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.

GLOW (“The Libertines”)

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

This episode has transformed GLOW into an entirely different show. This episode reminded me of the fact that the world of the characters was expanded and that they aren’t just dealing with wrestling any longer, as they have been out into a town that corrupts all their souls in different ways, mostly negative, sometimes in a positive way. I don’t know if the writers wanted to do exactly this when they decided to move the wrestling show from local television to a Las Vegas stage, but here we are. The main characters all have their individual problems, and now they have been introduced to a world they would have never gotten to know if they hadn’t been put into the Vegas settings, with GLOW turning into a parable of what the 1980s really were for minority personalities. Men were in power and had all the money, women were supposed to be their slaves (as analyzed in Sheila’s performance, which was either a true story of her upbringing or a narrative she came up with on the spot, making her a potential writer, like Debbie is a producer and Ruth could be a director), and the LGBT community was the dirt under the men’s fingernails, the rats in the back alley that needed eradication. The episode’s premise was a show all by itself, making me wonder if Netflix was specifically asking for such an episode to test the waters for a show that may be set in that milieu, or if the writers of GLOW had always imagined an episode that depicted the utter desperation women and gays were facing in their darkest hours. When they thought they had their lives under control, they had their opportunities to make their own lives and careers, they are being reminded by the fact that there are still men out there who will never allow that to happen. Hence the evacuation at the end and the sudden reminder that even a liberal and playful Las Vegas audience still has a problem with the gay community.

Say goodbye to wrestling, and say hello to threesomes with Kate Nash.

But like I said, it’s a whole ‘nother show, and I still have a bit of a problem accepting that GLOW left the surroundings of the wrestling comedy drama and wet straight into something that is … something else. Even the characters have changed in their new surroundings, which really makes me want to be a fly on the wall in the writers room, just to find out what made the show turn around this much and become a drama about some of the darkest chapters of 1980s American culture, when it comes to the LGBT community. Maybe I would have expected such a story to come at one point after Yolanda was introduced in the previous season, but she is essentially doing her own thing at the moment and the writers had to create yet another new character to depict the straight white man’s fight against the gay community, which is apparently easier to write into a scripted television show when said new character is a man, and a drag queen as well (and most likely gay, but the show has ever gotten into Bobby Barnes’s sexuality, even though it should be quite obvious). It’s great that show can reinvent themselves to stay fresh and be exciting, but I don’t think I have ever seen such a drastic change in a show in-between seasons.

As expected, Ruth didn’t make it back to the show to do the scene with Sheila, which was a given after Ruth told Sheila that she will make it. GLOW has been pretty good in circumventing some of the more cliched stereotypes throughout the first two seasons, but this season was a little less successful in that case, and Ruth’s reassurance to Sheila may have been the biggest predictable moment of the show yet, which sort of ruined Ruth’s entire storyline in this episode. “I’ll be there,” Ruth said, and throughout the audition and the bar date with Sam, I was waiting for that moment which ruined Ruth’s day and prevented her from getting back in time. I was waiting for the moment she realized she won’t be getting the role in Sam and Justine’s movie, and I was waiting for the moment Ruth confessed her love to Sam, which would then turn into something of a mistake, because of course it would, since Ruth is currently stuck in a convenient story filled with romantic and career-ending tropes. It’s almost like the story she found herself in during the previous episode turned her into one of the most cliched characters of the show.

We’re as shocked and happily surprised about that threesome as Debbie is.

Which is why I was sort of thankful that the characters in Vegas were busy getting their minds and bodies hyped for the Libertine Ball. Debbie’s involvement in the background made for a interesting character, and I really loved her style and look during the ball, as she turned into the drag version of Mr. Monopoly, which not only suited Betty Gilpin, but was also a fantastic style in general. I was also happy that J.J. didn’t turn into a dick here and continued his development into becoming a formidable partner for Debbie – one who could not only keep up with her demands for a lover and sexual partner, but also someone who respects her moves as a business person and lets her roam free in that world without trying to hold her back. J.J. must have loved having Debbie around during his meetings, and Debbie must be one happy woman to have someone like J.J. in her life, considering how Mark very much hated Debbie’s decision to do a wrestling show, or wanted to hold her back from fighting during the production of the pilot episode.

