GLOW (“Desert Pollen”)

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

I think the genre of this streaming television show just changed. What was still a comedy drama during its first two seasons has now fully transformed itself into a drama, in which the characters deal with more problems they can handle, while the original premise of this show is not being celebrated with scenes that could bring some enjoyment to the audience. GLOW may have been dramatic already during its first 20 episodes, but that drama, sometimes even dark and deep drama, was regularly overshadowed by the joy that was the wrestling sequences and the storytelling Ruth came up with on the spot to make her character work. But now that they are in Las Vegas, the wrestlers stopped dealing with their show six nights a week and instead started to focus on their individual lives, which happened to be filled with all the cliches dark and deep character dramas have to offer. Maybe it’s a sign of the women losing control of themselves while trying to keep it up in the ring, or maybe it’s a sign that the writers weren’t particularly interested in wrestling any longer and decided to take the show into the more brutal regions of the character drama genre.

Rhonda had her migraine in the previous episode, making me think how far she is to become terminally ill. This episode took a few more steps towards illnesses the characters are going to deal with, as Tammé made the viewers aware of her back problems, Sam has difficulties getting fresh air in this desert heat of Nevada, and after she had an episode-long problem with cocaine in the previous episode, Debbie decided to upgrade to straight bulimia, because there is nothing more varied than letting the characters have all the illnesses and pain in the same television show. I guess it’s somewhat realistic, considering the demanding tasks the women have to execute night after night, which could not only screw up their moral and psyche, but could also lead them to varied versions of addiction (pain medication, alcohol, cigarettes or some of the white powder, partying, sex, eating and vomiting), with all of them definitely having found a spot in this season of GLOW. And while such a premise would make for a great television drama, I’m still not sure whether I want to see that in GLOW. Now that the show has not gotten into a wrestling move for the third episode in a row, should I just move over to WWE events instead and get my wrestling fix that way? But I really don’t want to support Vince McMahon’s business. The guy is a fucking asshole for the way he treats his athletes during and after their career.

When the very R-rated GLOW tries to get a little TV-14 rated for an argument.

Debbie’s first instance of bulimia came out of nowhere. She gets criticized about her body for the first time ever, and all while she is probably thinking about just quitting the show and get back home to her ex-husband and her kid, she was conveniently dropped into a whole different plot from here on. That Debbie can be convinced joining every corner of the dark universe, considering the fact that she may have a few mental problems here and there, which may or may not be a result of postpartum depression, as she always seemed very hyped up over things that have to do with Mark or her baby son). I guess that’s where her character arc would ultimately end up, and GLOW is about to turn into another television comedy drama dealing with a mental illness as well as CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND did, but the first bout of bulimia really did come over as a unexpected shock, and for me eve with a bit of disgust for the character in general. Debbie was trying to hard to not please the men in her life (isn’t that why she forced herself to become a producer?), but after one episode of criticism against her body form, she wants to please those men again by getting rid of those pounds in her boobs and ass. I don’t know if it was in character or completely out of character. Besides that, I felt uncomfortable during her episode-closing smile in the mirror, but here I think that it was a reaction the viewers were manipulated into feeling.

Meanwhile, Tammé made us aware of her back problems, which could of course end up being a real problem for her, when she gets carried out of the ring via a stretcher, ruining her best and last chance at making a career this “late” in her life. I did however love that she was taking acting classes, essentially looking for a way out of the wrestling show, most likely due to her health. Tammé may have realized already that she can’t get thrown out of the ring for much longer, so she takes the time in Vegas to work on her post-wrestling career, which is actually a great story for her (or any other character chosen for that premise). One can only hope though that her health isn’t conflicting with Rhonda’s health and the writers were suddenly dealing with the same idea for two characters — except of course the characters were supposed to get damaged all the way during their stay in Vegas. Those who can’t get ill, because they keep themselves fit and healthy will deal with an emotional fallout, while the rest gets physically damaged.I see a theme in this season and it might excuse the fact that there is no wrestling in this show right now.

Lunch among former friends turned enemies, who have become friends again.

Melrose may be dealing with a few different things than mental health or physical issues, as she might go up against whatever pimp is running business in casinos. Who knows, maybe Paul will turn into Melrose’s boyfriend or friend with benefit for the two months she remains in town, but maybe Paul will cause trouble for Melrose, because she didn’t pay the man and maybe found a liking to the notion that she can make a little more money on the side by being a hooker. Danger, Melanie Rose!

