Candy of the Year
Concerned Women of America
Mother of All Matches
Perverts Are People, Too
Work The Leg
The Good Twin
Every Potato Has A Receipt
Back for a second season, female empowering wrestling series GLOW returns for another 10 episodes of thrilling drama. The shallow, archetypal in-ring characters contrast beautifully with the well written, endearing drama for each of the women out of the ring with a decent amount of screen time give to each to help flesh out their storylines. Once again GLOW does an excellent job with its finale too, showcasing all the spectacle and thrills that come with wrestling whilst bringing a compelling close to each of the women’s stories. All of this culminates in a bittersweet ending leaving question marks around whether there will be a third season and if there is, just what direction it may take.
After their successful live show last year that saw Debbie/Liberty Belle (Betty Gilpin) beaten by Tamme/Welfare Queen (Kia Stevens) for the title, the ladies return to work to find a new cast member joining the team and a change in direction for GLOW, complete with cameramen, lighting and a strict broadcasting schedule. While the action on screen continues to improve with more elaborate wrestling moves, off screen the same complexity can be applied to each of the ladies as they deal with personal issues. From public attention and fans to sexual advances from a sleazy TV executive, GLOW’s second season is far more emotionally engaging and complicated this time around while never losing focus of what made the show so good the first time around. Around the middle of the season there’s a pretty big shift in focus too as the program is forced into an unsavoury time slot, threatening the very future of GLOW itself.
When GLOW dives into its personal drama, the show really comes into its own after laying the foundation with its excellent characterisation last season. From in-ring injuries to people stealing story ideas, GLOW has its fair share of dramatic moments, all of which sprinkled with a clever use of humour to prevent the show falling into melodramatic tones. This harmonious tone is some of the reason this second season works so well and the more emotionally charged narrative with higher stakes this time around make it quite the engaging watch.
If there’s one blemish with this otherwise solid season, it comes in the form of GLOW’s tonally awkward episode The Good Twin. While stylistically different and a complete change in pace to what’s come before, the episode feels like filler, playing on the incredulous, exaggerated skits and backstage shenanigans that are a common occurrence with wrestling. If there had been some build toward showing this side of wrestling it wouldn’t be so jarring but it comes out of left-field, devoid of substance and backstory in favour of an aesthetically different and jarring visual design. If anything, this episode actually takes away some of the great work done building toward the finale, putting the brakes on the emotional drama that came just before this in what’s obviously designed to be a deep breath before the finale, but feels more like a choked, sharp inhale of air.
It was always going to be different for GLOW to outdo the excellent work it achieved in its first season but with a more emotionally charged and empowering storyline this time around, GLOW does a great job matching the intensity of what’s come before. There’s a good amount of time spent with each of the ladies too, showing how they’re adjusting to their newfound slice of fame and how this ties in to their personal lives. The finale is the proverbial icing on the cake though, proving the show must go on no matter what and baaed on the work done during these 10 episodes, we hope the show continues for many seasons to come.