Season 2, Episode 10
Date of release: June 29, 2018 (Netflix)
Dammit, I love Netflix. They tell their creators, producers and writers to create a round show, that doesn’t just end on a cliffhanger, because the writers believe that’s the way to persuade the network to renew the show. The first season ended with the pilot of the wrestling show and the credits that roll over its premiere airing, and it was fantastic that way, because one story arc ended, and it wasn’t necessary to know whether the women were greenlighted (greenlit?) for an entire season. This season ends with the wrestling show cancelled, which was essentially one mini arc throughout half of the season, but the women still had the chance to make their careers, and it isn’t necessary to know whether they are successful in Las Vegas or not. Simply the faces on all the women, heading into an exciting new future, was the most exciting way to end the season with. Screw cliffhangers, screw questions about what is which character gonna do now. Yes, there have been some open endings here, but it’s not like every story has to conclude properly. Which is why I kind of don’t like most intended series finales, no matter how individually good they might be. I simply want an ending that leaves room to thoughts. And suddenly I know why I never really liked the LOST finale.
I loved this episode. It was very reminiscent of the finale of SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA, in which some stories were concluded before the big battle in the arena, while the battle itself was just a fun way to pay homage to the premise of the show, to give the audience what they want to see, before the episode closes with a tearful goodbye and the sight of a more exciting future. Hell, there were even similarities between the fight in the arena over at Steven DeKnight’s Starz show and the Battle Royale in this episode’s ring of action, as contestants were kicked out of the ring, and the remaining fighters continued to fight for the crown (or in Gannicus’s case, freedom). I’m not sure if those similarities were intended, and if someone in the writers room was just a big fan of the Spartacus television series, or if I’m the only one seeing them. Or maybe television is mixing itself in my mind, and I’m about to realize that everything is all the same. Still, I kinda loved that notion that there are two different finales in television history, both from the other end of the genre spectrum, which couldn’t be more similar. This episode almost makes me want to watch SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA again, just to get back into the excitement of that great Battle Royale which closed that mini season, and which is objectively one of the greatest television action spectacles of the 2010s.
In the realm of character arcs, this episode was wonderful. It almost looks like Debbie is out of her ugly fun and finally embracing being the star of the wrestling show, while also giving enough screentime to her co-stars, even if she didn’t win the crown at the end. But of course the final wrestling match belonged to her, and she excelled at it, in addition to winning it, just because of femininity (great move by the guys to play along – I have no idea if that ever happened during the real heyday of the original show). Her goodbye to Mark and her son was touching, simply due to the fact that she seemed to have moved on from all the crap drama in her life. It’s almost like Debbie is going to Vegas with a clean slate, ready to stumble into new emotional problems, like the drug addiction I was hoping for her to go through, when she snorted some of Sam’s coke in his office a few episodes ago.
Arthie and Yolanda also got sorta together, and I’m happy about it. I’m pretty sure there is no way Arthie would have risked getting battled by homophobia from the audience after kissing Yolanda in front of a live audience and a rolling camera, but it was a happy end for the two, and all I want is for them to get married off in Vegas, have all the lesbian sex they want and need, and then get straight into whatever character arc the writers have planned for them.
Only Bash’s arc is confusing, because as a straight white male I have no idea what is going on inside his mind. It looks like he is a closeted gay man, because bleaching his house, silently crying over the loss of his greatest friend, and getting himself to marry Rhonda, are all ways that usually keep you in the closet for fear of rejection and essentially death by “pneumonia.” But then it looked like he actually cared for Rhonda in this episode, despite the fact that Bash could have simply played alongside his own lies, so he doesn’t feel the need to hang around men and continues to find ways to be around women and convince himself that he is not gay.
What I did find fascinating though was Carmen’s face when Bash got married. For the first time since the beginning of the show I got the feeling that Carmen was interested in Bash (they did kiss in a season-one episode, where her crush could have come from), and that there are characters in this show who have to live with the social anxiety of not being able to tell someone you love them. Ruth wasn’t able to tell it straight to Sam, even though she looked like she wanted to during last episode’s formal dance. Sam isn’t able to, because he is a man and he goes straight for the kiss, and maybe it wasn’t the first time he was rejected like that. Debbie is almost unable to talk about her emotional turmoil, but for some reason she made it through the season alive and happy (almost). But here are Bash and Carmen, completely oblivious about the other’s feelings, not even knowing what the other goes through right now. Okay, maybe not Carmen, because she doesn’t have a big secret like Bash might have.
I said it at the end of the first season, and I’m gonna say it again: I want another season. It’s a good thing I finished this season and the third round of GLOW was already waiting for my eyeballs. Let this show live for tens and tens of years. It’s what I need right now in a time full of Dwayne Johnson movies, FAST & FURIOUS spin-offs, superhero blockbusters and another MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE flick I’m not interested in seeing, but will most likely be wowed by when I do. Also, the Orange Hitler Donald Trump administration has me needing shows like GLOW. It has me needing shows I can have fun with and be enjoyed by.