The emotional ramifications of his passing surely supersede immediate work concerns, but “Glee” ultimately will need to determine how to deal with star Cory Monteith’s death.
Monteith, whose rehab stint kept his character Finn out of the final few season four episodes, was due to return to center stage in season five. Two episodes of the upcoming fifth season had already been penned according to Deadline, and they reportedly included an “important part” for Monteith’s character.
Following Monteith’s passing on Saturday, FOX and the “Glee” team must determine the appropriate way to write his character out of the proceedings.
Although it might seem like an option given the ensemble nature of the show, moving on without mentioning Finn–or at least passing on directly dealing with Monteith’s death–would surely create a backlash among the show’s viewership. Though it avoids messiness, it would also blatantly dismiss four years of storytelling that established Finn as the heart of the show and soulmate for central female character Rachel (Lea Michele).
And that does not even account for the vast publicity surrounding Monteith’s death, which ultimately makes ignoring the situation’s grim reality impossible and certainly disrespectful.
Backlash, of course, might be impossible to avoid. While a tribute episode–both to the character and the actor who played him–would seem most appealing and appropriate given the situation, it could risk opening the door to claims of exploitation.
With appeasing the entire world surely off the table, the question, ultimately, needs to come down to what those involved with the show believe is the most appropriate way to honor Cory Monteith, the person. As long as the cast and crew feel they are properly servicing the actor’s memory, complaints from critics will feel insignificant.