Glow Season 2 Review: The Squared Circle Goes Dark

Retro Wrestling comedy Glow gets serious for Season two with epic results.

Netflix capture

We love Glow here at Boxsetter and it’s not hard to see why. Season 1 introduced us to the wonderfully 80s world of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, based on a true story and full of characters you instantly fall for.

If you haven’t seen Glow before or just want a recap check out our Season 2 preview

Spoilers unleashed within

Whilst season 1 would see the team get together and begin to put on shows Season 2 sees the girls finally begin to film their tv shows.

This season makes a big leap from series one. It’s still full of 80s kitsch and hilarious moments but there’s a serious side to this season, it’s very much a black comedy.

The Arc of the comedy

The main plot of season 2 is based more on the storylines from the tv show they’re making and this revolves heavily around Debbie (Betty Gilpin) who’s Liberty Belle character is very much the star of the show. Her feud with Tamme’s character Welfare Queen (Kia Stevens) is a hit with the fans but it becomes clear that Debbie is having some personal issues when she humiliates her in the ring.

These personal issues are due to her divorce from Mark (Rich Sommer) after he slept with her best friend Ruth (Alison Brie) who’s character Zoya the Destroyer is also in the show. The reality of a broken family hits home more than in season 1 and she completely goes off the rails. So much so that at one point she breaks Ruth’s leg during a match, seemingly on purpose.

Turning face

Whilst Ruth is clearly the bad person in the scenario, it’s Debbie who comes across as the villain throughout the season. There are times when you can sympathise but she’s certainly not as likeable a character as Ruth whom you just can’t help but fall in love with.

It is, in fact, Ruth who is, of course, the lead star of the show although she plays an equal part this season to her Glow comrades. Alison Brie is one of those actors that holds a classic screen presence like Sophia Loren or Audrey Hepburn, we’ll say it again, you just can’t help but fall in love with her. She just has that leading lady quality that you can’t teach or learn, you either have it or you don’t.

Glow is of course filled with great characters and they all come of age this season. We learn a lot about the team and not all of it’s good.

Behind the mask

Director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) is, for a large part of the season, a complete git. You actively hate him at times but the writing is such that you like him as well. His fragility comes through this season as he tries to be a father to his daughter Justine (Britt Baron) whilst also clearly falling in love with Ruth who’s oblivious.

Carmen (Britney Young) is given a much bigger role as she is tasked with teaching the girls to wrestle. She really is the glue that keeps the team together and she develops into a much deeper character than last season which we love.

Character assassination

A lot of the girls are struggling to come to terms with their often racist and poor taste characters this season. Especially Tamme, whose son finds out about her Welfare Queen character, and Arthie whose character Beirut is a Middle Eastern suicide bomber. Arthie spends a lot of the season suggesting ways that she could evolve into a more positive character.

Its little touches like these that elevate Glow above your typical comedy series’. The attention to detail is perfect and the fact that it’s all based around the indie wrestling circuit of the ‘80s is just a cherry on top.

We won’t give away the ending of the season as it was just brilliant but it all comes to a head and they have to fight for the show in a true homage to The Muppets. Fantastic stuff that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

This entire season is a genuine rollercoaster of emotions which is all thanks to the standout performances by the cast as well as the excellent writing.

Senton Bomb?

So we loved it, that much is true but were there any downsides? Anything we would change? Honestly? Not a lot at all.

If we had to make any criticism, and we do, it would be that perhaps certain darker aspects of the season could have gone a bit further to give them more impact.

One scene which sees Ruth sexually assaulted by the owner of the network was hard hitting but it was brushed over quite quickly and perhaps could have been more extreme to hammer home the point. That said it would have been even more uncomfortable to watch so perhaps it was best left as it was.

The real thing

Episode 8 entitled The Good Twin is comedy gold as it is a whole “real” episode of Glow as the audience would have watched it at home. This issue is that it doesn’t add to the season. Its brilliant, don’t get us wrong but it would have been better as a special episode or an extra for the Bluray. It just felt a little like we missed out on another episode somehow.

There is a very subtle subplot throughout the season involving Bash who’s friend is missing. It turns out that his friend is Gay and has been ill with AIDS, only showing up when Bash gets a phone call from the Hospital to tell him his friend is dead.

The aftermath of this sees him getting cleaners to bleach his entire mansion but doesn’t go any further than that which is a shame. The AIDS epidemic was a huge thing in the ‘80s and it terrified the world, it still does of course, so this could have gone a lot further, perhaps it will in Season 3.

One more match?

One thing is clear from Season 2, Ruth has found a family and they are all willing to fight for the show as well as each other. With the only real exception being Debbie who we really feel for but is definitely the heel of the show.

One last complaint about the show, it’s too short! Seriously, We have been desperate for Season 2 and all we got was ten 35 minute episodes. Whilst this is the same format as Season one we really hoped this season would a be a full length 20 episode show.

Doing such a short season does achieve one thing though, it’s left us desperate for more. We really can’t wait for season 3 to see what happens next.

Did you enjoy Season 2 of Glow? How do you think Season 3 will play out? Let us know in the comments.

 

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