Then there were Bash and Rhonda, who made their way towards Bash’s inevitable first homoerotic experience. For almost three seasons I believed that Bash was hiding in a closet, and finally he found a way to answer his urges, even if I believe that the threesome was not only a interesting way to get Bash there, but also a potentially cheap way to break him and Rhonda up. After that scene, I would almost hope that Bash is bisexual, just so he won’t break Rhonda’s heart, but the way he was more interested in “Joe’s” lips and genitals that Rhonda’s makes me think that Bash manipulated Rhoda and “Joe” into kissing each other, knowing that a potential threesome would lead to his sexual urges awakening, which he definitely needed at this point in life. With the Libertine Ball and Bash’s first LGBT experience in bed, GLOW has fully turned into a show about women and gays, and all the hateful men in the shadows who can’t wait to set fire to all of this, just so they can excel at their dominance and lead the central and recurring characters of the show to dramatic character arcs. Well, at least most of the characters were together when the fire broke out, bringing potential into all of them dealing with the fallout together. This season has separated the characters for most of the time, and I would love it if they would be involved in the same story together again.

GLOW (“Keep Ridin’)

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?

She’ll cleaning up her face for the next half year.

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?

It’s time to wrestle. For real.

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.

GLOW (“Hollywood Homecoming”)

Season 3, Episode 7
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)

In which GLOW went so far out of its original premise that it made characters decide to make a movie. While I like the idea of Justine and Sam teaming up to make this movie and creating some together-time for themselves, almost with the guarantee that when the movie is finished and it is going to be released, it will flop, it definitely is a premise that only fits into GLOW, because the writers sort of remembered that they had Justine and Sam talk about a screenplay in the finale of the previous season, which in hindsight must have bee a plot device to create this story in season three. And with that in mind, Justine and Sam teaming up to make a movie also takes away from the Las Vegas show, which continues more and more to be less important for all the characters involved. Half of the wrestling show’s cast didn’t even have an appearance in this episode, others were not talking about how their extended stay is screwing up their plans or maybe even their mental state, and with all that, GLOW has become a character drama, in which three or four main characters get the spotlight in an episode, during which their individual character arcs are being developed. Every once in a while there is an episode like the previous two, and everyone is being thrown together for a round of togetherness, but GLOW has become the drama show that emulates all the other drama shows on broadcast television. GLOW’s uniqueness got lost this season, and it happened way before Sheila decided to throw her fur coat into the fire at the end of the previous episode, turning her own uniqueness into ash as well.

Mother and daughter-in-law go clothes shopping for the first time.

I still like the characters though, and some of the stories make for good drama, even if I believe those stories are in the wrong kind of show. Debbie’s date with J.J. seemed quite alright and I’m almost happy that Debbie met a guy who looked and sounded very normal and nice and loving, although I have a bit of a paranoid mind when I watch television, so here I am, waiting for J.J. to show his true face, which will conflict with Debbie’s face, and we all know where those kind of stories end up on the pain scale. GLOW could be known by this point as a television show trying to get through all the tropes of 1980s troubles women can go through, and Debbie is kind of very vulnerable right now, so getting flustered by a sweet man is easy for her, but getting out of a potentially abusive relationship while her career is going down the drain is a little harder, and it’s a story that would fit into this season’s narrative. But yeah, at least Debbie is a little happy now, and that happiness distracts from the notion that she was dealing with bulimia for a hot second. Besides that, the image of her getting into bed with Ruth still sleeping in hers only feet away warms my heart. The women were sworn enemies two seasons ago, but now they are besties, they share a room, they know each other’s roles in the ring in and out, and maybe Ruth will now turn into Debbie’s best fried when she really needs one, because Debbie might be on a downward spiral.

