Debbie (Betty Gilpin) as Liberty Belle, Ruth’s best friend (until Ruth slept with her husband and was basically the catalyst for their divorce. Things between them now are...not great).
Carmen (Britney Young) is the one responsible for all the ladies’ movies — that is, when she’s not playing Machu Picchu on stage.
Cherry Bang (Sydelle Noel) used to help the gang with their wrestling, but got snapped up at the end of last season to be in a cop TV show.
That means newcomer Yolanda (Shakira Barrera) must take over the role of Junkchain. She’s also a dancer at club, and the series’ first out and proud lesbian.
We still have our cast of regulars, like Stacey (Kimmy Gatewood) and Dawn (Rebekka Johnson) as the old ladies, Arthie (Sunita Mani) as “Beirut the Mad Bomber,” Rhonda (Kate Nash) as Britannica, Reggie (Marianna Palka) as Vicki the Viking, Tamme (Kia Stevens) as Welfare Queen, Melanie (Jackie Tohn) as Melrose, Jenny (Ellen Wong) as Fortune Cookie, and Sheila the She-Wolf (Gayle Rankin) as….Sheila the She-Wolf.
Outside the ring this season are Sebastian “Bash” Howard (Chris Lowell) and director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), who is also coming to terms with the fact that Justine (Britt Baron) is his daughter.
Now, I think we’re caught up. Ready, set...GLOW.
Episode 1: Viking Funeral
We rejoin our heroines at the beginning of everything they’ve been working towards: the first official episode of GLOW (the TV show within the Netflix show). Once the group picture has been taken and we’ve been properly reacquainted, we dive back into the drama — starting with Debbie. In case you needed a reminder of how things were going for the all-American princess: not great. The dry-cleaner has lost her costume because they put it under her husband Mark’s account. Make that ex-husband. They’re getting divorced, which makes that pearly white smile hard to plaster on night after night.
Especially when Sam is your director. He doesn’t exactly believe in the women, and in our first look at him this season, he’s doing coke in his car, and brushing away Ruth’s enthusiastic ideas for the pilot. He’s the director, remember? Not her.
Not only are things tense with Sam, but with the whole cast. Ruth and Debbie still haven’t made amends, and while the rest of the women are happy to be back together, there’s an interloper in their midsts: Yolanda. She’ll be replacing Cherry Bang’s Junkchain — and that’s not the only change. Sam sits them all down to sign contracts, which immediately set off red flags. It’s pretty apparent the contract is written to screw them over, and while Sam ignores Ruth’s concerns, Debbie secrets the contract into her purse. She’s not signing it. Not yet, at least.
So this new adventure is not getting off on the best foot. Ruth’s creativity is stifled, the group dynamic is off, and Sam is squelching any hint of excitement. So, unsurprisingly, Ruth has a not-at-all approved idea to cheer them up. She takes the gang and the cameraman, Russell, to the mall to shoot a title sequence. Just...don’t tell Sam or Bash. Especially because the two men just found out that Sam wasn’t exactly the network’s first choice for director. Their real first choice, Rick Hollander, will be sticking around to watch and see how things go. That’s sure to get rid of the tension!
Luckily, shooting the title sequence goes extremely well. The women are energized, and Ruth finally created something. Russell agrees that it turned out great, and he invites Ruth over to take a look at the footage and have a drink. Before Ruth can answer, though, Debbie cuts in to offer her a ride. While they sit in silence on the ride home, Ruth brings up Russell. Debbie thinks he’s a creep, and Ruth wants to know if that’s just because Debbie isn’t okay with her dating. That question doesn’t get answered, but this one does: Debbie and Mark are getting divorced.
Over at casa de Sam, Justine is settling in — much to his chagrin. He was under the impression her stay would be temporary, but she was looking for a connection. They are family, after all. The thing is, Sam doesn’t exactly do connection. What he does do is order pizza, so they’ll have to settle for that.
Meanwhile, Debbie is having a different kind of dinner. She and Mark are clearly still on good enough terms to sit down at the negotiating table, and they present her contract to Glenn and his wife while out to a restaurant. This won’t do. They’re going to make some change, starting with making Debbie a producer.
