I remember when GLOW first hit Netflix last year. Critics and audiences alike were raving about this new show by the popular streaming platform, filled with talented women and all about the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling. I have to admit, I had never seen a wrestling match in my life. I knew essentially nothing about the sport or the show. But the fact that it features a large female cast and that it’s also created by women immediately captured my attention. We don’t get to hear stories about women from women nearly enough in this industry, and I knew I had to give it a shot.
I watched the entire first season in one night. It was 3:30 in the morning when I finished it, and I found myself craving more. I needed to see what happened next. And as the months drew on, and the #MeToo movement took off, I became more and more excited for what the second season would bring. We need shows like this. Shows by women, starring women, shows that everyone can enjoy. But shows that also give us the hard truths, that break our hearts because the reality hits so close to home. But ultimately, shows that will empower us. This is the second season of GLOW.
Episode 1 starts off on an adorable and exciting note: a first day at work picture. Everyone took a break after the pilot of GLOW aired, while the network decided what would come next. And the outcome was better than they could have dreamed! The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling have 20 weeks of shooting ahead of them, and Ruth, being Ruth, asked Sheila to take a picture of her to commemorate the occasion. Of course, when the other girls see what’s going on, they have to take part too! Before you know it, all the girls are gathered on a table and Sheila’s on the roof, ready to take the perfect photo. Until she realizes they’re out of film…whoops!
The girls are ready to get back to work, and it’s clear how close they’ve become. It may sound cheesy to say, but they’ve become a bit of a sisterhood! Even Debbie and Ruth are on…well, maybe not quite good terms, but they’re able to be civil and even smile at each other, so I call that progress! It is, without question, the most interesting dynamic of the show. There’s so much emotion between the two of them, and you can’t help but want them to be best friends again. But you also understand why they can’t be. It’s incredibly frustrating, and all too familiar for some of us.
But the group dynamic shifts when an unfamiliar face appears in the dressing room, a woman by the name of Yolanda. And Yolanda, or Yo-Yo as her friends call her, is replacing Cherry as Junk Chain. So, it seems Cherry took the other job after all. On one hand, good for her! On the other…who is this new girl?
To say that tensions are high would be an extreme understatement. The fact that Sam didn’t even bother to make an announcement until all the girls were sitting down in full costume and makeup makes things even worse. And the cherry (no pun intended) on top? Sam called all the girls down in their gear to do nothing but sign their new contracts, sit quietly, and watch as he and the men work to build a set. Yep…cue the anger.
Here’s the thing about Sam. He’s always been an asshole. But in Season 1, despite times of being nothing but a disgusting, egotistical, misogynistic pig, he had his moments. He may not have been the greatest guy, but he had moments of humor and likability. It seems, however, that has gone completely out of the window this season. They’re showing what men can be in the entertainment industry, especially what they could be during that time. This, I am guessing, is only the beginning of what Season 2 of GLOW will touch on, and it’s already extremely powerful.
Ruth, being who she is, refuses to just sit on the sidelines and watch the men work while tensions grow between the cast members. She goes to Sam and asks him to sit down with them and talk about the contract, about the new girl, and try and bring them together. She wants to be there for him, but more importantly for the show, to make it the best it can be. She wants to be the Alma to his Alfred. The woman behind the scenes, pulling it all together. But he has no interest in any of this, and tells her that if she wants to be such a help to him, she should do it herself. In his words:
“No, I don’t want people to feel seen and heard. I want them to be invisible so I can transform this gym into a fake luxury hotel! Alright? So, if you wanna be Alma Hitchcock, go make everyone feel special so I don’t have to!”
She should be offended. But no, she gets a little smile on her face, gives him a thumbs up, and goes on her merry way, determined to make the best of a less than perfect situation. And she gets there right on time. As the girls start to turn on Yolanda, and Yolanda starts to fight back, Ruth comes charging out and breaks into song, breaking the ice. She tells the girls that while Sam sets up their gym, they are going to film an title sequence to introduce the girls and start the show with a bang! Ruth waves down a cameraman and before we know it, all the ladies are heading with him to the local mall in full costume, all ready to start shooting something great!
