By Madison Pena
Netflix’s latest drama, “Spinning Out,” made its debut on New Year’s Day and already has fans eagerly awaiting a second season.
Created by Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell, the show follows a hopeful Olympic figure skater, Kat Baker (Kaya Scodelario), as she attempts to navigate the world of pair skating when an accident on the ice derails her athletic career.
“Spinning Out” centers around Kat’s journey to get back on the ice. The greater challenges she meets come from her fluctuating mental health, family issues and attempts to navigate love.
The series takes place in the upscale Sun Valley resort in Idaho, where Kat has grown up skating and training in hopes of one day competing in the Olympics. When she falls during a competition and suffers a head injury, she is left afraid to attempt the jumps required in high-level skating routines.
As Kat begins to accept the fact that she may never again skate competitively, she is approached by the owner of the resort, who is looking for a new skating partner for his son after he drives away yet another partner.
Though the idea gives her hope for her future in skating, a brooding Kat turns down the offer with the notorious Justin Davis (Evan Roderick). While she insists to her friends that she rejected the offer because of a mental block, it is clear that there is a deeper history between the two.
The dynamic between Kat and Justin changes fast enough to give the audience whiplash, making me want to keep plowing through episodes just to see what would happen. In the midst of the heavier themes and dramas of the show, this romance was one that I welcomed with open arms.
After the introduction to Kat’s rocky home life, it becomes clear that this series is about much more than the strain that competition can put on an athlete as it delves into topics such as mental health and emotional abuse.
Early on in the show, the audience learns that Kat’s mother was a competitive skater who was driven out of the competitive arena due to her teen pregnancy. Kat’s mother holds a lot of resentment towards her daughter, blaming Kat for her lost career.
It is quickly noticeable that Kat is the rock for her bipolar mother and teenage sister, while she herself is trying to keep her own bipolar diagnosis in check. I felt that the show did the complicated mental illness justice, highlighting the varying degree of mania and depression between Kat and her mother’s episodes.
Throughout the show, Kat is subjected to the highs and lows of her mother’s manic and depressive episodes, and while they were integral to dramatizing the extent of what she has to deal with, it felt very heavy at times to watch.
Since the show is largely from Kat’s point of view, it is very easy to sympathize with the victimization she faces, making you want to root for her. While this did a lot for Kat’s own character development, it made other characters, who got in the way of her success, unlikeable.
After making it past a few episodes and learning more about each character, it became easier to spot and appreciate the small victories, like Kat and Justin making progress on the ice, Kat’s mother trying her best to stay on her medication to be there for her daughters and Kat even finding love herself.
Aside from enjoying the drama aspect of the show, I was entertained by the ice skating and marveled by how flawlessly the skaters could navigate such difficult routines.
As someone who is not well-versed in skating, I can’t say much in regards to the shows accurate depiction of the sport. As a viewer, the show came off genuine, professional and totally binge-able, leaving this writer excited for a rumored second season.