Sam is making some changes of his own. After Ruth shows the team the intro she made, and Glenn eats it up, Sam gets livid. He didn’t direct it, he points out after Glenn leaves, and he would never put his name on something he didn’t direct. Except that’s not entirely accurate, Reggie points out. Ruth was actually the one who directed the pilot episode after Sam went off the deep end as a result of, you know, finding out he has a long-lost daughter. Sam doesn’t take lightly to being called out, and fires Reggie on the spot.
“You’re all replaceable,” he tells the room. “Even you Ruth.”
Episode 2: Candy Of The Year
Sam’s anger with Ruth has not subsided. He’s taken her out of the lineup for the first official episode, relegating her to being in charge of the audience. However, Debbie’s first day as a producer also isn’t going to plan. The rest of the cast feels awkward around Debbie now that she’s a producer, but that title doesn’t seem to actually carry much weight. Sam and Bash aren’t including her in things like drink meetings, and you could argue the show is suffering because of it. The first episode absolutely drags, and they have to make some changes, or rather, one big one.
Instead of five matches an episode, there will now be three, and the characters will have to audition their matches in front of Debbie, Sam, and Bash. This brings a new competitive element to the show, as well as some new opportunities for the characters.
For instance, Arthie realizes that she can present a new idea to the producers — one that involves killing off her terrorist character and having her new character, Phoenix, rise from the ashes. Ruth also has a new idea to spice things up. After watching Yolanda’s dancing, she asks her to teach her some of the moves. That’s what they’re going to present to the producers.
Speaking of those producers, two thirds of them are being real dicks. Debbie invites them over for dinner in an effort to be more involved, but they never show up. Tamme, however, overhears Sam and Bash’s plan to ditch, and arrives on Debbie’s doorstep instead. Together, they come up with their own plans to hype the upcoming match between Welfare Queen and Liberty Belle, and Tamme leaves Debbie with one last word of advice: if she wants to be respected, she has to make herself useful.
Debbie wasn’t the only person Sam ditched that night. He also doesn’t pick up the phone when Justine calls to tell him she got in a fight at boyfriend Billy’s show and needs a ride home. She arrives home furious, and begins to pack her bags, but Sam slows her down. He grabs a first aid kit to help patch her up, and also says he’s going to start sending her to school
The next day, it’s audition time. Unfortunately, Stacey and Dawn overheard Arthie’s idea to reinvent her character, and steal it to ditch their old lady personas and become the Toxic Twins. That means the producers have already seen a transformation when Arthie comes out to audition. She’s stuck as Beirut the Mad Bomber.
When Yolanda and Ruth debut their dancing, the producers can’t agree on whether or not it would help the show. Debbie and Bash are both team dancing, and manage to convince Sam to put Ruth in. Finally Debbie is becoming part of the team.
Episode 3: Concerned Women Of America
Cherry Bang is back! But things aren’t going great. Turns out acting as a wrestler is very different from normal acting, and her gig on the cop show is on thin ice after it becomes clear that she’s lacking in any actual theatrical talent.
GLOW is on thin ice of its own after a complaint from the Concerned Women Of America. They object to its sexuality, violence, and references to the occult, and so they need to find a way to weave in a positive message. While it will be hard to get any kind of moral message onto the show itself, Debbie comes up with the idea of making a TV spot that airs separately from the show. It’s good publicity for GLOW, solves their CWOA problem, and means Debbie is finally solving problems as a producer.
One problem that isn’t getting solved? Melanie’s bowels. She’s constipated, but won’t take Jenny up on her secret family recipe. As for Ruth, she won’t take up Russell on his invitation to a date — at least, at first. He wants to take her to a Ruth Gordon film festival, and while she initially declines, saying it would be too messy to date in the workplace, he eventually coaxes out a yes.
Ruth coaxes out a yes of her own when she stumbles upon Debbie trying to write the TV spot. Ruth wants to help, and together they come up with the idea of advocating against teen pregnancy. Finally, they’re working together again.
Speaking of working together, Cherry calls over her husband Keith to help her figure out what she’s doing wrong. She can’t seem to make the lines come out sounding natural, and not robotic, and as a result, the show cut a ton of her lines and gave her a whole new look that she wasn’t entirely comfortable with.
While Justine is no longer on the show, she comes by to play the teen in Debbie and Ruth’s teen pregnancy PSA, with Bash as her on-screen boyfriend. While there, her reveal about the frequency of her and Billy’s sex life makes the other women realize it’s been some time since they’ve had sex themselves. Led by Melanie, they decide to throw a party later, and invite all the camera men to come.
