Season 3, Episode 8
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)
This season seems to be telling us that it’s not worth spending this much time in Vegas doing a show, because it will corrupt your soul and it will make you feel like you’re on autopilot, unable to do anything more exciting, because you got used to the autopilot giving you comfort. Ruth may be feeling pretty good having a job that kept her employed for this long, while also having time to spend some of it with her friends, as well as have dreams and aspirations for something bigger in her life. Turns out that those aspirations are taking over her thoughts and mind these days, as she is actively looking for an answer to her few questions. Autopilots kill the mood in people, so never do a show on autopilot. Although I am surprised to find out that the wrestling show was apparently never changed — wouldn’t it have been a good idea to set up a new storyline every few months, just to keep things fresh and interesting for the cast, but also encourage audience members to return at a later date and catch the show again? To me it sounds like Bash has been doing the same show with the same cast for eleven months now, which I kind of find very weird and extremely dangerous for business. No wonder Ruth feels lost in this show, Debbie feels like she needs other ventures to get her hands dirty, and Cherry develops a gambling habit, which to me looks like yet another episodic problem for a specific character, like Debbie’s bulimia, Melrose’s problem with the male prostitute (it’s not dating when she pays him for his services — is she actually paying for the boyfriend experience?), and Tammé’s back problems. By the way, who is Tammé these days? Did the time jump at the beginning of the episode erased all of that plot, just for her to return in the next half hour all happy and ready to smash?
The episode was okay. I got a sense of meta storytelling in this episode, as Ruth was contemplating doing more with her life, since the wrestling show was turned to autopilot, because even I felt that I could have been watching something else instead of this episode of television, simply because the aimlessness of one of the characters jumped over to my impressionistic mind and I suddenly felt as clueless about what is happening as Ruth was. Maybe that was an intended story move by the writers, which I must say is quite genius if the case, but maybe even the writers realized that the move to Las Vegas changed GLOW in a way that the wrestling simply had to take a back pedal in the narrative, which means there was time for all of the characters to get story arcs they never would have gotten otherwise.
But in reality, Ruth went through some stuff with that aimlessness and she started realizing that all of her friends were developing in one way or another, while she was sort of frozen in time. Debbie went from an angry woman separated from her husband to a business woman who got her baby son to Las Vegas and is dating a rich dude who gifted her a horse, after she was making her way through all the valet penises of the hotel. Sheila, as evident in this episode, developed as an actress and definitely has a career path ready in case the wrestling show is not working out for her anymore. Besides that, Sheila made her time in Las Vegas count and now she is factually ready to separate herself from the group that gave her confidence to shed her old persona and develop a new one and step into a better life. Hell, even Cherry developed as a character, eve if she is dealing with a gambling addiction — it’s a character development, which is something Ruth doesn’t have to offer to the viewers. Everyone got new relationships and a potential next career out of the wrestling show, but Ruth was kind of sitting on her success of getting cast into the wrestling show and figured that she can wait until the end to think about making her next move. Whatever happened to the potential of her becoming a director?
Meanwhile, Bash uses his newfound money to become a hotshot Vegas producer, which means he has all the money he needs to forget his emotional ballast ad find a way to make himself even more miserable at the end, because no single dollar of his $40 million estate will make him happy. The women don’t like him very much, Sandy probably thinks he is a dick who doesn’t know anything about producing live shows, and who knows why Rhonda still sticks with him, since she got what she needed by getting married to him a green card. It’s interesting though how the money made Bash an egoistic character, which I didn’t think would ever happen, judging by the way his story was handled during the first season. It’s almost like the writers intentionally put the potential coming-out story back into the closet, simply because there was no way for Bash to ever come out as gay for real. Every time there was the opportunity for him to do so, something happened that pushed him further into the closet. Now it’s the money.
Cherry’s gambling addiction seemed like an intriguing story, but I was kind of hoping for more than it only being used as a plot device to lead to mud wrestling. Although you could certainly compare this with prostitution somehow. When wrestlers need money, isn’t it much cheaper and easier to just undress to the bikini and step into slimy mud, so that people can bet on you like this is the very brutal double dildo scene from REQUIEM FOR A DREAM? That’s what I was reminded by during Cherry and Carmen’s mud wrestling match, even though I believe the writers never intended for that comparison to come to the viewer’s mind. Especially since Cherry’s debt with the casino isn’t that high. Okay, maybe for 1980s standards, owing $5000 is a lot, but I also think there are easy ways to get that money back together, the question is now whether it leads to a dark character arc for Cherry or if mud wrestling and a simple get-together with the casino’s security guards and owner was enough for her to realize her gambling addiction.