Physical season 1, episode 9 recap – “Let’s Face the Facts”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 5, 2021
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Physical season 1, episode 9 recap - "Let's Face the Facts"


In “Let’s Face the Facts”, Sheila finally confronts some of her mistakes — and realizes there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

This recap of Physical season 1, episode 9, “Let’s Face the Facts”, contains spoilers.

We’re almost there – but where is there, exactly? In the penultimate episode of Physical, Sheila isn’t much closer to establishing the aerobics empire we’ve seen snippets of in flash-forwards. Her marriage isn’t doing much better, her finances aren’t more stable, and her relationships with everyone from her husband to her supposed business partner to her only apparent friend are pretty rocky. If we hadn’t already been told that she makes something of herself, it’d be easy to imagine that she didn’t have it in her.

Physical season 1, episode 9 recap

I did a quick double-take at the start of “Let’s Face the Facts” since it proceeds as if the previous episode’s cliff-hanger – Sheila’s financial double-dipping being exposed by Jerry – didn’t happen. But like a lot of things in Sheila’s life, her scathing internal monologue included, the effects are more subtle and insidious. Nasty, even. Danny and Jerry keep making little remarks about what she’s up to. Forgiving and forgetting clearly isn’t on the agenda – not that last one, anyway. That’d be annoying for anyone, but it’s crippling for Sheila, who is always looking for any excuse to berate herself anyway. At the first sign of trouble, she’s straight to the Drive-Thru, reciting “Fill her up” in her head. Never a good sign.

Then again, nobody else seems to be doing all that well either. Tyler is going deaf thanks to irresponsible surfing, and John Breem, so switched off from goings-on that he’s virtually catatonic, has a marriage that’s becoming awkward for everyone – including me. Of course, the local minister who gives them marriage counseling says it’s all his wife’s fault, so she attempts to rectify the situation in laughably idiotic ways, including a waterbed.

In comparison, Greta and Ernie’s marriage is flourishing, albeit in a rather unique way. She shaved her head, you’ll recall, so she’s cutting about bewigged now, but the confidence that Ernie’s renewed interest has instilled in her is obvious. She’s straight-up with Sheila about the camera – “All you had to do was ask and I would have let you borrow the camera,” she says, which is cutting in its frankness and makes Sheila feel visibly terrible – and shows her the new trim, which Sheila is shocked by but complimentary of, at least in part because it represents the kind of big personal decision-making she’s terrified by. Sheila, so paralyzed by the idea of what other people think, would never dare to shave her own head, even if she wanted to.

And there’s something about this that really sticks with Sheila. Eventually in “Let’s Face the Facts”, she does – she confesses to Greta that things aren’t good, apologizes to Tyler and Bunny for being totally unconcerned about someone bootlegging their aerobics tapes, and it finally leads to an earned moment of togetherness in which Sheila finally starts to believe that she can “win”, both in terms of Danny’s campaign and within her own head. After spending so long at war with herself, simply realizing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel is a victory all on its own.

Physical season 1, episode 9 ending explained

Oh, Danny. It’s a good thing his political campaign is just a means to an end for Sheila, since “Let’s Face the Facts” ends with him cheating on her and then discovering Sheila’s extracurricular aerobics activities. She’s able to spin the discovery as being in the best interests of them both, but it’s hard to believe at this point that either of them cares about the other’s interests beyond short-term convenience – and perhaps habit. The finale will likely reveal whether Sheila can kick that one as she has several of her others.

You can stream Physical right now on Apple TV+.

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