Elsewhere in Vegas, Bash got a lot richer, and the only thing he needed to do was getting married. I hope Ruth’s side joke in the second season finale about Rhonda having married a millionaire without a prenup comes to haunt everyone involved in the marriage, because now Rhonda has a few reasons to think about using her marriage with Bash for her own financial sake. She said she really loves him now, but that can change quickly when your husband just got $40 million richer. Now is the time for Bash to prove that he can indeed sped his money wisely and not all at once, while Rhoda needs to prove that she is not a gold digger. Then again, maybe it would be funny to see Rhonda’s transformation into said gold digger as the show progresses. But would GLOW even be able to do that kind of comedy, now that it wants to be a full-fledged drama series? After all, Bash still has a few emotional turmoils to get through, and dealing with a potential gold digger in his bed night after night is not one of them.

It’s a screenshot for all the heart attacks out there.

We move states now and go back to Hollywood where Justine and Sam tried to sell a script. Let’s note that the episode never really told us what the script really is about. Yes, Justine pitched a few seconds of it and based it on her own life experiences, but is her screenplay a drama or a comedy? Does it deal with her main character’s friendship with the AV club or the relationship with the father? Does it have a weird supernatural element to it, because why the hell not? Justine is fascinated by Sam’s films, so one might think that her first foray into screenwriting would go into the same exploitation genre, but that does not seem to be the case at all, judging by the way she pitched it to the one executive who was listening ad interested at the same time. Side note, I loved how the first meeting was all about rewriting the central female character into a character who can be played by a guy. I found that especially hilarious, especially since this crap is still an issue in Hollywood anno 2019. Sam’s heart attack was a nice way to break the story into a few easily chewable chunks, giving the viewers an opportunity to put their teeth into either of the L.A.-based stories of this episode, if one of them didn’t quite work out for whatever reason. An 18-year-old teenager going through Hollywood offices to sell a screenplay is a bit fantastical for my taste, but Sam’s heart attack seemed very realistic and down to earth.

Finally, I need to mention that I realized that Ruth was absent from this episode until the end, making me wonder if this is the first episode of the show without its star in it. Turns out Aliso Brie was directing this episode, giving her character some deserved time off. But because she is the star of the show (like Debbie is the star of her show, bringing a bit of meta storytelling into it), she still had to be in it somehow. So Ruth was depicted in a sleeping position. Nice way to make some extra money.

GLOW (“Outward Bound”)

Season 3, Episode 6
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)

We were so close! We could have had an entire episode of television in which there was not a single man. 41 Minutes of female friendship only, with no dick in sight interrupting the process or trying to get his opinion across. An hour of television without the presence of a male — that is what we would have had if it hadn’t been for the extra in the elevator Ruth got out of. Sure, that man had absolutely nothing to say, which makes this episode one of the few, if not the only one of television (I don’t know about that one though), without a man saying a single word, but at the end of the day it’s not an episode without a single man in it. I don’t know if this was a mark the writers and producers wanted to reach (hence the elevator guy) or if they even noticed they were reaching it, and missed it thanks to the one scene in the hotel.

This was a great episode. It’s almost as much of a throwaway half hour (plus twelve minutes) as the story of Britannica making a real-life boy out of Tim and having to wrestle for her own memory, but it’s as much of an entertaining episode as almost any other of the show, minus the beginning stages, which kind of feel like they have been left out of the room to rot, because maybe even the writers realized they were going to places the show could not handle (so far I am happy that the bulimia story hasn’t been touched ever since that episode ending). After six episodes, the characters are kind of busy getting around the thought of staying in Vegas a little longer while also being included in back stories that have never found a place in the show before. Until now when the women were out in the wilderness to spend some time together (instead of spending it with their loved ones — I’m kind of shocked that Debbie didn’t fly home for the night), using this opportunity to open up about their past, and as it turns out, their family’s immigration history.