The rest of the episode was okay. There were probably a few too many nude scenes in this episode, but I guess the producers wanted to test out what Netflix would continue to allow or not. Cherry’s story seemed okay at first, but in retrospect it was just a story that could break her away from Keith, as she needs a story that has nothing to do with various illnesses, so a heartbreak it is. The premise of choosing career over family is a great one though, and it’s one GLOW hasn’t directly attacked yet. Debbie could have been placed in the story, but she is in limbo right now, craving to be close to her son, but also wanting to further her career.

GLOW (“Hot Tub Club”)

Season 3, Episode 2
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)

Did the writers just decide to turn GLOW into a character drama? It has been the second episode in a row without the depiction of a wrestling move, and so far this season we have come from storytelling from before opening night to before the opening night afterparty and we have now reached the narrative of what the characters were doing when they had the day off. From what I am expecting from this television show, it’s not really stuff I want to see, even if GLOW is still a good-enough show focusing on its characters, when it doesn’t have anything to wrestle for. But it’s interesting to notice how the writers have turned GLOW from a show mostly set in the gym and the ring to a show set in Las Vegas, where the characters are on their individual adventures, with individual problems and individual ways to deal with them. GLOW has somewhat become a mainstream character drama, which means it lost all the uniqueness that came with it being a wrestling show starring women.

Rhonda’s first few days as a married woman in a nutshell.

I don’t even know if I should hate this episode, since it was so far out of its own premise that it pretty much looked like a different show altogether. But I still like the characters and I continue to get invested in their stories, but GLOW has a little bit of a lesser meaning for me now because of the cut of wrestling scenes. In addition, splitting up the characters to deal with their own stories seemed a bit weird this time around, as the friends weren’t hanging out and having fun together. Not unlike the previous episode that ended right before the afterparty, this episode began right after the night out with Carmen, Melrose, Stacey, Dawn, Reggie and Jenny (five of the six women only called that scene their only one of this episode), and I would have loved seeing some of that. The women are on a for them unique adventure, but the show only depicts parts of it, while the other parts the show is focusing on aren’t really that interesting.

Besides that, what is there to take out of the individual stories from this episode? Bash and Rhonda may already have a few marriage troubles, as he walks away from her illness and she might actually be ill enough to have me all paranoid about what might be if Rhonda were actually ill and about to die. Ruth and Sam finally went through the ring of fire and dealt with their feelings for each other, but not without winning a ton of money playing Black Jack, and at the end of the day they sort of were at the same place they started from. Arthie and Yolanda had their first fight, and if it weren’t for them being a gay couple in the United States of 1986, during which gays were seen as rodent and subhuman and evil, it was essentially a story you can find about five times in each of the weekly primetime soap operas that aired on either WB, The CW or FOX between the premiere of BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 and the finale of THE O.C. And Debbie’s homesickness looks to be handled in a very conventional and conservative way as well. If I can already paint a picture in my head of how Liberty Belle’s days in the ring are numbered, because Debbie feels like she has to be home or she will miss how her baby son is growing up, then the show is missing the surprises which could make it a great show even in its third season. But here we are, with stories that may enrich the characters of this specific show, but with stories that have been seen and talked about already, putting GLOW into the background of television shows, where it’s dealing with all the other shows that have competent writing and a solid cast and that’s essentially all you can say about the show.

This is the first step towards hard lovemaking.

So many individual character arcs, and the episode did barely make anything out of it, because there isn’t really a lot to say about these 30 minutes. I can only hope that this is just a phase the show is going through and the writers went through the “new town, who dis?” premise with this episode, ready to tackle more than just romantic relationships with the next few episodes. And at one point, the wrestling show needs to be unfrozen, just so there can be some development in this area, too. I guess it’s realistic to depict that a live show in Las Vegas is doing the same show over and over, but as it turns out it’s quite boring when that live show gets turned into a scripted television comedy drama. Sam said that their show is frozen, which means Ruth doesn’t need to do her homework of making her performance better. If Sam tells that to all of his cast members, then what is the reason for even focusing on the wrestling aspect of the show? The writers didn’t just freeze the live show, they also froze the wrestling of GLOW, and that hurts me just a little bit.

