THE WEDDING (GLOW EPISODE 10 RECAP)
WOW YOU GUYS. The finale pulls off an amazing feat by taking centering both G.L.O.W. and GLOW around a gimmick match then adding a surprise twist that’s very much in the vein of professional wrestling entertainment, AND on top of all of that, staying true to these characters and their story. There’s some great payoff moments, not to mention a pretty damn exciting wrestling match. OK, let’s get to it.
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling make an appearance on a local radio station to promote the big wedding episode. We learn from the DJ that G.L.O.W has become “quite the sleeper hit” in Los Angeles. While the girls are hyping the wedding, a caller interrupts and Carmen recognizes the voice; it’s her brother Kurt confronting her about stealing his lumberjack chop move. Just as she feared, she’s going to have to pay the consequences for taking his move without permission. I mean, I get it; I have 5 siblings and have definitely lumberjack-chopped a sister at some point just for dibs on the Nintendo.
There’s two big emotional beats early on: first, Sam says goodbye to Justine before she leaves for Sacramento with Rosalie. He says to Ruth later: “You let somebody in, and make room. And then they go, and the room’s still there.” It’s a beautiful, bittersweet line and perfectly sums up the growth we’ve seen in him this season. Meanwhile, over at Bash’s Malibu mansion, he alternates between stress smoking and crying while a cleaning crew removes all traces of Florian’s things. Bash demands that everything be bleached and destroyed, feeding into the AIDS panic of the 80’s. Everything about this scene is heartbreaking, and he’s so pent up that if he doesn’t talk to someone about his grief, he’s going to lose it.
Over at the gym, Ruth auditions a match for Sam and Debbie. She’s dying to wrestle in the last episode, and Cherry and Carmen kindly try to come up with a way to work around her cast, but it’s not happening. “Sam, make it be over,” Debbie whispers under her breath. Sam has discovered his inner marshmallow, and asks Ruth to co-direct the finale with him instead. There’s a brief moment when Sam tries to address the attempted kiss at the dance, and Ruth cuts him off to tell him that she’s with Russell now.
Sam heads over to his new pal Ray’s strip joint, Chicky’s, where he discovers Yolanda working the pole. He’s come a long way since the day he hired her during a lapdance, and tells Ray “I can’t see her take off her clothes now that I know she’s a person.” But even more shockingly, he spots Arthie watching Yolanda dance, her facing looking like the heart eyes emoji. “You fell in love during that stupid dream ballet!” he exclaims, and you can tell Arthie wants to be all “SHUT UP DAD!” but it’s cute and fits perfectly with the theme of this show being a group of misfits becoming each other’s found family.
On the day of the shoot, Bash is in a terrible mood (see? You gotta process those emotions, kids. Also, stay in school! Don’t do drugs! #themoreyouknow). He acts pissy with Sam and Cupcake, whose real name is Tobey. Concurrently, even more drama is building up in the locker room when Kurt and his wrestling mate Chico Guapo show up for a confrontation. Kurt’s tired of the guys on the circuit busting his chops about G.L.O.W. while his sister and her friends are getting all the attention. Debbie steps in to mediate, and comes up with a solution. She breezes by Sam’s (and now Ruth’s) control booth, throwing out a quick comment about a “small fire” she put out, and “you might notice a small cameo, you’ll barely feel it.”
The wedding begins as the wrestlers dressed in bridesmaid leotards walk in procession to the ring. Brittanica (wearing Debbie’s old wedding dress) is vomiting from nerves/no desire to do this whatsoever, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. The ceremony begins, and the minister gets to the moment when he asks if anyone objects to this union between “a regular fan” and “a regular genius.” To everyone’s shock (and likely his own as well), Bash interjects, asking Brittanica not to go through with it. Why? Because he’s in love with her! GASP!! (Is he tho? Bash, never make a rash decision in the middle of an emotional meltdown). The crowd whoops, and all of the women, ESPECIALLY RHONDA, are wondering what TF is happening. Rhonda decides it’s better to marry someone she knows than a total stranger, so she agrees. Tobey gets run out of the ring after screaming “Love is fake, just like wrestling” while the audience boos, cheers, and eats it all up (and poor Carmen looks on at Bash, heartbroken). The minister rereads the vows for the new couple, and it’s official. In the booth, Sam is wondering what the hell is happening and Ruth replies “I don’t know but Rhonda just married a millionaire without a prenup!” (LINE OF THE YEAR). Bash announces that whoever ends up with the bouquet gets the G.L.O.W. crown, and the ring turn into a pink and day-glo yellow melee.
