When news of
But more importantly would the show, which has long handled heavy-duty story lines about sexuality, gender, race, disability, body image and countless other meaty topics high schoolers confront, address the star's death from a heroin and alcohol overdose?
Those answers came on Thursday, three episodes into the new season, with an hour-long tribute to Monteith's Finn Hudson.
Hudson, the affable yet sensitive star quarterback with ambitions of crooning, was the heartbeat of McKinley High School's glee club for the show's five-year run. And though the character graduated more than a season ago, his influence on McKinley hadn't faded (Monteith, like a handful of original cast members, still had a running story line).
In the episode, aptly titled "The Quarterback," glee club members past and present reunite to pay tribute to Hudson. His cause of death isn't revealed at any point.
“That doesn’t matter,” said his step brother Kurt (
The opening of the whole group, in all black, singing "Seasons Of Love" from "Rent" was a mournful moment for those who have seen the iconic musical it's lifted from.
So did Mercedes’ (
Still, despite a commercial and post-credit public service announcement that offered information about
Admittedly, it's tricky to tackle the star's untimely death without appearing exploitative, but the episode ultimately came up feeling hollow by tiptoeing around the circumstances surrounding his demise.
But “Glee’s” resident deliverer of harsh truth, Sue Slyvester (
Watch Lea Michelle's heartbreaking take of "Make You Feel My Love" below: