Heels’ season finale has finally arrived, and this week, the Spade family’s Duffy Wrestling League finally has its golden opportunity at making it big by performing in front of a sold-out crowd at the Georgia State Fair. However, much like professional wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin experienced in real life, the culmination of Jack Spade’s hard work in professional wrestling is unfortunately met with a personal crossroads that will determine his happiness and future outside of the ring. Fittingly, the season finale has all the bells (literally) and whistles of a wonderful professional wrestling event, such as spectacular visuals, unorthodox characters that are all wrapped up in the battle of good versus evil. But ultimately, the episode is spearheaded by the core theme of Heels, family, and the relatable and powerful emotions that come with it.
Similar to last week, this week’s episode, titled “Double Turn,” opens with a flashback that once again highlights the complex and somewhat tumultuous relationship between Jack and his father. More than that, it provides the foundations of Jack and Ace’s relationship, as a younger Jack tells an even younger Ace: “Trust me, loving you is better than liking you cause loving you means that I’ve gotta be there for you even when you’re a pain in the ass.” The flashback then cuts to Jack standing in the FWD ring (after punching Charlie Gully) and staring at Ace, with his actions and stare reminding us of Jack’s words of always being there for his brother. Moments later, the two brothers join forces and fend off FWD wrestlers to escape before having a heart-to-heart in the car. Heels’ opening this week not only sets up the expected retaliation of Gully and his promotion but, after a full season, finally brings the brothers together and allows Jack to express his caring side to Ace. Right from the jump, Heels provides us with adrenaline, happiness, and hope.
Although this week’s opening sets the tone for the DWL potentially delivering on its promise of a great show, as well as setting up the looming threat of Gully’s revenge, the true catalyst of “Double Turn” is Jack’s powerful meeting with Staci. Staci, who’s left home after discovering Jack planted toilet paper for fans to throw at Ace, meets Jack outside her friend’s home. Here, our lead character finally realizes the jeopardy his marriage is now in, and the incredibly difficult decisions he now has to make as Jack Spade, the man. The questions are also laid on the table for audiences: will Jack tell Ace the truth? What will happen if he does? Will being honest wreck the DWL’s big moment? It’s beautifully done in a way that makes us sit with the dilemma alongside Jack. In addition to this, Jack and Staci’s meeting once again highlights the magical formula that Heels’ team has created that allows them to mix wrestling-heavy topics and human relationships for their varied audience, and this summed up by Staci’s heartfelt message to Jack, where she emotionally explains, “A face is who I married.”
Elsewhere, the season finale effectively builds up to the conclusion by allowing other central characters to showcase the endearing sides of their personalities. This, in turn, makes us, the audience, further invest in the story and hope that it works out for everybody involved. The climax sees Jack put his DWL title on the line against Wild Bill and Ace in a ladder match. The actors, to their credit, pull off the wrestling sequences very well while keeping the focus on Heels’ narrative, which ensures that a sense of fear and doubt is maintained throughout. The climax also provides that central theme of good prevailing over evil, a story that pro wrestling is built off of, while still maintaining the complexities and layers which exist in Heels’ various stories. The elements allow for the series to end with a satisfying conclusion, as well as having a nice hook for a potential season 2.
“Double Turn” does have a few filler scenes, and the ease in which fans are swerved during Jack’s match is a little questionable, but ultimately, there are far more positives than negatives. Heels is a rare instance of a show, be it Hollywood or pro wrestling, exceeding audience expectations with its big event. Whether it’s visuals, emotion, in-ring action, and everything else in between, creator Michael Waldron and co. have left no stone unturned to deliver an epic finale that does what the show has done all season – enthral us and tug on our heartstrings while using the canvas of professional wrestling.
Heels episode 8 drops today (October 10) on StarzPlay.