GLOW (“Up, Up, Up”)

Season 3, Episode 1
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)

And for the first time in the show’s run, a real-life event has been used to bookend an episode with while also defining the emotional state of most of the characters throughout the episode. I was wondering when that would happen, but in hindsight it was sort of logical that the characters wouldn’t be interested in national news when they were working for a local network. Granted, if something tragic happens you are being emotional affected no matter what, but at least back then the women and Sam had the opportunity to work through it and cancel the live taping. That one could have been rescheduled to the next day, but opening night in Las Vegas is a little more complicated. Opening night is the thing everyone looks forward to, and if that gets cancelled for whatever reason, people might think the show isn’t ready, which means they won’t think about it watching at a later date. And voila, you get emotionally tortured whether or not to perform on a tragic day like this. Now I’m wondering and asking myself what happened with shows that were playing on September eleventh. I can’t imagine that either Las Vegas or Broadway and Off-Broadway had opening nights (I think an early September date is still outside the season, but don’t quote me on that), but shows were most likely cancelled. Then again, 9/11 was a much darker day than the Challenger explosion. Yet the Challenger explosion you were witnessing live, which was not the case with 9/11, which wasn’t reported on television until at least a few minutes before the second plane hit the towers.

Witnessing history is sometimes hard to do.

It was quite the solid season premiere. The fire alarm halfway through the episode was the metaphor of where the episode stood with its characters and the story in general: It is a reboot, it was a way to turn off and back on again and to get some new gas in the tank, because you were forced to get out of this casino comfort zone. GLOW is sort of in the same boat at the moment: The characters have left Los Angeles and need to get situated in their new surroundings, with their family and friends 300 miles in the distance. Doing your job in front of different people whom you would consider strangers is a little harder to do when you have anxiety or aren’t used to crowds like this. Besides that, wrestling in front of a crowd of a thousand is a little more heart-racing than wrestling in front of a live audience crowd of somewhere between 50 and 100 people during a live taping — of course you would get a little nervous in the process, which showed when you look at Ruth. She needed opening night to be perfect, but because a tragic and deathly disaster happened just hours before opening night, she thought that the show would be made better by acknowledging the explosion. She was right, but she also didn’t know any better. People go see a wrestling show on opening night not to get assaulted by real-life events and emotions, they go see those shows to have fun, to distract themselves from what just happened. You are certainly allowed to mention the disaster at the beginning of your show for a few seconds and have a minute of silence, but then everything is back to normal. Damn, this is opening night and the women had to deal with this stuff already…

I was a little disappointed that the viewers weren’t allowed to celebrate opening night as well. Sure, the rehearsals looked like the first show was cobbled together from wrestling and story moves we have already seen before, but I would have loved seeing how the crowd reacted and whether the show could be considered a success (the latter might be a premise of the season, so I can understand that the writers didn’t want us to see whether or not opening night was packed). I also would have loved seeing some stuff from the opening night afterparty, but either some of it might come with the next episode or there will be nothing, because this season of GLOW is less about the fun spectacle and more about the emotional state of and the relationships between the characters.

The high rollers of the Fan-Ta hotel get to business.

So, where do we stand after this episode when it comes to the characters? Ruth and Debbie seem to have buried the hatchet for good, making me wonder if their conflict has been resolved (with the ankle break being the inciting incident in that story) or if it might come back to haunt them in the future. Ruth and Sam seem to be flirting with each other, but because one of them already has a partner at home, it’s turning into the simple “unrequited love” kinda story, which you can watch on most of the television shows in existence. Bash and Rhonda are a newlywed couple, which means this will either be a marriage taken seriously by the two characters, or Bash will come to realize whatever feelings he has for other people. I still think he is closeted, but at one point this has to become a character arc for him, right? If he realizes he is in the closet, it would definitely add drama to his marriage with Rhonda, who will most likely get her heart broken in the very near future. And Debbie is probably making her way through the penises and six-packs of Las Vegas, which she is definitely allowed to do. Having her sample the pool and comment on everything may be great way to bring some sexy humor into the narrative.

All this does not promise that this season has a lot of wrestling though. Sam and Bash were talking about doing the same show every night, which means there will be the same matches and the same storytelling night after night, essentially breaking the unsaid promise that the wrestling show will also be a variety show. One can only hope that GLOW isn’t taking the wrestling out of this season and has it replaced with character arcs left and right, because then I would have to question if the writers even knew what kid of cultural phenomenon they could have had in their hands. I guess the next episode will showcase whether the wrestling is still an on-screen topic for GLOW or if the writers have decided to circle around and make a character drama out of it.

