her and Matt Morrison’s Mr Schue is built upon in the episode, culminating in their duet of Kiss, with them performing a sizzling tango and a gorgeous tone to the song.

25. Candles

This beautiful duet at Sectionals comes after the first kiss of Blaine and Kurt; its soft nature and the passion behind it means that this song is a perfect fit for Chris Colfer and Darren Criss.

I’ll be posting part 2 of this countdown in a couple of days – comment below if you agree/disagree on what should be on this list

Glee 5.1 & 5.2

After the tragic death of Cory Monteith over the summer, producers and cast members made the decision to carry on with the two opening episodes they had planned, and to follow that up with a tribute episode to Monteith. These two opening episodes involved Glee’s biggest tribute to a music artist to date – the iconic band The Beatles were given the Glee tribute and they pulled it off well.

For huge fans of the Beatles music, the Glee cast singing the band’s hits probably won’t be their cup of tea, but as covers the songs work surprisingly well, particularly in the first episode. The two episodes crammed in an awful lot of storyline as well, with the 5th season picking up soon after the end of last season. Rachel is still chasing her dream of being in Funny Girl, the Glee club is busy preparing for Nationals (although when is it not busy preparing for a competition) and Blaine is still determined to propose to Kurt.

Over at McKinley, Sue is back and on form as she’s framed Figgins and gotten herself named as acting Principal, with Figgins demoted to janitor which brings some great comedy lines. The Glee club focuses on the Beatles assignment for the week, with Blaine explaining his plans of proposing to Kurt, but getting other Glee club’s involved such as Vocal Adrenaline and The Warblers. It’s great to see some familiar faces back, particularly Grant Gustin (Sebastian). Kitty and Artie draw focus in this episode as they start to become an item, after they connected last season.  For me though this angle is one I don’t particularly see going anywhere; Kitty has developed as a character, and her walls of bitchiness have been broken down. However this latest progression is one that I’m just not buying and it seems that the writers are trying to pan off Artie with just about every Glee club member (Tina, Brittany and now Kitty).  Over in New York, Rachel is still auditioning for Fanny and to earn that extra dollar she takes a job in a restaurant alongside Santana (and as we find out in episode 2 Kurt also takes up a job there). Whilst working Rachel runs into the two men she auditioned for at the start of the episode (guest starring Ioan Gruffudd and Peter Facinelli  – two of the most gorgeous men…particularly the latter). After leaving a lasting impression, we find out in episode 2 that she indeed got the role of Fanny, in a lovely scene at the diner. Even though it is typical that she landed the first major role she went for, I do wonder if they’ll pick this up again or how it will progress.

The culmination of the first episode’s major plot point – the proposal – is a beautiful one. First, we get Mike O’Malley in a lovely moment with Kurt on the way to the ‘surprise’ proposal. Him and Chris Colfer have always had great chemistry together, and this scene is no different. After this we get the Beatles’ classic ‘All you need is love’ with Blaine in a very colourful yellow suit (which I strangely love), in a beautifully shot performance and choreography with help from New Directions and some of the other Glee clubs they’ve come across over the years. Blaine’s speech after the song as well is just gorgeous to listen to and I couldn’t help but have a tear in my eye the first time I watched it.

The first episode was quite light-hearted and good fun overall, which made me empathise with the cast and crew; having to shoot such heart-warming, light-hearted scenes in the aftermath of such a sad occasion.  The second episode certainly had a sense of unity surrounding it particularly as another prom night was almost ruined for a Glee club member.

Through last season, we saw more of a selfish quality, a need to be the star from Tina, and in this episode as she’s named as one of the contenders to be prom queen, it becomes more evident and it’s certainly not an attractive quality in the character. We are also introduced to the cheerleader Bree, the new arch-nemesis of the Glee club who sabotages Tina on her big night. As a character, she’s written fantastically and the actress who plays her Erinn Westbrook is great at bringing her to life.  Bree’s sabotage is having Tina win prom queen but having her moment ruined as, what I’m assuming is red slushy, is dropped on her. The aftermath is very reminiscent of Carrie, which is amusing but you do feel for Tina, and it’s certainly on a level with when Kurt was named queen in season 2. Having the entire Glee club unite around her to patch her up is lovely moment, and shows the heart that this show has.

Other strands from the second episode include the introduction of Demi Lovato’s character Dani, a new love interest for Santana is adorable to see her freak out about Lovato, as she’s usually so calm. It’ll be nice to see what Lovato can bring to the show and the inclusion of Adam Levine will bring another layer to that. One thing I did pick up on is a lot of the other character’s got pushed back this week – apart from one small mention early in the first episode, the rift and fallout from the Catfish incident between Unique and Ryder is not mentioned, despite the fact Ryder vowed to leave Glee club. It’s another example of the Glee writers perhaps juggling too many plates.

The season 5 openers are solid and feel good, a nice ease into the show’s 5th season before the emotional Finn/Cory Monteith tribute episode entitled “The Quarterback”. This will probably be one of the hardest episodes of television I have likely watched, and it’s bound to be for many fans. Get your tissues ready, I sure will have mine!

“I think my soul knew something that my body and my mind didn’t know yet. It knew that our hands were meant to hold each other, fearlessly and forever which is why it’s never really felt like I was getting to know each other it’s like I’ve nene remembering you from something. (Blaine. Glee 5.1)

Glee Season 4 – An Overview and a Look to the Future

When Glee’s third season ended with Rachel in New York without Finn, and the rest of the graduates dispersed across the US, with only half a National winning Glee club remaining at McKinley, it’s safe to say the fans were more than a little concerned – will there be an entire new cast now that most of the originals have graduated? How were they going to work being at McKinley and seeing how Rachel was getting along at NYADA?

Glee season four could well have been a bit of a car crash, what with the amount of storylines the Glee writers were juggling, but actually the new additions to the cast fit in beautifully and they had nice mixture of Ohio and New York, and managed to fit content in for the other graduates that made regular guest star appearances.

A brief rundown; Rachel started at NYADA and found it to be very different from McKinley, perhaps something to do with no-nonsense dance teacher Cassandra July (played magnificently by Kate Hudson – who knew she could sing and dance like that?!). Kurt soon joins her in the Big Apple, landing a job at a fashion magazine (queue another great guest star in the form of Sarah Jessica Parker) but soon lands a second chance saloon audition to join NYADA, thrown by Whoopi Goldberg.

Back at McKinley, Will sets about recruiting new members for the Glee club stumbling across Jake (who happens to be Puck’s younger half-brother, played by Jacob Artist) and sweet-natured Marley (played by Melissa Benoist), later picking up Ryder (played by season 2’s The Glee Project winner, Blake Jenner, who I definitely pinned from the start as a contender!) All three are fantastic new additions to the Glee cast; they have brilliant voices and bring a new energy to the group that means the show can certainly move forward.

Another new face appears at NYADA in the form of the handsome Brody (played by the delicious Dean Geyer), who becomes a new love interest for Rachel. The show’s couples go through quite a turbulent year with 3 of the shows integral duo’s breaking up in the episode aptly named ‘The Break-up’ – Rachel and Finn, Kurt and Blaine and Brittany and Santana all go their separate ways, but throughout the first two still bounce off each other, with both reconciling a few times but never fully re-connecting. Brittany becomes involved with Sam and the dup create an adorable couple.

Will and Emma (finally) tie the knot this season but not as fans expected in their wedding episode as Emma fled the church. The ceremony is instead in the season finale – a small intimate affair with the Glee club present, a ceremony that even brought a little tear to my eye. The season ends with Blaine thinking about proposing to Kurt and Rachel waiting to see if she got the job of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.

Along the season, the show kept up with popular culture, and represented its own themes with what was happening in America and around the world – most particularly that was felt when an apparent school shooting took place in McKinley (it was accidental and no was harmed) but still the episode caused great controversy when it aired because of how current the topic was (the school shooting at Sandy Hook happened 3 months prior to the episode being aired.) The show also tackled anorexia/bulimia, male prostitution and ‘catfishing’ in other storylines.

The season also had its fair share of ups and downs outside in the real life world of its actors – Heather Morris became pregnant and the writers wrote out the character of Brittany in its season finale, with the character going off to MIT. Whether Heather Morris returns to Glee after the birth of her child, it’s unclear but it was an emotional goodbye to the character which again left me a little teary. Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) also was written out of the season finale having voluntarily checked into rehab for substance abuse. Following his time in rehab, the actor was unfortunately found dead in his hotel room 3 weeks ago after an accidental heroin and alcohol overdose.

Since then more has become clear on what director the show will be taking – when it returns in September there are 3 episodes planned: a double Beatles tribute episode and a Cory tribute episode which will deal with the issue of drug abuse. After this the show will take a hiatus to figure out what their future plans are. Lea Michele, who dated the Canadian actor for over a year and his fellow Glee cast and crew have spoken out about his death and it’s clear their loss is still very fresh in their minds. It’s fair to say when the show returns in September, and certainly for Cory’s tribute episode, there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

I saw something in you. That first day, and I thought to myself ‘This one is special. This one might make it.’ And that’s why I’m so relentless. (Cassandra to Rachel Wonder-ful, Glee)