[Reader’s discretion: This review contains upsetting themes including suicide.]
Episode 3: “Cheap Heat”
The third episode of Heels was bookended with scenes that could be interpreted in a number of ways, but the main idea here was that Jack is a lot like his father, and maybe to a fault. In the heaviest scene of the season to date, Tom Spade killed himself on the back porch. After going for a run across town, a lot like we’ve seen Jack do, he got home and went straight to the porch and shot himself. The episode ends with Jack on the same porch, crying.
We’re made aware that Bobby’s “normal” job is bouncing at a strip club. Rooster Robbins wanted a push and was becoming disgruntled for the lack of it.
The highlight of this episode was Ricky Rabies, played by CM Punk. Rabies came to the Duffy Wrestling League with his valet Vicky and his son, Wolfgang. We’re led to believe that Vicky is married to Ricky, but Ricky was a wife at home which is perfect.
We also met Eddie Earl (Joel Murray from Mad Men) and his wife, Annie, owners of a pawn shop and sponsors of the DWL. They’re also super religious and supply Jack with banners containing their name along with bible verses.
Ace is still the most volatile person in the Heels world. He was still vehemently against switching heel, and tried to win the fans back with a promo, but he ended up being jeered and having tissues thrown at him. Later, after a deep conversation with Rooster behind the venue, he ended up going full-tilt heel against Bobby in the main event. He called Willie a bitch as he walked behind the curtain, too, and I got hot at that. He apoplectically accepted that he’s on the dark side.
Ricky and Jack’s match was my favorite part of the episode. They had a bloody brawl before Ricky did his knee in towards the end. It was awesome.
Ricky Rabies is cooler than 90% of today’s wrestlers and was the standout of the episode. The story advanced nicely.
Episode 4: “Cutting Promos”
I think in order to give a new series a proper go, give it at least four episodes and then you can bail if you hate it. But this show get better as it goes on. It’s really starting to hit its stride and a lot of seeds have been planted for some major occurrences in DWL.
So a character called Wild Bill showed up at Willie’s house having “fucked up” at the end of the last episode. After the corporate-ass wrestling company he scouts for unveils a new title belt with LED lights, Bill gets shit-faced on the plane and goes full-Ric Flair (only wearing a robe and a belt). This eventually gets him fired from the company, and the episode ends with him again shit-faced on the roof of his motel cutting a loud promo in the middle of the night to no one.
One major seed that has been planted is the imminent budding romance between Bobby and Crystal, who spent a lot of time together in this episode. Bobby is completely different from Ace. Bobby cares about Crystal’s opinion and reveres her intelligence. After giving the boys haircuts backstage while they bantered over cards, Bobby invited her into his trailer, and the first thing we think is “wrestling business, yuck, sexual harassment,” but it’s Bobby. He runs his new theme music by her and it is so bad.
When Ace was in the bar earlier in the episode, he flirted with the bartender who seemed to be an ex-flame, and after he sees Crystal and Bobby galavanting on the trampoline together, he goes ahead and keys Bobby’s car and ends up in bed with the bartender. This also came after Crystal gave Ace a raincheck on going out to dinner after the DWL filmed a promo/brawl at a gas station. It’s looking like too late for Ace who had kept Crystal at arms’ length up until this point.
Jack and Willie also pitched DWL for investment to Eddie and Annie Earl, and Jack storms off when they don’t go for it. Despite its rich history and content library, the company is too small, too regional.
By the end of this episode, Staci had gotten a job. What pushed her over the edge was hearing about how Carol was basically a full-time mother/wrestling wife for Tom, Jack and Ace. Staci ended up getting a job at the grocery store she was walking through with Carol when she told her about this.
This was by far the best episode of the series so far. It’s a great love letter to wrestling that has me super-invested in the storylines.