Sam trades one set for another as he comes to talk to Cherry at the request of Keith. If anyone can fix her, it’s Sam. But he can’t. Instead, he concedes that maybe she’ll never be a lead on traditional TV, instead convincing her to have the show kill off her character and come back to GLOW.
Back at GLOW headquarters, Debbie and Ruth have been staying late into the night to finish up the PSA. While Ruth is angling to leave ASAP and go on her secret date with Russell, Debbie keeps insisting they have to stay a little longer to get it right. Ruth slips out to break the news to Russell, who doesn’t take it well and decides to call whatever was going on between them quits. When Ruth returns to the booth, Debbie “apologizes” for making her miss her date, revealing she knew all along and purposefully ruined Ruth’s night.
Melanie’s night is getting its own kind of ruined thanks to her lingering constipation, which Jenny once again offers to fix with her secret method — for a price: Melanie’s jacket. At this point, Melanie is desperate, so she gives up the clothing to receive what turns out to just be an enema. It does the trick, but by the time she arrives at the party, it’s too late. Using the newfound confidence of Melanie’s jacket, Jenny manages to snag the cameraman that Melanie had her eye on. Sometimes, it’s better to just stay constipated.
Episode 4: Mother Of All Matches
Tamme is quickly emerging as the stand-out this season, but not necessarily in the ring. It’s her dedication to things off-camera that’s really warmed my heart, most profoundly in this episode when she makes the overnight drive to visit her son at Stanford for parents’ weekend — even though she has to turn around and perform in a show that very evening.
Debbie is doing some superhero parenting of her own, trying to juggle her producer responsibilities with her motherhood responsibilities with her personal life. All that goes out of whack when she gets a call from Mark’s secretary asking for the model number of her bed. Mark wants to buy the exact same one for his new place, a fact that causes Debbie to snap. She hangs up the phone and immediately drags the bed out to the curb and puts it up for sale. But turns out, that’s not enough. She wants everything out of the apartment, and puts out a sign announcing a giant sale — no items off limits.
Tamme rolls up to Stanford after a night of driving, and she has to make the next three hours with her son Ernest worth it. For example, he doesn’t know that she got a new job, and while Tamme was able to skirt the subject for most of the conversation, a fellow parent recognizes her as Welfare Queen. She obviously has some explaining to do, and Ernest isn’t happy. He doesn’t like that she’s “playing a minstrel character” on television, and feels that the director is taking advantage of her. While Tamme insists that that’s not true — all the characters are offensive — Ernest isn’t convinced. He wants to drive back with her to see this show for himself.
Back with Debbie, almost everything is gone — including her sanity. She unloads on a innocent customer about her divorce, and how Randy’s face is looking more and more like Mark’s every day. She needs all reminders of her old life out, and reduces everything to five dollars. By the end of the day, her apartment is empty and she’s sitting on the bare floor, but her reverie is interrupted by a phone call. It’s Mark. She forgot to pick up Randy.
Both Tamme and Debbie have to put their bad days behind them and settle it all in the ring for the taping of the long-awaited match between Liberty Belle and Welfare Queen. It’s a long, drawn-out battle that ends with Liberty Belle regaining the crown, but Welfare Queen’s loss is made more sad when you realize Tamme’s son just watched her lose. As chants of “get a job” swell in her direction, her shame overtakes her, and she leaves the ring in tears. This humanization gives the audience second thoughts, and they’re no longer fully on Liberty Belle’s side. Ruth as Zoya thinks fast, however, and asks a little girl in the audience to pretend to be Liberty Belle’s daughter. A new narrative begins, with Zoya kidnapping the little girl and Liberty Belle distraught. The audience is back on her side.
After the show, Tamme concedes to Ernest that she wasn’t ready for him to see all that. It felt different with him watching, and at first it seems like he’s still disapproving. However, her moves impressed him, and he wants to take her out to dinner. As they drive, Tamme falls asleep in the passenger seat. It’s a nice moment.
Debbie’s return home isn’t so nice. Now Mark isn’t just upset that she forgot to pick up Randy, he’s also seen what she’s done to the house. The reason he asked for the bed model, he explained, is because he wanted his new place to feel a little more like home to Randy. After their fight, Debbie takes herself upstairs to the only room that was off-limits to buyers: Randy’s room. She falls asleep on the ground next to his crib.
