Glee episode pays tribute to Monteith
Hit US TV series Glee has paid tribute to cast member Cory Monteith, who died in July, in a special episode entitled The Quarterback.
Monteith, who died of a drug overdose, played high school football star Finn.
Set three weeks after Finn's funeral, the show made no mention of the character's cause of death, but focused on how his friends cope with the grief.
Kevin Fallon, writing in The Daily Beast, called it "classy, cathartic, heartbreaking, and a gorgeous homage".
"Endless credit... is due to the team that orchestrated The Quarterback, because admirable restraint was shown in not milking a cautionary tale out of Monteith's unhappily ever after," he wrote.
But the Washington Post's Hank Stuever disagreed: "It was disappointing to see them [the writers] set aside one of Glee's lasting attributes - cold honesty - as it awkwardly and even sanguinely avoided revealing how Monteith's character died.
"It came across as a bizarre absence of basic plot in a show that built its reputation on deftly locating comedy in the most uncomfortable personal details."
The episode showed characters including Kurt, Puck, Santana and Sue Sylvester dealing with their grief in a variety of ways - although Quinn - a previous onscreen girlfriend, was notably absent.
"Perhaps it is best to think of Thursday's broadcast as a labour of love, and to presume it worked best for those who are most devoted to the show and its often heady blend of musical flash, after-school-special preachiness and high-and-low humour," wrote Robert Bianco in USA Today.
"It's almost impossible to do a story about the death of a teenager that doesn't induce tears, particularly when the plot is tied into the real-life loss of a well-liked young actor. One just wishes the writers had put a bit more trust into that natural response, and not tugged at our heartstrings quite so strenuously," he continued.
The final act saw Monteith's real-life fiancee, and onscreen girlfriend, Lea Michele, perform Make You Feel My Love, which Fallon called "a testament to her own strength".
Monteith had been on the show - about a group of high school misfits who form a singing club - since it began in 2009. The Emmy award-winning show is now it its fifth series
The Canadian actor, 31, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room.
Last week, a coroner's report concluded that he had died of a fatal cocktail of heroin and alcohol. Monteith had previously talked frankly about struggling with addiction since he was a teenager.