Credit: FOX © Fox Broadcasting Co.

We’re pretty sure that, every time a new Glee episode airs, we say to ourselves, “That was the best episode ever!” But which episode really deserves that title? Answering that question is no easy task.

As we giddily anticipate the return of Glee when Season 4 premieres on Thursday, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and tackle the difficult task of narrowing down the show’s ten must-see episodes. And we can only assume that this coming season’s episodes will soon make it that much more difficult to choose our ten favorites. To which we say, bring it on.

10. “Hold On To Sixteen” (Season 3, Episode 8)

Credit: Adam Rose/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.

To read the full recap, click here.
Just barely squeaking onto the top ten, this episode finally provided Sam’s (Chord Overstreet) return (body glitter and all!), while the Michael Jackson-related medley was as easy to enjoy as 1-2-3. And if you weren’t tearing up when New Directions and Troubletones reunited for “We Are Young,” or when Mike’s (Harry Shum Jr.) dad gave Mike and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) his blessing, then you just might want to consult an optometrist. (However, the less said about “Red Solo Cup,” the better.)

9. “Original Song” (Season 2, Episode 16)

Credit: ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Adam Rose/FOX

To read the full recap, click here.
This also isn’t our favorite competition episode, but it’s still a winner, and if you don’t agree, we’ll fill your locker with dirt (a la Sue [Jane Lynch]). Back in Season 2, we were getting sick of all the original songs, but now we miss them. (“Hell to the No” is a total hoot!) It’s great seeing Rachel (Lea Michele) win the first (and apparently last) MVP award, the Warblers are in fine form with “Misery,” and Kathy Griffin is hysterical. Klaine first kiss pretty much took our breath away. And we can’t be the only ones who secretly love “My Headband,” right? Right?!

8. “Heart” (Season 3, Episode 13)

Credit: Adam Rose/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.

To read the full recap, click here.
This love-centric episode could make a romantic out of anyone, with that Valentine’s Day Brittana kiss, the surprising return of Kurtofsky, the introduction of Rachel’s kooky dads, and Mercedes(Amber Riley) show-stopping “I Will Always Love You.” And we can even sum the episode up in just two words: Love. Shack.

7. “Journey” (Season 1, Episode 22)

To read the full recap, click here.
We might have thought we couldn’t handle any more Journey songs by the time this Season 1 finale rolled around, but we would be wrong, as Finchel’s Regionals performance of “Faithfully” could turn even the most heartless viewer into mush. Let’s not forget the added awesomeness that was Sue voting for New Directions, Shelby (Idina Menzel) adopting Quinn’s (Dianna Agron) baby, and Finn telling Rachel he loves her. To quote Journey, we’d always like to hold on to that feeling.

6. “Hell-O” (Season 1, Episode 14)

To read the full recap, click here.
This isn’t a favorite episode of Finchel fans. Then again, the Finchel break-up helps to make this episode essential, setting the template for their on-and-off romance. And the episode still has a ton to offer, with lots of romantic turmoil, the memorable introduction of Jesse St. James [Jonathan Groff] (via that sexy duet with Rachel on Lionel Richie’s “Hello”), and one of our most beloved Brittany quotes of all time. No, Brittany we didn’t know that dolphins are just gay sharks, but thanks for the info.

5. “Never Been Kissed” (Season 2, Episode 6)

Credit: FOX © 2010 Fox Broadcasting Co.

To read the full recap, click here.
How could we not include the episode that introduced us to Blaine (Darren Criss)?! And what an introduction it was, with Blaine and Kurt (Chris Colfer) running hand-in-hand through the halls of Dalton a sign of things to come! This episode also provided one of Glee’s biggest shockers of all-time with Karofsky kissing Kurt, along with that sweet kiss from Schue (Matthew Morrison)to Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones). And yes, we still have dreams about “Teenage Dream,” which might be our favorite Glee number ever.

4. “The First Time” (Season 3, Episode 5)

To read the full recap, click here.
Not only did this episode provide those fabulous West Side Story performances, but we also got the climactic first times, which were done in an emotional and tasteful way. (Translation: Fireplace equals classy, no?) Granted, we’re not so sure how we feel about the fact that someone’s socks were left on during the “deed,” but we’re trying to let it go.

3. “The Power of Madonna” (Season 1, Episode 15)

To read the full recap, click here.
This is the gold standard of Glee tribute episodes. Sure, we loved the Michael Jackson, Britney, and Fleetwood Mac ones (and Rocky Horror was fun, too), but none could top Madonna. Heck, this episode would earn a place on this list just for Sue’s unforgettable take on “Vogue” alone. Yet all the music numbers were stellar, including that adorable Finchel mash-up of “Borderline”/“Open Your Heart.” It was as if we were touched by this show for the very first time.  

2. “Nationals” (Season 3, Episode 21)

Credit: Adam Rose/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co

To read the full recap, click here.
The moment we had all been waiting for! And no, we’re not talking about Wemma finally getting jiggy with it (although that was highly anticipated, too). What we’re actually talking about is New Directions’ thrilling Nationals victory, complete with confetti now in cups to replace icy cold beverages. And who’s gonna complain about Rachel blowing the roof off the joint with “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”? Certainly not us.

1. “Sectionals” (Season 1, Episode 13)

To read the full recap, click here.
The most essential episode ever! This is the one that set the bar for what we would come to expect from singing-competition episodes. The highlights are innumerable, between “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” Wemma’s long-awaited kiss, and Finn rejoining New Directions in the nick of time. Overall, the feeling of joy from watching this triumphant episode is what Glee is all about. Anyone else kind of want to rewatch it again right now?

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