Episode 5: Perverts Are People, Too
While GLOW the TV show is still struggling to find its footing, is has started attracting a handful of superfans. Men dressed in costumes wait outside the venue, or send letters and Polaroid dick pics to the actresses. While some, like Sheila, are freaked out, others realize they can make something out of this. They decide to set up paid meet-and-greets after the show.
Turns out, that’s money they might really need. Sam, Debbie, and Bash have been called into the network for a mysterious meeting, where Glenn tells them that not only is their main sponsor, Patio Town, pulling out, their ratings in general are “soft.” To stay afloat, they need to meet with the head of the network, and basically sell the concept all over again.
This means coming up with a fresh new storyline, and fast. Or, for Sam, it means figuring out how to advance the kidnapping storyline without including Ruth, because he’s still holding a grudge from when she went rogue and shot that intro.
While Sam may still be anti-Ruth, the head of the network, Tom Grant, is not. He gives her a call and asks to meet, saying he’s taken an interest in her on the show. Expecting an exciting business opportunity, Ruth is thrilled, but I think 2018 has clued all viewers in to where this is heading.
Meanwhile, Bash is also in a tricky situation. After his butler, Florian, left, he can’t make rent, and has been sleeping on Carmen’s floor. Florian’s departure came after a fight between the two men, so Carmen and Britannica take Bash to a bar to look for him. Specifically, a gay bar, which makes Bash immediately uncomfortable. When they can’t find Florian, he immediately bolts.
Ruth arrives at a restaurant for her meeting with Tom, but is told by the host that Tom takes all business meetings in his hotel room. This is odd, but she’s still on board. She heads to the room, where Tom and Glenn are already chatting. The three of them drink and banter until Glenn says he’s going to run to the restaurant to get menus for them to order room service. Suddenly, Ruth and Tom are alone. He suggests that Ruth should be wanting more from her acting career, but she says she’s happy right where she is. In that case, he wants Ruth to show him a wrestling move. This is when it starts getting uncomfortable. He insists that she at the very least puts him in a headlock, which is when he starts taking advantage of her.
At this point, Ruth says it’s time to leave, but he doesn’t listen. He tells her to come in the Jacuzzi with him. He tells her Glenn won’t be coming back. The moment his back is turn, Ruth bolts.
As for Bash, despondent, he’s returned to his mother’s house. Although she’s out on a date, Gary, her butler is home, and he gives Bash the hospitality he needs. He feeds him, allows him to sleep in his childhood room, and even says he’ll talk to Bash’s mother about sponsoring the wrestling show.
This was the pep talk Bash needed to return to work enthusiastic to present GLOW to Tom, but before the meeting even begins, they get a call. The show is being moved to a 2 a.m. time slot, and Ruth thinks she knows why. When she privately tells Debbie what happened, however, Debbie is livid.
“The one time you keep your legs shut, we all get fucked,” Debbie says.
Episode 6: Work The Leg
With Cherry back on board with the rest of cast, it’s clear how much pep they’ve lost. Their motivation is down, their physical fitness is down, and — wait, why is this stranger playing Junkchain? In fact, the group is filled with interpersonal tension that is only made worse when Sam and Bash reveal that a men’s wrestling show has taken over their spot.
It’s only when Carmen steps up and tells everyone to get their shit together that things clunk into place. This isn’t a game anymore. The future of GLOW is at stake — which is maybe why Cherry is insisting on stealing a move from Big Kurt Jackson of The Lumberjacksons, which, if you’ll remember, is Carmen’s family.
However, Carmen puts that conflict of interest behind her for the good of the group. It’s montage time, baby. The women practice with their newfound vigor, and by the time they present to Sam, Bash, and Debbie, they’re more polished and adventurous than they’ve ever been.
Before Sam was GLOW’s director, you might remember that his repertoire steered a little more gruesome. He directed many niche and outrageous horror films, one of which is screening at a “I’m With The Banned” festival. While Justine went out of her way to make sure Ruth came along — despite Sam and Ruth’s continued rift — she falls asleep on the couch and Sam can’t wake her up. He eventually resigns himself to going alone.
