Season one episode three of Starz’s Heels opens with a flashback of Ace and Jack’s dad, Tom (David James Elliott), out for a jog. He makes it home, looks around his property, and does some chores including mowing the lawn. His last act before committing suicide is to hang a “Carol’s Garden” sign above a door. Once that’s complete, he fetches a gun, returns to the front porch, places the barrel under his chin, and pulls the trigger.
The gunshot wakes Ace (Alexander Ludwig) who steps outside and discovers his father’s dead body.
Flash-forward to current events and it’s revealed Bobby Pin (Trey Tucker) has a part-time job as a bouncer at a strip club. He’s bursting with pride over getting a spot in the Main Event but has to cut short his call to his parents when a female customer gets a little too close to a dancer.
Elsewhere, Jack (Stephen Amell) checks in with Ricky Rabies (Phillip Jack “CM Punk” Brooks), a popular wrestler who’s agreed to a DWL match. The dome will be packed thanks to Ricky coming to town, which means there will be quite a crowd to watch Ace and Bobby Pin square off as the Main Event match-up.
Speaking of Ace, he’s busy rehearsing the speech he’ll deliver that night in the ring. In it, Ace blames Jack for betraying him and claims he knows how to handle adversity, just like everyone else in Duffy. You brush yourself off and get on with life.
Crystal (Kelli Berglund) wonders if the speech isn’t too positive and thinks it might work better if he took a different approach. Jack interrupts and supports Ace until Ace suggests they change a line to “because good always – always – triumphs over evil.” Jack knows that’s not true but Ace firmly believes that’s the way the world works.
Jack apologizes for what’s been happening to Ace since he humiliated him in the ring. He’s worried Ace will leave only to become a pawn in bigger leagues and never have the career he desires. Jack hopes his brother will stick around and help the DWL grow, something which in turn could make Ace into a bigger star.
The crowd’s watching Rooster (Allen Maldonado) in the ring while Jack and Willie (Mary McCormack) meet with two of the DWL’s biggest sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie and Annie Earl. Backstage, the wrestlers cheer Bobby as he chugs a bottle of Smirnoff Ice which is apparently part of some weird Main Event ritual. Ace is handed a bottle when he arrives and also kneels on one knee while sucking it down.
Fight over, Rooster joins the group backstage. He can’t believe a newbie who doesn’t know all the moves is getting the Main Event slot with Ace.The mood lightens with the arrival of Ricky Rabies, his son Wolfgang (Stone Garcia), and his valet Vicky (Bonnie Somerville). Ricky’s act requires fake blood, but he assures the Spade brothers it’s all in good fun. Ricky won’t be bleeding in the ring; the Rabies use the fake blood during his entrance. They’re all about getting the crowd worked up.
After Ricky and his family leave to get ready, Ace gets in Jack’s face. He’s angry that what was supposed to be his night to be the star attraction is now all about Ricky Rabies. Ace thinks that despite what the poster says, the real Main Event is Jack vs Ricky.
Jack assures his little brother Ricky’s past his prime and is just an opening act who puts butts in seats.
While Vicky’s mixing up a batch of blood, she offers Crystal advice on how to become indispensable as Ace’s valet.
Meanwhile, Staci (Alison Luff) is having a girls’ night out with a group of friends who’ve just arrived in town for a visit. They’re drinking and playing catch-up when a waiter proudly announces the appetizers are on the house. He believes it’s an honor to serve Mrs. Jack Spade and wonders if they’re heading to the dome. Much to Staci’s dismay, the women want to watch the night’s fights.
Staci and her friends take their seats just as Ace enters the dome. He’s greeted by a loud chorus of boos and one of Staci’s friends describes Ace as a “dirty” Thor. (She means that as a compliment.)
The crowd quiets as Ace begins his speech but soon it’s back to boos; he fails to win them over. A heckler calls him a cry baby and tosses a packet of tissues into the ring. A chant of “Cry Baby” rings out and dozens of packets of tissues fly through the air, some even hitting Ace in the face.
Jack watches from backstage and keeps the faith, sure Ace will pull it together. No, he won’t. Ace lets the negativity of the crowd affect him and flees the ring. He throws a fit backstage, blaming Jack – again – for the crowd turning on him.
Jack points out it doesn’t matter if they were booing or cheering, at least the crowd was chanting. Fed up, Jack reminds Ace generating heat is his job. “You’d make a really good heel, Ace,” yells Jack, inches from his brother’s face.
Ace believes he and his father are “faces” because they’re good guys while Jack’s definitely better suited to be a heel. Jack, in a near whisper, replies, “Tom Spade was a face, all right, yeah, because he was a good guy. He’s a real good guy. He knew that you were home…”
Ace is rendered speechless and remains still as Jack walks away.
