GLOW (“A Very GLOW Christmas”)

Season 3, Episode 10
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)

One can only hope that GLOW will leave the Las Vegas setting with this episode and go back to Los Angeles with the next season, because in retrospect it felt a little weird that the show about a group of wrestlers turned into a character drama for a season, which took each of the central characters and gave them a specific story arc, just for it to burn up in-between episodes, never to be mentioned again. Debbie’s bulimia moment was just that, a moment. Tammé’s back problems were left behind in the desert and have never been mentioned since then. Sheila turned from a she-wolf into an actress and now there is a chance she could be a little pretentious here and there, while also being Ruth’s best friend. Rhonda dealt with the difficulties of marriage, while Bash finally realized he might like penises a lot. Justine became a screenwriter and Sam became a director of good movies that don’t have any exploitative violence in them. That all of this would happen within the year of 1986 is logical, especially when the previous two seasons were set within the span of less than ten months (Debbie mentioned in an earlier episode this season that Randy was ten months old), but in the narrative of GLOW it felt a little surreal at times. I loved the characters, I loved the individual stories, and I loved how the writers decided to tackle some of the emotional issues of the 1980s by diving into the underground ballroom culture, which I did not know anything about until after I saw Mj Rodriguez on LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS on the same evening I watched the previous episode of GLOW, but it never felt like those stories and characters were natural to GLOW. Those stories would have deserved their own great show, but for some reason they were stuck into a comedy drama about female wrestlers, which decided to take away the comedy part just for this season. Oh yes, this season really has been emotional and dark at times.

It’s a gender-reversed remake of a Christmas classic.

I still loved this episode. The Christmas setting was great, ad turning the nightly live show into a wrestling adaptation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL was pretty awesome — it’s something I would have loved to see live myself, and for the sake of the story it might even be a move to let some people realize their true potential. Ruth was the star of the Christmas special, which could be seen as her greatest acting gig yet, and I was actually wondering whether there might have been a casting director in the audience, simply just to create a narrative that could lead Ruth away from the wrestling show and towards something she always wanted to do. Or did she? Her talk to Debbie about never having gotten on the road to begin with seemed awfully suspicious that she never really knew what she was doing and that she accepted the aimlessness of her current life. Damn, here is to praying that Ruth will realize her mistake and accept Debbie’s job offer.

I fact, I hope the whole thing with the network acquisition is true and it plays out to the fullest in the next season. Bash being the owner of a TV network could be good and bad — good, because he can make some of his dreams come true and get himself enough time to distract himself from his own emotions (until he puts his head in the oven, because I get the sense this is where his character arc is heading), and bad, because it could be an easy way to burn all the money he recently got and be broke a few episodes later. Debbie being the network president could be super awesome, because it would continue the road she has put herself on after forcing the producer title on her at the beginning of the previous season. She manipulated her way to the top of the game, and with a woman in charge of a television network, the writers could be able to depict what women can do when they have been handed power. There is one question though: Why would Debbie goto Ruth with the news that she has acquired a television network and tell her that they are going to work on their own wrestling show? Debbie is president of a TV network now, she can create whatever kind of show she wants, and she can cast Ruth in any kind of show Ruth wants to star in. It doesn’t have to be a wrestling show, so I found it a little curious that Debbie would still be interested in doing a wrestling show, when there is so much that you ca do with a TV network.

Naked women make women happy.

The character arcs in this episode were solid. Arthie telling everyone that she was gay seemed like the happy end she needed after her conflict with Yolanda and the fire during Bobby Barnes’ ball, and it was definitely nice that everyone seemed cool with Arthie’s proclamation — even Dawn and Stacey, who were teased to be homophobes during the desert episode, but it turns out they just had a few seconds of fun with the idea of giving Arthie a nude magazine. It’s interesting though how easy it was for Arthie to realize her sexuality, while Bash is completely struggling with who he is and what his thoughts are giving him. His convincing himself to stay with Rhonda and make kids with her could lead him further into emotional ruins, especially when Rhonda’s face was saying what I think it said: She has no interest in having kids and it’s just one more thing that alienates her from her husband. Elsewhere, Cherry and the returning Keith were talking about adoption, which is what I hoped the story would go after she said she did not want to use her body for a baby. Adoption seemed like the only choice from that point on, which begs the question how long it took for Keith to get to that idea and learn about it.

And finally, I must say I liked the way the season ended: Almost all of the characters are at a crossroad, having to make decisions about the future of their careers, or the future about being part of their own family. They all went to Vegas together during the previous season finale, but they all left the town on their own and it’s not even sure they will all return. It’s not even sure whether or not Sandy will keep the wrestling show after Bash pretty much screwed her over by pulling out his money for one of the other live shows. It’s a perfect ending for a weirdly expanded season of television that gave me all the great character drama, but took away most of the wrestling, as well as the comedy aspect. It’s kind of the perfect series finale.

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