December 6, 2011

Episode Review: GLEE, "Hold on to Sixteen"

I can't believe that I'm going to write this, but I didn't realize how much I missed Trouty Mouth. I don't know if it was because of Chord Overstreet's return, but "Hold on to Sixteen" was one of the highlights of yet another uneven season of Glee. Then again, it also might have been because they toned down the crazy (for the most part) and told a straight-forward story with the right amount of heart.

After Rachel got suspended and banned from Sectionals, Finn took it upon himself to do some recruiting, which meant he had to travel to Kentucky to convince Sam to return to McKinley. Since this is Glee, Sam just had to make ends meet by stripping at a club named Stallionz (yup, with a "z"), so it wasn't too hard to persuade him, and his parents, to head back to Ohio just in time for the big competition. Once there, Sam didn't waste any time and immediately shook things up (like his junk) by annoying Blaine with his sexy man-moves and by telling Mercedes that he will win her back. It's just too bad that he doesn't know that her boyfriend has a record in Dillon, TX. Joke's on you, White Chocolate.

Sam even went out of his way to lay some truth on Quinn, which was something people who have been around her all year have neglected to do until she asked Puck to knock her up again. Although, he was not the only one who called Quinn out because Rachel also gave her a talking to after she learned that Quinn was about to get Shelby fired for sleeping with Puck. Thankfully, Quinn finally got a clue and gave up her asinine crusade after she realized that she still has her whole life ahead of her. Let's just hope the lesson sticks.

Meanwhile, other loose ends were being tied up as Tina tried to convince Mike to pursue his dream of being a dancer, and she even pleaded with his father. Of course, Chang, Sr. showed up at Sectionals just in time to see his son shine which caused a change of heart. Even Finn and Blaine put their cards out on the table, got past their issues, and teamed up to put together one of the better New Directions performances to date. When it was all said and done, New Directions won Sectionals again and were even able to bring back Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany with the help of Quinn.

In a lot of ways, "Hold on to Sixteen" felt more like a season finale because most of the stories that have populated the first seven episodes got some form of closure or started down that path while new ones were kicked off. Hopefully, Quinn's done being crazy and will turn her attention to getting out of Lima, and we can put all the messiness behind us. Ditto for Puck and Shelby. Now, let's move on.

On the Music Front: I hadn't heard of "Red Solo Cup" before tonight, but it seemed like an appropriate song for Sam, and I hope his return means we can get a little bit more Country on this show. He and Beiste can have a duet! "Buenos Aires" was great and another reminder that Lindsay should have won The Glee Project. I wasn't as thrilled about the "Survivor/I Will Survive" mash-up, but I loved the Jackson medley. New Directions deserved the win for "Man in the Mirror" alone.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • It really was good to have Sam back, but I hope we get to see his family again.
  • I get that senior year's stressful, but the "all-or-nothing" mindset that some of these people have is getting old. NYADA is not the only option!
  • Blaine + Punching Bag = Total Fan Service. His hair's even gelled when he's sweating. It's magical, which makes sense since he is Harry Potter.
  • Screw Klaine, it's all about Blinn!
  • I was hoping that we we're going to get more of the bass player and the drummer during this episode.
  • So, Harmony's a sophomore? How convenient...I see her transferring to McKinley next year since it's apparently the school to attend in the state of Ohio...and Kentucky.
  • Mike Chang pulling out his best MJ will always amaze me.
  • That being said, it's sad that Finn and Sam were the next best dancers to flank him. Where were Artie's magic legs when they needed them?
  • Sugar makes me laugh.
  • "I didn't know Backdraft was a musical."
  • "Give me a dollar."
  • "I'm just crying just makes me so sad to think of not seeing your face everyday. Though, I don't understand why the Dairy Queen makes you put that glitter all over it."
  • "I also started the Dalton branch of Fight Club, which I obviously cannot talk about."
  • "Quinn, you've got what I call 'rich white girl problems...'"

What made "Hold on to Sixteen" work was the fact that it didn't rely too much on outlandish scenarios (all stripping aside), and it focused on the characters by putting them in more muted scenarios. It's amazing how much better this show can be when it takes this approach, and I have my fingers crossed that the latter two-thirds will resemble "Sixteen" and "Asian F" than "Mash Off."


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