One McKinley team wins big at sectionals, Sam returns, Mike makes peace with his dad, and Quinn makes a decision

By Abby West
Updated December 07, 2011 at 12:09 PM EST
Adam Rose/Fox


S3 E8
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After all the nastiness of the last few episodes, Glee went deep into the warm fuzzies last night as New Directions won sectionals and welcomed back the members who’d defected to the Troubletones, Sam returned to help bring home the victory, Finn buried the hatchet with Blaine, Mike reconciled with his dad, and Quinn somehow stopped her freefall into Lifetime movie dimension. Phew! All that and we still have a holiday episode to look forward to.

But more about last night. Sectionals were going to be held in the McKinley High auditorium for the first time since 1963, and knowing that without Rachel (or Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany) New Directions had a ghost of a chance of winning with the existing members, Finn and Rachel set out to bring back Sam. He was now living in Kentucky, his dad (Pa Kent! Love you, John Schneider!) was working again, and the family was no longer homeless. But turned out that in order to supplement their income, Sam was working at a strip club under the name of White Chocolate unbeknownst to his folks, who thought he worked at Dairy Queen. They had no good explanation for why DQ would require body glitter though.

But Ma and Pa allowed Sam to transfer back to McKinley, bringing back in that star power that Finn felt the team needed. You know, there would have been a considerable amount of paperwork required for this minor to move in with noncustodial guardians in another state and register for school… Sorry, got sidetracked into the real word for a minute there.

But Sam returned to the fold, the welcomed prodigal son. Funny that Rory first got all happy when Sam walked in, though he wouldn’t know him, having just started at McKinley this year. But that was corrected by a small scene where you could see Kurt explaining something to Rory, presumably who Sam is and why everyone was so excited.

I have to say that I was hoping for a little more on the end of Kurt and Sebastian’s detente, but their coffee-house verbal duel was a good set-up for some future fallout. As soon as Blaine stepped away, Kurt started it off by telling Sebastion that he didn’t like him or the way the new Warbler spoke to his boyfriend. Sebastian seemed to relish this head-on attack, murmuring “Fun!” before launching into the reasons why he’d be ending up with both Blaine and a nationals trophy at the end of the year: “Blaine’s too good for you. New Directions is a joke. And one of us has a hard luck case of the gay face and it ain’t me.” I give Kurt’s “You smell like Craigslist” rejoinder enough attack points to call it a draw. (Yes, my kid was big into Yu-Gi-Oh.)

NEXT: Quinn faced multiple calls for her to slow down and just enjoy her senior year of high school instead of trying to grab on to something (namely Beth) out of fear and desperation about her future. My favorite such reminder came from Sam, after Quinn tried to get him to sign on as her new baby daddy. He just laughed and told her she had “rich white girl problems” and then cited the “Jack and Diane” (John Mellencamp) lyric, “Hold on to 16 as long as you can.” We have episode title!

The other person to give Quinn the moral tug that she needed was Rachel, who was devastated over having to sit on the sidelines. But she pleaded with Quinn, first not to tell Figgins about Puck and Shelby primarily for baby Beth’s sake, then, at the very least, to wait until after the Troubletones performed at sectionals to do it. “We don’t want to wreck all the hard work that our friends in that group put into their performance.” Rachel also got Quinn to go tell Shelby first that she would be ratting her out.

When Quinn did threaten to expose the teacher for sleeping with 18-year-old Puck, Shelby took it in stride, expressing her regret that she’d slept with Puck in a failed attempt to feel 18 again. She also told Quinn to enjoy her time right now and the experience of performing at sectionals. “Don’t wish away your life. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.” That combination got Quinn to reverse course, eventually thanking Rachel for keeping her from doing something stupid, and even seriously thinking about applying to Yale for the drama department.

Love the pair on Tina for going to face Mike’s dad and withstanding both the father and the son’s disapproval for that move. It paid off when dad came just in time to witness Mike playing a standout role in New Directions’ Jackson-themed set. He eventually gave Mike his blessing to go after his passion and promised to help him follow his path. And then, when Mike thought he missed the deadlines, Tina admitted that she forged his signature and sent in the applications for him. Now that’s a good girlfriend.

Sam return wasn’t all sunshine and roses. For one, he had to put up with Santana’s scathing welcome back screed. But that seemed easy as he just sucked it up and embraced her after all her digs about his wide mouth. (Sucked it up. I take my giggles where I can get them, folks.) Sam also had to deal with Blaine popping off at him when they disagreed on sexying up the boy-heavy New Directions by adding some body rolls to the routine. Blaine referenced Sam’s stripping by saying “I am not for sale.” I don’t think Blaine ever apologized for that. Not cool, dude.