GLOW (“Every Potato Has a Receipt”)

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.

Bash’s emotional state is a well-kept secret.

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.

The Soviet weapon of mass destruction descents into the wedding party.

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.

GLOW (“Rosalie”)

Season 2, Episode 9
Date of release: June 29, 2018 (Netflix)

During the previous episode I figured out and mentioned that the writers have forgotten that Bash was still in the closet. At the end of this episode it looked like Bash was going to have some serious emotional trouble and will start fearing for his life, bringing him back to where I hoped his character would be this season. That’s one huge change in his character arc, and if he happens to “technically” have “pneumonia” as well, then that’s gonna be a hell of a story for a potential third season, even if I don’t believe it will happen, and instead just becomes the catalyst of emotional drama in Bash’s mind, whether it’s through coming out or going even deeper into the closet and giving up on life in general. The show is in a time period which is perfect to depict the AIDS epidemic, and even if we have already seen it in film and television multiple times, characters with HIV or AIDS on scripted television, who are either recurring or central characters, whom you can count on one hand. Any way the writers were planning to attack this story, it’s all gonna be interesting, and it’s hopefully gonna make Bash a full-fledged regular character in the next season.

Of wannabe-boyfriends and cupcakes

This episode was great. Three separate storylines, each having their own share of importance within the narrative, and suddenly I felt like watching a television show that is truly and fully awesome. I loved that Bash and Debbie decided to take the show to Anaheim and manipulate syndication buyers; I loved that the writers finally got into Ruth and Sam, and how awkward this whole thing between the two is; and I loved that the women had their fun back at the motel, not knowing that their lives are about to change drastically, if Bash manages to sell the show to another network. Between him saying that Carmen has the planning of the final show under control, and Carmen taking a huge bong out of the pipe, I was almost gasping in shock, because it looks like the women won’t be prepared to do the show, and a potential sell could be off. Especially with the whole idea of marrying Rhonda off in the ring, so she can get a green card — an affiliate would love to watch and buy a wrestling show with gorgeous ladies in it, but instead a wedding happens in the ring. Who really would want to buy the wrestling show after that?

By the way, Rhonda’s stalker was creepy as hell. Patrick Renna even looks like a creep in this episode (it’s not that hard with him though, he has kind of kept his childlike face ever since he made himself known as a child star in 1990s films like THE SANDLOT), making me think that GLOW is about to go super dark with some stories, while staying true to some sort of comedy with tis wrestling storylines. It kind of makes the show schizophrenic at times, but I don’t even mind, because after nineteen episodes I am already in love with the characters and don’t wanna miss them, which is why I hope they were being kept in the show with the help of whatever stories the writers were coming up with for them. Besides that, just because the general premise of the show is a light one doesn’t mean the writers have to neglect the dirty history of Hollywood, as well as the times the characters live in. Executives raping aspiring actresses, gay men getting AIDS and die, closeted people staying in the closet for the fear of being shunned… Although in the case of GLOW, the women can be lucky to be working with Sam, who doesn’t seem to be giving a damn and is both progressive and a card-carrying feminist for some reason.

They finally get their prom dance a few decades later.

Anyway, this episode gave me another instance of Yolanda/Arthie shipping, when the two were talking about living together. For a second I was confused if the two were already seeing each other in sorta-secret, because their conversation was so casual, it made it look like both already realized their feelings for each other, but looking at the scene a second time, it feels like Arthie just has a crush, which means there might not even be anything behind the story at all. With the wrestling show, Ruth and Debbie’s stories and their complicated friendship, Bash’s story, and only ten half-hour episodes, is there even time to develop another story from the ground up? Especially when you might not know whether GLOW will live a long-lasting life as a Netflix show, because you don’t know how many subscribers click on the episodes and watch it, or how many new subscribers come on board, just to watch a single show that you can easily download for free?

And finally, the home crisis that is Sam’s life with his daughter and his potential love interest. I liked that he was a progressive father here, giving Justine as much space as possible to make her own decisions while also being a father to her who could give her house arrest without needing a reason, and I liked that Rosalie wasn’t out for blood, or trying to be the worst mother imaginable. Sam and maybe even Ruth were pretty close convincing Rosalie to have Justine stay in Los Angeles a little longer, or at least have Justine make the choice where she wants to stay. Besides that, I was happy that Ruth rejected Sam, even if I wasn’t happy that she immediately made her way to Russell again. It’s like the creation of a love triangle right here, and while it’s fitting for the soap opera GLOW wants to depict and somewhat make fun of, I generally don’t like love triangles any longer. Although it has to be said how much better Sam got as a character, since he realized his affections for Ruth. I almost have to say that he doesn’t give a damn anymore — because he does when it’s about Ruth.

