Cory Monteith's Last Episode of 'Glee': Why You Should Watch (or Rewatch) It Right Now
GLEE, l-r: Kevin McHale, Chris Colfer, Jenna Ushkowitz, Amber Riley, Cory Monteith, Lea Michele in 'Sweet Dreams' (Season 4, Episode 19, aired April 18, 2013), 2009-, ph: Adam Rose/©Fox/courtesy Everett Collection
Sometimes a TV show gets a goodbye just right: Sam telling Diane to "have a good life" in Shelley Long's final episode of "Cheers"; Eric's parents pushing him out of the driveway in Topher Grace's final episode of "That '70s Show"; and Finn singing "Don't Stop Believin'" one more time with Rachel in the late Cory Monteith's final episode of "Glee."
The exits of Long and Grace, of course, were planned. The actors had opted to leave their still-running shows; both, in fact, would return to their respective series as guest stars.
Monteith's farewell was different: It wasn't planned. It wasn't anticipated. But it was as perfect as any scripted departure.
Almost perfect, anyway.
Monteith, who was found dead of an overdose in a Vancouver hotel room on July 13, made his final "Glee" appearance in the episode "Sweet Dreams," which first aired April 13 (and which you can watch in full below). The storyline had Finn belatedly heading off to college. By episode's end, Finn is focused on earning a teaching degree and rejoining Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) as an equal partner in McKinley High's New Directions.
If that's all there was to it, it would've been a fitting endnote, in a way, for Finn's character; football-playing Finn, after all, was Schuester's prize recruit in the "Glee" pilot all those years ago (which is how far back 2009 now seems).
But that's not all there was to it.
On-again, off-again Finn and Rachel (Monteith's real-life girlfriend, Lea Michele) reconnect via the phone. She tells him about her "Funny Girl" audition; he tells her to "do something that takes you back to the roots of your passion." And so she sings "Don't Stop Believin'," just as she sang "Don't Stop Believin'" on the "Glee" pilot. Midway through, Rachel's old gang shows up in spirit and in red shirts — Kurt, Mercedes, Tina, Artie, and, on drums, Finn. The scene is meant to recall Rachel's origins; now it recalls ghosts.