As if all this weren’t enough spectacle, WAIT THERE’S MORE! Kurt Lumberjackson and Chico Guapo storm into the ring, demanding retribution for their stolen moves (and some on-screen facetime as payment). Striking a temporary truce from fighting each other, Liberty Belle, Carmen, and Sheila agree to take on the two challengers. The men demand a rule of no punching because hey don’t want to hit women, and the women respond by immediately throwing stomach punches (this was also my move in college). Carmen lifts her giant brother into a body slam, and during a hold against the ropes, he whispers to her “I’m proud of you.” Awwwwww. As the dust settles, only Liberty Belle is left to face Chico Guapo. And holy wow, this is the moment when Liberty Belle (and Betty Gilpin) becomes an honest to-god legit wrestler. She and Chico take turns calling moves (hip tosses, backflips) and it looks amazing. OK I lied earlier because the REAL line of the year is Liberty Belle screaming “I’ve been baking pies at home--PIES OF RAGE!!” For reals guys, I may even start, like, watching WWE because this shit is amazing. Liberty Belle throws a fast dodge and Chico goes flying out of the ring; the women win, and the audience goes wild--both the G.L.O.W. audience and the GLOW audience cuz I’m LIVING for this and omg how many meta levels are we at now??
BUT IT’S STILL NOT OVER. Ruth is about to ask the cameras to tighten in on Carmen as the winner of the crown, but Sam surprises her with a question: “You’re all warmed up, right?” He shows her the zipline that she’ll take from the booth down to the ring, where the girls are expecting her to swoop in and steal the crown as Zoya. And readers, let me tell you, I cried. It’s an incredibly sweet gesture from Sam and all of the wrestlers, and a sign of appreciation for everything she’s done for G.L.O.W. Ever the professional, Ruth’s emotions are overflowing but she’s still able to keep in character as Zoya, rubbing the bouquet on her butt and crotch while egging on the audience “You love to hate me!”
After the match is over and the audience leaves, Bash and Rhonda have their first chance at an honest, post-wedding moment. She’s offers him a chance to back out, but he’s committing to his decision, and insists on getting a real marriage license and a real ring for her. She admits she doesn’t have the same feelings for him, but he tells her he’s willing to wait and take it one day at a time. Oh Bash, please don’t drag Rhonda (and heartbroken Carmen) through your delusional attempt to force yourself into false happiness.
While the network execs discuss their future, the cast anxiously watches them through the window of Sam’s office. Glen delivers the deathblow to G.L.O.W.: KDTV owns the rights to their characters thanks to their supersketch contract, so the show can’t be sold to another network. They’re only allowed to do live shows. G.LO.W. is over.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S STILL MORE (AND I KNOW I’M OVERDOING THE CAPS BUT JUST HANG IN THERE WITH ME FOR LIKE 300 MORE WORDS MKAY?)! Ray, the strip club entrepreneur, was blown away by the live match and offers to make them a headliner at one of his clubs in Vegas. Vegas headliners bring in big bucks and they can continue doing what they love in front of an audience of thousands; it just happens to be one state over. The women are into it, and it looks like they get a happy ending after all, just not the one anyone ever expected.
In the final scene, it’s a few weeks later and the cast and crew are loading up the bus to head to Vegas. Debbie tearfully says goodbye to her son Randy, but Mark seems willing to peacefully work out shared custody while she’s away in Vegas. (OK, I guess Mark isn’t the worst anymore, although his sweater is). Nearby, Ruth and Russell also share a cute goodbye (he’s staying in town to work the camera on Gold as Gold, a nice callback), while the girls on the bus make smooching faces on the windows.
As the cast and crew settle in for a long bus ride and contemplate their future, the lyrics to Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” feel especially poignant. Bash and Rhonda sit next to each other, feigning love uncomfortably. Keith and Cherry are beginning a new adventure together, one that likely puts their attempt to start a family on hold. Arthie and Yolanda bask in the glow of early relationship bliss. Debbie reaches behind her to share a little handshake with Tamme, a touching moment between mothers. And finally, we get to Ruth and Sam. Ruth admits she’s never been to Vegas before, and Sam chuckles, “You’re gonna hate it.” Ruth smiles, but as she gazed out the window, her expression changes, and I wonder if she’s having a moment of realization that her complicated feelings for Sam are following her to Vegas, 300 miles away from Russell.
And that’s a wrap on season 2, which built beautifully on the solid foundation of the first season and took us to even higher highs. Thank you for following along with me and indulging in my roller derby memories. I’ll see you next season, when hopefully, Debbie has taken over running Hollywood and kicked out all the a-holes like Tom Grant, Bash has found a promising therapist, Ruth does a one-woman production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters in the ring, and Melrose is finally able to take a decent shit.