Spinning Out Season 1, Episode 1, “Now Entering Sun Valley” is an emotionally enticing series opener as we learn about Kat’s demons immediately.
This recap of Netflix Series Spinning Out Season 1, Episode 1, “Now Entering Sun Valley” contains significant spoilers.
- Read the Season 1 review.
- Read the recap of Episode 2.
- Access the archive of all the episode recaps.
The season opener gives the audience a real sense of Kat’s history; her family, skating record and the demons she is fighting. It’s clear early on that the Netflix series is aiming for the emotional angle.
Episode 1, “Now Entering Sun Valley” opens up with Kat (Kaya Scodelario) jogging in the snow — she experiences flashbacks of her figure skating. As she falls in the present day, Kat falls in a skating competition in the flashback. In her bedroom, Kat’s trophies are all lined up; there’s a scar at the back of her head; her toes are bloodied from all the practicing.
Kat tells her sister Serena to wake up and makes her breakfast. Kat’s mother Carol wakes up from the couch and begins to lecture Serena about practicing the triple-toe. Carol breaks the news to Kat that her coach Liz will not be there for the senior test, reducing Kat’s chances of passing. While stretching for skating practice, she notices another skater named Justin looking at her for a prolonged period of time. Before getting onto the ice, Kat notices Serena’s coach Mitch touch her inappropriately before heading on the ice.
On the ice, the sisters argue as Serena cut off Kat. Their argument is shortlived as Justin’s partner Natalie causes herself a serious injury — a blade went through her foot. Kat looks spooked, clearly still traumatized from her fall at the competition. Carol speaks to Serena’s Coach Mitch and offers her thanks to him and then proceeds to tell Kat that she needs to be quicker.
The big moment arrives — Kat’s senior test. Her mother shows up which makes Kat extremely nervous. As she starts her skating test, she remembers when she failed at a competition and hurt herself. As Kat tries to do the spinning axel, she wobbles slightly; her mother walks off and the judges look frustrated. In the changing room, a frustrated Kat bites her arm and makes herself bleed. A woman named Dasha tells her she has failed but calls her a beautiful skater. Dasha suggests to Kat that she should skate with Justin as a pair skater and that she will be guaranteed to go to nationals. Kat declines.
A distraught Kat goes to her boyfriend Dave’s dorm and sleeps with him. It’s evident that the sex is not great but Kat expresses that she is glad to be there. Dave notices the bite mark and asks if she is okay; Kat tells Dave she is going to quit skating. Dave drops a bombshell — that he is leaving to go to London in a week and wants Kat to join him. Kat considers it and then becomes upset that her skating life is over: “I wanted to be remembered”.
Episode 1, “Now Entering Sun Valley” then gives us some background on Kat’s mother Carol. In the middle of the night, Carol wakes up Serena and tells her to get ready. Serena panics and calls Kat to tell her that their mother has demanded she run 30 blocks so she can make it to the “Worlds”. Kat rushes home and sees Serena doing pushups in the snow with a manic mother nearby. Carol blames her pregnancy for not going to the Olympics. Kat suspects her mother is not taking her medication, calms her down and brings them both inside.
The next day, Kat goes to work at a restaurant; she tells Marcus that she has quit skating and is going to London with Dave. Marcus says she shouldn’t but doesn’t explain why. Kat ends up serving Justin’s family table at the restaurant. Justin’s father offers to help Kat financially if she skates with Justin. His wife Mandy apologizes to Kat for the unwarranted pressure.
When Kat returns home, she notices that Serena has eyeliner on; Coach Mitch drove her home. Kat warns Serena about Mitch, saying she knows he inappropriately touched her the other day at training. Serena accuses Kat of being jealous because her Olympic dreams are over and raises how Kat and her mother have bipolar. An upset Kat immediately texts Dave — she confirms that she is going to London.
Kat decides to skate one last time the next morning — Dasha watches her again. Kat tells Dasha that she is done with skating and that her sister is better. Dasha tells Kat that she deserves to be remembered.
Jenn and Kat head out drinking which surprisingly involves expensive bottle service. Jenn shows Kat an old photo of them both when younger in their skating gear. Jenn tells Kat not to give up and be Justin’s partner — “Do it for that little girl”. Kat sees Mitch at the bar and heads over. Meanwhile, Justin thanks Jenn for talking to Kat and then he gives her a pill. A drunken Kat threatens Mitch, tells him to leave her sister alone and walks off.
As the night is nearly over, Justin tries to speak to Kat, claiming he only cares about skating; Kat does not want his hand-outs and walks off. When Kat returns home, Carol speaks to Kat about confronting Mitch at the bar. Kat tells her mother that she does not trust Mitch — “This happened to you”. Kat gets angry at her mother and starts packing for London. Carol tells her to get back on the competition track but Kat says “There is no “we”, this has always been about you”. Kat delves into how she will never be like her mother; sleeping with “loser men” and getting fired from multiple jobs after forgetting to take the medication. Kat drives off and throws her skates at the side of the road. Carol throws all of Kat’s trophies out while clearly upset.
Spinning Out Season 1, Episode 1, “Now Entering Sun Valley” closes with Kat ready to go to London but she sees the photo again of her and Jenn. Kat goes looking for her skates at the side of the road and digs them out of the snow. Meanwhile, Justin is introduced to Leah — possibly a new skater. Kat drives back to Sun Valley with a big smile on her face.
- Kat’s friend Jenn is told to rehab her skating injury for 3 months.
- Justin seems to enjoy his social life and is not just about skating.