Apple TV+’s second season of Physical draws to a merciful close this week. Though she’s finally gotten John Breem out of her bedroom, Sheila still has to deal with him. He’s still making Danny crazy — and he’s still the only man in town with power enough to satisfy Sheila’s needs.
Wouldn’t it be funny if she had to wind up trapped with him in a business agreement? Well, no, it wouldn’t, and it isn’t, but that’s where we’re headed.
Physical recap: ‘Don’t You Say It’s Over’
Season 2, episode 10: In the Physical season finale, entitled “Don’t You Say It’s Over,” Sheila (played by Rose Byrne) and Greta (Dierdre Friel) finally start their lifestyle business. Greta’s husband, Ernie (Ian Gomez), agrees to take on production for the company, designing dozens of prototypes of a workout “step” for Sheila to sell.
She drives Ernie crazy with corrections and tweaks, but eventually they land on something. Ernie is starting to look askance at all things Sheila, though. Especially after he catches Greta trying to get him to commit to a more expensive prototype while they’re having sex.
Sheila and her husband, Danny (Rory Scovel), are separated. They meet up with their daughter, Maya (Grace Kelly Quigley), every week, then go their separate ways.
A very convenient confrontation
While Sheila and Greta work on their new business, Danny tries desperately to find himself. He goes to the gym more regularly to toughen up and feel more like a man, but it isn’t really working. One day after class — extremely conveniently, as usual on this show — he sees John Breem (Paul Sparks) taking tap-dancing lessons at the gym.
Danny confronts John in the parking lot, threatening to beat him (though he’s pretty sure he’d lose that fight). But Danny walks away no more happy for the exchange. He still doesn’t know why Sheila did it to him, and why she chose John of all people with whom to do it.
He gets a clue as to why (or he would, if he were less of a complete asshole) when he tells Sheila he spoke to his lawyer, who said Danny is entitled to half of her business. She blows up at him, rightly saying that if he had anything worth stealing, he’d know how it felt to have someone threaten to take it away.
Both of them have grievances, and they’re both basically legitimate. I just wish I didn’t feel like the writers kept Danny around just to have a villain every week.
Speaking of that, Bunny (Della Saba) and Tyler (Lou Taylor Pucci) are still on this show, despite having long ago outlived their usefulness to Physical’s plot. Breem sent Mormon goons down to their new home in Mexico to fleece them, because he’s still sore that they blackmailed him out of 25 grand.
He’s not the only one who wants to get even. Sheila hears from Dan on the night of her product launch that a TV star released a version of the step she designed. She wants revenge, and she knows only one man powerful enough to help her get it: John Breem.
Stop butchering your soundtrack!
If Physical gets a third season, the series’ editors really need to stop editing the pop music they choose for their montages. Bottom line: Don’t pick a song if you don’t actually want it to play in the fashion it was presented.
What is the point of using “Whip It” by Devo, then cutting out most of the second verse and chorus? What could you possibly be buying for the scene, by jumping ahead eight seconds in the song?
It’s a two-minute, 45-second song, and it’s deliberately repetitive. That was Devo’s whole thing … I just …what? Why are you doing this? You didn’t even change the tempo in the edit? Are you worried people are going to forget they’re listening to “Whip It” if they don’t hear Mark Mothersbaugh say the word “whip” every few seconds?
So many loose ends, but who cares really?
Anyway, among the many loose ends this show didn’t feel the need to wrap up are Vincent Green (Murray Bartlet) and Marika (Anna Gunn) – who will probably return next season even if they aren’t very interesting. Then there’s the stuff with Wanda (Tawny Newsome), which never went anywhere. And then there’s Jerry (Geoffrey Arend), who was only around for one episode, proving he shouldn’t have been on the show in the first place.
To make things worse, the place they end up — with Sheila finally ready to be a big, important boss in her own life — means going to a man for help, but still the showrunners frame it as a victory. And, again, maybe none of this would be so problematic, except that there’s nothing else to focus on.
Physical isn’t fun, it’s not funny, it’s not compelling in any way. It just kind of goes in circles in underlit rooms with hideous pastel costumes. And the sad part is, I know this will just keep going and going and going, because there’s too much heedless will on the part of the creative team.
Watch Physical on Apple TV+
You can now watch the first two seasons of Physical on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.