Graphic: Netflix

“Every Potato Has A Receipt” is like a rush of adrenaline, and that appears to be GLOW’s standard when it comes to its season finales and the big shows G.L.O.W. puts on. Honestly, the finales are also the points in the show that really strain believability in terms of the proper wrestling of this time period (especially compared to what was going on in the actual G.L.O.W.). But in terms of GLOW’s inspirations from the sports movie genre, it also kind of makes sense. For example, The Mighty Ducks trilogy invented a nonsense hockey move that I and many children at the time tried to duplicate at the time, but I know actual hockey players weren’t getting metaphorically dunked on by Knuckle Pucks. So it’s okay these finale matches are more advanced than they may have actually been at the time.

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Here, Debbie gets the chance to prove her worth as a producer (thanks to the fallout from Cherry and Carmen stealing male wrestlers’ moves) and wrestler in this episode, Ruth gets the chance to prove hers as a director—and as the new holder of the G.L.O.W. Crown, in a moment she has to kayfabe despite the genuine appreciation coming from everyone involved—and the whole crew pulls off an amazing show. In proper wrestling fashion, it even has the wrestling wedding descent into madness. It’s the type of show that would be a no-brainer for other networks to buy. So naturally, that high is ruined by those stupid network contracts everyone signed at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, those weren’t just a pesky plot point to prop up Debbie’s promotion to producer.

Sam also proves his worth as a father here, and not just to Justine (as he also did in “Rosalie”), with the show’s realization that Dad Sam is possibly the best dynamic for the character. At this point, it’s hard to buy that he could be as annoyed with everybody in G.L.O.W. as he ever claims to be, and Dad Sam leads to the hilarious and sweet scene between Sam, Arthie, and Yolanda at Ray’s strip club. He may tell Arthie “I’m not your father,” but that’s kind of what he’s turned into. And now that he sees all these women as actual people, it makes for quite the entertaining dilemma for this coked up curmudgeon. The dad dynamic is strange when it comes to discussing his relationship with Ruth, but in a way he wasn’t before, he’s now at least able to move on from the failed kiss and continue working with her (and even stop giving Russell a hard time) without it becoming a big thing. At least not now, because this is a stuffed episode.

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After the end of “Rosalie,” Bash was a detached mess. And while he’s finally returned to his home, he won’t even go inside until all of Florian’s stuff (and any memory of him) is gone and the entire house is scrubbed down (in an AIDS panic), while he tries (and fails) not to break down outside. Post-Veronica Mars (when everyone hated Piz for not being a charming asshole), Chris Lowell has regularly played charming assholes, and grieving Bash is the closest Bash gets to being that type of character. But mostly, he’s just in an asshole phase, with Sam calling him “pissy.” Bash is so lonely, and he clearly feels like he has no one he can talk to about it, even though the entirety of GLOW has been about this group of weirdos coming together and being able to share anything with each other. Hell, even Ruth and Debbie were able to share all the things they’d kept festering inside about their friendship for years. It’s bittersweet that Yolanda and Arthie get their happy ending to close the season while Bash just retreats further and further from coming to terms with himself. It’s a warped version of the rich boy Bash who doesn’t want to grow up, as by all outward appearances, getting married means growing up.

And then we have the G.L.O.W. show itself, with the wedding leading into the main course of the battle royal. While it’s for his own selfish reasons pertaining to his own loneliness, it’s nice to see Bash essentially saving Rhonda from marrying Cupcake… until the focus is on Carmen’s visible heartbreak as a result of this. It only gets worse as Bash doesn’t just make it a friendly proposal but instead one where he claims to have fallen in love with Rhonda when he was crashing in her and Carmen’s room (which means he didn’t fall for Carmen, the one who actually liked having him around).

Ruth pointing out the most important part of all this—“Rhonda just married a millionaire without a prenup.”—and the girls and Keith throwing Toby out for making a scene—calling wrestling “fake” and dropping actual f-bombs—then shift the finale into turbo for the battle royal.

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Again, that rush of adrenaline defines this finale, as the battle royal for the G.L.O.W. Crown is absolute chaos (which Jesse Peretz does a confident job in capturing the feel of). “Chaos is good.” Despite not technically being part of the action, Alison Brie and Marc Maron’s back-and-forth in the director’s booth keeps the energy up just as much as the in-ring shenanigans. And there are a lot of shenanigans. But the best part of it all is watching Debbie wrestle against Chico Guapo (Chvo Guerrero Jr.) It truly is an exhilarating experience—albeit the ultimate culmination of all the in-ring anachronisms this season—that completely justifies the work these women have put in. And when I say “these women,” I mean both the actresses and the character. It’s still hard to wrap my head around how Betty Gilpin can transform the more absolutely ridiculous things that come out of her mouth as Liberty Belle into something believable yet still funny.

And as for the character, this isn’t a rehearsed match that Debbie had to pitch or audition: She’s calling it in the ring like a pro, working with the ebbs and flows of the crowd. She’s proving she’s a professional wrestler, not just an actor who’s playing wrestling. That appears to be the transition that season two has made for the G.L.O.W. Girls, as the first season version of them mostly was a bunch of women just trying to have fun and find a place in this world as it happened. Now, this is what they love and this is what they do and are good at. While Kurt and (mostly) Chico show up to shut the women down and call them out for being fake “fake fighters,” this is the turning point that says otherwise. Intergender wrestling is a big step for GLOW to take, but it makes sense as the big step Debbie chooses to take for G.L.O.W. It doesn’t absolve her of her actions this season, but it does show her worth in a way, which is all she really wants to do. In the ring, out of the ring, as a mom. And in this episode, she and everyone involved in G.L.O.W. get to do that.

