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Chord Overstreet‘s Sam Evans and his “trouty mouth” return to Fox’s Glee on Tuesday, but not everything is as it was when he last roamed the halls of McKinley High.
When viewers last saw Sam, his secret romance with prom date Mercedes (Amber Riley) was revealed after New Directions’ dismal finish at Nationals. That changed after an offseason that saw Overstreet part ways with the series in July after his option to return as a series regular was not picked up and Sam was said to have moved out of state with his financially strapped family.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Overstreet to talk Sam’s return, how things have changed and what his comeback will do for the Rachel-less New Directions at Sectionals. Here are five things to know about Sam’s return.
1. White Chocolate, explained. In the promo for Tuesday’s episode, titled “Hold on to Sixteen,” Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn (Cory Monteith) head to Kentucky to find a secret weapon to help New Directions go head-to-head with the Trouble Tones at Sectionals, where they find Sam showing off his abs and performing with White Chocolate. “They come and find Sam and want to get him back at McKinley helping New Directions and he’s really glad to see them,” Overstreet says. “I think White Chocolate says it all; I don’t want to give away every move White Chocolate makes because those are sacred moves,” he adds with a laugh. But what’s he doing with the group of seemingly exotic dancers? “Sam’s been working his tail off — literally,” Overstreet says with a laugh.
2. Mercedes isn’t thrilled to see her former flame return now that she’s moved on with linebaker Shane (LaMarcus Tinker), who has become her biggest champion. “She’s got mixed feelings,” Overstreet says. “Sam’s expecting things to go back to how it was when he left and that’s now how life goes. He’s a little disappointed by that.” Sam in turn will do anything he can to woo her back, including joining the synchronize swim team. “Sam wants a letterman jacket and will do what ever it takes to get one,” he adds, noting that Sam’s feelings for Mercedes come rushing back the moment he sees her.
3. “Hold on to Sixteen,” the episode’s title, is especially significant for Sam. “Sam had to grow up a lot faster than he was ready to so he could help support his family and help with their living situation,” Overstreet says. “You get to be young once so hold on to it and don’t take it for granted. Sam missed being able to be himself and be young and not have a big plate of responsibilities and he’s going to try as hard as he can to get that youth back.”
4. Family ties. While Sam’s family left town after losing their house and briefly living in an apartment, Finn and Rachel will offer the residents of New Directions members for a temporary shelter to Sam but not before Sam’s parents (Smallville’s John Schneider and Guiding Light‘s Tanya Clarke) agree to his departure. “Sam’s parents are really loving and understanding because they let him go back to Ohio to compete at Sectionals,” Overstreet says. “They’ve been going through a hard time and it’s really cool to see the relationship between all of them. There’s some good stuff with his mom and dad.”
5. Trouble Tones vs. New Directions. The big face-off between McKinley’s dueling glee clubs comes to a head Tuesday at Sectionals, but does the Rachel-less club stand a chance? Overstreet is confident New Directions has what it takes to pull off the underdog upset. “I think Sam’s new dance moves will play a big factor and add that edge,” he says. “You’ve got a group of talented people who are ready to whoop some Trouble Tone tail.”
Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox. Check out Overstreet covering Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” in the clip below.
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