On August 9, ‘The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling’ are back. The Netflix series, ‘Glow’, is the show about the making of the real-life 80’s women’s wrestling series of the same name, except with one minor detail this season – since the show within a show was canceled in the season 2 finale, they’re heading to Vegas! Ok, so maybe not so minor. Season 3 takes place over the course of an entire year of performing live in Vegas. Ambitious, sure, but the risk doesn’t really pay off. While there are still great episodes and moments in the new season, as a whole it is inferior to seasons 1 and 2. What do I mean by that? Well…A lot of Glow’s strengths lie in trying to create new storylines for each wrestling match and also new wrestling moves. But that aspect of the series is almost completely nullified this season, as the girls perform the same show over and over again every night. The only times they switch it up are in episodes 5 and 10, which are consequently the strongest episodes of the season. Episode 5, titled “Freaky Tuesday,” has everyone switching characters for a night – for example, Debbie (Emmy-nominee Betty Gilpin) plays Zoya and Ruth (Alison Brie) plays Liberty Bell. The result is a fun performance filled with spontaneity that feels like a breath of fresh air. In episode 10, the final episode of the season, Carmen convinces everyone to perform their own wrestling version of a Christmas Carol in the ring in honor of, well, Christmas. These are also the only two episodes where we see actual wrestling. Since the women are performing the same show every night, the series doesn’t bother to show them to us. A show about wrestling without wrestling? They basically gutted the show. The fact that it is the same show every night, also means that Sam and Ruth have nothing to direct. Getting to see Ruth show her directing chops was one of the best parts of last season. She came up with every wacky, fantastic storyline they had. Without that, she’s toothless. As for Sam, he’s so useless in Vegas that in episode 7 he takes off to help his daughter Justine sell her screenplay in Hollywood for the rest of the season. The drudgery of performing the same show every night takes its toll on our characters, which is something we see the most in episode 8, through which most of the year passes.All is not lost, however. Where the show still shines is its characters. Without the wrestling, most of the season is focused on specific character arcs. Debbie struggles with being away from her son for so much time, and the guilt of being a working mother. She also has to fight for recognition as a producer, both with the world and even with her own coproducer Bash (Chris Lowell), though she does all the work. She’s still the smartest person in the room, however, and by the end of the season, underestimating her has real consequences. Ruth feels aimless as she strings along her boyfriend, Russ (Victor Quinaz), from back home, and tries in vain to feel excited about the show. Her melancholy makes us feel melancholy, and forces Ruth to have to consider making some real decisions about her future. There’s also a will-they-won’t-they storyline between her and Sam, but this ultimately doesn’t really go anywhere.The fact that it is the same show every night, also means that Sam and Ruth have nothing to direct. Getting to see Ruth show her directing chops was one of the best parts of last season. She came up with every wacky, fantastic storyline they had. Without that, she’s toothless. As for Sam, he’s so useless in Vegas that in episode 7, he takes off to help his daughter Justine sell her screenplay in Hollywood for the rest of the seasonThis season also focuses on the physical toll that wrestling takes. In “Freaky Friday,” Tamme’s (Kia Stevens) back problems reach a breaking point. Luckily, Carmen (Britney Young) suggests that Tamme switch to being a manager, which she defines as “like wrestlers without the actual wrestling. They just pace around the ring, cause trouble, and have huge personalities.” (Carmen really is the most professional wrestler among them, and being in Vegas stifles her.) Meanwhile, Cherry (Sydelle Noel), who’s trying to have a baby with husband Keith (Bashir Salahuddin), freaks when she realizes how doing so could wreck her body, and hence, her career. The show’s queer storylines are as strong as ever. Arthie (Sunita Mani) finds herself in her first lesbian relationship with Yolanda (Shakira Barrera), but struggles to accept the fact that she’s gay – even saying the word is too hard for her. This puts a strain on her relationship with Yolanda who has very little patience for Arthie’s learning curve. Actually in the closet is Bash, who is weighed down by the shame of his desires, and tries to make his new marriage to Rhonda (Kate Nash) be enough for him.The most transformative arc this season is no doubt Sheila (Gayle Rankin). You remember Sheila as the She-Wolf, but after a realization that her identity as a wolf is holding her back, she ditches the costume, and learns how to be herself again. As it turns out, she’s a fantastic actress, and has the opportunity to be a real rising star.As always, the offensive characters that some of the wrestlers play in the ring is a problem. Jenny (Ellen Wong) is put into emotional crisis, when she sees Melrose (Jackie Tohn) play her character with such stereotypical gimmicks in “Freaky Tuesday.” At first Melrose doesn’t get what Jenny is so upset about, but the two reach an understanding when they both share their stories about how their families have been persecuted – Melrose may be rich and spoiled, but her family members were victims of the Holocaust, so she’s not completely sheltered. Unfortunately, once again, nothing really changes, and the girls are forced to play the same racist characters they always have. The bright light in all this is the season’s cliffhanger, which indicates that the girls will get to create all new characters next season, which will hopefully be a chance to get it right.There are a couple of great new characters this season that are specific to Vegas, namely Sandy (Geena Davis) and Bobby (Kevin Cahoon). Sandy exhibits a level of success and power for a woman in the 80’s, as she manages the hotel and its various live shows, which includes GLOW. We meet Bobby at his hit drag queen show, which the hotel keeps just small enough so that nobody takes issue with it. He’s a sweetheart who hits it off with the girls instantly, and offers sage advice, even as he has to deal with targeted homophobia.It’s an enjoyable season, filled with deep character moments and moral messages for its 2019 audience, but the stranglehold of the Vegas environment is stifling. It keeps the season from truly being able to glow. It’s unclear from the season’s ending where exactly all of our characters are headed next, but it looks like they’ll be headed back to television, which the show desperately needs. It’s time for a shake-up. The show is still very good, and could be as great as it was in previous seasons, it just needs to get out of Vegas.