It’s easy to be alone in this deserted universe.

I did not even know that Melrose was Jewish, but here she came with the horrific history of her family having been victims of the Holocaust. I also never figured that Jenny’s family was somewhat involved in the history of Japanese internment in America and that she was lucky enough for her family to have overcome it simply by having connections. And while Ruth was grappling with her love for Sam and Debbie was making decisions back and forth about staying or leaving the show, Sheila went through yet another transformation, almost completing her character arc of the season (although it’s gonna be interesting to see now where she lands — if she things she was being held back by her she-wolf persona, then the same can be said about the wrestling show) and pretty much dropping her back story for good. That scene I found lovely though, even if it means that the uniqueness her character has now been thrown into the fire — quite literally. But there had to be a time Sheila grows out of that persona and turns into a real human being. It’s almost like she has been this kid all the time while wearing the wig, the eye shadow and the fur dress, and now she has sort of reached puberty after she realized that playing Liza Minelli tasted quite well.

I also loved how the episode established that Tammé is not giving up her spot in the ring, even though it looks like she is about to break apart under the physical pressure of the sport. But her words of having waited so long for a shot at a career after shelving it for her son rang true, and even I was thinking to myself that Tammé shouldn’t give this up, just because she has a bit of a recurring pain in her back. Besides that, her story led nicely to Debbie making her ultimate decision — if the mother says that bringing your kid here is easier than quitting the show and moving to your kid over there, then there must be something true to it. Even more so when Tammé wasn’t the only one saying that. Of course, if Debbie makes the decision to move Randy to Vegas, it could smell trouble with Mark that could quickly lead to a custody battle. Except of course Mark is a good guy and follows his son to Vegas as well, but I don’t think his secretary girlfriend is going to be impressed about that one. Custody battle it is then — will it be a premise for the inevitable fourth season or did the writers stick it into one of the next four episodes?

The old comfort has ben shed and burned.

The rest of the episode was solid enough. Arthie and Yolanda’s story seemed a little cliche at first, but as long as it’s giving them screentime, then I will accept it. Dawn and Stacey’s homophobia could lead to some interesting things though, even if I never believe that a story like this fill find the time it needs to unfold throughout multiple episodes. When GLOW has already begun giving Justine a screenplay-related story and give her a shot at a Hollywood career while her once deadbeat father has discovered what it’s like to live a healthy life without snorting coke every once in a while and directing a crappy female wrestling television show, then the homophobia, which is certainly an element of the 1980s, especially when connected with the AIDS epidemic, will probably be cut down to its bare minimum, just so the writers can focus on the characters which have been getting a lot of attention this season.

GLOW (“Freaky Tuesday”)

Season 3, Episode 5
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)

Arthie finally got her wish and she was able to perform a different character for once. I’m actually surprised that she wasn’t wild about the idea of a switcheroo for the night’s show, considering how log she hated playing the mad terrorist in the ring after the beer can she almost got in her face during the first season finale. Besides that, I was glad to see that this season of GLOW delivered some actual wrestling performances and decided to depict what the live show actually looks like. I felt reminded by what I said earlier about the live show being frozen, which means there was no way to actually depict it regularly in the narrative, simply because it would have been repetitive. But the idea of the women switching roles and playing different characters was quite the way to circumvent that repetition and bring on an already established number and dress it up anew. Seeing Ruth and Debbie switch their roles was fantastic, as for once the sweetheart American girl that is Liberty Belle actually looked like she would come from the Midwestern part of the country, which means there was finally a way to properly depict the character of Liberty Belle. On the other side of the ring there was Fortune Cookie played by a white chick, and that was kind of ridiculous, although I do have to say that Melrose sold the craziness that was the trope of a white actor being cast for an Asian role. Plus points for Sheila going through a change with this episode. I would almost hope that with the wrestling show staying for the rest of the year, Sheila would choose to play Liza Minelli as a wrestler for the next few episodes, even if it means her She-Wolf character is being put to the ground. Then again, doing Liza Minelli may also be an answer to the acting lesson she got recently.

