Spinning Out Season 1 Review: Applying Ice To Mental Health

By Daniel Hart
Published: January 1, 2020 (Last updated: December 28, 2023)
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Netflix Series Spinning Out Season 1


Spinning Out Season 1 is a story that is welcomed. Fronted by great performances, the ice-skating narrative brings out awareness surrounding mental health issues.

This review of Netflix Series Spinning Out Season 1 contains no spoilers.

Netflix Series Spinning Out Season 1 sells itself as an aspiring story about a figure skater who dreams of making it to the Olympics. It’s a “hit the ice” until you make it approach, showing viewers the hardship and career-ending injuries ice skating can bring.

But once you meander through the emotional starting chapters, it is evident that Spinning Out Season 1 is not majorly an ice-skating story. The Netflix series is predominantly linked to mental health issues. It weaves the theme at the core of the narrative, with the main characters feeling shackled by their own demons and diagnosed issues. The competitiveness of the ice skating is applied pressure that only acts to build up their walls.

There is a real sense of a “one shot/one opportunity” scenario in Spinning Out. If you endure one injury or fail to pass a senior test, the series is unforgiving; it’s a world of single chances. In the world of performance sports, the Netflix series highlights the unnecessary pressure on our younger generations and the mental health issues it can create.

The lead character is Kat, played by the wide-ranging and absorbing Kaya Scodelario. Many audiences will not remember or have witnessed the actress from the UK version of Skins, but it is clear why Spinning Out has cast the performer to be a figure skater. In Skins she took the troubled teenager outlet by storm and although her journey has involved blockbusters like Maze Runner and Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s stories like this where she excels.

Kat has a troubling family; competing with a figure-skater sister who is in constant rivalry with her and a mother that suffers from crippling bipolar. The story opens up with a tragic event; Kat cracked open her skull at a competition that has had devastating effects ever since — the post-traumatic stress disorder has impacted her performances negatively on the ice. The mother is intensely competitive for her daughters, living her life through theirs. It’s a dysfunctional dynamic, and that’s even before romance and friendships surface.

Spinning Out Season 1 does suffer from trying to add too many subplots. Some chapters suffocate the audience by adding layer upon layer to every character possible. And once Kat’s world opens up to the possibility of pair-skating, there are more characters to delve into. The Netflix series tries too hard to develop everyone in such a small window, and the certainty of a second season would have eased the pressure for the writers. There was an essence of The Society that inflicted the story slightly, edging towards more of an over-bolstered teen-drama.

Overall, Spinning Out is a welcome start to Netflix for 2020, bringing in brilliant performances and raising the awareness of mental health.

Netflix, TV Reviews
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