Friday, August 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'GLOW' - Sam Has an Honest Conversation with Ruth While Arthie and Yolanda Have Their First Fight in 'Hot Tub Club'

Netflix's GLOW - Episode 3.02 "Hot Tub Club"

On a day off, Sam teaches Ruth how to gamble, Bash struggles to take care of an ailing Rhonda, and Arthie and Yolanda face an intimate dilemma.

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 next episode of Netflix's GLOW.

"Hot Tub Club" was written by Sascha Rothchild and directed by Mark A. Burley

This season is actively choosing to focus more on the intimacy amongst the characters instead of the wild hijinks they could be getting into now that they are in Las Vegas. That's a fascinating choice that stands opposed to what audiences largely expect from shows set in this city. It also means the audience hasn't seen any wrestling in the first two episodes. That's an important decision as well. The show just opened and the team already has a day off. It's time that can be spent closely with people in order to foster and grow these relationships. And yet, it remains difficult to be fully onboard with whatever the show is trying to do with Ruth and Sam as a romantic couple. Sam comes out and says that he sees the underpinnings of romance and they should act on these feelings now because they may not have a better opportunity. He puts those feelings out there and she rejects him because she seemingly doesn't want to admit that this may be happening. The show treats it as this hugely romantic story. One where they may be destined to end up together. And yet, that remains problematic simply because he holds power over her. Yes, this season is clearly establishing how he has a diminished role in Vegas while Ruth is the one actively working on the show after every performance. The show treats them as equals. But the show also had no problem understanding the power dynamics at play and how executives can abuse talent in whatever ways they want last season. Sam's romanticized notions of his connection with Ruth are troubling. He likes her because he hasn't grown tired of her yet. He understands that she is wary of spending too much time with him and how all of this can be perceived. In her mind though, she keeps her distance to avoid anything from happening because it could hurt her in a significant way. She has caused pain towards others. She has had a community of people rally around her. She doesn't want to make the same mistakes again. It just doesn't seem like this is a healthy relationship no matter how much the show tries to suggest that it is. The dysfunction of it all works wonderfully. It is amusing to see Ruth learn how to gamble. But again, this relationship is too defined by the romantic tension. The show feels the pressure to make something more happen between them. It can't just keep moving forward at the status quo. But it has yet to present a way to tell this story in which it doesn't seem like a mistake with troubling dynamics at play. The show is able to tell so many powerful stories about intimacy and vulnerable. Stories that are rarely seen in television. Arthie doesn't feel sexy and that contributes to her communication problems with Yolanda. She feels as if she can't be completely vulnerable with her as a result. It needs to be something they fight about and come to an understanding over in order to smooth things out. They succeed in doing so because they are on the same page about wanting this relationship to work because that attraction is there. Meanwhile, Bash and Rhonda may have a healthy sex life but they don't actually have intimacy between them. He runs instead of being comforting when she's sick. He doesn't know how to act. That's horrible. It means the minor victory at the end feels like enough to redeem his actions. It may not be because he doesn't quite know how to function as an adult who has the proper tools to deal with the many hard truths and emotions of the world. When Rhonda is sick, he's largely worried about her being pregnant. He's not interested in caring for her until he is pressured to do so. That pressure is justified. That stands in sharp contrast to Debbie's story where she is made to feel guilty about the time she spends away from her child. She is a working mom who gives everything she has to the show as a performer and producer. She wants to be there for her child and all the big moments. She is going to miss stuff and that devastates her without any added pressure from the outside world. She still speaks her mind no matter what. It will continue to be difficult for her because she is trying to make everything work. It's just harder than she expected.