‘GLOW’ Postmortem: Alison Brie on Ruth’s Decision in Episode 8

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the “Maybe It’s All the Disco” episode of GLOW.

Besides being an alternately hilarious and heartwarming tribute to the halcyon days of ’80s wrestling, Netflix’s breakout summer series GLOW is a thoughtful, timely tribute to the power of womens’ bodies. And according to co-creators Liv Flahive and Carly Mensch that was baked into the DNA of the series from the beginning. “A lot of our early conversations actually had nothing to do with any of the characters,” Flahive told Yahoo TV in an interview before the series launched. “We started talking about bodies; body types and body shapes, and how — because this was such a show about bodies — it was important to have all different shapes and sizes in the ring.”

The series has just as much to say about women’s ownership of their bodies outside of the ring. Case in point: In GLOW‘s eighth episode, “Maybe It’s All the Disco,” Ruth (Alison Brie) discovers that she’s pregnant following her much-regretted fling with Mark (Rich Sommer), the estranged husband of her ex-best friend, Debbie (Betty Gilpin). And so she makes the very difficult, but very necessary, decision to have an abortion. Unable and unwilling to drag Mark and Debbie into what’s ultimately her personal choice, Ruth asks her director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), to accompany her to the clinic and the two share a beautifully intimate moment that’s one of the highlights of the entire series. “It’s not the right time, not the right baby,” Ruth tells Sam, making it clear that she’s made the right choice for her own life and body.

“One thing I really appreciated is that she doesn’t doubt her decision,” Brie says in our video interview about this powerful episode. “Ruth knows this is what’s right for her, and she’s allowed to make that decision and go for it. It’s not the end of her world.” And the actress draws a direct line between her character’s choice and the show’s larger themes. “This is a show about women’s bodies and women having control over their own bodies, and knowing what they are and are not capable of. I think this episode speaks to that in volumes.”

GLOW is currently streaming on Netflix.

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