Monday, August 12, 2019

REVIEW: 'GLOW' - Debbie Makes Big Moves While Carmen and Ruth Reveal Huge Decisions in 'A Very GLOW Christmas'

Netflix's GLOW - Episode 3.01 "A Very GLOW Christmas"

With morale running low, Carmen convinces the team to perform "A Christmas Carol" in the ring. Debbie and Bash strike up an unlikely new partnership.




In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season finale of Netflix's GLOW.

"A Very GLOW Christmas" was written by Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch and directed by Lynn Shelton

Acceptance is such a powerful emotion. It's not always easy to come to that understanding. In fact, it's often heartbreaking and tragic getting to that point. But it can also be a massive relief that brings so much clarity to one's life. This season has been all about these characters doing their best to accept their current lives in Las Vegas while also trying to accept what they want from their respective futures. Acceptance comes easier to some than others. Debbie has struggled this year in her role as a producer. And yet, she accepts that she wants to be more than the beautiful girlfriend who can make boring business dinners more exciting. She wants to be in on the deals and making moves of her own. In fact, she orchestrates a scenario in which Bash buys a local television station and names her the president. That will give her the exact stability she has been looking for while also bringing GLOW back to television for a local market. She sees it as a chance to do something bold and exciting once more. Sure, the team will have to come up with completely new characters and storylines. But Debbie is willing to go on this journey with Ruth at the helm and all of her friends once again supporting the move. It's not as simple as that though. In fact, it presents as Debbie presenting this offer at a time when Bash really just needs some clarity and direction. He is distraught after learning that Paul is a gigolo. It makes him ashamed and destructive over his sexuality. He now feels these horrifying emotions because he allowed himself to be vulnerable and true during that moment. He's terrified about how Rhonda could react. He wants to just drink his sorrows away. He is willing to throw away all of the good will he has earned in this town. He sees this as a scandalous secret that will destroy absolutely everything for him. The show certainly has the understanding that it's a perilous time to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. But it's also empowering when Arthie admits that "she's gay." That's a moment that signals her true acceptance and love. She understands what Yolanda wanted her to see and experience knowing just how tragic it could all be. That leaves a door open for them to reconnect. With Bash though, he wants to blame all of his problems on being in Las Vegas and away from home for an extended period of time. All of this can easily be fixed. He can have a wonderful home life and family thanks to the solution that Debbie is now giving him. She is more than willing to take advantage of him in this vulnerable state. She is there as a friend. But she also possesses a smart, tactical mind that knows exactly how to use Bash's money to her advantage. It's a clever solution that may return GLOW to its roots. But again, it can't be as simple a solution for life's problems as everyone hopes it will be. Rhonda has her eyes fully open now about the state of her marriage. There is a genuine connection between her and Bash. And yet, she too probably senses that his sudden urge to start a family probably comes from a place of deep fear. That's not a healthy way to bring a child into this world. In fact, it may ensure that Bash keeps the cycle going with emotionally distant parenting in his family. That's sad and tragic. But it also takes true strength and courage to stand by one's convictions. Carmen convinces Ruth to stage an elaborate "A Christmas Carol" show during the final Vegas production before the holiday break. It's outrageous and over-the-top in a way that has always made the wrestling bits so entertaining. It keeps the pattern alive of the show's finales featuring an exciting and enthralling moment in the ring. That's not the central focus of this episode though. Instead, it has to be a culmination of so much for these characters. Carmen is the one who has been making these creative decisions as of late. She is inspired and brings great things out of her friends. But she honestly wants to wrestle and feels that it would be better if she joined her brother on the road for that. That's a decision she stands by even though it could cause chaos for the team. Ruth sees it as brave. She then makes her own brave decision. The final scene is just Ruth and Debbie in an airport. Debbie is willing to run after Ruth to tell her all of her plans for the future. She sees it as something they can enjoy and succeed in doing together. Ruth could be an accomplished director with this new wrestling show. But Debbie is also dismissive of Ruth's acting ambitions. Ruth walking away from this offer is such a massive cliffhanger because it leaves so much up-in-the-air. It's unclear what form the show will return in if it does so at all. But it's also Ruth making this big decision knowing fully well that her life no longer lines up exactly with what Debbie wants. They have always been on different trajectories throughout the run of the series. But now, Ruth accepting that and trying to figure out what she wants should be a bright indication of what's to come because it's clarifying for her no matter how disruptive it is to Debbie's plans. It may be reckless and foolish. It's jumping away with no clue what's next. But that too is a very understanding impulse this show embraces from time to time in pursuit of the characters feeling creatively fulfilled.