Of course, Bakula, a veteran of screen, knocks the part out of the water. It's funny to see him play an out of work actor, when Bakula himself has had a pretty good career. Yet, he is able to play the cheesiness and sincerity in unexpected ways that really sell the part. This is a series he will be remembered for, with good reason.
Finally, there's Joe. He has some struggles in season two, as his attempts to be a good friend to Manfo (Jon Manfrellotti), who is dealing with cancer. But that connection drags Joe back into the world of gambling. Joe successfully pulls himself out once more, but not before angering Manfro, and losing his friendship. Overcoming that particular obstacle, again, is good, because it clears Joe's head up to do what he really wants to do: golf.
As Joe begins the Senior Tournament qualifier, the focus is on the game itself. He has an early stumble with a penalty, which shakes him. But then he comes back in spectacular fashion, and only falters again on the final hole. Luckily, a well timed rain shower causes others to screw up more, and Joe ends up, albeit backwardly, making it through to the next round.
And that's when it's clear that Joe's golf story is no longer about golf. Not only does Terry show up to offer his support, but both of Joe's children, Albert (Braeden Lemasters) serving as caddy, and Lucy (Brittany Curran), following as a spectator, are ecstatic to see their father do well. The plot is really about how Joe realizes his kids still love him, and what that does for his self image, which desperately needs help at this point. The sweet victory as the kids cheer as another man misses a hole, and dance around Joe with excitement, is worth for more to him than any trophy or big finish. Joe is a family man, which he sometimes finds difficult to perform as, but his kids mean the world to him. Seeing they care about him the same is the real victory.
This is why, at the end of the episode, Joe is able to bring himself to call Dory (Sarah Clarke). Despite messing up his relationship with her, Joe is ready to try for another chance. He may deserve it, considering how far he has come, and the correct choices he keeps making, and she seems to see that. Joe is proving he is not a bad guy, but like everyone, has some things he must overcome. It will be a constant battle throughout the rest of his life to stay on the straight and narrow, but as "Hold Your Finish" ends, Joe is doing well.