But it did lead to a meeting of the minds between Finn and Blaine, who finally asked the jock why he was always so dismissive of him. Finn admitted that he’d been freaked out by Blaine’s scary talent, saying “I’ve been acting like a jackass to you.” He then asked for Blaine’s help to get the New Directions to go all out for sectionals. And with the magic of a fistbump, they were all good.

How hot is it that Sam is pursuing his one-time summer fling Mercedes? Even though she’s got a boyfriend built like a bulldozer (and where is he, by the way?), Sam called out to Mercedes in the middle of a crowded hallway: “I don’t care how big or bad your boyfriend is. I’m gonna fight to get you back.” That smile she had as she walked away said it all, not to mention the one she wore while watching Sam’s hip-thrusty performance at sectionals.

But that smile gave way to crushing disappointment when the Troubletones found out that the judges (A DMV worker, a judge and a clown) picked New Directions over them. The newer glee club had done a stellar job with their “I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor/”Survivor,” Destiny’s Child mashup but New Directions’ three Jackson songs stole the crowd. (Can I call shenanigans on this? How did they get to do three songs? Is there no song cap for glee competitions? … Sorry, reality intruded again.) But while Mercedes, Santanna, and Brittany were moping, Quinn pulled her own version of the “it’s the best years of our lives” speech and got the three singers to return to New Directions with the promise that the Troubletone would get to sing at least one number at each performance. And then they sang “We Are Young” by fun. featuring Janelle Monáe song that I now cannot get out of my head.

NEXT: We rate the performances and go through notable quotesPerformances:

”Red Solo Cup,” Toby Keith: Talk about a great song choice. This was perfect for Sam (ex. “unlike my home, they are not foreclosable. Freddie Mac can kiss my ass.”) and Chord Overstreet smooth sultry voice nailed it. Love the playfulness it inspired in the room. Funniest thing of the night was Kurt mouthing “What is wrong with you” with a distressed look at Blaine, who was joining in the ”Red Solo Cup” fun. A-

“Buenos Aires,” Madonna (Yes, more accurately from Evita): The Unitards with Harmony (Glee Project runner-up Lindsay Pearce) front and center, kicked things off at sectionals with this stellar performance that scared New Directions, though to me it was more lounge act than other glee club productions. B+

“I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor/”Survivor,” Destiny’s Child: The Troubletones girl anthem mashup got the crowd on their feet and got the kids . The performance was all kinds of fun to listen to and watch, the girls were killing it with the dancing (though I was crazily distracted by all the arm flailing). A

“ABC,” the Jackson 5/”Control,” Janet Jackson/”The Man in the Mirror,” Michael Jackson: This three-pronged performance gave just about every New Directions member a chance to shine, even Tina! The choreography on the whole thing was stellar. (Seriously, I spent a significant amount of time in 1986 trying to learn the moves in the “Control” video. It ain’t easy.) A+

“We Are Young,” fun. featuring Janelle Monáe: Great closing song. You felt the vocal embrace of the returning members (“But our friends are back/So let’s raise a cup”) and the joy and potential the winning team members felt. A-


Finn on how he could track down Sam: “Even homeless people have Facebook.”

Finn to Sam’s father: “I’m real good at looking busy.”

Sam’s mother, who thinks Sam’s been working at Dairy Queen, not a strip club: “I’m just going to miss seeing your face everyday. Though I don’t know why the Dairy Queen makes you put glitter all over it.”

Sebastian to Kurt: “Blaine’s too good for you. New Directions is a joke. And one of us has a hard luck case of the gay face and it ain’t me. Odds are by the end of the school year, I’ll have Blaine and a nationals trophy and you’ll have khakis and a Lima Bean apron and that gay face.”

Santana “welcoming” Sam home: “Welcome back, Lisa Rinna. I’ve missed you so much since your family packed their bags, loaded them into your mouth, and skipped town. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to enjoy a crisp pickle but couldn’t find anyone to suck the lid off the jar. I assume you’ve been working as a baby polisher, where young mothers place their infants heads in your mouth to get back that newborn shine. So glad you’re back. I haven’t seen a smile that big since the abominable snowman got his teeth pulled by that little gay elf dentist. Love, Santana.”

Quinn: “I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’m supermodel thin now that my thyroid is under control.”

Rory: “Girls smell better than ham. And when they’re dancing and bouncing around, you can’t help but watch them.”

Artie after attempting the body roll: “I got slight tingles where it’s only 50/50 for tingling.”

Blaine, while punching a body bag: “I also started the Dalton branch of the fight club. Which I obviously can’t talk about.”

Santana to Finn: “It would be rude if I followed you around and every time you took a step I played a note on a tuba.”

Santana on why the Troubletones lost: “It’s that damn trouty mouth. Even I felt a little something in my lady loins when he did that magic sex dance.”

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