Friday, January 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'Spinning Out' - The Baker Family Rallies Together to Protect Serena From Her Abuser in 'Kiss and Cry'

Netflix's Spinning Out - Episode 1.10 "Kiss and Cry"

Kat and Justin's romance and Olympic dreams teeter on an edge while the relationships around them skid toward their own crossroads.

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 Spinning Out.

"Kiss and Cry" was written by Samantha Stratton and directed by Jon Amiel

The respective skating futures for Kat, Justin and Jenn were the prominent character arcs this season when it pertained to the sport. Yes, Serena was positioned as a significant player in that world as well. However, the second half of the season never featured her on the same level even though she was supposedly winning all of these respective competitions. She wasn't even seen skating to the same extent as the other three were. The finale is the first time her routine that she has spent months working on with Mitch is seen. It's also the first time that Gabe and Leah show off their routine. There is still a fair amount of skating in this finale. However, it also makes it notable that the show featured the physical prowess and toil of the sport earlier on in the season so that the finale could focus more on the personal drama. Sure, everyone comes together for sectionals in pursuit of victory. Kat and Justin have to get on the same page about competing. Justin is willing to take that step with her. He isn't going to quit after everything he has worked so hard to achieve for so many years. Yes, all of the personal drama has disrupted his connection with Kat. However, they can still skate together. He can still be trusted to reliably catch her and ensure that she never falls again. That is the moment where it truly becomes clear to her that she loves him. Again, it may not be fair to Justin because of all that she has put him through. But the season also showed how he too has evolved and revealed a surprising amount of emotional depth. He can be trusted and loved. He can be there for his family and make sure that they hear exactly what they need to when they face their own dilemmas. He sends his father away from the competition knowing that he belongs at the hospital with Mandy and their newborn daughter. She is still fighting to stay alive. Mandy needs that support now. Justin has a team to help him succeed. Kat finds a way to find all of this clarity in her life. But again, the finale is positioned around the Baker family essentially rallying together and agreeing that they must remain strong for each other. The season has primarily focused on the various forces constantly trying to pull them apart. They have all been isolated. They have all done terrible things in the name of hurting this family. And yet, Kat and Carol step up to be there as emotional support when Serena details the sexual abuse she has endured from Dr. Parker. Again, she first wishes to prop it up as the only relationship that is truly healthy and beneficial to her. Meanwhile, Carol hitting the doctor in a the face with a bat seems like it will create far more problems than it simply being a way for her to protect her family. But it gives this finale the core source of drama. Of course, it also highlights how these abusive men are ultimately protected. He proclaims that there is nothing in the texts that prove he committed any criminal act. Meanwhile, Jenn immediately distrusts what Kat tells her because her best friend has simply lied to her way too many times. Sure, they were on the path towards a grand reunion. But that seems destroyed because of this revelation that leaves them on opposing sides. Jenn refuses to believe it. She doesn't want yet another thing taken away from her life leaving her with nothing. That's the tragic reality though. She is yet to fully accept it. The show can embrace happiness in this finale. Dasha and Tatiana have their grand reunion even if it takes Dasha by surprise when it actually happens. But there is a fair amount of devastation as well with Serena struggling to perform and Mitch leaving the family because Carol cheated on him. There remains the hopeful assurance that Kat and Justin hit the ice ready to perform at the top of their game. They already placed first in the shortform program. Now, they get to show off again. It is a victory that the audience doesn't need to see because it's more important to find either resolution or complication elsewhere. It's also a confident ending that knows life doesn't come easy but the rewards may be worth it in the end. Life is risky and not everything works out. That leaves a lot of room for the show to explore and grow should it return for a second season on Netflix.