However, Ruth eventually decides to show up, and while she initially sits behind him, they eventually settle in together, and the movie begins. Afterwards, Sam is approached by a group of young fans who say they’re in AV Club with Justine. They love his work. This is exactly the encouragement Sam needs to finally hear Ruth out. She says she almost didn’t come in case he was still angry, but he admits that he’s not angry — he’s just an insecure old man. Ruth decides to open up about what happened with Tom Grant, and Sam is livid. But, thankfully, not at Ruth. he calls Tom a “sleazebag dickhead.” He’s relieved that’s the reason they’re getting buried, and not because what they’re making is bad. Sam is the first person to give Ruth sympathy after the assault, and he pulls a Carrie Underwood and smashes in the windows of Tom Grant’s car.
Debbie is giving her car a little TLC at a car wash and spots Mark across the parking lot with Randy. She begins to walk over to say hello when another woman reaches him first and gives him a kiss. It’s Mark’s secretary — the one who called about the bed. Debbie remains friendly, introduces herself and makes small talk, but when she turns around to walk back to her car, the tears start flowing.
Debbie, with a newfound positivity after making amends with Sam, approaches Russell at work and tells him to have a good show. Sam is in his own good mood, and decides to put Justine in the booth after finding out she’s in AV Club. As for him, he’s taking over one of the cameras. He used to film his old movies, and he’s ready to dive back into that passion.
Debbie is not in such a chipper mood. She demands Sam’s office to change, and he offers her a drink. As soon as he leaves, she does a line of his coke, and continues to drink and self-destruct right up until the match.
The first battle is between the two Junkchains, but Cherry lets Yolanda win. She has a new character — Black Magic.
Now, however, it’s time for Zoya versus Liberty Belle, and Debbie is in no shape to fight. As they go through their practice moves, she gets rougher and rougher as the world flashes and spins around her. During the very last move, as the world is spinning, she takes it one step too far. Crack. Ruth’s leg has broken.
Episode 7: Nothing Shattered
The match comes to a screeching halt — literally. The snap in Ruth’s leg is followed by a bloodcurdling scream. Debbie pulled too far and now it might be broken. Russell picks Ruth up to take her to the hospital, but the rest of the girls insist on taking her themselves, with Russell and Sam following suit.
Debbie, meanwhile, stays behind. She takes a shower to wash off her drugged-up haze. Bash walks in on her, but she’s not bothered. While he laments Debbie’s injury, worrying that he pushed the cast too far, Debbie doesn’t seem to blame herself at all.
At the hospital, they’ve been in the waiting room for hours. Finally, the nurse gets Ruth a bed, and Sam takes her back to her room. Ruth refuses to let the doctor cut off her boot, so Sam gently unties it and slips it off her swollen ankle. While they wait for her turn at the X-Ray, the rest of th cast does what they can to entertain her in their own unique ways. Sheila drops off a pillow and blanket, Justine brings snacks, Melanie reads a quiz from a magazine out loud, Rhonda sings her a song. Finally, it’s time for the X-Ray.
And, finally, Debbie arrives. The rest of the cast greets her coolly, because it really seems like she did this on purpose. They’re also mad at Bash, who never saw fit to give them insurance, meaning he has to figure out how to take care of Ruth’s medical bill.
Arthie is having a particularly hard time, she tells Sam, because she failed out of medical school. Hospitals bring back bad memories. Sam has a similar negative association. He says he let his mother deteriorate in a hospital like this rather than letting her enjoy her last days. He says it’s important to die on your own terms.
That’s kind of the theme of the episode, because despite giving their all at the taping, Sam tells the cast that they’re never gonna escape the 2 a.m. slot.
The results of Ruth’s X-Ray are in, and it’s not looking good. While the fracture in her ankle is clean, she’ll still be on crutches for the next eight to ten weeks — the rest of the season. While Debbie, who has come to see Ruth, says that’s not that long and that it’s not a big deal, Ruth feels otherwise. This show is her life, the one thing she had, and she thinks Debbie purposely sabotaged it. Debbie fires back with how Ruth destroyed her family, which Ruth denies, since she doesn’t think Debbie ever truly loved Mark. She also calls out Debbie’s power complex, which ruined her date with Russell, and warped her brain so much that she actually believed Ruth should have let herself be raped to save the show. The screaming match doesn’t go anyway, and Debbie storms out.
A car ride appears to have done her some good, however, because the next thing we know, she’s in Ruth’s motel room with Sheila. She’s come to ask Sheila to bring Ruth some clothes so she doesn’t have to leave the hospital in costume, and she also promises that, despite what it looks like, she’s not actually trying to ruin Ruth’s life. It’s for that reason that Sheila tells Debbie that she should be the one to bring the clothes.
