Cory MonteithThe producers promised to make the tribute to Cory Monteith on Glee one befitting the loss of a life too soon, the loss of a life to addiction. A "Farewell to Finn" was just that. It was a nod to the fleeting nature of life interwoven with hints of the darkness in our nature.

So what is it that killed Finn Hudson? Why was the McKinley glee club saying goodbye to Finn tonight?

We may never know.

We were brought into the story late tonight -- after Finn's funeral. After his death, as the members of the McKinley High family were struggling to put their lives back together.

It wasn't a perfect answer; one can't help but wonder how a seemingly healthy 19-year-old would suddenly just up and die. But the challenge the Glee writers faced was immense.

Finn isn't the only one who died. Cory died. This was not simply writing a character off the way writers have done on countless shows for countless years. They had to move the storyline along without obvious gaps, give fans closure, and remain respectful to Cory's memory, as well as showing some mercy for his close friends on the cast who had to say goodbye.

Sure, there were hints of how Cory, the man behind the character, really died. The show opened with "Seasons of Love," perhaps the most famous song from Rent. Among the characters in the Broadway musical is Mimi, a heroin addict. Later characters sang "Fire and Rain," a re-telling of singer/songwriter James Taylor's infamous battle with the drug.

But in not making the show "about heroin," not putting a specific cause of death out there, Glee managed to keep alive a sentiment Kurt expressed early in tonight's episode: "People want to talk about how he died. I want to talk about how he lived."

"Farewell to Finn" is accompanied by a Remembering Cory website over at Fox (where you can seek help for addiction as well as donate to Cory's pet charities). The two names, intermingled, are a stark reminder that tonight's episode wasn't just about saying goodbye to a beloved character. It was to remember a human being beloved by many -- especially Lea Michele and the other members of the Glee cast.

Like humans who are imperfect, so too was the "Farewell to Finn" episode. And yet, that's what made it just right.

What did you think of the tribute episode? Will you continue to watch Glee without Finn?

 

Image via Fox