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‘Physical’ 1.09 Review: Let’s Face the Facts

Friendships are restored in a satisfying penultimate episode.

Rose Byrne in 'Physical'
(Image: © Apple TV+)

Our Verdict

With just one episode left, 'Physical' is now playing to its strengths.

For

  • 💃🏻 Greta and Sheila's friendship is back on track.
  • 💃🏻 The team going to get their aerobics video back.
  • 💃🏻 Someone finally recognizes Sheila's habits point to something larger.
  • 💃🏻 John Breem's waterbed solution.

Against

  • 💃🏻 The two weeks of liking Danny are over.
  • 💃🏻 John Breem creeping on Sheila.

This post contains spoilers for Physical "Let's Face the Facts.”
Read our latest review 
here.

Early on, it was only through the voiceover narration that similarities between Sheila (Rose Byrne) and Greta (Deirdre Friel) were emphasized. Both suffer from body issues and beat themselves up regarding how they look, but only Greta outwardly vocalized her self-loathing. When she attempted to take Sheila’s aerobics class, she melted into a ball of shame in the corner, and Sheila found her crying in the parking lot afterward. It was this reaction to exercising in public, which inspired the aerobics-at-home model, and when Greta canceled their one-on-one class, her so-called friend stole a video camera from Ernie’s (Ian Gomez) den. This one criminal act opened up a whole world, including helping solve Greta’s marriage issues thanks to the contents of the videotape that had been left in the device. The penultimate episode threads these various storylines together and while the Rubins marriage is hanging by a thread, her other relationships become stronger in “Let’s Face the Facts.”

It has been a few weeks since the big falling out over Sheila taking the video camera without asking and the LA trip put space between them. Greta has purposefully been avoiding her friend, however, the school drop-off run-in is harder to dodge. Sheila is taken with the bold new blonde cut Greta is sporting and attempts to engage with her. The issue? Sheila never apologized for the theft (and subsequently getting the nanny fired) and she is taken back by this oversight. Sheila struggles with even the simplest social skills, and it never even occurred to simply ask to borrow the camera. The recent episodes have highlighted that the kind of people she hung out with in LA and at college are not particularly supportive. Rather than punish her further, Greta realizes that they are two sides of the same coin after Sheila tearfully admits she has a hard time opening up to other women. “I’m too good at it and it makes people uncomfortable. So, opposite problems, same results,” Greta says in response to this rare moment of public vulnerability.  

Ashley Liao, Geoffrey Arend and Rory Scovel in Physical

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Friendship is restored and stronger than ever, which is further emphasized when Greta giddy reveals what is under the blonde wig. “You look amazing,” Sheila exclaims and this scene is made more poignant by the lack of inner monologue cutting in to offer an awful remark. She is truthfully responding with excitement and no judgment, and it is heartening to see. Knotty female friendships are having a moment on TV with both Physical and Kevin Can F*** HImself showing how it doesn’t have to be either frenemies or besties, there can be a winding road to finding your person. Greta explains the tape helped kickstart her marriage and not only did she find out about his hair shaving turn-on, but she discovered the parts (like her belly) she loathes are something Ernie adores. The area of her body that has caused the most internal grief is not the turnoff she assumed it was. 

At the campaign event, it is clear how much Ernie and Greta are into each other, which is a big change from earlier in the season when he would all but ignore her. Whereas, the united front Sheila and Danny (Rory Scovel) presented in Los Angeles has been shattered by the debt revelation. He no longer trusts anything she says, and he is even more dismissive of her political strategizing than she was before — even if he does heed her advice in the speech he gives. I can’t blame him for being hurt by what Jerry (Geoffrey Arend) discovered, however, he clearly has not probed much further about the why of it all. Simone (Ashley Liao) asks if Sheila has a “food thing” because she is showing similar signs as her old roommate but Danny brushes this off. He comments that her body seems alien to her and even brings up how she doesn’t always seem present when they have sex. How can one man make insightful observations and be so infuriatingly blind? Last week, he was the sensitive husband who supported her as she discussed the sexual assault and it is like he paid no attention whatsoever. Rather than put the pieces together, he takes this moment to seduce Simone and get what he desired in the first episode. He goes down on Simone but is interrupted by Maya (Grace Kelly Quigley), and showing a different side of Danny in LA makes this betrayal more pronounced. 

Rose Byrne in Physical

(Image credit: AppleTV+)

Meanwhile, Sheila is off on a mission with the friends she has finally opened up to. It turns out someone has made bootleg copies of their tape and has been selling it to housewives like Maria Breem (Erin Pineda). At first, Sheila tells Bunny (Della Saba) and Tyler (Lou Taylor Pucci) that she cannot have anything to do with them anymore, but after a conversation with John Breem (Paul Sparks) — in which he creepily gives her unsolicited business advice — she realizes what she needs to do. Previously, she would’ve plastered a fake smile on her face and claimed everything was fine when Greta asked. Now, she tells her the truth and turns to her for help. While she went back to her old fast food routine earlier in the episode (but without the motel part), she is now embracing her friends and the activity she loves. “Aerobics saved me. You saved me,” she tells Bunny and Tyler when asking for forgiveness. 

This unlikely squad goes to get their tapes and cash that has been made off their business, and it is a fun sequence embracing the unlikely friends Sheila has made. When Greta removes her wig, Bunny’s face is full of shock and wonder, and this victory is made all the sweeter by the various hardships they have all been through recently. They could all do with it and Sheila also thinks this tape is how they win the election — I am guessing by targeting housewives. 

Lou Taylor Pucci and Della Saba in Physical

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Tyler is in desperate need of cash and the friend who bootlegged the video is the same person who personalized the surfboard for him while he was stoned. This is looking less like a coincidence and Tyler isn’t only suffering from a lack of funds. His new board is broken by a passing car because he couldn’t hear the driver honking his horn and it turns out he is suffering from “Surfer’s Ear.” Extra bone has formed in the ear canal thanks to the years of cold water and wind, which cannot be cured with a course of eardrops or antibiotics. Permanent loss of hearing is a possibility but so is death as it can become infected, and Tyler is distraught to find out that if he gets the procedure, he will have to stay out of the ocean for two months. He can’t even stay out of the swell for a day and Bunny burns most of his clothes to shock him into action. “I can’t have you fucking die on me,” she tells him in desperation.

Water is an obstacle in the Breem marriage but John’s issue is psychological. It turns out his father died in some sort of a boating accident and John hasn’t swum since — until his recent late-night birthday near-drowning. Maria is concerned and the pair goes to see the Bishop for marriage therapy with a misogyny twist. Maria is essentially blamed for her not having more children or satisfying her husband. There are deep-rooted issues here that are not going to be solved by a Bishop, and Maria goes on a passive-aggressive assault by having a water bed installed as a way to confront his fear and spice up their bedroom time. Along with aerobics, this aquatic sleeping trend screams the 1980s. Breem’s desire to ruin the coastline can also be linked to his father’s death and this is the one element of the series that still feels like it might be in a different show. Sure, he has a connection with Sheila — and he definitely wants to sleep with her — but I don’t know how necessary this plot is.

Despite this minor bump (or wave), Physical has gone from strength to strength, and heading into the finale it is heartening to see that Sheila has finally embraced being honest and vulnerable with those in her squad. There is the matter of Danny’s infidelity, and whether he can win his election. Whether he wins or not, creator Annie Weisman has me wanting more.