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GLOW Episode 9 ‘The Liberal Chokehold’ Review

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Crack should be my middle name. And also my first and my last name.

So, Bash is alive. He slides in 15 minutes late with an attitude that suggests Starbucks, and by Starbucks I mean blow, and he is desperate. He tries to find a way for the studio to give him a venue and it’s weird. He chalks it up to production “jitters”. He comes clean to Sam: his mother cut him off. His mother is named Birdie. Of course it is.

Sam has to break the news to the women of GLOW but they don’t take it. Ruth’s refusal to ever quit goes from grating to inspiring as she applies her theatre can-do-itiveness to this. They’ll fundraise, they’ll build it all themselves, whatever they have to do. It’s admirable, I’ve been there, but it also makes no sense. To get the Mayan dream venue they’ll need $9000. I don’t do math, but $9000 in the 80s is roughly ridiculous.

Birdie (Elizabeth Perkins, my girl) is planning a fundraiser for Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No campaign when Bash interrupts. She simply refers to the first lady as “Nancy”. She’s that kind of wasp. She is unmoved by Bash’s passion and mildly annoyed that he spent money on women’s wrestling in the first place. She makes no move to unfreeze his accounts and is in fact upset that he brought up money to her WASP face, “Since when do we talk so openly about money? What are we, Jews?”

While Bash is getting shut down, the women are in bikinis, washing cars. $10 for exteriors, $20 for interior work. In the midst of this Terrible Mark arrives and Debbie charges him double. Sam is surprised that that’s the guy, saying he expected “someone less like a giant Cabbage Patch Kid.” Cherry gets a call from a producer and is offered an audition. For what? We’ve no idea.

Bash appears, head hung low, to apologize for failing the women. They throw it into his face that they’ve been working hard to save the show, which falls a little flat when it’s revealed that their car wash only made about $280. Ruth vows that they’ll do a car wash every day, as long as it takes, “…because we have to do something.” Melrose, being true to who she is, suggest a topless car wash. But before that escalates Bash remembers that his mother told him to come to the fundraiser. Rich people, open checkbooks, they’ll give to anything that sounds good. So in conservative dress (“fancy Mormons,” per Sam) they head to Bash’s home.

Sam finds out he lost the Mayan fantasy venue and gets into some light, cocaine fueled shenanigans, luring the band to an empty room to snort off of a portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Reagan’s. This is the first time that Sam fully explains Mother Lovers on the show, the script he’s been working on for ten years, a “semi-autobiographical, psychosexual, time travel drama.” He proceeds to describe the plot of Back to the Future. The musicians he’s with let him know that his dream film is in fact in theaters right now. This is a tough break for Sam. He feels that he doesn’t have GLOW anymore and now he doesn’t even have the thing that is supposed to come after GLOW. So he handles that approximately terribly and goes on a bender to Perry Como. As one does.

Ruth and Debbie have a real conversation, where she thanks Ruth for staying out of the way as Mark is popping up again. It’s a nice moment between them, but Debbie says something overwhelmingly important, a feeling I’ve had that I’ve never seen anywhere before:

“I actually like wrestling… it’s like I’m back in my body, and it doesn’t belong to Randy… or Mark. And, I don’t know, I’m like, using it for me, and I feel like… a goddamn superhero.”

Wow.

Back in the main scene of the party, women are rubbing elbows, mingling, trying to get funds. At Bash’s urging, and a sincere introduction, they step forward to tell their stories of wrestling… and crack addiction. Every woman tells their own stories, some tinged with a little bit of truth. It all but confirms that Melrose has struggled with addiction for a long time. But really this segment is about Ruth. Standing on a staircase in clear view of Debbie, she uses the moment to confess, to beg pardon, to apologize:

“I hit rock bottom when I slept with my friend’s husband.  …but then I found wrestling, and it saved me.”

It is Ruth that hits home for Birdie, perhaps because it is full of truth, except for the crack part. She thanks Ruth for her honesty and while she refuses more money, she agrees to give Bash their ballroom at the Hayworth Theatre. For the moment, at least in some way, G.L.O.W. is saved.

Back in the land of Perry Como and cocaine, Sam is on the ground, out of it, when Stalker McGee aka Justine appears. She joins his self-proclaimed pity party to tell him something. Justine begins by consoling him, telling him that she cares about his work. Perhaps it’s youth or nerves, but Justine stays stuck to the moment despite Sam’s tangents, getting a little less heartbreaking and a little more nerve-wracking as they go on. However, when he seeks comfort and tries to kiss her, the truth spills out. Justine is his daughter. He gets defensive, his proven go to throughout the season, and asks her what the fuck she wants. Justine bolts and I don’t blame her.

Heel: Crack

Face: Bash, in a strange turn of events

Marc Maron Moment:

“Whatever you gotta say, you can say it in front of the girls.”

Mentionables:

“My mom is having a fundraiser!”

“…for women’s wrestling?”

“Liberal chokehold, you do like wrestling!”

“You certainly wear a lot of make up.”

“Aw, thank you.”

“He’s not poor, he’s broke. There’s a difference.”

“Eggs, bacon, bangers and mash, toast, marmite and crack.”

Whatever Jenny said in Khmer, which ended abruptly with “crack”.

Rating: B

NEXT: Season Finale ‘Money’s in the Chase’ Recap + Full Season Thoughts

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