Watching Heels, I need to stop and take account of my choices in life. Why? Because I thought once that Stephen Amell was a good actor. I thought that he had range and depth. I thought that he was more than Oliver Queen.
I was wrong.
Let me say – I am only reviewing the first four episodes of Heels, so if you see a change in sentiment after episode 4, what you are getting is not me. I am more critical than most. But what happened with Heels is that I go through ups and downs and every single time I think that I have found emotional investment, what I have truly found is boredom and hope for a show that made a mistake casting an actor that truly may have found his peak playing Oliver Queen.
And that’s okay. That’s not diminishing Stephen Amell as an actor – no matter what you think. It’s saying that unfortunately he may be able to do stunts, but as soon as the words come out of his mouth, you wonder if you ever have to admit that you were wrong when you said that people didn’t get by on their looks.
Hey, it’s Hollywood and people do.
Heels is meant to be a family drama – I believe. A family drama of people who are just not bound together by blood, but by love and heart. The issue is that Heels is taking no time to develop any relationships outside of the ring – unless you’re watching Ace fuck Crystal in some room in the dome.
But even in the ring, the stories aren’t well developed. Sure, they think that they do and I can give them credit for thinking that they have achieved a certain mystique with their characters. But what we’ve achieved here is that Ace is a mess, Jack is a selfish asshole, and Crystal wants nothing more than validation for something.
We get to know in this episode that Ace is fucked up because he’s the one who found his father after he shot himself and committed suicide. It’s a nightmare that he lives with and one that Jack uses to manipulate him with.
Jack wants Ace to turn heel, but Ace doesn’t want to be booed. Of course he is when he heads back into the ring and the crowd even throws lots and lots of tissues at him, calling him a cry baby. He’s so sensitive, he takes it so personally, and when he walks off – Jack reminds him that his Dad knew that he was at home when he committed suicide.
Anyone could understand that Jack needs Ace in order for the DWL to survive, but if you need to put all your eggs in one basket, you have to take into account that you aren’t doing the right thing. And watching this show – you can tell that Jack isn’t. It’s not about carrying on his fathers legacy, it’s not about giving validation to others, it’s not about chasing a dream. For Jack this is purely selfish and he doesn’t want to admit that he’s a failure.
But what he doesn’t get is the way that he acts and treats people is what makes him a failure. It’s about not being wrong for him and what I am hoping is that someone shows him just how wrong he is.
He is equally as fucked up as Ace – unable to make any emotional connection because of his parents. He doesn’t spend enough time with his wife and son. He doesn’t even know how to relate to his brother or see that he needs to help him and get him help. Instead what the character of Jack does is reinforce a small town stereotype that is all about religion, not asking for help, and never showing what could be perceived as weakness.
But Jack and Ace are equally weak characters. Partially because of the way that they are written, but partially because this episode is the first time that we get anything that can put us in their shoes and make us feel like there is something to hold onto.
These two can’t even see that they need each other. Instead, they spend way too much time trying to prove that they don’t. They both put it out into the world in different ways, but what it comes across as arrogance, selfishness, and desperation.
It sucks that Heels is only at it’s best when it’s inside the ropes, even though then it’s still not at it’s best. It’s attempting to tell a compelling story of family, legacy, and brotherhood. However, what it ends up telling is a story that seems as though it is playing small towns as backwards places stuck in the stones ages. Not everyone is a redneck hick, but this show pretty much solidifies that it believes it.
This show is like a slow climb and personally, I am not into slow burns unless it has to do with a ship. I want something to draw me in and keep me there. Heels is on it’s third episode and hasn’t done this.
It’s made me think it will never get to the top of the mountain.
What could have been a really powerful hour of television outside of the ring, uses it instead to make us see that what we’re dealing with is two men in desperate need of therapy and the realization that not everything that matters happens inside the ropes.
They need to start living and stop existing outside of the ring.