Thursday, January 2, 2020

REVIEW: 'Spinning Out' - Kat Makes Reckless Decisions That Continue to Harm Jenn in 'Healing Times May Vary'

Netflix's Spinning Out - Episode 1.07 "Healing Times May Vary"

Dasha's painful secrets come to light. Fixated on winning, Kat puts her mental health at risk. Serena's dad returns with a complicated proposal.

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 Spinning Out.

"Healing Times May Vary" was written by Elizabeth Higgins Clark and directed by Norma Bailey

Kat and Serena suffered more from the decisions made during their mother's manic episodes than Carol did. That pattern continues with Kat. She is the one who decides to go off her meds completely here. Reducing her prescription really was just a slippery slope into accepting that she no longer needed it at all. In fact, it was hindering her from succeeding as a skater. That was the mentality she embraced. She held herself back for so long because she was choosing to dull her mind. Without the pills, she can have the confidence to do whatever she wants including changing up the longform routine just days before the competition. That is insane. Justin notes just how exhausted he is from the near constant practice that Kat forces him to do. However, he indulges in all of it because he doesn't know that she is suffering from this condition. In fact, very few people actually know about it. As such, not many are on the look out for the troubling warning signs. Kat isn't spending any significant time with her family. It's startling that this episode opens with Dasha watching Justin and Kat perform even though the previous episode concluded with her unresponsive in her home. It's then confirmed that there was a small time jump in between episodes. Things have advanced significantly between Justin and Kat. Again, some people are aware of that while others are not. Kat uses it as a weapon to hurt her friend who refuses to be what they once were. The first half of the season built up the strong friendship between Kat and Jenn. And now, it is already forced to endure a lot of pressure. Of course, Kat's mental health issues contribute to a lot of that. However, things won't be magically fixed the moment she starts taking her medication again. Carol had to put in the hard work to prove that she was making improvements. The narrative wants the audience to take her seriously as a potential real estate agent eager to prove her worth to Mandy. That ambition is sudden and a little jarring. It too comes into better focus knowing some time has passed and she already feels dull and bored at her new job. She is yearning for something more. That may be the way that Carol and Kat always feel about the world around them. They know the dangers that come from spiraling into mania. And yet, that presents as when they feel most like themselves instead of being in a fog unable to actually feel. But again, those emotions are incredibly toxic to the people around them. Jenn would do anything for Kat. Then, she felt betrayed. And now, she is continuing to skate in order to prove just how skilled and talented she is. Kat and Justin aren't even there to see her fall. This episode is essentially designed as a tragedy. It provides the audience with many characters to be concerned about - with Kat's mania, Jenn's injury and Dasha's failing eyesight. It's a guessing game for who will be injured in such a visceral and tragic way. It's ultimately Jenn. Kat and Justin get to celebrate a stunning comeback. They ride that wave of victory. Again, it's used as a weapon to distract and hurt Jenn. That makes it more devastating when she falls and cries out in pain on the ice. This may have been a long time coming. Kat is hardly the only reason why Jenn felt the pressure to perform. It may have been the most significant in this particular moment though. That may prove that those around people suffering from bipolar disorder suffer much more than those with the actual disease. Kat harms herself as well. That is destructive behavior that also highlights significant problems. So, the message is overall murky. But that is perfectly fine too. There is power in complexity. Serena feels like her choice between which parent to live with is significant. It isn't in comparison to everything else going on. She doesn't even have to be seen winning this competition. Her physical prowess isn't at the root of her storytelling concerns. It's more important for her to be the person who helps Dasha come to a decision about her eyesight and the surgery to hopefully fix it. Dasha's story is tragic. She has lived a life of wondering what could have been. She is more vulnerable with a stranger than the young man she has known for almost his entire life. She misses out on this performance in the hopes of seeing so many more. And yet, everything may be up in the air because of the fallout surrounding Jenn's injury. That could do a real number on Kat's psyche and force her into confronting the ugly reality of the disease she has. Everyone around her will either help or hurt that journey. She needs their guidance. But their own concerns may also prevent her from getting it. That too is a form of tragedy that the season has done a remarkable job in creating even if some of the mania material is similar to Carol's own shortcomings and destructive behavior.