They are having a blast with tonight’s show.

The live show was fun, and I would have loved seeing more of it than what the episode eventually delivered. Bash was freaking annoyed by all the changes and Sam seemed to be having fun in the ring witnessing it all — the latter is probably thanks to the fact that Sam doesn’t have a lot to say anyway these days. Like Bash said, Sam is basically on a paid vacation (and now on a year-log paid vacation) and the show is frozen. There is nothing to direct and there is no way for the show to have anything else in it than the story elements it already has. Of course he wouldn’t be bitching about the fact that his directorial duties are being take away from him, and now that he actually has time to get a little healthier and to write a screenplay, of course he will have fun watching the show for once. It’s fitting that Sam would feel like he’s on acid and has the time of his life as the referee in the ring, while Bash is almost having a heart attack, because his show was practically taken away from him and he didn’t like that feeling a single bit.

Which could make him the central character of the narrative in the next episode. He did not talk to the women about the extension, and he definitely has not come to the realization what the women are going through to put on this show six days a week for even just three months. Bash forgot that it’s the women who literally throw each other in and out of the ring and that it might hurt after a little while, and that the women need a break. Bash could become the villain here if he both forces the show to goon, while also firing all the women for not complying his wishes to continue the show. And besides that, it could be seen as a parable of the real-life criticism Vince McMahon gets for constantly pushing his athletes week after week without giving them proper safety, let alone time to recuperate both mentally and physically. It’s almost like the writers purposely turned Bash into a McMahon-kinda figure with this episode, but the difference between GLOW and WWE is that Bash may be doing all this just to continue hiding in the closet, and as long as he can focus on being the producer, he doesn’t have to think about the potential truth that he may have a crush on Bobby.

The She-Wolf is dead, long live Sheila the actress.

Meanwhile, it looks like Tammé will be the first casualty, as I can’t think of a reason why she would stick around with an almost-broken back that continues to give her problems with each step she takes. It could be the first depiction of how a character says goodbye to the wrestling show and her friends (after Reggie was not given that time, since she had to get out of the gym in rage after getting fired in the second season premiere), and it could be a plot device to have a premise that showcases the casting of a new wrestler slash actress. By the way, with Justine finally making her appearance in this season after being absent for four episodes, maybe there is a spot for her in the ring now? She loved the show she was watching, so one might think she is interested in performing herself, now that she has sort of caught the bug of the business by writing her own screenplay.

In the same process, Justine could be best friends with Sheila, who definitely had her Liza Minelli down in that first appearance. “Put a scotch into that,” singing “I love the stage,” drunkenly realizing that “I’m plastered,” while choking Reggie in her rad nun character outfit… I felt in love with that depiction of Liza Minelli immediately and it is my greatest wish for Sheila to continue that path and realize this way that she could be a great showman. Not a wrestler, but maybe someone like Bobby.

This episode was enjoyable as “Live Studio Audience.” It sort of came out of nowhere and you could see that the cast had fun shooting the episode, no matter how much training and exercise they needed to keep up with the performances. In a way this could be the midway fun episode, because now I’m feeling it’s about to go back into the drama regions again.

GLOW (“Say Yes”)

Season 3, Episode 4
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)

