So…we don’t watch Glee as much as we used to. Too many ham-fisted plots driven by shoe-horned musical numbers. Still, we had to tune into the Cory Monteith tribute. Given the tragic circumstances of Cory’s death, it would have been easy to plummet into cringe-worthy After School Special territory, but instead, we give big a bravo to the Glee showrunners for creating a moving tribute instead of a hokey teachable moment. Kurt summed it up best: “Everyone wants to talk about how he died, but who cares? It was one moment in his whole life. I care more about how he lived.” Indeed. Here are a few of our favorite moments from the episode:

 

1) “Seasons of Love” 

I can’t believe they haven’t sung this song before, but if there was ever a time to roll it out, this was it. Clad all in black, the number opened with the New Kids (Kitty, Unique, etc) and was soon taken over by Original Flavor Glee (minus Brittney*, Quinn**, and Rachel***). The stage was set — this was their episode.

*Heather was super pregs when this was filmed.
**Diana was busy making a movie not invited.
***Lea took a very believable backseat during this episode…but you’ll see her in a bit.

 

2) Packing up Finn’s room

Burt and Carole’s scene (especially Carole’s line, “You have to keep on being a parent even though you don’t get to have a child anymore”) is when it officially started raining on my face. And did you notice the plaid shirts…a subtle tribute to Finn and one of his wardrobe staples?

Even brother Kurt got in on the tartan action with his own pixelated spin on plaid.

 

3) Rachel’s song

Rachel took a backseat during the episode, but eventually came “home” for a heartfelt song, and she did it in a pleated skirt and Peter Pan collar. Once again she was fragile and innocent — a far cry from the smoky-eyed NYADA diva she’s become.

Snaps for the “Finn” charm, an echo of Lea’s “Cory” necklace.

 

4) The jacket

Finn was gone, but his lettermen’s jacket remained and got passed around like so many Finn memories. It wound up in Mr. Schue’s posession, who finally broke down while clutching it on his couch.

 

BONUS — Back in Black

This was so not a tearjerker, but thanks anyway to Tina Cohen-Chang for a fashion-based giggle:

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I spent so much time transitioning away from goth, and look at me — it’s like I’m back in that look.”

We hear that, but expect to see her return to colorblocked mod dresses when the series resumes in a few weeks. And yes, we will be watching — this episode was magical enough to bring Glee back to our DVRs.

If only it were magical enough to bring Finn and Cory back.