By the time Debbie is back, Sam and Bash and signing Ruth’s cast. Debbie gives Ruth a pair of pants as a peace offering, as well as writing “sorry I broke your ankle” on her cast, and the four of them come to a conclusion: Fuck it. If they’re going to end up cancelled by the end of the season, they should just do whatever they want — including Ruth. A broken leg won’t keep her off the air, and Ruth uses their newfound enthusiasm to ask Sam to hire Reggie back.
They walk out of the hospital, Wes Anderson-style.
Episode 8: The Good Twin
If you want to know what “fuck it” looks like, it’s pretty much this. Episode 8 takes the format of an actual episode of GLOW, and now we finally get to see what all their hard work has been for. To craft a narrative around Ruth’s broken ankle, they’ve thrown in a twist. Zoya has a twin sister named Ulga, whose leg is permanently damaged. Olga receives a call from Zoya at the beginning of the episode, telling her that she’s stolen Liberty Belle’s child and wants to selll her to the highest bidder. She needs Olga to be the one to find the bidder, but Olga is the “nice sister.” As soon as she hangs up, she gets on the first goat (yes, goat) to America in order to save Liberty Belle’s daughter, Savannah Rose.
Britannica is having her own struggles, but this time, with love. She’s trying to bring a mannequin to live so she can finally find love. Enter: Cherry’s new character Black Magic. She says she can use her powers to bring the man to life, but Britannica must give her her brain. Luckily, Britannica is one step ahead. She’s downloaded her brain onto a floppy disk, and tied a string around her finger to remind her to upload it back into her head after Black Magic steals her original smarts. If you see the flaw in this plan, then you’re one step ahead. As soon as Black Magic takes Britannica’s brain, she’s too smitten with her new man, played by Bash — and too stupid in her head — to even remember she had a brain in the first place.
Still distraught over her lost daughter, Liberty Belle has started making “Griefercize” videos. When she goes to shower after her workout, she’s greeted by Olga, Psycho-style. But Olga is quick to explain that Liberte Belle need not fear her. She’s there to help. Olga has always resented Zoya, and therefore loves America.
This bit of plot is interrupted by a GLOW music video for their original song called “Makeover.” It’s a quick palette-cleanser before we’re back with Britannica. The teenager next door named Lisa, played by Justin, has come to get help with the quadratic equation. However, she realizes something is wrong with Britannica right away, because she doesn’t understand math anymore. Lisa notices the string on Britannica’s finger and realizes that there’s something Britannica is forgetting. Luckily, Glowbot is here to save the day. It beep-boops its way over with the floppy disk of her brain. In case you wanted to know how a floppy disk gets uploaded into a human, according to Britannica, it’s straight up the vagina. Before you think too long about the logistics of that, the true Britannica has returned. However, with her she’s brought the wrath of Black Magic. She turns Britannica’s new lover back into plastic, and says that if she wants her man back, Britannica has to fight her for it. Turns out, brains are no match against magic.
In order to appeal to their more moral base, the group has come together to make a song called “Don’t Kidnap.” You probably get the gist of it. When we return, Sheila and Olga’s goat have formed a friendship. In fact, they went to go see Cats together! However, when they return to Sheila’s apartment, the goat starts getting handsy. Hoofsy? Regardless, Sheila decides to eat him.
Meanwhile, Liberty Belle has been climbing mountains to find her child. Literally. Once she gets to Zoya’s lair — and outsmarts the guards — she hears Savannah Rose’s cries. However, it’s a trap. Vicki The Viking was playing a tape of Savannah Rose to lure Liberty Belle in. Turns out, her daughter is in a safe, but if she wants the code, she’ll have to fight for it.
It’s three against one as Vicki and her minions fight Liberty Belle. However, Liberty Belle’s love is stronger than all of them. She beats Vicki and gets the code to free Savannah Rose.
Finally, the show cuts away from the episode, but a new drama is unfolding. Justine’s mother — the one she left to life with Sam — just saw her on TV, and is determined to get her back.
Episode 9: Rosalie
Wait, what is this wholesome, peaceful episode of GLOW I’m currently watching? Sam, Ruth, and Justine are all having family dinner together, and the show is definitely teasing us with the image of them being one big family. Ruth even brought dresses for Justine to choose from for the dance that night, but Justine says she’s only going ironically. By the end of the night, Ruth decides to stay over on Sam’s couch, and Sam tucks her in before going to bed.
