“Okay, this is real, there are cameras,” declares Melrose. “Anyone else feel the need to pee and puke at the same time?” asks Dawn, one of the Battling Biddies.
So this episode is one big tease as everyone scrambles to get the show together for the filming of the GLOW pilot. Will Debbie make a go of her relationship with Mark and forgo wrestling in the big show? Will Cherry get an acting job and forgo wrestling in the big show? Will Sam continue his drug and booze bender and forgo the big show? Will Carmen get over her nerves to wrestle in the big show? Will Ruth find a partner to wrestle for the big show?
Let me suggest that this episode isn’t about dramatic questions. It’s about GLOW putting on a great wrestling show. All the season-long story threads get paid off. We KNOW where it’s going, and all of the double-crosses and plot twists aren’t completely necessary, but I still appreciate that the producers are trying hard. The story is pretty predictable, but it’s fun to just watch the fireworks.
Everyone gets a bit of redemption and a hero moment. All of the girls have great matches and their own moment in the spotlight. Sam has a funny-painful reconciliation with Justine where, blind to social conventions and propriety as usual, he apologizes for trying to sleep with her, in front of her mother. Bash gets to emcee the event and finds his inner ham. Rhonda gets a robot.
Even the girls breaking character and rapping the painful GLOW theme song as an ode to girl power and getting the job done is earned and a wee bit emotional.
One quick note about the title of the episode: it refers to the idea that the money in wrestling is made by the Face chasing the Heel for the championship. This is laughable because the original GLOW never made a nickel from the champion, or any pursuit of her crown. The whole concept was that the draw was the collective show, gorgeous ladies who wrestle, tell corny jokes, and occasionally rap badly. But with mostly replaceable characters. In fact, the scuzzy new GLOW owners tried to replace the entire roster with totally different women who could barely wrestle after season two. So Sally the Farmer’s Daughter is such an “amazing” gimmick that they replaced her with Amy the Farmer’s Daughter, who was then replaced by Babe The Farmer’s Daughter. Even as a 13 year old, I could tell the difference and I knew they were trying to pull a fast one. Also, this was during Hulk Hogan’s four year face championship run. Despite losing the title a couple times, he was seen mostly as the de facto champion.
For anyone who’s watched the entire season, it’s no surprise that the producers pull off a superior wrestling card than the actual GLOW producers. The fights are better choreographed. The banter is much funnier. The plots are elaborate and well-written. Half the episode is wrestling, and all of the fun is in watching the matches play out and the behind-the-scenes shenanigans.
And one final note of praise, to Chavo Guerrero Jr. for training the actresses on GLOW and choreographing their wonderful matches. Chavo is the nephew of Mando Guerrero who trained the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
THE BOTTOM LINE: So we effortlessly arrive at the season finale. It was a thrilling ride. I really hope, and suspect, that they will make a season two. Designed as a vehicle for Alison Brie, it really utilizes all of her comedic talents to wonderful effect, and I hope she continues to do this show as well as bigger projects. She deserves full credit as she’s mostly dressed down and sporting leg bruises with bad lighting on this show. I recently saw her in a terrible comedy where she was all cleaned up and dressed to the nines and she’s a knockout, but she wasn’t given anything funny to do. Ruth is a great character for her. I’ve noted other terrific performances on this show in previous episodes, but I will cop out and give the entire ensemble a collective A+. The producers have created a wonderful ensemble of lovable losers and outcasts but, you know, Gorgeous Ladies. There’s a lot of story to tell in the behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations of GLOW and I will be there for future seasons to tell it.