December 06, 2011 9:43pm PT by Rebecca Ford
'Glee' Recap: Sam's Return, Sectionals Showdown
With Rachel suspended from Sectionals, New Directions must figure out a game plan quickly if they want to beat their McKinley High competition, The Trouble Tones. To do so, Finn sets out to bring one blonde haired, former “Bieber Experience” leader back into the mix. But Sam’s return creates plenty of waves in the already turbulent waters of McKinley High.
Quinn is also on a mission to get her baby back from Shelby, and may release the scandal of Shelby and Puck’s relationship to get what she wants.
All roads lead to Sectionals, where the Trouble Tones and New Directions finally face off, with one group taking home the win. Here are The Hollywood Reporter’s top moments from “Hold on to Sixteen.”
[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode.]
Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) is back, and he’s older and wiser than when he left. But he and his "trouty mouth" are causing plenty of trouble in the halls of McKinley High.
With Rachel suspended, Finn realizes that the New Directions will need some serious star power if they want a chance at Sectionals. To do that, he decides to get Sam, who moved out of state over the summer, back. "Even homeless people have Facebook,” Finn says when asked how he’ll search out Sam.
Rachel and Finn find Sam in Kentucky, but it turns out he’s taken up a new kind of performing – as White Chocolate in a male strip club. But Rachel and Finn are able to get Sam to return after Sam talks to his parents, telling them, “I miss being a teenager.”
However, Sam’s comeback song when he steps back into the Glee Club at McKinley fell unbelievably short. The country tune, "Red Solo Cup" seems random (Ok, sure they’re holding red cups, but really?) and doesn’t display Sam’s vocal abilities that have been so great with songs like "Billionaire" and "Baby.”
And Sam also quickly returns to the dating game. First Quinn tries to get him back, but Sam isn’t having it. “You’ve got what I call rich white girl problems,” says Sam, who also advises her to enjoy being young as long as she can.
Sam has his eyes set on getting Mercedes back, and even though she’s quick to tell him that he’s got a new man, Sam makes it clear that he’s not going to give up any time soon.
When the New Directions try to figure out some new dance moves, Sam tries to convince the group that sex sells, offering to teach everyone his body rolls. Blaine isn’t having it however, and the two nearly come to blows. This leads to Finn talking to Blaine, who is, randomly, boxing. “I also started the Dalton branch of fight club, which I obviously can’t talk about,” says Blaine. Finn admits to being jealous of Blaine’s talent, but that Glee club needs him now that Rachel is out. And so the bromance begins.
During his very first episode back at McKinley, Sam has helped Quinn grow up, assisted in Finn and Blaine starting a bromance and gotten the glee club some sexy new moves. Go Sam.
QUINN GROWS DOWN
Quinn has been acting like such a child for the last few episodes, trying to grow up too quickly and get her baby, Beth, back from Shelby so she can be a mom. But it looks like she may have finally returned to the sweet, caring girl she once was. She starts out the episode with the intent to ruin Shelby by revealing that Shelby had been sleeping with Puck.
But after she tells Rachel about her master plan, Rachel spends most of the episode trying to talk her out of it because it wouldn’t be the best thing for Beth. During Sectionals, Rachel tries one more time to stop Quinn, and asks her to at least tell Shelby before she does it. Quinn goes to Shelby and lets her know. But Shelby goes on a speech about how young Quinn is. “Don’t wish away your life. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be,” she says. So will Quinn mature enough to act her age and just enjoy high school? It looks like it.
STORY: ‘Glee’: 300 Musical Performances By the Numbers
Quinn tells Rachel she’s not going to tell. “Because I love Beth and I don’t want to ruin her life,” she says and thanks Rachel for her help. Quinn also wants to go to Yale for drama school. Sure she’s a mediocre singer who is rarely in the spotlight, but maybe Yale will take her. The point is that Quinn seems to be acting her age and focusing her attention back on enjoying her final days of high school before it’s time to really grow up.
Sectionals pits the two McKinley High glee clubs against one another on a major stage for the first (and last) time. The competition begins with a performance by The Unitards. “Oh my god, it’s the Gerber baby,” says Kurt. They deliver a sassy number from Evita with "Buenos Aires."
The Trouble Tones perform next, and they keep on giving out the girl-power in heavy helpings with a fierce mash-up of Destiny’s Child/Gloria Gaynor’s “‘Survivor/I Will Survive.” Because, really, how else could they possible roar? The number is catchy and has some fun dance moves, but it wasn’t the best performance that the ladies group has dished out.
Dressed in white jackets, Tina and Kurt open the New Directions’ Jackson family-themed number, which starts out with “ABC.” Mike Chang shows off some of those dance moves, but also has some singing/shouting solos of his own. Mike’s father is even in the audience. Nearly every member of the group gets at least one small solo in the number, most likely due to the absence of one Rachel Berry. The New Directions seem to have somehow gotten more time than the other groups, and finish up their Jackson-palooza with Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” starring the men of the group.
As for the results, the Unitards obviously take third. And the winner? The New Directions of course. Did anyone really expect anything else? This dual-glee-club stuff couldn’t go on forever, and obviously not past Sectionals.
The Trouble Tones are sad, but not for long. Quinn talks to Brittany, Mercedes and Santana in the girls’ bathroom after the competition. “Do you know what growing up is about? Losing things,” she says. “I don’t want to grow up yet. I don’t want to lose you girls.” Quinn promises that the Glee club will take them back, and still let them have solo time. She invites them to join in on a celebration number in the auditorium.
Fittingly, the group sings "We Are Young” to end the show, with Rachel back in the mix starting off the song. And yes, the ladies of the Trouble Tones return. While it was probably the most expected result for Sectionals, it also means the end of the double-glee-club situation at McKinley, which was becoming a tiresome. With the group back together, the New Directions (and viewers) can focus on moving forward and, for many of the members, enjoying their final year at McKinley.
What did you think of Sectionals? What were your top moments?