Next week's episode of Glee, "The Quarterback," is creator Ryan Murphy's attempt to bring closure to viewers and his crew after the death of star Cory Monteith. The series has decided to tackle this tragic task head-on by directly scripting the death of his character, Finn Hudson, into the episode.
"Almost everything in that episode is from the first take because the actors and the crew had a really hard time shooting it," he said. Murphy has revealed few details about the "Farewell to Finn," and has stated that the show will not say how Finn dies.
Keeping with that, the promo doesn't give away anything too juicy. Lea Michele, Monteith's real-life girlfriend, is featured singing Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love," and weeping in Matthew Morrison's (Mr. Schuester) arms.
Many former cast members have returned for the episode, including Amber Riley (Mercedes), Mark Salling (Puck), Dot-Marie Jones (Coach Bieste), and Mike O'Malley (Finn's stepfather and Kurt Hummel's father).
The episode is a chance to provide catharsis for fans still shocked by Monteith's untimely and still relatively recent death (the final coroner report only came out this week, confirming the actor died of a combination of heroin and champagne).
But it's also a chance to bring viewers back to the fold after a decline in the series' ratings. Beth Douglass at Wetpaint reports that this season's premiere garnered only 5.2 million viewers and a 2.0 demo rating, down 30 percent from last year's already declining premiere. The episode could be a chance to remind viewers of the quirky spirit and genuine heart that made Glee a hit in its first two seasons.
But with such an emotionally charged topic, it's difficult to strike the right balance. Esther Zuckerman at The Atlantic Wire writes the episode is "certain to have a number of people who have long since abandoned the show or aren't necessarily Glee fans turning in." At the same time, it runs the risk of "provoking frustration if audiences somehow think the show has been wrongheaded in their memorial."