Heels - Wild Bill

Last week, Heels delivered a championship-worthy show, particularly due to its fantastic climax that opened up new and intriguing possibilities. In Heels’ latest episode, titled “House Show,” Jack and co. are left to deal with the outcomes of last week’s chaotic ending. Jack is now tasked with trying to help sell ten thousand tickets for the State Fair while dealing with the dilemma of including Wild Bill. Also, the pressure of trying to uphold his duties as a husband and father. Elsewhere, Ace is left with the burden of trying to right his wrongs with Bobby and Crystal, and at the same time, has to prepare to deliver a speech at the christening of Duke’s baby girl. The episode, interestingly, seems to take on the belief many wrestlers have when they say professional wrestling is about “the moments” because this episode of Heels isn’t consistent from start to finish, but it does feature memorable moments.

Episode 6 opens with a flashback that shows Willie Day speaking to a distraught Tom Spade in the DWL office that overlooks the dome. Tom talks about his failures while Willie tries to console him by explaining that Tom’s created a joyful place for people. The scene quickly transitions to the present day as we see an older Willie now looking at a blank chair and when she looks back down at the dome, she watches as DWL wrestler Apocalypse runs a counselling session for recovering addicts. Not long after, we see Jack running around his home, solely focused on his phone call from the State Fair. In addition to providing a compelling mix of uplifting and heart-breaking moments – this opening symbolically shows the beauty that exists in the DWL, as well as the pain and struggles it caused and is now causing the man of the Spade family.

Mick Foley Heels
Starz

Heels once again plays to its wrestling audience with the inclusion of legendary wrestler Mick Foley, who plays an ex-wrestler turned podcast host, who conducts an interview with Jack to promote the DWL’s big show at the Georgia State Fair. It’s a short and sweet scene that showcases Foley and the modern landscape of professional wrestling, where podcasts have become a trademark way of promoting big events. Plus, the interview itself effectively shows Jack’s uncertainty surrounding the key players for the big show, which leaves us with question marks surrounding our other marquee characters.

After watching an old home video from his childhood, which shows Tom Spade touting how special Ace will be, the former DWL babyface seems intent on trying to live up to his father’s words. This all leads to a beautifully symbolic and touching speech from Ace at the Christening in front of his friends, family, and wrestling peers – including Bobby and Crystal – that highlights his own life, as well as celebrating Duke’s daughter’s future. Although Ace portrayed a babyface in the DWL early on, this was the first time he’s truly been a face in Heels, and it was an effective way of having the character win over the audience. 

“House Show” is, as mentioned earlier, made up of moments, and while Ace’s speech was a great moment, the episode is stolen by Chris Bauer’s performance during Wild Bill’s heart-breaking confession to Willie. Bauer showcases all of Bill’s now trademark pompous traits early on in the scene, showing how his ego refuses to allow him to muster up an apology. However, after Willie’s fury ups the ante in their conversation, Wild Bill finally pours his heart out to Willie, explaining how she broke his heart when she chose to manage Tom Spade over him, which also led to the end of their romantic relationship. Similar to Ace, this is the first time Bill becomes a sympathetic character, and Bauer brilliantly shows his vulnerability with expressions that highlight how difficult this moment is for Wild Bill. It’s a powerful scene that, in the end, provides a potential new beginning for the DWL and its participants.

Much like Bill and Ace, Jack has a powerful moment of his own when Staci highlights how Jack needs to be there for his family. However, despite these great moments, this week’s outing of Heels doesn’t quite possess the consistency of past episodes. It relies too much on great speeches and performances to carry the weight of the show, but there’s a fair share of filler and lumbering around until these moments come around. It’s particularly noticeable during an unnecessarily long scene featuring Bobby, Apocalypse, and Rooster indulging in dressing room banter. It overstays its welcome and doesn’t add a whole lot to the overall narrative.

In the end, there’s enough to make this week’s episode a worthwhile viewing experience. The story of Heels this week seemed to revolve around a new beginning for Jack and co. as they look ahead to what may very well be a life-changing moment for everybody involved in the DWL when the wrestlers perform at the State Fair.  

Heels episode 5 drops today (September 19) on StarzPlay.

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