The rough and tumble comedic body slams of GLOW may put butts in the seats, but on-edge character arcs give the show rave reviews in a mighty third season.
After a dividing final season of Game of Thrones that threw the narratives of characters years-in-the-making out the window, GLOW continues to seep deeper into the lives of our gorgeous ladies to emotional and socially relevant results (even if that means keeping the action in the ring to a minimum)
Last season left many things up in the air.
Would Ruth’s relationship with cameraman Russell last, or would she end up in the arms of Marc Maron’s deadpan, but charming, Sam?
Are Betty and Ruth finally on the road to repairing their friendship? Was Bash’s TV wedding to Rhonda bound for honeymoon or divorce?
A lot of those questions remain unanswered in a way that practically begs for another season after a cliffhanger finale — a Las Vegas backdrop proving not to make for a ribbon-and-bows ending.
Things definitely get messy this season, and there’s a lot of soul searching in-between the casino floor and the stage.
The ladies of GLOW are shacking up at the Fan-Tan Hotel and Casino in Sin City for a three-month residency, an official Bash Howard production. Bash may own claim to the show’s name, but Geena Davis’s standout guest role as casino runner Sandy Devereaux is needed in a man’s world, and puts her in the spotlight for a new generation.
Instead of leaving the identity crises up to the leads, everyone seems to be wrestling with their own dilemmas in and out of the ring.
Race and cultural appropriation are a heavy topic this season and create new friction within the group.
This was briefly brought up last season when some wanted to switch costumes and identify a different persona that was less offensive than, say, “Fortune Cookie” or “Beirut the Mad Bomber,” but relying their childhood experiences of trauma makes it rawer this go around.
On a rewarding note, we’ve never seen our dynamic duo, Ruth (Alison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin), closer.
They’re at a place in their friendship they were never able to reach before the big extramarital affair. They’ve come to understand what is important to them on their own so that when they meet in the middle, it’s electric.
But by the powers that be, please, just give Gilpin a damn Emmy already.
Don’t get me wrong, Brie is a powerhouse on her own (she even directed an episode this season) but Gilpin turns the dial like no other. She can go from America’s sweetheart to power hungry prowler in an instant, and it’s captivating to watch.
Ruth’s other relationship, with director Sam, falls on the back burner this season. While they finally reveal their feelings for each other, there is still a distance between them that has more to do with Sam than anything, even if he is getting better at showing his feelings.
One of the most interesting couples this season is Bash (Chris Lowell) and Rhonda (Kate Nash). Their green-card marriage is proving to come with it’s ups and downs, playing out like a business venture than an actual union.
We finally get to explore Bash’s sexuality, something that has been a silent force in past seasons. He is coming to terms with it more than anyone, but handling it for the wrong reasons.
It’s fitting that the last scenes of the season take place in an airport, with each GLOW member jetting off to their own destination. They’re going away from the core fold for now. And maybe even the ring for good.