Which leads to the point of “all hope is lost” with Glen’s bomb about them being unable to shop the show elsewhere, as well as Ray’s deus ex Vegas show. One more, the reality of G.L.O.W.’s actual history is jumbled up in GLOW’s artistic license, as Vegas was the setting for the original G.L.O.W. TV show, and now GLOW is giving us (with a potential third season) a full-blown Vegas act. As Ray (who’s just part of the gang now, still as awkwardly as when introduced, unfortunately) pitches it as the same show, every night, there are already questions about how a third season of GLOW will even look in this new scenario, in Vegas and away from the GLOWtel. It’s all pretty fast after the pit of despair of cancellation, and in a season that has featured interesting pacing for 20 weeks of in-story material, finally, the pacing doesn’t quite land. But it’s still exciting—and stressful to imagine—where the G.L.O.W. family will end up as a result of this.

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Sam’s “Oh, you’re gonna hate it.” to Ruth about Vegas is a funny line to end the episode and season on. Instead, it ends on Ruth’s face, realization sinking in that she probably is going to hate it (and maybe realization of other things). The end of this finale should be a triumphant one for Ruth, as she won the G.L.O.W. Crown (on a zip line, which is terrifying, given G.L.O.W.’s corner cutting), got a good guy, finally stood up to Debbie (and got some peace as a result), and actually has something really special going for her. But that’s not how we end, in a truly surprising fashion after that’s all that’s gone down in season two. Instead, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch end things on a The Graduate note. Adrenaline rush over.


Stray observations

  • As the radio show opening (with Jake Fogelnest as DJ Dan Lyon) confirms, even with the 2 a.m. time slot, G.L.O.W. still has a pretty loyal audience. And of course, the crowd for the final taping confirms it, with Sheila’s wolf pack out in full force and her accepting them like they’ve accepted her.
  • Rhonda: “We’d marry all our fans if we could.” Rhonda does an awful job of selling the wedding. It’s great. As is Kate Nash’s performance in this episode, as the typically carefree Rhonda is a ball of nerves the whole time. She looks great in Debbie’s wedding dress though.
  • Sam: “Finish your screenplay.”
    Justine: “Finish yours.” Who could have ever imagined Marc Maron killing it in such a beautiful father-daughter story?
  • Season two cut way back on the wrestling cameos, only bringing back Carlito as Carmen’s brother Kurt and introducing Chavo Guerrero Jr. (the GLOW wrestling trainer) as Chico Guapo. (This might also quietly confirm the rumor about a certain wrestler being less than gentlemanly to the actresses last season.) Also, I’m not at all surprised Chavo took the opportunity to rock Zubaz and a fanny pack as Chico Guapo.
  • Despite having no idea how Ruth wants him to handle it, Sam handles the Ruth/Russell pretty well. But note how Ruth looks when she rips the bandage off and tells him the news: She knows Sam can be petty, because he has been petty, and she’s worried she’s going to get punished for rejecting him. He’s more concerned with the fact his daughter’s gone and the possible flowers for the wedding though. Anything he needs to get over, he tries to do so at the strip club.
  • Keith and Cherry talk about the possibility trying to start a family again, and it’s easy to forget Cherry was coming off a miscarriage when the series began.
  • Cupcake: “It’s lonely living by yourself.” Cupcake Toby’s speech about loneliness is clearly what convinces Bash to propose to Rhonda. But I’ve unfortunately seen people completely misinterpret how the Bash story has ended this season—which is why I’ve questioned if the show has been too subtle—in thinking he really was just upset he lost his butler and was in love with Rhonda the whole time.
  • Chico: “You’re doing bad, scripted comedy bullshit, with goats.” Naturally, Sheila tries to bite his leg off for that one.
  • Carmen’s shirt: “THE LUMBERJACKSONS ARE MY FAVORITE WRESTLERS | I PEED THE BED TIL I WAS 10.”
  • As much of a sham marriage as it is, Rhonda’s surprise that Bash wants to buy her a ring is a nice moment. Even though he just professed his secret love for her, she still wasn’t expecting anything other than just the green card marriage. His desperate proposal, where he says he can make her happy and wants to make her happy signals that he’s going to force this as much as he possibly can to not feel lonely.
  • Did no one in the audience or on camera duty see the kiss between Arthie and Yolanda? The point of the battle royal is that it’s absolute chaos, so it’s possible no one noticed—and who knows where Beirut and Chola Junk Chain actually rank on the G.L.O.W. popularity lists—but as sweet of a moment as it is, it’s something to question.
  • Liberty Belle: “I’ve been baking pies at home! PIES OF RAGE!!” Sometimes I think I’ve imagined this show in a fever dream, and lines like that are why.
  • Bash: “Glen—get the fuck out of my gym.” And may we never see him again.
  • Debbie and Tammé’s little high five on the bus to Vegas? Beautiful.
  • Wrestling fans: What is your favorite wrestling wedding? As offensive as it is (so, perfect for GLOW), I’m a big fan of the Kane/Lita wedding. (The official WWE YouTube claims to have the full version, but it cuts out Trish Stratus’s maid of honor speech, which is legitimately the best part.)
  • It’s been real, marks.

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