In case you’ve forgotten or you’re new here, this is your reminder that, emotionally speaking, Heels is one of the best things we’ve got these days.
For a full recap of Heels Season 2 Episode 3, just click that link.
For the purpose of this review, we’re going to discuss two developments because they’re worth the deep dive.
While more happened than the two areas we’re about to cover, these are so juicy that everything else pales in comparison.
Crystal’s rise and the need for a women’s league come first.
Women in sports and violence against women
There is so much conversation of late about women in sports, and there’s no better jumping-off point than examining the physical power imbalance between males and females in the context of professional wrestling.
The audience was divided when Crystal Tyler grabbed the belt for herself. Part of them loved the shtick, and others thought it was a ruse. A woman, especially of Crystal’s size, was highly unlikely to win the belt fairly.
Because she’s been accepted so quickly and cheering her on is a new favorite pastime in Duffy, she got her big break, and she was written into the DWL.
It was only a matter of time before reality smashed up against that dream, no matter how fun it was in theory.
“Discord” made a point to note it’s a good time for a women’s league because violence against women is on the rise. Is there any data to support that? Not that I can find.
Data has always been skewed since so many women don’t report violence against them, but overall, there have been many laws and measures put into place to make reporting it less painful and ensure those who engage in it are taken to task.
What is true is that we know a lot more about it when it happens, thanks to social media and the influx of cameras and video. When someone is abused, it’s much harder to escape culpability than it once was.
And most certainly, a news broadcast about a woman being “rag-dolled” would do irreparable harm to a wrestling league looking to make rag-dolling a woman in the ring a form of entertainment.
What takes place in the fictional world of a professional wrestling ring is not the same thing as a professional athlete abusing his significant other.
Debbie’s rant about it puts words to what many people think about these situations.
Debbie: It’s so sexist that we can’t have make wrastlers beatin’ on female wrastlers because people get upset when they see real men beatin’ real women. I mean, OK fine, but, how come they can’t separate the two? I, me, the Debs, know Crystal gettin’ punched in the face is pretend for my entertainment, just like when it happens to Jack or Diego or Bill.
Crystal: I said this exact thing to Bobby.
Debbie: Why can’t people find it cool that a man twice her size is launching her across the room. She’s in character. She’s not dead. She has the belt. We’re gonna make sure she wins. We just don’t want it to look implausible every second. She needs something to fight against. You show me a woman who doesn’t have to fight against men. You can’t. So sexist. And the heck with women who can’t handle watchin’ it. I’m so sick of estrogen and fragile female egos.
But you have to keep in mind that there are fans of professional wrestling who refuse to believe the storylines are scripted, too. In other words, we are not all alike, and it’s better to err on the side of caution than add fuel to a raging fire.
The last thing anyone wants is to be held accountable for actions over which they have no liability. Crystal wants her chance to shine, and the DWL wants her to fly. Putting her into a ring against a large male opponent, even if she wins handily, could send the wrong message to the wrong people.
It’s just not worth taking the risk, especially since there is a viable alternative and a growth opportunity to boot.
If men can do it, so can women. They don’t have to compete against each other, but they can coexist.
We need a women’s division. It’s time.
Willie Day has been aching to have more in-ring responsibility, and creating a women’s league will be an excellent use of her talent. She believes in Crystal and has been in the position herself.
Willie understands the business like few others do, and if she thinks she can make something of a women’s league, there’s no reason to doubt her.
We’ve never seen much of other women in Crystal’s shoes on Heels, but it will be very fun to find out what can become of it. And it squashes any of the ickiness that the series is promoting violence against women at the same time it does it in the DWL.
You can’t run from yourself
The Spade men have had a tough time of it lately. From Tom taking his own life to Jack and Ace struggling in the wake of it, it’s been rough going for them.
Tom Spade killed himself rather than face the facts of his life. It made an indelible impression on his sons, and Jack can’t shake the fact that Spade men are made for nothing more than the legacy Tom left behind.
Everything that has happened since his death, though, has given Jack and Ace a chance to grow, and with “Discord,” it seems they’ve finally learned lasting lessons that will solidify their relationship with each other and everyone else.
To find their way back to each other and a place of peace, they’ve had to sink pretty low. They’ve had to run, not as far as Tom, but metaphorically, it wasn’t far behind.
Ace chucked it all to find himself, and what he found was that he was not worthy of everything he wanted, and he alone is to blame for where he finds himself now.
We discussed in my Heels Season 2 Episode 2 review how Ace believes he’s owed a living, and it took falling over a cliff and spitting in the face of his saviors to realize just how far of a drop he’d experienced in life.
I’m not going to post them here, but I captured some incredible dialogue between Jack and Ace in the Heels quotes once they found each other again and began sharing their realizations about themselves and how desperately they wanted to be worthy brothers once more.
Heels writers excellently captured what it’s like to uncover your dirtiest secrets are all of your making and what it feels like to want to wipe the slate clean and start again.
There was room for both Jack and Ace to admit their faults and share what they’d learned about themselves. Their conversation was raw and passionate, and from the heart.
It was exactly as you’d expect brothers to communicate, simultaneously blaming each other and themselves, using self-deprecating humor and a keen understanding that if anyone could get what was driving their behavior, it was the other.
Their conversation wasn’t sophisticated because they’re not sophisticated, but it was multi-faceted and showed the power of hindsight, love, and forgiveness.
We can’t go it alone in this world. If nothing else, we get lost in our own heads, failing to realize where we’ve come from or where we’re going. Jack and Ace have had each other, but they’ve been reluctant to fully open up to one another.
Now that they have, we can only imagine what it will mean for their family and the family business.
They’re going to need each other and everyone around them to make it. Jack has to stop cutting off his nose to spite his face. Charlie Gully offered a way to move past transgressions, and when Jack didn’t accept (those olive branch mentions cracked me up), he decided to wave around his power legally.
The DWL can’t withstand a legal blow. They’re barely holding it together. But this story is the equivalent of The Little Engine That Could, and if they work together, they can climb mountains.
If the rest of Heels Season 2 promises episodes as moving as this one, it will be well worth the journey no matter where it ends up.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.