Heels: The Big Bad Fish Man Recap

Putting it nicely, Charles Gully is a snake oil salesman. Just so people realize, there are spoilers coming if they don’t want to keep reading. If the trauma he discusses with Ace that happened to him at the age of 12 is true, then he’s made a hobby of cashing in on his own victimhood by assuming the world is a disgusting place and people willingly support this. That’s not entirely untrue really, but it also shows that Gully is the kind of guy that is willing to cash in on just about anything. Unfortunately, that gives him a serious edge since riling up a mob of people by giving them something to cheer for due to the shock value of it isn’t all that difficult obviously. Like it or not, there are things that people are willing to pay to see, and it’s a truth in entertainment as well as real life. Folks will pay for sex, even if all they can do is look, and they’ll pay to be shocked, amazed, disgusted, and horrified, so long as there are performers that are willing to show them such things. And Charlie Gully, scum that he is, knows how to give it to them. 

With only one episode left to go now, the finale of season 1 that will hopefully lead into a season 2, Heels is heating up in a way that feels a little too real since not only has Gully already taken Rooster from DWL, but made it clear to Ace that Rooster was the bait to get to him, since Gully thinks that Ace is the big star, at least for the moment. It’s been made pretty clear that Gully is the type that will find the talent, use them up for all they’re worth, and then chuck them aside to make room for the next big thing. It’d be nice to say that this isn’t how wrestling really goes in real life, but that feels like it would be a lie. Is Gully a stereotype? Yeah, of course he is, but he’s also the kind of stereotype that has a lot of basis in reality. The back and forth between Gully and the DWL isn’t something that was created out of thin air, since if anyone happens to remember the Monday Night Wars between WCW and WWF before it became the WWE, this is kind of mirroring that moment in time, and the sad part is that DWL would no doubt represent the WCW.

In pro wrestling, it’s more than apparent that the guys that are willing to go the extra mile and bleed for the crowd are going to get the ratings. They’re also going to get more attention because they create more drama, more tension, and more insane storylines that are acted out between the characters. Unless the faltering promotion that’s being outdone can come up with something other than the loyalty of their fans, then there’s little to no way to compete on the same level as the bigger promotion. Sadly, the DWL appears to be making the same mistakes that WCW did since the storylines are abysmal, one guy is holding onto the belt for way too long, and what worked in the past isn’t working any longer since the fans have grown tired of the same old thing and want to see something different and more impressive. The loyalty of the fans in the DWL is great and all, and it brings a warm feeling to one’s heart, but the moment that Charlie Gully set his promotion against the DWL, it was a sure sign that he was trying to put the promotion out of business. 

What’s really amusing about this is that it shows that Charlie is really worried about the DWL since not only did he paper the front of the Dome with expensive card stock images (hey, price that stuff out and you’ll see it’s not cheap), but he’s been poaching wrestlers from DWL not just to be a pain in the neck, but because he’s scared that they’ll actually do something great. Shock and awe can go a long way to gaining the business a person wants, but at the end of the day loyalty does win out sometimes, and if Jack would finally get creative and let his people come to him with ideas it would go a long way to giving the people of Duffy something they wanted, which is a new show and something that will blow their minds in a profound manner. The fact that so many people have been trying to tell him what needs to happen only makes him more and more like his father, which was seen at the beginning of the episode when Jack and his father managed to get into at the side of the road. In fact, Jack has become JUST LIKE his father at this point since not only has he grown stubborn and set in his ways, but he tends to think that he knows what’s best for everyone and is intent on proving it. 

There are plenty of things that happened in this episode and all of them are leading to a finale that already feels like it could easily lead into a season 2 since the idea that Gully actually admitted to Ace that Rooster was only poached to get him to come to Florida is a shady move that a lot of people would likely agree does happen and is one of the worst ways to recruit talent. But it is something that tends to happen, and while Rooster is a real talent, he’s also a very proud man that has a tremendous ego that he can’t shake. One has to wonder if the truth is going to be revealed to him in the finale and if he’s going to accept it as the truth as well. On top of that, one has to wonder if Jack’s arrival in Florida to upset the arrival of Ace to the FWD was a good idea now that we know that he has his father’s outdated mindset. His stomping of Charlie in the ring was certainly a fun moment to watch, but one has to wonder now since Charlie called for someone, anyone to come out and deal with Jack, is going to inspire Ace to stand with his brother, or finally turn against him for good since it doesn’t appear that Jack has that much faith in Ace’s decision-making capabilities. On top of that, it does feel that this would lead into a great season two rivalry that would pit a dying DWL against a thriving and maniacal FWD that definitely has the upper hand. 

