Adulthood versus childhood is the theme of this week's "Glee", where the emphasis was on telling instead of showing how the kids of "Glee" pushing into their own at the same time as they should be embracing their youth and freedom. We got a lot of overwrought speeches about the importance of youth and friendship, but at the same time the heavy load of songs and balance of character involvement may have been the saving grace of an episode that could have felt a little too preachy and instead hit more high notes than low.
We start with Quinn telling Rachel about Puck and Shelby, which Rachel handles amazingly well seeing as though Shelby's her mom and Puck is her ex-boyfriend. Quinn remains obsessed with her plot to get Beth back and Rachel tries to talk her out of doing anything drastic. Meanwhile, Finn and Mr. Schue discuss song selection and Finn says they need star power. For some reason that means Sam Evans, who moved 4 hours away with his family. While his milquetoast performances last season didn't really inspire star power, the group does need more bodies to meet the minimum requirement, and Chord Overstreet needs to return to the show, so two birds with one stone. Over at the Lima Bean, Kurt complains about his lowered chances at NYADA and fills out an application for employment while Blaine bemoans that Finn keeps giving him a hard time and treating him like he doesn't know what he's doing in glee club. Suddenly smarmy Sebastian appears, hitting on an overly polite Blaine while Kurt shoots daggers with his eyes. When Blaine slips away for more coffee Kurt informs Sebastian of his dislike and the two have a wonderfully catty little snark-off that includes the line, "you smell like Craigslist." When Blaine returns they play nice, but when Sebastian leaves Blaine rolls his eyes.
After apparently driving four hours to Northern Kentucky, Finn and Rachel walk into the "bar" Sam is working at, only to discover it's a strip joint when White Chocolate, aka Sam dressed as the construction worker from The Village People, is announced. They talk to him backstage, and he admits that he's ashamed of what he's doing, but his abs are paying for his little brother and sister's needs where his dad's new job falls short. He's good at being a stripper, but Rachel and Finn try and talk him into giving it up to join them at Sectionals. It's not really much of a comparison, since Sectionals doesn't pay the bills, but Sam's biggest concern is not cash but his dad's permission. We get to meet the Evans family, who are as adorable as you'd assume, and who start crying when Sam explains that he misses being a teenager and wants to recapture that youth by moving 4 hours away to stay at Rachel's house to go back to his old school. Whatever makes the "Glee" machine run.
In the choir room everyone is down about their chances at Sectionals until Mr. Schue pops some sparkling apple cider to welcome Sam back. He punctuates his grand return by performing perhaps the weirdest song on "Glee" since "Run Joey Run," "Red Solo Cub," which barely makes sense as a country song, and thus makes even less sense as a "Glee" number. The club bops around and Kurt Hummel is the face of everyone watching, completely lost, and mouthing "what is wrong with you" at his boyfriend. As they conclude, Santana returns to read off her list of jokes about Trouty Mouth, which Sam responds to with a big hug because being a stripper has clearly given him a thick skin.
Quinn gives Shelby the evil eye, then comes up to Sam to try and get back together with him now that they're both single. Sam turns her down and calls her out on her "rich white girl problems." It's definitely a little more complex than that, but anything that shakes some sense into Quinn at this point is welcomed. He starts pushing the Very Special Message of this episode -- hold on to sixteen and enjoy high school while you can. Elsewhere in the hallway, we learn that Mike Chang has given up his dancer dreams and applied to Stanford pre-med because ever since West Side Story his family life is strained. Tina calls him a coward for not going after what he wants, and Mike responds that maybe his father is right and he and Tina shouldn't be together anymore.
The group is finally prepping for sectionals, trying out dance moves, and while Blaine tries to show off a rather cute twirl, Sam makes fun of him for being "too boyband." Sam encourages them all to sex it up with body rolls, which he keeps demonstrating, and Blaine starts to get angry, telling him they don't have to resort to that, calling it cheap and suddenly screaming "I'm not for sale!" They start shoving each other and Blaine stalks off to go blow off some steam in the weight room. Angry Blaine is practicing his boxing when Finn walks in, and he admits to taking up boxing when he got bullied and starting a Dalton Fight Club. Blaine asks Finn why Finn is quiet, and proceeds to give Blaine the extremely After School Special speech about how "we have to do our best" and how he wants to look across the room and know Blaine has his back. Blaine pulls off his boxing glove to fist bump Finn, all choked up.
Sam grabs Mercedes hand in the hallway and expresses his interest in winning her back from her new boyfriend. Samcedes was the biggest loss when Overstreet didn't return at the start of the season, and its return is welcome. Meanwhile, "Glee" continues its trend of kids confronting other kid's parents when Tina visits Mike's dad to try and force him to watch Mike's West Side Story bootleg and support his dance dreams. Mr. Chang tries to talk sense into Tina about the trails of performing arts careers, but Tina remains confident. With all that plot dispelled with, it's Sectionals time.