Physical season 2, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

By Adam Lock
Published: June 3, 2022
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Apple TV+ series Physical season 2, episode 1


The show gets off to a steady start with some intriguing in-depth character studies. Danny tries to be a better husband, and Sheila launches her marketing campaign in this opening installment.

This recap of the Apple TV+ series Physical season 2, episode 1 contains spoilers.

Rose Byrne is back in blinding spandex for season two of the eighties set Apple TV+ drama Physical. The first season ended with Sheila Rubin acquiring a distribution deal for her workout videos and her husband Danny losing his election bid. The sequel kicks off right where we left it, exploring these two main characters’ inner workings and their fake façade exteriors.

Physical season 2, episode 1 recap

Episode one, “Don’t You Want Me”, opens with Sheila staring at herself in a large mirror, as her internal monologue rambles on. She’s practicing a conversation she’s about to have with some important individuals and tries to self-motivate. The aspirational housewife has battled her own inner demons and a sinister eating disorder for many years now, yet here is her first chance to capitalize on some much needed success. In a bold yellow number, she strides through the party and tries to start a marketing dialogue with businessman Auggie Cartwright.

Husband Danny is desperate to leave the party and Sheila quickly grows tired of the fake smiles and overindulgent misogyny on display too. They exit in a limo, where Danny talks incessantly about himself and the awful party guests. He rants on, whilst Sheila’s inner voice battles with her tongue. She fights back from saying it, but just can’t hold it in any longer. Sheila screams “I hate you” out loud, to Danny’s surprise. This is a fun and cathartic moment, Sheila finally finding the courage to stand up to this loser politician. He awkwardly attempts to laugh it off, but she spends the night at Greta’s in an additional sign of defiance.

The next morning, Sheila marches into the kitchen, ready to make her demands. But Danny’s a slimy so and so, he’s had time to ponder his relationship all night and pleads his case. The politician talks nonstop, saying he’ll change, that he’ll help out around the house and let Sheila be the breadwinner this time around. Danny begs for a second chance and Sheila unfortunately submits. It’s a real blow to the earlier elation but feels realistic considering their circumstances and the era.

Sheila begins to promote and sell her videotapes in a lackluster store the very same day. The shoppers aren’t interested though and all hope seems lost. To make matters worse, Auggie’s son stands glued to the kiosk with a tally counter in his hand, recording her failures. Nevertheless, Sheila works her magic and manages to make a handful of sales, that fighting spirit returning once more.

Meanwhile, Sheila’s old teacher and idol Bunny is making her own video with partner Tyler. She’s still livid after the way things ended in season one, blaming the woman for her downfall. Bunny tries to channel that anger into her rival tape, but fate is against her. Roommates tape over her first day of footage and the house is rife with head lice and crabs. It’s making me itch just typing this! She steals a copy of Sheila’s tape (and some shampoo), possibly to get some pointers.

The ending

Danny’s new, revitalized outlook on life continues as he does the school run and signs up for a position on the school’s outreach committee with fellow parent Greta. He initially enjoys helping out at home, stating that he can evolve with the times. Sheila seems annoyed with herself for letting Danny gain the upper hand. He is effectively back in control and although supportive, is still clearly self-focused. The episode ends with the confused housewife venturing to John Breem’s (House of Cards star Paul Sparks) residence for a late-night rendezvous, capitalizing on their brooding romance.

It’s a promising premiere, which finds space to explore the characters’ complex psyches in more depth, whilst still moving the story forwards. The show has started quite light on both the drama and the comedy to date, but the series will hopefully find its feet again, given more time.

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You can watch this series with a subscription to Apple TV+

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