Lately, it feels like every movie has us thinking, “What the f*ck did I just watch?” In this series, we will break down exactly what happened in all those wild, mind-bendy, and just plain strange flicks…in a way that’s much easier to understand than the actual film.
THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR NETFLIX’S Spinning Out.
2020 came in so hot that somehow nobody noticed the sudden appearance of a downright bizarre Netflix drop. Welp, it’s a frosty new ice-skating show called Spinning Out that stars January Jones from Mad Men and Kaya Scodelario, a.k.a. the girl from The Maze Runner. The campy series is getting me through the fact that the Olympics this year are, sigh, of the summer variety. You absolutely have to watch, but I can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to follow the twists and turns that come faster than a combination double axel triple toe loop—if that’s a thing. It even has some mother/daughter drama to satisfy all of the I, Tonya fans out there.
If you’re the type of person who loves Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir’s outfits and swoons over Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s on-ice chemistry, then Spinning Out is absolutely the show for you. In fact, Weir is actually in the cast, and the show blatantly stole Virtue’s Moulin Rouge look for its leading lady. (Though, my inner figure skating expert who comes out every four years wants to make sure you know the characters on Spinning Out are competing in pairs figure skating, whereas Virtue and Moir are ice dancing champions. It’s a different sport.)
Let’s get into it. The show is about Kat, an Olympic hopeful who is ready to quit singles figure skating after an injury shatters her confidence. At least three men are in love with her at the beginning of the series, which, good for you Kat? But she ends up romantically and professionally paired with Justin — who Spinning Out tells me is supposed to be a Bad Boy™ but has a wholesome vibe about him that is just so distinctively… Canadian.
Kat and her mother both have bipolar disorder, both struggle with managing medication, and are constantly getting in fights with each other or Kat’s sister Serena (another figure skater) about something. I’m not calling them crazy or making light of manic episodes. Spinning Out actually has some interesting things to say about whether or not the Kat should disclose her disease to the figure skating community. I’m saying that on the show they are literally getting in so many fights that it’s difficult to keep track of who’s mad at who and why.
There are also a lot of weird Hunger Games references in Spinning Out that make me feel like some kind of crazed truther. Maybe I was primed for it. Kaya Scodelario was one of the actresses up for the part of Katniss Everdeen back in the day, and fans of her performance in the gritty British teen series Skins, myself included, rallied behind her. So anytime I see Scodelario in something new, I’m already thinking a little bit about what might have been. It also doesn’t hurt that her character’s sister on Spinning Out is played by Willow Shields, who actually was Katniss’s sister Primrose Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies.
But then I realized that Scodelario’s character on Spinning Out is named Kat… Baker. What was Peeta’s job again? He was a baker! Then, as I was running around my apartment looking for a tinfoil hat, I heard Kat and her partner Justin make jokes about foraging for berries in the woods to survive. Two episodes later, Justin blatantly said that they looked like “the Hunger Games tribute parade” in their figure skating costumes. What is going on?! There’s no reason for this show to be Hunger Games fan fiction and it’s wigging me out.
No lie, I watched the first half of this season without knowing what episode I was on. The show just kind of happened to me. So much is happening on Spinning Out that you might forget Queer Eye’s own Jonathan Van Ness has a cameo as Johnny Weir’s choreographer. I also want to point out that while there are obviously body doubles for all of the really hard jumps and stuff, Kaya Scodelario had a baby not that long ago, and I’m incredibly in awe of how in shape she is on this show.
But then the show just kind of ends right before Justin and Kat’s long program — but after a series of reveals about literally every other character on the show. I don’t care about Kat’s little sister, her best friend, and why her Russian coach lied about her ex-girlfriend showing up after 40 years. (OK, I kind of care about that last one, because wow.) I just want to know if they won the stupid competition! Somehow, I managed to get sucked in to the drama of Spinning Out the same way I get sucked into figure skating drama at every Olympic games. If you need me, I’ll be looking up the definition of “salchow” for the fiftieth time.