Over at the motel, all the women are preparing for this whole thing to be over. It’s their last few nights with roommates, last few nights as coworkers, and they’ve started passing out applications for retail jobs to each other. They’re only interrupted by Cupcake, Rhonda’s superfan who bakes for her. He asks for her hand in marriage, which she laughs off before sending him on his way.
The next morning, Ruth is woken by the sound of someone frantically ringing Sam’s doorbell, and when she opens it up, she finds out it’s Justine’s bother Rosalie, and she wants Justine back. Sam wakes up and tries to convince her to calm down, but she’s not having it. As soon as the dance is over, she’s taking Justine no matter what. Sam begs ruth to stay to help mediate, because he doesn’t want to lose the daughter he’s only just started to get to know.
Debbie and Bash are missing all this hectic drama because they’ve got nothing but business on the brain. They’ve set up a booth at an event to attract syndicators in hopes that GLOW can live on after KDTV cancels it. However, their booth is pretty bleak, so Bash, inspired by The Muppets, enlists Debbie to help him start a whisper campaign, talking up GLOW in front of buyers and making people at the event think it’s a huge deal.
Speaking of huge deals, Rhonda just let slip that she doesn’t have a social security number. Or an ID. Or anything that officially has her on record as being in the country. There’s no way she can get an actual job after GLOW without one, so the rest of the cast sends her to the British consulate. While she’s gone, and everyone else is busy, sparks start flying between roommates Arthie and Yolanda. They decide they want to keep living together when the show is over, but you can that’s motivated by more than just convenience.
That night, it all goes down at the winter formal. As Justine dances with Billy under the watchful eyes of Sam, Ruth, and her mother, Billy suggests a wild plan. What if they just run away together to New York? Justine’s on board, but as she tries to sneak out, Sam stops her. He knows exactly what she’s doing, and calls over Rosalie. He tells Justine not to capsize her future just to make a point, and to, for once, be “her own fucking person.”
As the evening winds down, Sam invites Ruth to dance with her broken leg, and of course, the music turns to a slow song. Sparks fly, the dancing gets closer, but as Sam goes in for a kiss, Ruth thinks better of it, and dashes away.
After a long day of whisper campaigning, Debbie and Bash wait for phone calls while drinking at a bar. At first, it seems like no one is interested, but one by one, more executives call and Bash and Debbie invite them all to a live taping. This show better be good.
Cut to: All the wrestlers smoking pot and watching TV. What’s the point in even trying anymore? Then, Rhonda bursts in with even more bad news. If she doesn’t leave the country in 30 days, she’ll be deported. The only way to fix it is if she gets married to an American. Perhaps an American who is obsessed with her and has already asked for just that? Suddenly, they have their finale idea.
After Ruth’s surprise kiss with Sam, she runs to Russell’s apartment, and tries to recreate the Ruth Gordon film festival she bailed on via video rentals, and Russell is charmed. He interrupts her many apologies with a kiss.
Debbie and Bash’s successful evening takes a turn when Bash gets a phone call he wasn’t expecting. It’s a hospital in San Francisco. Florian has died.
Episode 10: Every Potato Has A Receipt
This is it. The big finale. To drum up support, the cast are doing a radio interview about the night, but it quickly backfires when a listener calls in. It’s Big Kurt Jackson of The Lumberjacksons, and he’s livid that Carmen stole their moves. While Liberty Belle manages to change the subject, it’s clear for Jackson this isn’t over.
It’s time for Justine to go back to Sacremento, but she and Sam agree to stay in touch. While he says he probably won’t visit, there’s always a room for her back here. They both tell the other to finish their screenplays, and Justine is off.
Ruth desperately wants to be in the finale, but when she tries to prove she can wrestle with a cast, it’s clear that’s never going to happen. To make up for it, Sam allows her to co-direct with him, which means they have to figure out the logistics for Britannica’s TV-wedding-that’s-actually-a-really-wedding-to-keep-Rhonda-in-the-country. However, all this talk about romance just reminds both of them of the sort-of kiss they shared at the dance, and while Sam clearly wants to talk about it, Ruth cuts him off by letting him know that she’s seeing Russell.
