In my earlier evaluation, I wrote that GLOW’s second episode feels a lot just like the second half of the episode that the pilot itself feels weaker in consequence. The best motive being that “Slouch. Submit.” doesn’t comply with the standard second episode construction of merely being a extra polished retread of the pilot. As a substitute, it continues on from that episode, giving extra coloration to the world and formally establishing the remainder of the season. The place the pilot had montages and a potential set-up for the main hero (babyface) and villain (heel) battle of the sequence, episode two offers true character introduction and the precise initiation of mentioned battle. Whereas the pilot’s climax of Debbie confronting Ruth is so visceral that it offers a long-lasting picture to finish the episode, it’s arguably additionally rushed: Debbie throws out a line that Mark advised her every little thing, however since she’s principally an extension of Ruth at that time, nothing extra is made from that. “Slouch. Submit.” takes us to Pasadena and into Debbie’s world, whereas additionally giving us one thing to chew on throughout the G.L.O.W. world. Collectively, each episodes make one thing entire.
And after introducing the viewers to a lead character who’s type of the villain of the story, “Slouch. Submit.” introduces the potential for somebody aside from Ruth being the true villain of this story, Melanie “Melrose” Rose (Jackie Tohn). The soundtrack of Roxette’s “The Look,” the non-public limo, the altering within the car parking zone—Melrose is already a “character” who may be prepared for primetime. Like Ruth, she’s additionally an outcast within the G.L.O.W. group, solely it’s extra clearly by selection in Melrose’s case. See, Melrose is the kind of one who would brag endlessly about not having any feminine buddies, whereas Ruth would marvel why she has no feminine buddies, regardless of her habits. Ruth clearly doesn’t need folks to hate her, however there’s no reply as to why she expects them to love her. For instance, even when the G.L.O.W. Ladies have been to simply accept that her struggle with Debbie was merely a skit, that wouldn’t change issues like the way in which she simply has to insert that her “buddy” was written off Paradise Cove when Jenny (Ellen Wong) talks about Debbie’s storyline.
Melrose is your upfront, apparent heel, who immediately makes you assume, “hey, perhaps Ruth’s not so unhealthy”—particularly since, with Ruth, there’s nonetheless a tinge of an argument that she means nicely. On this episode, Melrose mainly proves Cherry’s (Sydelle Noel) studying of her (as a wealthy, daddy’s lady who simply needs folks to assume she’s “attention-grabbing”) utterly proper. On the burger place, she pays a $20 tab with a $50 invoice. When she talks about Cherry placing her in a sleeper maintain, she just about goes into full “Wait ‘til my father hears about this” mode (“That was a sleeper maintain.” “That was a lawsuit.”). She finds amusement in turning Cherry’s actual miscarriage right into a joke. It could be a lot simpler for Melrose to be the villain, particularly since there’s no connection to her on this story the way in which there may be with Ruth. You would say Melrose is mainly a cartoon villain, if not for the truth that Sam instantly factors out how silly all of her habits is.
The factor about Melrose is that she barely even cares sufficient to take this significantly, particularly not on the stage Ruth does. However earlier than Debbie re-enters the image, you may nearly see how Ruth may presumably switch her heel warmth over to Melrose. Or a minimum of how she believes it could be attainable. In any case, regardless of how a lot Sam dislikes her, I don’t assume Ruth even thought of she’d be something aside from the Hulk Hogan or Ric Aptitude of G.L.O.W. till Debbie confirmed her personal “starring function.”
Ruth is clearly extra passive aggressive in her habits (see the way in which she huffs within the first scene, ready for Melrose to acknowledge her), some extent Sam hopes to show into precise aggression for the present. There are moments the place Ruth comes throughout like a pushover—whether or not it’s her confrontation with avenue youths or giving Melrose her higher footwear to coach in—however I don’t assume that’s the easiest way to explain her. As a result of ready an hour in a toilet stall to speak one-on-one with a casting director is many issues, however “pushover” just isn’t certainly one of them. In reality, it’s one thing that Sam hits on when he talks to Ruth on the finish of this episode: She’s merely pushed by desperation. Ruth is determined to be favored (she even tried to discount with the road youths to simply give her again her keys), on the very least, and really determined to be taken significantly, to be acknowledged. As weird as her “particular expertise” of impersonating “Audrey Hepburn profitable an Oscar for Roman Vacation” is, I’d say nothing describes what Ruth needs out of life greater than that second.
In the meantime, this episode additionally confirms that Debbie completely isn’t as glad along with her post-career life as she beforehand claimed. That’s to not say she resents having her child—even when he’s a “shitty little biter”—however the truth that she spends her time at dwelling, watching Paradise Cove and having to see the girl who changed her, is clearly depicted extra as a punishment than the liberating selection she described to Ruth. And what does it say that coked up Sam Sylvia may see that when Debbie’s personal greatest buddy clearly couldn’t? (Additionally, word the way in which Ruth tells Sam that Debbie might be in Pasadena along with her child. It’s a combination of resentment and condescension whereas additionally probably not being both.) Sam clearly needs Debbie as his lead, however he additionally sells her on G.L.O.W. in a manner he hasn’t to anybody else—in a manner the place he truly lights up and reveals some true ardour. He even realizes that she was written right into a coma (and ultimately off the present) as a result of she wasn’t only a pushover actress who would smile and play dumb. He sees a fireplace that she’s holding again. So “fuck well mannered and comatose,” he tells her, which clearly doesn’t simply to use to a cleaning soap opera.