GLOW (“The Good Twin”)

Season 2, Episode 8
Date of release: June 29, 2018 (Netflix)

Oh my god, so many things about this episode! Like, what’s the word for meta, but with more meta in it? In the previous episodes the women and Sam and Bash have decided to just screw everything it and do whatever they want, considering their wrestling show will be cancelled, they have only four episodes left before they start looking for new jobs again, and one episode later they were literally doing whatever the hell they wanted to do. And then GLOW turned that premise into an actual episode of the show-within-a-show? Holy rusted metal Batman, you cannot believe how much joy I’ve had watching this episode! Okay, maybe you do, because you might have had a similar amount of joy, but the idea of seeing a show within a show going nuts with its narrative because of cancellation fear is something I never thought I would see on television. I was hoping to get an entire episode of THE NEWSROOM be a News Night with Will McAvoy episode, but I never got it. I almost had an entire episode of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP be a late night variety show, but “The Disaster Show” was mostly about something else, too, even though the entire episode was about the live airing of the show-within-a-show. I never had a legal drama be set in the court room for the entire episode, pretty much going through the entirety of a case, and never had a medical drama going through an operation in real time, let alone a mass casualty event in 45 minutes (ER’s “Time of Death” was a real-time episode depicting the slow death of a patient, but it’s not really what I was looking for). That’s the kind of stuff I would love to see, and it seems like GLOW actually delivered as the first-ever TV show to the full nine yards and just have balls-out fun.

It’s a wrestling show that turned into a 70s monster movie with witches and black magic.

I can’t even believe how much fun the cast much have had shooting this episode. Alison Brie was probably delighted to play the Russian twins; Kate Nash must have felt like the 1950s D horror movie queen doing her Britannica scenes; and who knows how excited Betty Gilpin was doing the 2 am wrestling princess stuff and be as over the top and hilariously bad as possible. But really, I don’t know if it was easy for the cast to play their roles or if it was hard. I don’t know if they had to fight not to break out in amusing laughter during the shooting of this episode, or if everything was done in a professional manner. All I want to know right know is if a documentary of the shooting of this episode exists, because if so, I would want to watch the hell out of that one. I also want to hear all the people involved in this episode and what they have to say about this, so let the podcast world light up with each and every one of them, as they tell the story of how they decided to give a crap by not giving a crap and go even deeper into their series universe. I mean, interrupting the narrative of the season to depict a show that was supposed to tell the audience that the characters of the show don’t care any longer? I don’t even know it was possible.

I loved that Reggie came back and immediately lost the wrestling match for the sake of Liberty Belle’s story, and I loved that Arthie got the chance to retool her GLOW character and move away from the cliched terrorist persona she wished to just get rid of, although maybe that could have been an even better move if Beirut the Mad Terrorist had the same thought in her mind during the match, and decided to join forces with Liberty Belle. That dance scene with Yolanda was wonderful, and I could have watched another ten minutes of that, especially since I started shipping Yolanda and Arthie again. It happened before when Yolanda mentioned that there isn’t one gay bush among all these straight women of the wrestling show, and she did her tongue move on Arthie, but now that the two actually danced for this episode… It makes you think Arthie is actually interested in Yolanda (the dance scene may have come from her, just to be close to Yolanda for a little while), only is she as much in the closet as Bash currently is, although the writers must have forgotten again that Bash was supposed to be gay. Or maybe he is not gay, which means my gaydar is defective and needs readjusting.

Romance in the fantasy dance scene.

I also loved that the episode wasn’t just all about the episode of the wrestling show. No, it ends in its own real-life narrative again, and it surprises me yet again by bringing me Annabella Sciorra as who I think is Justine’s mother. It makes to think again if Justine told the truth when she showed up in Sam’s life, and if her life is in trouble, now that someone is interested in knowing where Justine is and what the hell she is doing on an access cable television show. Besides that, Justine is getting a huge back story now, and I am definitely here for that, as she is a character I would probably love a whole lot more, if she had some meaningful screentime.

