The last episode of A League of Their Own was intense and jarring. Its ramification carry into “Full Count,” the penultimate episode of the season. And to be fair, that’s not all bad. Certainly not for Max, who finally – finally – gets a chance I’ve been waiting all season to see. Lupe and Esti (Priscilla Delgado) start to understand each other a bit more. Jo gets traded (which beats being “put away” or incarcerated). And Shaw’s husband returns from the war. The Rockford Peaches may be limping towards the championship game. But Shaw’s going to get them there, one way or another.
All Shook Up
I had a bad feeling about Jo’s fate, which remained up in the air at the end of the last episode. For good reason, it turns out, as she’s brought back to the boarding house a little worse for wear. Unlike Greta and Shaw, she didn’t make her way out unscathed. It was only through the intervention of their house mother that she wasn’t put in jail. Or had her name published in the paper, which would be just as dangerous.
But that doesn’t mean she’s free and clear. The price of her freedom is a trade to the Blue Socks. For the Peaches, it’s horrible news. For Greta, it’s even more so, since Jo has been her best friend for ages. But for Jo? I’m not so sure.
Don’t get me wrong. The circumstances leading to the trade are terribly unfair. But the trade will allow Jo to step out of Greta’s shadow. To be more than her baggage carrier. And while I’m sure she’ll miss Greta and the rest of the Peaches, she doesn’t seem to think that’s entirely a bad thing. I can’t wait to see her shine. (But I also want her back next season because I like her. So I’m torn.)
The trade comes as crushing news to Greta, who blames Shaw for the entire situation. And I have to be honest…that’s not entirely unfair. Yes, Greta had rules that she chose to break, as well. And she’s responsible for her own choices. But Shaw has never understood the full gravity of the danger they could both be in if their secret is uncovered. She’s been too wrapped up in infatuation and lust. And I get it; the relationship is still exciting and new. She wants to embrace it fully. She should be able to embrace it fully. But Greta knows why they can’t, and while Shaw has heard stories as to why, stark reality has never really come home for her.
But what has is Charlie (Patrick J. Adams), her husband. Their reunion is every bit as awkward as one would expect of a couple who have been torn apart by war. And by one half’s torn emotional loyalties. Heck, I’m torn by Shaw’s emotional turmoil. On the one hand, I really don’t like stories about infidelity, even emotional infidelity. On the other hand, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Shaw’s emotional infidelity is likely caused at least in part by the fact that society has never let her figure out who she is and who she loves. Demanding she continue denying a huge part of herself seems horribly unjust. It’s also confusing because she genuinely seems to love Charlie, too. So where this story goes is anyone’s guess. Including Shaw herself.
While Shaw grapples with…all of that, Esti takes a runner. She’s sad and lonely, and Jess (Kelly McCormack) and Lupe have to get her back. It leads to a truly touching scene between Esti and Lupe that’s long overdue – not just for Esti but for Lupe herself. She’s grown to be one of my favorite characters, and I want so much for her.
Take It Or Leave It
While the Peaches scramble to get themselves together in time for the big game, Max finally, finally, finally gets her shot. Her enigmatic dance partner from the night before (“just call me S”) turns out to be an actual pitcher for an actual team. Of course, the revelation initially makes Max jealous. Also, is it telling that she’s always drawn to pitchers somehow?
Anyway, things get rocky at first, following the revelation. But then the enigmatic S, a.k.a. Esther (Andia Winslow), pretends to tweak her shoulder to give Max her big shot. And this time, she takes it, pitching an almost perfect back half of the game.
In a sense, it’s a perfect opportunity to get her over the “yips.” If she got in her own head again, she’d be throwing to hit. And that’s exactly what the All Stars coach wanted her to do. If she got out of her own head and threw perfectly – as she pretty much did – she’d be showing everyone what she was capable of. It’s a win-win situation. And, with her help, the All Stars win for the first time in five years.
Even better, her talent lands her a spot on the team. Max finally has an actual spot on an actual baseball team! When I tell you I let out a shout of joy… And of course nobody is happier for her than Clance. Everyone should have a friend like Clance. Can I have a friend like Clance? Would Clance be my friend? Plus, I love her comics.
Only one episode remains to the season, to answer all the questions that remain. Like what will happen with Greta and Shaw once the championship is over? How will Shaw balance her feelings for Greta and her feelings for her husband? Could Shaw and Charlie even manage to find happiness together, now that their mutual unhappiness is out in the open? Melanie Field, who plays Jo, will be in season two, right? (Provided there is a season two.) And so many more.
A League of Their Own is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.