GLOW Recap: Channel Flipping

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Photo: Erica Parise/Netflix
GLOW

GLOW

The Good Twin Season 2 Episode 8
Editor's Rating 4 stars

Last year’s Netflix documentary Long Shot revisited how an accused murderer was exonerated thanks to evidentiary footage of him at a Dodgers game while Curb Your Enthusiasm was filming. It was a kind of triumphal inversion of Ferris Bueller’s near-brush with being busted on camera at Wrigley Field during his day off. Unfortunately for Justine, she lacks Ferris’ uncanny evasiveness. Her mother, Rosalie (Annabella Sciorra, looking somewhat unrecognizable), catches her dead to rights on a late-night airing of G.L.O.W., peering maniacally into the camera while playing Zoya’s evil assistant in a scripted bit.

The cliffhanger is a bit of a comedown in an otherwise fantastical episode that, fittingly, widens the scope of Liberty Belle’s fictional pursuit of her kidnapped daughter, Savannah Rose. Although the dominant shenanigans still offer a needed break from the previous episode’s high drama, this half-hour accomplishes quite a bit given its mostly plot-free stakes: Rosalie’s aforementioned enter-stage-right and its attendant, ensuing repercussions; a chance for Arthie to finally layer Beirut with more than just terroristic howls (sharing your hospital candy with Sam apparently goes a long way); a vivid illustration of what Sam meant when he complimented Ruth as “an idea machine”; and some clarity on how they were going to compensate for Ruth (and hence, Zoya’s) prolonged in-ring absence (i.e. beef up Liberty Belle’s fan favoritism by having her overcome multiple ethnic heels).

“The Good Twin” is, prevailingly, a window into K-DTV schlock (Quilting Bee Easy was even more curiously quaint that imagined) and glimpse at what Sam had in mind when he decided to marry his drive-in-movie sensibilities with wrestling’s carnival culture and Ruth and Debbie’s well-honed instinct for soapy scene work. (Patio Town’s loss is Howard Foods’ gain, indeed.) What it amounts to is director Meera Menon and writers Nick Jones and Rachel Shukert’s wish-fulfillment blueprint of a wrestling show that blurs the lines between its physical competition and storyline service in a dizzying and colorful stream of consciousness. (Cult promotion-cum-combat telenovela Lucha Underground comes closest to approximating this in real life.)

Alison Brie continues her Emmy push by toggling back to pure comedy in the dual role of Zoya and her twin sister Olga, who’s held back in life by a deformed foot, caveman-like hairy limbs and the stifling repression of Communist Russia. Zoya recruits her for assistance keeping Savannah captive, but once Olga gets a whiff of some Hollywood hot dogs and lays eyes on Mickey Rourke, she’s as smitten as a freshly Americanized Balki Bartokomous. Beirut, Vicky the Viking (welcome back, Reggie!) and Fortune Cookie do their best to keep Liberty off Savannah’s scent, but thanks largely to Olga, mother and child are reunited and ready for a Paul Simon serenade.

That arc-within-an-arc is the episode’s (and episode-within-an-episode’s) backbone, as a succession of non sequitur, nonsense music videos and vignettes fill in the blanks. (Serious props for the implicit homage to Prince protégés Vanity 6’s underrated killer cut “Make-Up.”) Somewhere in between the two extremes is Black Magic and Britannica’s Faustian bargain (the latter’s brains in exchange for Black Magic animating a mannequin into Prince Charming … or as close as Bash can come), which culminates in a heated match pitting voodoo tricks against vixen wits. Alas, book smarts are rarely a match for bewitching enchantment powder, as this storyline lives to see another Saturday.

In GLOW’s continuing quest for inclusiveness, sequences are dreamed up with seemingly little purpose beyond making sure everyone has a role to play. A charity song titled “Don’t Kidnap” gives Carmen and others a chance to get their Paul Young on, Tammé gets to tour her new Welfare Queen action figure (Ernest would not approve), and Yolanda works out her feelings during Liberty Belle’s latest Griefercize session.

The whole exercise is a fun reset, albeit unexpected so far past the season’s halfway point, so the final two chapters ought to seal the deal on where Ruth and Debbie are at and — apparently — place Sam and his custody issues squarely into focus. Besides, neither GLOW nor G.L.O.W. can keep producing slick, pre-taped segments every week. What are they, made of rubles?

Apart From All That:

• The less said about Sheila and that goat, the better.

• Black Magic = Papa Shango.

• Not even Britannica can suppress Kate Nash’s pipes.

• Any K-DTV-like send-up invariably calls to mind Stay Tuned.

• There was only one inspiration for Beirut’s private dance.

• Kind of ironic that this almost entirely comedic episode was helmed by a director known largely for drama.

GLOW Recap: Channel Flipping