Episode 8 of Heels begins the season 1 finale in the past, with Jack taught some lessons by his dad, encouraged to lock up and wrestle. While Ace watches on, Jack’s dad implores him to quit. We don’t see a resolution to this though, instead cutting forward to the moments we left off last episode.
What happens with Crystal and the FWD?
During the FWD show a bottle is thrown in the ring, narrowly missing Jack’s face. With Ace turning to Jack’s side, the pair charge into the latter’s car and take off.
On the way, Jack reveals that he has plans to turn Bill into a heel while Ace is going to shift across to turn face and win the belt. Will it pay off? We’ll see. One spanner in the works though comes from Gully, who’s encouraged by Rooster to go and mess up Jack at the fair as revenge.
While everyone prepares for the big show, Crystal quits the DWL. That’s news to many people, including a young woman who’s a little disappointed she won’t be in the main event. However, Bill offers Crystal a chance to get back on the ladder, so to speak, serving as his valet. Given Bill’s valets have a pretty illustrious history, Crystal isn’t so sure she wants to go down this route and become just another Bunny B. Eventually though, she swallows her pride and decides to embrace this, with both Ace and Jack accepting this new character switch.
Does Staci forgive Jack?
Meanwhile, Jack heads home and finds himself facing his past. After buying Kleenex and manipulating Ace’s story, Staci calls her husband out and cuts through his fluffy excuses to question his motive and desire. According to Jack, he’s done all of this to prepare Ace for the real world. Given his family has a history of mean streaks, it seems like Jack is adopting some tough love for his brother. In Jack’s own words, he’s “trying to be his brother’s keeper.” Staci has obviously kept Jack grounded this whole time but Ace doesn’t have anyone.
Well, Staci decides to give Jack an ultimatum; either tell the truth to Ace or potentially lose both Staci and Thomas. Once he’s sorted out things with Ace then the pair can discuss their future and how that looks next to the DWL situation. For now, Staci prepares for her rodeo where she’s due to sing the national anthem. Jack wishes her well and is certainly regretful that he can’t attend.
What happens at the state fair?
The day of the state fair begins and Jack gives a rousing speech about family and putting on the best show of their life. This is it. The future of the DWL is now at stake.
While the matches begin and the crowd start to go crazy, Wild Bill heads into the bathroom and ends up popping pills, blurring his vision and spacing him out. While he stands next to Ace, Bill’s music hits first, leaving Ace and Jack alone backstage. Now, Jack has had trouble revealing the truth to his brother about the Kleenex situation and now is no exception. For the time being, the attention turns to Bill as he takes the microphone and calls out both Ace and Jack.
Well, the pair make it into the ring and join Bill, where the fight begins. With Jack and Bill both beating down Ace, the crowd begin chanting Ace’s name. It’s a natural turn, one that sees the match play out just like Jack scripted it to. That is, until Bill ends up soiling himself and plays dead by the side of the ring. Instead, Jack is forced to take Ace’s side on the ladder.
Now, unbeknownst to Jack and Ace, Gully happens to be in the crowd and starts a “Jack” chant, intending to throw Ace off his game. With tissues in hand, they begin pelting the pair with Kleenex in the crowd. The trouble is, this encourages Jack to admit the truth atop the ladder, which angers Ace. He throws a stiff right hand, knocking Jack down to the floor below. Instead of grabbing the title, Ace slips down, throws the ladder outside and beats Jack down in the ring – for real.
Who wins the ladder match?
Realizing that this could be her moment, Crystal steps into the ring and distracts Ace’s rampage. After using her hurricanrana on him, she next suplexes Jack before being encouraged to grab the ladder and the belt for herself.
It’s a great twist to the match but one that sees the future of the DWL hanging in the balance. Bill, having soiled himself of course, swallows his pride when he sees Gully charging for the ring. He runs full-steam at the slimy owner and knocks him clean-out, allowing Crystal to grab the belt for herself.
With the crowd cheering for Crystal, Jack and Ace both exchange glances before Ace skips out the ring and leaves, with the final shot on Crystal celebrating her big win.
Why is Crystal chosen to win the belt?
Most of Heels has been about the Spade brothers and their bitter rivalry. The early skirmishes in the ring mostly revolved around Ace and Jack in and out of the ring, with the former desperate to be liked and not turn heel – despite his questionable behaviour around town.
As the episodes have progressed, it’s become more and more obvious that Jack’s obsession with the DWL and making sure it stays afloat has caused a rift in his home life. He’s been neglecting Thomas and Staci, which eventually culminates in him making a big choice during the final match.
He recognizes that there’s more to this story than the brothers, and given how beloved Crystal is, it makes sense for her to win.
Crystal herself has ben tenacious and a focal point for much of the drama across this season too. She’s proven herself to be more than capable on the mic and in the ring, which Jack has been reluctant to accept until the final moments of this episode.
Crystal winning is an acceptance from Jack that he’s ready to pass the torch and allow someone outside the family to take the belt. This could have perhaps been Rooster but his bad attitude and hastiness cost him that chance. Crystal winning may not make sense kayfabe-wise (she’s not even technically in the match!) but it is a nice way to usher in a new era at the DWL.
Do Ace and Jack patch up their differences?
This question is a little harder to answer. The knowing glance from the pair seems to hint that Ace and Jack’s rivalry is far from over outside the ring. Inside though, Jack has accepted that he can’t always be there to fight Ace’s battles – which is some of the reasoning over him getting involved in the FWD. Now, Ace and Jack are both fine with Crystal winning the belt, especially if Ace’s satisfied smile is anything to go by.
As he turns to look at his brother though, Ace’s smile turns into a thinly veiled snarl. The way his upper-lip quivers as he looks at Jack only reinforces that the bad blood between the brothers is not over.
Jack seems to know this too, especially when Ace leaves the ring. His smile also disappears, replaced with regret over orchestrating the Kleenex situation all those episodes ago. For now, we’re left with big question marks over the future of Heels, and with no word on a second season (at least at the time of writing) the brothers’ feud is left unresolved.
The Episode Review
Heels bows out its first season with an excellent finale, one that rounds out all the big plot points – at least in the ring – but leaves lots of question marks over the future of our Duffy residents, including the Spade Brothers.
The bad blood between Ace and Jack is still simmering, as is the future of Jack’s relationship with Staci. She was the one who encouraged Jack to tell the truth to his brother, and he eventually does just that – in the middle of the ring at the most crucial point of the match no less. The trouble is, this seems to have destroyed what good will had been built up for the brothers until that point.
However, the other characters here do get a conclusive arc, including Crystal who’s been fighting to be recognized as a decent in-ring performer since the opening few episodes. It’s a nice nod to bring the story back around to her, and the win does help to do just that. Bill too gets a redemptive arc, finally swallowing his pride and doing right by the DWL by knocking out Gully. Even if it does mean he’s embarrassed after soiling himself, he too recognizes that the DWL is bigger than him.
Whether we’ll receive a second season or not is still to be determined but based on this showing, Heels absolutely deserves a rematch!