Jack touches base with Ricky to firm up the script for their fight while Crystal follows Vicky’s suggestions about knowing what a wrestler needs. She tries to get Ace’s mind off his problems with a quickie.
Rooster grabs a minute with Jack to discuss why Bobby’s in the Main Event. Jack claims it’s because Bobby is a nobody and that’s what’s needed for a match with Ace right now. Jack praises Rooster’s skills and acknowledges he’s the best guy they have in the DWL. (He’s got personality, grace, and raw talent.) However, he’s not getting a shot at the title until it makes sense for the storyline.
Jack receives his own chorus of boos when he enters the ring, but the difference is he embraces the reaction. He calls out for a challenger and Ricky accepts, entering the dome to KISS’ “Detroit Rock City.” Ricky whips the crowd into a frenzy, and a drone with a badger-looking animal (seriously, what is that thing?!) spits blood into Jack’s face.
The match starts with Ricky tossing Jack around like a ragdoll as he struggles to clear the blood from his face. The crowd roots for Ricky as the action moves outside the ring. Jack momentarily gets control and they return to the ring, but then Ricky quickly gets the upper hand once again. Jack falls to the mat and looks down for the count.
Ace steps outside the doom and finds Rooster having a smoke. Rooster shows him a video of Wild Bill calling himself a superstar while wearing only a championship belt with his penis fully exposed. Rooster recalls seeing Wild Bill years ago and dreaming of becoming a wrestler. He started wrestling at 16 and has been in leagues all over Georgia. He’s been loved all over and his talents have been praised, but he’s never had a shot at the championship belt.
“That championship belt…it really only stands out against a white background,” says Rooster.
Rooster admits he thought it would be different under Jack’s leadership but nothing’s changed. Ace puts down his brother, still upset Jack wants him to turn heel. Surprisingly, Rooster defends Jack and agrees Ace just doesn’t work as a face anymore after crying in the ring.
Back inside, Jack and Ricky roll around and talk to each other about their next moves and about their aching bodies. Seconds later the fight ends with Jack emerging victorious, exactly as scripted.
Jack heads backstage and can’t find Ace who’s disappeared minutes before he’s supposed to fight Bobby. With his brother a no-show, Jack prepares to fight back-to-back matches. Fortunately, Ace returns and saves Jack from having to put his body through two consecutive fights.
The boos rain down as Ace joins Bobby in the ring. Ace whispers to the newbie to follow his lead and then begins to pummel Bobby. Ace climbs onto the top rope, stands with his arms spread, and then leaps down. Instead of landing on Bobby, Ace lands on his back in the ring. He grimaces in pain as Bobby stomps him a few times before they get to their feet. Ace delivers a back kick to his groin and the crowd responds to the cheap shot. One man yells out, “That’s a damn heel move!”
Ace officially turns heel as shoves tissues into Bobby’s mouth before knocking him out with a kick to the face.
Ace soaks up the jeers and then screams, “I’m Ace Spade! There’s a fire…I did it! There’s an earthquake…I did it!” He points around the audience and yells, “You don’t know what you’ve got coming for you!”
Bobby (wearing a huge grin) and Ace are greeted with applause backstage. Jack’s proud of his brother but Ace appears to be completely embracing the heel role. He tells Crystal off and then focuses his wrath on Willie, calling her a b*tch.
Ricky, Vicky, and Wolfgang prepare to hit the road, but first Vicky steals a moment with Crystal. Vicky thinks Crystal’s got a bright future ahead of her and advises her to stay skinny by eating tuna for lunch and gummy bears for dinner. (Uh, no, just don’t.)
The episode draws to a close with Jack and Staci arguing over the amount of time he spends on the DWL and Wild Bill showing up unexpectedly at Willie’s place. Ace visits his dad’s grave while, on a happier note, Bobby surprises Rooster by hiding a Smirnoff Ice in his car. After making Rooster promise to send him a video verifying he drank it, Bobby climbs the water tower.
Still high from playing a part in the Main Event that found Ace turning into a heel, Bobby leaves another voice message for his parents. He thinks they’d be happy things are going so well for him and describes his experience as part of the DWL as amazing. He thanks them for being the greatest parents and says he can’t wait for them to come to Duffy to see him in the ring.
- Heels Season 1 Episode 1 “Kayfabe” Recap
- Heels Season 1 Episode 2 “Dusty Finish” Recap
- Heels Season 1 Episode 4 “Cutting Promos” Recap
- Heels [email protected] Panel Recap and Video