Things appeared to be going just fine when it came to the idea of Jack finally losing the belt and accepting that it had to happen. He was even up to letting Wild Bill and Ace have a say in the creative process, which was unheard of since the season started and felt like it would never be resolved. Then, of course, the conversation broke down because both Wild Bill and Ace wanted the belt, and neither of them wanted to give an inch when it came to their point of view since Wild Bill still feels that he’s the main part of the show and the reason why people still come to see the DWL, while Ace feels that he’s the future and should be handed his legacy. To be fair, they both sound like egotistical morons, but the fact is that Jack can’t hold onto the belt forever and needs to do something dynamic to save the DWL, or he’ll watch it crumble as the Dome will probably become a parking lot or something else that would destroy the legacy of wrestling in Duffy. The funny thing about change is that it doesn’t always have to destroy what’s already there, it can also be used to enhance something that’s already great but needs a bit of a tweak now and then to let loose the elements that could lead to a new upper limit. Pro wrestling has been changing repeatedly since the days when it was first invented, and while today it might appear more like a circus than anything else, the core elements are still there and the love of it is still there. 

Despite what Charlie Gully is heard to say in the episode, that people who watch wrestling aren’t intellectuals, the truth is that wrestling appeals to the more basic needs of humanity and, truthfully, is something that allows people the privilege of giving in to a more bestial nature that makes it okay to watch men and women brutalizing each other. The fact that many know it’s scripted and will still cheer for their favorites and boo those they don’t like is even better since it’s a matter of buying into a fantasy that comes with few if any real consequences for the viewer. Those that put their bodies on the line and create an erratic lifestyle for themselves do so because of their love for the business and the fame that it brings them, and despite everything that can happen to a wrestler, many of them still do it because they hear the roar of the crowd and get addicted to it in their own way. Heels is a show that’s managing to bring to mind the struggles that go on inside, outside, and all around the ring, since the life of a wrestler isn’t easy, but it’s a choice, just as much as anything else in this life. 

One thing that could derail Jack and even twist up his marriage is the fact that Staci ended up finding out that Jack was the one that ordered the tissues that were tossed at Ace when he lost to his brother and ended up crying in the ring. This is important since the psychological damage that this inflicted upon Ace has had several very real consequences, since becoming a heel was the last thing that Ace wanted. He’s leaned into the role now though, which is funny since Gully wants to turn him back into a hero, which might actually be a turn for the worse since Ace tends to go one speed at a time and switching gears like this would be a huge shock to his emotions once again. But that turns us back to the end of the episode once more since the chance to be the hero has been laid out for him once again by Gully, but it would mean thrashing his brother in the ring in the process. It feels safe to say that Rooster wouldn’t come out to help unless he had a massive change of heart since now that he has what he wants, it’s all about Rooster, kind of how it’s been the entire time. The fact that he finally got his shot is great, and there’s no doubt that he belongs at the top, but despite having a ton of talent, Rooster really doesn’t have as much heart as many might have thought he did. 

Obviously one can’t point fingers without having to point one at just about everyone involved in the fight between DWL and FWD since everyone has one massive issue or another. Willie is quickly imploding, Jack and Ace have their own issues, Rooster doesn’t really care about anyone now that he has what he wants, and Charlie Gully is the guy working everyone into a tizzy. When it’s all said and done and the smoke clears from the finale, it feels as though a season 2 could be the best way to go, especially since seeing Gully get a bit of comeuppance would be great and seeing Jack knocked down a few pegs would be just as needed. When egos collide and lay waste to everything and everyone around them, the collateral damage becomes the responsibility of everyone involved, but in this show that’s when the finger-pointing tends to start. 


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