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Ranking the Stories and Songs of Hold on to 16

12/07/2011 10:40:00 PM

Credit where credit is due: For a competition episode, this was a pretty darn good hour of Glee Seasons 1-2 DVD Boxset, almost obliterating last year's New York Nationals from our minds.

Here's what went down in Tuesday's big Sectionals showdown, "Hold on to 16": Sam returned to McKinley to help New Directions beat the Troubletones and get Mercedes back (with his stripper-honed body rolls). Tina decided it was time to get Mike's dad on board with his son's future in the arts. Sebastian told Kurt to get ready because he wants himself some Blaine. Finn confessed that he was jealous of Blaine and apologized for throwing so much 'tude his way. Sam, Shelby and Rachel forced Quinn out of her funk. The New Directions triumphed at Sectionals, and the Troubletones agreed to re-join the group.

Sam's ab-tastic comeback. Leaving the washboard out, it was nice to see him back, nice to see him have a grown-up conversation with his parents about being hit by hard times, and not so nice to hear him sing "Red Solo Cup" (see below). Fortunately, because we didn't see it last season, there also appears to be some real chemistry between Sam and Mercedes. By our estimate, he's already logged the same amount of screentime with her as Shane. (Where was super supportive boyfriend Shane during Sectionals anyway? Did he have a game?) The only thing that would have topped it off was a Sean Connery impression. Grade: B

"Red Solo Cup" A novelty song about drinking beer that makes even Toby Keith pause. Really, Glee? It's not even a good performance! It's especially disappointing that this is Sam's big comeback song after he demonstrated his excellent aptitude for R&B and pop tunes like "Billionaire" and "Baby" all last season. (Does no one else miss the Justin Bieber Experience?) When Sam later quotes John Mellancamp's "Jack and Diane" to Quinn, we have to wonder why that wasn't his big solo. Grade: F-

Sebastian is... still here. Shut up, Sebastian! Sorry, knee-jerk reaction. Why is this not-sexy Warbler guy still around? Must he talk in forced, gross come-ons? Can't Kurt and Blaine drink coffee elsewhere? Can't Kurt say to Blaine: "This guy is so annoying, can we not be friends with him? All he does is flirt very poorly! Kthxbai!" Grade: D

Finn and Blaine call a truce. It takes a big man to forgive Blaine for being so darn peppy it's cloying. No one could blame Finn for being annoyed. He's juggling an uncertain post-grad future and maybe-probably the loss of Rachel, who can't go one episode without saying NYADA. The show could give Blaine a problem or two, but we like seeing Finn rally. It's what he does best. (At least we got to see Blaine take a punch from someone. Thanks, Sam!) Grade: B

Mike's dad gives Tina a reality check (that she doesn't take). The best part of Tina's visit with Mike's dad? His trying to give her a reality check: A career in the arts is hard. Failure is routine. Ultimately, Glee is about a group of kids in Ohio pursuing their dreams, but when they get those wake up calls, it's heartbreaking stuff. No hard feelings that Tina and Mike are going to go for it anyway — and ultimately with support from Mr. Chang. Because sometimes, you do have to go for it. Grade: A-

"Buenos Aires" Does it strike anyone else as odd that this entire glee club is OK with letting just one performer hog the spotlight so much? This performance is pretty much a solo with an oversized group of extremely well-choreographed back-up dancers, but it's sort of logical when you have someone like Harmony (aka Rachel and Kurt's NYADA rival and real-life Glee Project finalist Lindsay Pearce), you have to use her for all she's worth — especially on a big Broadway number. Grade: B

"I Will Survive/ Survivor" This has to be one of the best mash-ups of the season (and — dare I say — Glee Seasons 1-2 DVD Boxset history) in terms of both song match-up and similar themes. Santana's and Mercedes kill it again. The only thing that distracts? The arm-flying choreography. At least there's a too-sweet shot of Santana and Brittany tangoing.

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