Episode 16, "Endless Eight (Part 1)"
Synopsis: Two weeks before the end of summer break, Haruhi calls together the SOS Brigade to cram in as many activities as they can before school starts again. These events include going to the public pool, attending a festival, shooting off fireworks, cicada catching, working part time, and stargazing. Kyon, however, has still not completed his summer homework by the end of the two weeks, but decides not to bother. Exhausted, he goes to sleep early for school the next day.
This second new episode of the program has both a lot and nothing much going on in it. On the one hand, Haruhi and the gang are doing all sorts of things here: picking out summer yukata, fishing, watching a summer blockbuster (that apparently only Haruhi and Yuki have any interest in), going to a karaoke bar, and just having some fun (er, except when Haruhi is just having fun at their expense).
On the other, there's not much else to say about it, because it's part one of a more interesting whole story, and we won't be getting any of the real interesting bits until the next new episode (hopefully, next week). Though this was part of a single, one-part story in the books, I can see why it was split into two, so when you watch this, pay close attention, but don't overthink it. Enjoy the scenes as if you were joining the SOS Brigade in their fun. I found myself wishing I could, pathetically enough.
So, the rest of the space here will be taken by my admiration for the new OP. The animation and the song go well together, and if possible, I enjoyed it even more than the first one. Aya Hirano's song is peppy and gets me excited to watch the episode, and the animation is vibrant and active, making it seem like there's going to be a lot going on. It's exactly what an OP should be like for this sort of program.
Anyway, part one of two was somewhat enjoyable, but since I have to judge this episode by its own content, I can't rate it very high.
2.5 out of 5