Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Glee: Hold on to Sixteen recap/review

Hold on to Sixteen is another solid episode from Glee (one of the best of the season, and, dare I say it, among the best ever), and I'm almost ready to start believing that the show will consistently get back to its season one glory. Am I cursing it by saying that?

Anyway, this episode featured the return of Sam Evans, who came back because apparently the glee club needed some "star" power, and according to Finn Hudson Sam is that star power. Now, I'm extremely happy to see Sam back, but I don't exactly remember him being the star performer when he was in the club the first time round. Sure, he was lovely, and a good performer, but a star? It was but a slight blip in this episode so I won't dwell too much.

Sam, who's been working as a stripper (hehe), was the catalyst for a couple of stories and brought a little oomph to the glee club, mainly in the form of hip thrusting, which was preceeded by a really bad yet amusing country song called Red Solo Cup, about those disposable red plastic cups people use at parties in America (if television programmes are anything to go by). Kurt summed the song up perfectly, when he mouthed the following words to Blaine as he started bopping along: "What is wrong with you?" Still, it was all pretty funny.

The return of Sam saw the return of the Mercedes/Sam relationship. I say return, but we never actually saw much of it in the first place. They finished season two as a couple, but we only ever saw them sneakily hold hands once in a coffee shop. And then season three started and they were no more, and Mercedes was dating someone else. But now that Sam's back, we're seeing the sizzling chemistry between him and Mercedes. The reluctant smile Sam teases out of Mercedes as she walks away, Sam telling her he'll fight for her, and Mercedes laughing in the crowd as he thrusts on stage were all cute touches. I really hope this storyline develops properly.

Sam's return also led to the resolution of the Quinn/baby/Puck/Shelby storyline, finally. He told Quinn she had rich, white girl problems and imparted some wisdom about holding on to your teen years from a John Mellencamp song. Voila! Quinn came to her sense, realising she needs to hold on to her youth by growing up, taking responsibility and doing the right thing. It was a little quick, but I've hated this whole storyline (including, and especially, the Puck/Shelby romance stuff), so I'm happy to see it come to a swift end.

Sam was also the catalyst for a conclusion to the 'Finn seems to hate Blaine' storyline. It started with Blaine and Sam having a showdown that almost ended in a fight. This was followed by a scene where we saw Blaine boxing while he told Finn he'd started the Dalton version of fight club, which he obviously couldn't talk about (great line), all while punching the heck out of a bag in a very manly, sweaty way. All season Finn has been dismissing Blaine, and finally Blaine snapped and wanted to know why. Of course, it was simple, Finn was just jealous of Blaine's talent. This was a great little scene from Glee, mainly because the show is usually so bad at continuity. However, the Blaine/Finn situation has been subtly building over a series of episodes, and has now come to a well-rounded conclusion. The pair seem to be best buds now, leading to them working together on some great numbers for sectionals (more on that later).

Blaine had a lot to do this episode, as he was also central to a scene where Kurt showed his tough side (he doesn't need boxing gloves). It was the return of Sebastian, who's still determined to get into Blaine's pants, that set Kurt off. This scene rocked because we got to see Kurt's claws come out - and what claws they are. Any sane person would back away from Kurt's glares and insults, but Sebastian just hit back with quips of his own. I want to see more of these two snarking at each other, and judging by the fact that Kurt noticed when Sebastian turned up later to shoot sultry looks at Blaine while he performed at sectionals, my wish may come true.

One bad thing about this episode was that it saw the demise of the Troubletones. The group was truly excellent, as was the mash-up of I Will Survive and Survivor the girls performed during sectionals. Sure, it's good to see everyone back in New Directions, but I will miss the general coolness that was the Troubletones.

New Directions pulled it out of the bag for regionals, with three great songs all originally done by members of the Jackson family. ABC rocked because it gave people the chance to sing who usually don't get to - Tina, Mike and Kurt to name a few. It's the group numbers that have generally been the best in Glee over the seasons, and this was no exception. And Man in the Mirror was showed us the boys can really carry a number that doesn't have a rock vibe.

But it was Control that was the best. I didn't know I needed this in my life before I heard it, but it was sexy, sultry, powerful and just amazing. Dianna Agron rocked Quinn's spoken parts, while Darren Criss as Blaine and Kevin McHale as Artie sang the heck out of the tune. Of course, it was Quinn and Blaine who really felt this song though - as said earlier Quinn learned she needed to take control of her own life, while Blaine learned that sometimes control is about working with other people and compromising. 

Sectionals also saw a resolution to Mike Chang's storyline with his disapproving father, who came to realise his son is truly a talented performer, and should follow his own dreams instead of his dad's. 

There was a lot of concluding going on this episode, and it ended with everyone happy and back together. Still, with the rest of the season holding competitions for regionals and (one hopes) nationals, plus the decision letters from various universities and the inevitable goodbyes to the older glee club members, it's bound not to stay peaceful for long. 

The music:
A solid musical effort this week, with the amusing Red Solo Cup, the great mash up of I Will Survive and Survivor and a fantastic trio of Jackson tunes from New Directions.

To top it all off was a rendition of We Are Young, which brought all of New Directions - original members plus new additions - together. It was Glee at its best, a song where everyone sings and gets to chill out together, plus it had some great staging with the New Directions all posing fabulously on stage at the beginning. 

What Glee did well this week:
Pretty much everything. I have few complaints. I would, in particular, like to highlight Kurt's fabulous outfit at the end (were those shorts leather?). Also worth a mention of the facial expressions from Rory. I've said this previously, and I'll say it again, I'd like to see a programme which just features Rory reacting to stuff. 

Next week:
It's Christmas and there's some retro stuff going on, lots of tinsel, and Sue dubbing Blaine a "young Burt Reynolds". Deck the halls baby, deck the halls.

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