Get ready for the biggest TV-inspired cry of your life.
If you are a diehard Glee fan, or even just a casual Glee viewer, the Cory Monteith (Finn) tribute episode airing tonight probably will rock you to the core. Here's everything you need to know about what to expect, what went down behind the scenes, and how to separate fact from fiction when it comes to rumors surrounding who took part.
What It's About: Tonight's tribute episode, "The Quarterback," starts off a few weeks after Finn's death. It does not reveal how he died and does not include his funeral. The storyline centers around someone stealing Finn's letterman jacket. And Mr. Schue invites everyone to pay tribute by singing songs for Finn. In the original script, Lea Michele (Rachel) doesn't appear until the end of the episode, when she sings Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love." That, and a show-stopping moment for Santana (Naya Rivera), who gets physical with someone, are highlights of the episode—and by that we mean you will need an industrial-sized box of Kleenex. Or 20.
The Script Brought Everyone to Tears: "You will cry from beginning to end," says a source of the script, which was penned by the show's executive producers (and original dream-team writing trio for the early seasons), Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. "It is extremely well done." Ryan tell us of penning the episode, ""It was very difficult…But it was done with a really pure feeling of love for [Cory] and I think that's what that episode is about; treasure your friendships when you have them because one day they're not going to be there. And for young people in particular, I think that's a really sweet, kind message."
How It Was Determined Who Was In It: Despite ugly rumors that Lea Michele and Ryan Murphy did not want Dianna Agron (Quinn) to be involved in the tribute, we are told by multiple sources that it all came down to scheduling and timing. Agron simply wasn't available when the episode was shooting, and because of that, she did not ask to come back, as some of the others did. "When you write something like that," Ryan Murphy said of the episode, "there's no right way to do it. So we wrote it. We put people who were under contract to the show in it. And a lot of the actors contacted me and said, I just loved him so much can I just please be a part of it? So we put those people in." A show insider points out that Dianna attended Cory's funeral and is still "very much a part of the Glee family and remains friends with the cast."
The Entire Episode Is a One-Take Wonder: "Almost everything in that episode is from the first take of every performance because the actors and the crew had a really hard time shooting it,' Murphy said. "I've never seen a crew that you can't continue shooting because they've left the room sobbing. It was very hard. I struggled even working on it because what they felt, not just about Finn but Cory."
Lea Michele Believes the Episode Is "Perfect": "I haven't seen it yet, but we did it because it was something we all needed to do together," Lea told Australia's TV Week. "Everyone is asking: ‘Is it hard to do this? Is it hard to be back at work?', but the truth is it's no harder at work than it is in life so we might as well all be together as a family supporting each other to get through this together."
Everyone Was in Awe of Lea: While Ryan Murphy says "It was really tough on Lea" he also insists she is the "strongest 26-year-old I know." And Matthew Morrison said of the filming, "[Lea] had one of the first songs we filmed for the episode and she did it so beautifully and after, she said something like, ‘It can't be harder for anyone else than it was for me.' So, we knew we had to show up because our leader stepped forward and kind of gave permission to all of us to do it. I don't think we could have done it without her." In the script, Lea/Rachel doesn't appear in the episode until the end.
The Songs: Naya Rivera (Santana) sings "If I Die Young", Chord Overstreet (Sam) and Kevin McHale (Artie) sing "Fire And Rain", while Mark Salling (Puck) performs "No Surrender". The whole cast sings "Seasons of Love." This is all before Lea/Rachel makes an appearance to tearfully croon the Bob Dylan single, "Make You Feel My Love". You can hear all the songs right here:
Check back tonight, right after the episode airs, for more from Ryan Murphy about this tribute episode. And a group therapy session.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction issues, contact Narcotics Anonymous.
PHOTOS: Glee's Cory Monteith Episode