October 11th, 2013
10:18 AM ET
"Glee" has never been afraid of diving headfirst into an emotional hotspot. But after Thursday night's farewell to Cory Monteith - and his character, Finn Hudson - we're hard-pressed to think of an episode that was as raw as "The Quarterback."
The hour held several gut-wrenching performances, including a rendition of "Seasons of Love" that featured the majority of the old and new cast.
Amber Riley, Mark Salling and Naya Rivera - all of whom had been on the Fox series from its start, along with Monteith - each offered solo performances so emotional that it was difficult to tell whether they were acting or just grieving Monteith's death.
In July, the actor was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room at age 31. A coroner later ruled that his death was caused by "mixed drug toxicity, involving intravenous heroin use combined with the ingestion of alcohol." Monteith had just completed a rehabilitation program not long before his death.
One person who had been vocally supportive of Monteith as he sought treatment was his on-and-off screen girlfriend, Lea Michele. On Thursday's goodbye, the 27-year-old actress covered Adele's version of "Make You Feel My Love." (Before you click play, you might want to round up some tissues.)
"Glee" is taking a break until November 7 - and, let's be honest, we need one after Thursday - but when it returns, Monteith's Finn will still be with the cast in spirit.
"I just made a decision that we keep mentioning Finn," co-creator Ryan Murphy told E!. "We don't just say this is done and we're never going to go back to it, so that resonates throughout the year."
As for what's in store for the series, which has been picked up through season 6, Murphy is less sure.
"I don't know. ... we had to sort of get back on the horse," he admitted. "We're trying to be sensitive and also have some fun and go back to some optimistic stories. I think he would have wanted that, he always loved that about the show."
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