In concept, Ruth has all these traits too—Sam’s description of Debbie brings up how she in all probability “requested too many questions” and “improvised a number of too many traces”—however the way in which she presents them comes from a unique place. Like how she talks to the ladies in regards to the concept of G.L.O.W. being a real “ensemble,” though her actions say she’s rather more about self-interest.
Cherry’s someplace in the course of all this, character-wise, and after displaying indicators of fierceness within the pilot, “Slouch. Submit.” goes full pressure in including layers (aside from badass) to the character. This episode truly works very nicely to provide a lot of the supporting characters some coloration, different than simply background. We now know Rhonda (Kate Nash) is well mannered and all the time down for a superb concord; Jenny is an actual TV junkie; Arthie (Sunita Mani) is pre-med and likewise a bit starstruck by Debbie; and Carmen (Britney Younger) is presumably the largest ray of human sunshine there may be. (I’m not wanting ahead to the second somebody upsets Carmen, as a result of why would you ever need to upset Carmen?) Even the salon women, Daybreak (Rebekka Johnson) and Stacey (Kim Gatewood), have a humorous second when Stacey thinks Sam is praising her, just for Daybreak to tell her it’s clearly about Debbie.
However Cherry, regardless of her powerful exterior, is an attention-grabbing supporting character to start out with (alongside Melrose), as a result of she so clearly excels at this compared to the opposite girls. For as a lot of a multitude as every little thing is true now, there’s a real pleasure that comes from watching her achieve coaching the ladies, a pleasure that Melrose has to destroy as a result of… As a result of Cherry doesn’t discover her amusing? As a result of Cherry’s not some man she will be able to appeal along with her (and this can be a fairly good description) “‘please objectify me’ vibe”? Whereas Ruth/Debbie is clearly the bread and butter of GLOW, this episode offers one other attention-grabbing dynamic in Cherry/Melrose; although this one is much more reduce and dry when it comes to good and unhealthy. Clearly life and wrestling aren’t all that black and white. However generally individuals are simply dicks, and “Slouch. Submit.” makes certain to level that out early on for the sequence. That’s only a useful life lesson.
- Ruth: “Type of bouncy.”
Arthie: “But in addition type of made from wooden and metal.” I’ve heard a whole lot of the “Wrestlers simply land on a giant mattress!” argument earlier than, so I’m glad GLOW nips that within the bud pretty rapidly.
- Jenny: “I watch a whole lot of Homicide, She Wrote. And Wheel Of Fortune. TV, normally.” The ‘80s!
- Unsurprisingly, Ruth is fast to fireside again at Melrose that she couldn’t have presumably been in a Brian De Palma film, even when it was only a minor function in “the porn dance get together in Physique Double.”
- In Ruth’s protection, she does have a superb, very actual level about males all the time being in cost within the leisure business and simply how arduous it’s to get forward that manner. (Although Melrose is true to name her out on her “sisterhood” vibe.) On the similar time, from every little thing we noticed about Salty “The Sack” Johnson (or “sackballs man”), he was a consummate skilled and—though Cherry does a superb job with Carmen as her quantity two—the proper trainer, when it comes to making the strikes look as straightforward as they presumably may for the women. Then once more, he made the three depend when Debbie pinned Ruth to the mat, so I suppose Ruth wasn’t a fan of that.
- Sheila: “Don’t arise straight. It’s a must to be submissive. She’s the alpha and also you’re the omega…Submit. She would possibly kill you.” The very best half is that Ruth truly goes with Sheila’s (Gayle Rankin) plan. That’s how determined she is to keep away from one other confrontation. Plus, Sheila actually is attempting to assist. That’s gotta depend for one thing.
- Debbie (to Ruth): “What are you doing?”
Sheila: “She’s submitting.”
- Sam is simply actually unhealthy at being comforting, whether or not he’s trying to place his jacket on Debbie (her response is priceless) or, nicely, every little thing he does because of the “miscarriage bullshit.” His “apology” to Cherry might acknowledge their historical past, nevertheless it’s actually unhealthy. Like, Ruth’s “It simply occurred” re: the affair type of unhealthy. He goes on about how he’s a director who will do what he must do to get what he needs,” which actually solely foreshadows extra badness down the highway. And that promise to pay Cherry double her wage for working as each an actor and a coach? Uh huh. Positive.
- Ruth: “So I’m fired?!”
Sam: “No! Are you an fool? You’re chum. You’re blood within the water. Debbie’s the hero and also you’re the villain. All people’s gonna hate you.”
Ruth (crying): “I don’t need everybody to hate me.”
Sam: “Oh Christ. Crying. Caring. The desperation. That’s what makes you insufferable.” The glee with which Marc Maron says “All people’s gonna hate you” is totally pleasant.