Ruth is able to bring all the ladies together in a way that Sam never could. She makes them a real team, not only acting alongside them as Zoya, but acting as their director for the day. She works with the cameraman, who understands the more technical side of things, but even he sees that she has a good eye! Okay, the actual word he uses was “decent”, but we know better. Ruth captures the essence of GLOW in this perfectly, hilariously awesome title sequence. It’s funny, it’s cute, it’s quirky and silly, not to mention bad-ass! It’s all the things that GLOW is. And she’s pretty proud of it. But more than that, the girls are more excited than we’ve ever seen them.
At the end of the day, Reggie, AKA Vicky the Viking pulls Ruth aside and tells her that it’s a lot more fun when she directs. Ruth shakes her head and blushes, but can tell that it’s heartfelt. All the girls feel it. So, it’s no surprise that they’re all literally jumping up and down the next day when they get to show Sam, Bash, and unexpectedly, Glen, an executive at the network, the opening credits all edited! Ruth shyly, nervously, presses play, and immediately the girls start gushing and laughing. But it’s not just them. All of the men stop working and watch. Glen can’t take his eyes off of it, nor can he stop smiling! Bash is excited as ever! Glen congratulates Sam on the fantastic work, and Sam just nods along and simply responds that they hired him for a reason. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, it doesn’t end there.
As Glen and Bash leave, Sam stands in front of everyone and demands to know who shot this, angrily claiming he’s confused about who’s actually directing this thing. The cameraman doesn’t hesitate in taking responsibility, but Ruth is quick to interrupt, telling Sam it was she who made the decisions. He asks if she’s trying to make a move on his job, to which she responds of course not, but he asked for her help!
“Honey, I don’t need your help. I need you to be a fucking actress….everybody should hear this. You’re not a director just cause you take a fucking camera to the mall…I’m not pulling them in with this cheesy, girly bullshit. That sequence was garbage. And I’d never put my name on something I didn’t direct.”
I don’t think I’m alone when I say I was ready to stand up and start shouting. But before I could, Reggie pipes up that he put his name on the pilot.
In this moment, you can hear a pin drop. And the thing is, she’s right. Ruth directed that pilot, she brought it all together, and Reggie isn’t afraid to point that out. Sam is being a misogynistic, controlling, borderline abusive director. And Reggie won’t just stand there and take it. And because of that, Sam fires her on the spot. Vicky the Viking is gone, all because Sam couldn’t take hearing the truth.
Any empathy I felt towards Sam before, any likability he had in my eyes is gone now. He will undoubtedly be one of the major antagonists this season, and quite frankly, he deserves to be.
There are some other plot points in the premiere that are worth talking about, as well. Like the fact that we haven’t seen Justine at practice, but she is currently staying with Sam at his house. She’s also still with Billy, and is in charge of merch for his band. Whether or not she’ll return to GLOW is unclear, but fingers crossed! And fingers crossed she gets away from Sam at the end of all this. To say that he’s lacking as a father is putting it nicely.
And what about Debbie? Well, she’s decided to divorce Mark. She’s frightened out of her mind, and has no idea what to do on her own, but she’s fighting her way through and figuring it out. They’re civil for the sake of their son, and luckily, he’s also willing to help her legally. Debbie and Mark schedule a dinner with Glen and his wife to discuss her contract. She refuses to sign it until she gets a substantial raise. Not only that, but she wants to be a producer on the show. And by the end of the episode, she is. Sam has no say in that. And his reaction is simply delicious.
This season is sure to bring some laughs and lightheartedness, just like the first did. But there’s more to it than that. The stakes are higher. These women are fighting for their rightful place on this show. They’re fighting for their voices to be heard. Debbie, now a producer, is winning that fight. But Ruth is still the underdog. Hopefully, though, with her knack for directing, that won’t be for long.
And that’s Episode 1! For more recaps and news on GLOW, visit our official GLOW page. And stay tuned, a recap of Episode 2 is coming soon.
GLOW Is Currently Streaming On Netflix.