Bash hasn’t told anyone about Florian’s death, and he’s hired cleaners to get rid of ever last trace of him in their home. He gives them explicit instructions to get rid of everything — a callback to Debbie’s breakdown earlier to the season.
Sam is drowning his own stunted sorrows at the strip club. It belongs to a father of one of the students at Justine’s school who he met at the dance while chaperoning. Turns out, he’s there during Yolanda’s shift, and spots Arthie in the audience. Sam comes to sit next to her and she freaks out. The confides in Sam that she doesn’t know what’s going on, but it’s possible she’s in love.
Speaking of love, Mark is ready to offer Debbie an olive branch. He brings Randy to the ring because it might be the last chance to see his mother wrestle, and Debbie introduces her baby to the team. As Cherry and Keith watch, it reminds them of the family they’ve been trying to start, and Keith suggests doubling down their efforts once again after the finale airs.
Ruth, late from a bone-sesh with Russell, comes limping in. Debbie calls her out for being so smiley, and Ruth opens up about how happy she is. It makes Debbie realize she’ll soon be dating again herself.
Rhonda arrives — wearing Debbie’s old wedding dress — and ends up puking from nerves, but she’s not the only one who has a bad feeling about this. Bash is reluctantly helping Cupcake (real name, Toby Matkins) get ready in Sam’s office, and he doesn’t seem enthused about this wedding. Why Sam and Bash ask, and Toby says he just gets lonely. This hits Bash a little too close to home.
But no time to linger on that, because a major curveball was just thrown. Kurt Jackson and his pal Chico have burst into the women’s changing room to settle their score with Carmen. An all-out brawl almost ensues, but Debbie smooths it over. She darts into the booth with Ruth and Sam to let them know there might notice a small, teeny cameo, but leaves before they can protest.
Suddenly, it’s time for wedding bells. The women arrive in matching leotards, except for Macchu Pichu, who was forced to wear a shirt that reads “Lumberjacksons are my favorite wrestlers” on the front and “I peed the bed til I was 10” on the back.
It begins. Starts with GLOW wedding party, introducing all the team, all wearing coordinated leotards, Machu wearing a shirt that says Lumberjacksons are my favorite wrestlers. On back it says “I peed the bed til i was 10”
Finally, it’s time for the bride, and Britannica comes in on a unicorn, or rather, a horse with a horn stuck on it. The wedding begins, but before they can get to “the good stuff,” Bash steps forward with an object. He pulls Rhonda aside and begs her not to marry a stranger. Marry him. He says he’s always been in love with her (which I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to believe) and she agrees. Toby objects, but is booed and carried off the stage. As the new wedding unfolds, Carmen is visibly upset. She’s been pining for Bash this whole time.
As soon as the wedding starts, its over, and after Britannica throws the bouquet, Bash reveals that the wrestler who gets the bouquet keeps the crown. It becomes mayhem, with women getting eliminated from the ring one by one. Somewhere, in all the madness, Arthie and Yolanda sneak a kiss. Eventually, it’s just Liberty belle, Macchu, and Sheila left in the ring, but they’re interrupted by Kurt and Chico’s “small” cameo. Instead it becomes women against men, and the fight goes on until the two men feel they’ve had enough screen time. Then, they allow themselves to lose. The three women turn one each other again, but there’s one more surprise in store.
Sam reveals that, actually, Zoya is the one who is going to win the crown. He’s set up a zip line for her to whoosh in and knock everyone out with her cast. She does exactly that, and the crown is hers.
After the show, Rhonda approaches Bash to let him know that he can still back out of this marriage if he wants to. He wants no such thing, and while Rhonda comes clean and says she doesn’t feel towards Bash what he says he feels towards her, she adds a “yet.” They’ll get a license and rings tomorrow.
Despite such a successful show, the executives leave unsatisfied, and that’s because the network has one last “screw you” for the team. Turns out, they own all those characters. They can’t sell it to another network.
But don’t worry, the strip club owner, who was in the audience, saves the day. He has stake at a club in Vegas who is looking for a headliner, and doesn’t this show work better live, anyways? While they were never able to get their ratings up, they had dedicated fans who showed up show after show. Plus, Vegas is where the real money is. They’re all in.
That means it’s time for goodbyes. Debbie says goodbye to Randy, Ruth says goodbye to Russell, and we say goodbye to GLOW! That’s the end of the second season, but with any luck, we’ll be seeing these ladies in Vegas sometime very soon.