Okay, this is weird. Four episodes in and there has only been one wrestling move, continuing the season’s phase from getting away from the original premise of the show ad moving towards character drama. It’s a change I don’t like for reasons already established, but for some reason I liked the drama in this episode. Maybe it’s because Sheila was front and center as a character and I do love her uniqueness — her outfit is not a character she performs, her outfit is what she wears for life, and for the first time she seemed ready to shed it, just to have it taken care of and make something better out of her stagnated life. Maybe Sheila met a man with Bobby Barnes who was not only to her liking, but is also someone who understands what it means to dress up, put a wig and make-up on and hide your real face and how hurtful it can be when someone does not understand why they are dressing up like this. Maybe there is a friendship in this story, and maybe Sheila will learn something from this and develop as a person. Maybe this is the lead to her getting her own show in Vegas, since the season seems to be very interested in breaking up the wrestling show from within by having all the characters deal with their own emotional and physical turmoil, forcing them out of the ring and into a new career. Some become ill, others want to have a family, and then there are a few who have bigger aspirations. Maybe this episode is the start of Sheila’s dream to become something bigger than just the She-Wolf in the ring? It would definitely connect with her dreams of becoming an actor, which I didn’t think was the meaning of her getting acting classes in the previous episode.

Here are some hot magic tricks for the new show.

The premise of some of the cast members thinking about leaving was continued in this episode with Carmen, whose brother Kurt spoke of taking her on tour as she is talented enough to be a real wrestler. The season definitely has a theme now, as life changes and choices left and right threaten the wrestling show. Everyone deals with their ow stuff these days ad develop other interests, which is essentially the depiction of the wrestling show getting a knife in its back very, very slowly. At this point who is even interested in continuing for Bash, and when is he going to notice that he is about to lose all the women and has to recast his entire show (here is a premise for the next season that could be exciting — GLOW repeating what GLEE and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS went through because of their characters leaving high school and therefore leaving the central premise of the entire show)? Debbie is about to go through some mental illness, Rhonda and Tammé may have physical problems, Carmen and Sheila dream of something else, Melrose may realize she gets more money by offering her body, Dawn and Stacey are somewhere else entirely and I’m never sure where they really are, Ruth could go into directing, and Sam could actually go off and make his movie. Meanwhile, Cherry could decide to give it all up for a family, Yolanda could go back to dancing (Arthie can follow her, she never liked her wrestling persona anyway), and I’m pretty sure Jenny doesn’t give a damn either way. So yeah, what is going to keep them with Bash in the long run? It turns out that this narrative in the season is actually quite intriguing and tense, and while I still miss the wrestling portion of the show, I am starting to accept and see where the writers were going with this season.

The episode did have a little fun, reminding us all that GLOW started its life as a comedy drama. Seeing Debbie and Cherry get high while talking about their miserable love lives (or in Debbie’s case, her many conquests of men she has allowed inside) gave me a smile, as well as the necessary distance to Debbie’s bulimia arc that started in the previous episode. I would almost hope the writers have forgotten all about it between episodes, but it does look like the narrative is jumping through time a little bit. In the previous episode the characters were talking about having to get through the live shows for two more months, and in this episode Ruth and Russell were teasing each other that it’s only one month until the end of the live shows, which means it must be March 1986 in the narrative now. It does make me wonder if the writers were jumping through all of this time, knowing that the wrestling show is indeed frozen, which means nothing really can be shown on screen due to repetition. Does it mean the next episode will deal with the end of the Vegas show already and suddenly there is a new premise? Will the live shows be extended (Bash did mention the show is sold out, so it might be popular after all), giving the characters even more gruesome and horrible days to live through until they can’t do it any longer?

It’s an awkward interview.

By the way, Bobby Barnes was most likely introduced for reasons beyond Sheila. Bash witnessing his show and rejecting him is just another sign joining the many that have come before this episode, telling me that Bash is closeted and that he fears to come out. Bash repeatedly called Rhonda “my wife” to Bobby, which depicts alienation and nonacceptance of his married status, as well as Rhonda. And it very much seemed like Bash was affected by Bobby’s performance somehow, yet couldn’t get out of there faster, shaming himself for even considering Bobby as part of his show, let alone considering Bobby as a person he wants to be one day. No matter what, I liked Bobby Barnes in this episode, and here is to hoping that he will have a recurring role after this. After all, Britt Baron is in the credits for some reason and she hasn’t appeared for four episodes. She must have had a great agent, essentially getting credit for no work.