Thursday, December 8, 2011

Glee - Hold on to Sixteen

With Sectinals looming and Rachel (Lea Michele) barred from competing, she and Finn (Cory Monteith) take a trip across the border into Kentucky (which includes an odd stripper sequence and an guest-appearance by John Schneider) in an attempt to recruit Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) to return. Frankly, I could have done without his performance of Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup," but there are some nice moments where Sam reconnects with his old teammates.

With their old friend back in the mix Finn and Blaine (Darren Criss) finally bury the hatchet, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) attempts to convince Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) to not throw away his dreams of dancing professionally to please his father (Keong Sim), and Quinn (Dianna Agron) schemes to expose Puck (Mark Salling) and Shelby's (Idina Menzel) affair on the pretense of disqualifying the Troubletones from the competition.

The New Directions takes center stage as sectionals as the other two teams only get a single number (sorry Troubletone fans). The Sectionals' numbers include" The Unitards performing "Buenos Aires" from Evita, the Troubletones singing a mash-up of Destiny's Child's "Survivor" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," and New Directions performing The Jackson 5's "ABC," Janet Jackson's "Control," and Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror."

By the end of the episode there will be one winner, and, with the help of Quinn, one Glee Club left at McKinley High as the reformed New Directions begins their road back to Nationals. The numbers work well, and (at least from what we see) The New Directions is the clear winner, but I would have prefered to see more than just a single performance from both the Troubletones and Unitards. The episode ends with a final performance of Fun's "Janelle MonĂ¡e" with the entire group.

I've enjoyed the Troubletones' storyline as it not only allowed those characters to shine in a new situation but it also worked well in creating a story arc to help explain why the group might be better this year and have a real shot at Nationals. Reunited, the Troubletones and New Directions are much stronger than they were before the split.

Next week will give us this year's Christmas special before taking a holiday hiatus and resuming the quest to Nationals starting early next year. After a bit of a sophomore slump, this year the show has put together enough solid episodes that I am looking forward to Glee again every week and wondering how this final season (for much of the cast) will play out before everything is said and done.

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