Here is so much about this episode, it could almost serves as its own source of a college analytics class. Beginning with the whole kidnapping story (plus that song — oh my god, that anti-kidnapping song!), continuing with Britannica’s brain… I mean, brain, and how that story must have confused some little girls out there, believing that their vagina is just a slot for a sloppy disk (what in the actual f-), and ending with the commercials inside the show. I really want a Welfare Queen action figure now.

GLOW (“Nothing Shattered”)

Season 2, Episode 7
Date of release: June 29, 2018 (Netflix)

It looks like this episode inhabited the climax of the entire season, and from here on it’s gonna be a wild and hilarious circus. In a way, this could have been the season finale, as Debbie and Ruth somewhat declared a truce after their biggest fight ever, the women are aware that their wrestling show is going to be cancelled, and Sam decided they will do whatever the hell they want during the last four episodes of the season (he should have said three, just to be on point with the fact that GLOW has three episodes left this season). Now that the characters don’t fear their fate any longer and start just having fun, there is almost nothing to threaten them any longer. No network executives bossing them around, no director trying to steal Sam’s job, no hassle in trying to get another sponsor. I mean, they are basically cancelled, so why trying to work their hardest to keep their job? Ruth and Debbie’s truce could easily lead to peace between the two (although I hope it won’t — their argument was excellent drama), which could actually help the production of the remaining four episodes.

That kind of makes the show more intriguing from here on, because I have no idea what’s going to happen, and how awesome the show-within-a-show’s craziness will be, and how the narrative will keep me engulfed in the lives of the characters with three episodes left, when they all joined Sam in the “no shits given” corner of television production in Los Angeles.

They have to reach far to share a cookie.

So, this episode was clearly too short. One big story, spread all throughout the 30 minutes, and I was fixated on absolutely every second of it. Beginning with the awkward piece of comedy that is Russell trying to find a way off the ring with Ruth in his arms, ending with the cool image of four people exiting the hospital, not giving a crap about what is happening with their careers, as well as how people are reacting to their awesome looks ad demeanor. Hell, even Bash came over as the cool guy by putting on his sunglasses, even though he reminded me that his character arc was buried again and I still have to wait for the gay in him to break out and have a little naughty fun (maybe he could swap homoerotic stories with Yolanda in the next season). I also adored the montage of all the GLOW stars entertaining Ruth and Sam, all in their own way, all with their own talents (obviously, Yolanda’s was absolutely hilarious with her childish attitude). I only would have loved some interactions between a few individuals from the cast, kind of like how Sam and Arthie had a bit of a conversation at the snack machine, as the writers went a tiny bit into Arthie’s back story (so, back to medical school in season three, maybe?).

Ruth’s words about having people who come to the ER with her, who care about her, hit me the most during this episode, as she came to realize she never had anyone who gave a damn about her, nor did she realize previously that she was rocking at this job. I mean, if all of her cast mates follow her to the hospital and want to entertain her, doesn’t it mean she left a huge impression with all of them? Doesn’t that mean she is doing her job more than well? She was essentially directing the pilot, she was directing the opening credits, she improvised the kidnapping storyline which seemed to have been a hit with the network brass, and she is generally being an awesome fake Russian villain — and now Ruth is destroyed and can’t shine any longer, making me wonder if she will move behind the camera and make the show nuttier and therefore more successful, now that she has time to work her magic behind the camera without having to focus to look cool as the heel in front of the camera. It’s like the writers found a way to force Ruth to be creative instead of in the ring, just so she can be the official co-director. And with it, Ruth discovers her talent that could lead to a new career.

Cool people don’t look at the hospital they just left.

Meanwhile, the episode didn’t forget some of the other characters. As I mentioned already, Arthie got some depth with her medical school back story, and even Sheila looked like a real person with her make-up off and her story about how her parents were still together. I love it when the show puts me in the lives of some of the other main or supporting characters, and I suddenly know about them a lot more than I did five minutes ago. It’s almost like all of the women were dealing with some serious stuff before they joined the wrestling show, and now they were starting to realize they had the time of their lives. Can it be that the entire show is about the friendship between the women? Is it possible that this angle of the show saves itself from going too dark at times? GLOW can get pretty dark sometimes, but every once in a while, Russell looks like the funny fool, because he can’t get off the stage with Ruth in his arms, and the foursome at the end look rad as hell, because they realized how lucky they are to have each other. They go through all this complex crap, but at the end of the day they are still friends.