One of the reasons I love Heels is because it is a show unafraid to introduce a new gimmick that is clearly meaningful to one of its characters, that is clearly meant to be taken somewhat seriously, and then spend an entire scene just gleefully ripping on that gimmick. No one understands why Ace is the Condamned, not Condemned, and that includes my autocorrect. The ridiculous name only makes Gully more livid that Jack and Ace went rogue for the kickoff of the DWL and FWD cross-promotion — “My top guys got beat up by a non-word” — and from the outset it looks like the Spade brothers are going to have to pull out a few tricks if they want to both appease Gully (who keeps waving that lawsuit over their heads) and keep the story and characters they’ve built intact. Jack Spade is the Nicole Kidman AMC Theater Speech of Independent Wrestling Promotions — I say that as a compliment, mostly — and he’s not going to give that up for this barbed-wire-loving bully.
It certainly doesn’t help matters that immediately following the Condamned’s big entrance in the middle of what was supposed to be Rooster and the Hole’s invasion of the DWL ring, Gully demands that Jack make the Condamned perform in the cross-promotion. He doesn’t care that they are still building that character or that he’s supposed to be a “slow burn.” When it comes down to it, Ace is willing to give Gully what he wants and wrestle Rooster at Dystopia for the good of the DWL, but Jack knows he is the one who punched Gully and Ace shouldn’t have to be the only person making sacrifices around here. I’d argue that the only reason Jack had the opportunity and motive to smash Gully in the face was because Ace was being a real baby about stuff, but no one cares what I think. Both Spade brothers are trying to be better people, and it is nice to see that they seem to really mean it when they say they want things to be different from now on.
All of this is to say: Jack needs to come up with a plan that somehow makes everyone happy. Thankfully, part of Jack Spade 2.0 includes listening to ideas from other people, and after a little brainstorming session with Ace, Bill, and Willie, they apparently have something spectacular to offer Gully. And it must really be something, since Gully goes along with it knowing that a rep from Continuum, a streaming site and social-media app, is coming to scope out Dystopia to possibly put them on their service. If this Brooks Rizzo guy is impressed by what he sees, it could change the game for Gully and Dystopia.
At first, I was a little torn over Heels, a show that is supposed to be a behind-the-scenes look at professional wrestling, not giving us any behind-the-scenes as to how this main event is pulled off and instead just plopping us right into it as if we were audience members at Dystopia. But the last ten minutes of this episode are so much fun and can only be pulled off if we’re in the dark, so I get it. In the end, we are all Brooks Rizzo, staring up at the ring completely enthralled with the story playing out in front of us. Seriously, did you see that guy? He is so into it.
Here’s how it goes down: After Crystal’s Dystopia opponent ditches her in the ring, Gully shows up to make Crystal Tyler an offer she can’t refuse: He wants her to ditch the Spade brothers, accept a major signing bonus, and join Dystopia. Crystal goes on and on about how the Spade brothers gave her a home and have supported her and pretty much tells Gully to go to hell. And by “pretty much,” I mean she smacks him in the face. By the time she’s yelling DWL for life, the rest of Dystopia has entered the ring to back up their boss. That’s when Jack swoops in to show just how loyal the members of the DWL are to one another. Alas, it is all a ploy to get Jack in the ring — Crystal has betrayed him! She slams him with a chair and signs the contract with Gully. She’s a Dystopia girl now. Gully, too, finally gets to land a punch on Jack’s face. But, as the rest of the FWD surrounds Jack, the Condamned flies in on his trusty zip line. (Does the Condamned only travel by zip line? If so, I love it.) The lights go out, and when they come back, Jack and the Condamned are gone. It doesn’t much matter, it is a huge night for FWD.
We find the Spade brothers hiding under the ring, celebrating how successful the night was. It was good for Gully — he got to beat on Jack and show the power of the FWD. But it was good for DWL too — the Condamned’s story remains intact, and a compelling night at Dystopia only means more eyes will be watching the DWL.
Plus, as the Spades are waiting for the Dystopia venue to clear so they can get out from their hiding spot (the glamour of it all!), they have no idea that there’s one other way this has been a win for their promotion, perhaps the biggest win of all. When the lights come back on, Brooks from Continuum is gone. He didn’t stick around to see Gully take his final bow or meet the head of Dystopia. Nope, instead, he rushed backstage to find Willie and ask for an introduction to Crystal Tyler and the Spade brothers. He is very interested in what they bring to the table. Oh, baby, you thought you saw Gully angry before? I fear that was only the beginning.
• Staci continues to pull on the “Willie hands a woman from the county a wad of cash” thread and confronts Willie about it only to learn that the DWL cannot and never has been able to exist without some illegal dealings behind the scenes. Willie has inherited the dirty job since Tom’s death, and apparently Jack has no idea. Now Staci’s left with the decision to dump all of that on her husband or keep him blissfully ignorant.
• Why am I so worried about Big Jim? After Ace’s big Condamned reveal, Big Jim sits next to his buddy to make sure he knows that if he ever needs someone to talk to — not to be mushy about it or anything — he’s here for Ace. He reminds him that he un-retired so that they could do this wrestling thing together. It’s very sweet. If Heels hurts Big Jim after everything, I will rage!!
• Brooks Rizzo is played by Josh Segarra, and he is a welcome addition to the season. No, he does not do his Lance dab, although ringside at a professional wrestling event does seem like the place for it. The Other Two hive, rise up!
• When Gully corrected Willie for associating him with Pippin, a musical he believes to be inferior, oh buddy, I felt that.
• Ace really is having the time of his life as the Condamned. The character is a hit with the crowd, but when someone questions how both the Condamned and Batman can “be vengeance,” Ace’s response is: “I taught it to Batman. I taught him everything he knows.” Heels letting Ace be goofy has thus far been a great decision.
• Diego’s all bent out of shape that Bill treats him like an assistant rather than an equal. Once Bill learns this, he corrects it: He announces that he and Diego are co-hosts of the podcast and calls it “a great partnership.” Before things get too sentimental, Bill does flip him the double bird, but we all know that’s a big “I love you” from Wild Bill. He does have a heart!
• Okay, yes, we finally get a little more Crystal background: She visits her mom in prison, and they seem to have a pretty good relationship considering the circumstances. We get zero details on anything else, but it does look like her mom has been locked up for a while. More on this story, please!
• Crystal and Bobby are too precious for this world, and I do mean specifically the world of Heels. They really like each other! And support each other! And I am afraid that Brooks Rizzo guy is going to be super into Crystal and mess everything up! Hasn’t Bobby Pin been through enough?