Last episode, the voices were back, and Sheila was on TV. Physical Season 3 is in full swing, and now, instead of Step-Up with Sheila, she’s leading her own morning show segment called Wake Up with Sheila in Episode 2, “Dress You Up.” Created, written, and executively produced by Annie Weisman and directed by Stephanie Laing, Physical is getting more tumultuous in this final season.
Sheila Rubin (Rose Byrne) is a lot of things, and in Physical Season 3 Episode 2, she’s trying to figure out which version of herself she is going to be for the camera. The episode opens with her experimenting with voices, choosing the one with the highest pitch and the bubbliest attitude she can. While Greta (Dierdre Friel) helps shape her image, it’s clear to viewers that this heightened state of awareness about her self-image is a recipe for disaster even when Sheila begins to succeed, the specter of Kelly Kilmartin sitting in the front of her mind berating her constantly.
While Sheila’s inner thoughts have always been dark to hear in the series, there is something even more chilling about seeing them take a physical form and have the lines delivered by a vicious southern-accented Zooey Deschanel. There is a wall when you hear someone berate themselves that helps you accept what’s happening and adds humor to it as well. But when that’s removed when you see someone else do it, it’s shocking.
This comes into focus when Sheila takes a barre class as research only to experience an existential crisis, with her internal voice becoming even more aggressive. Stuck in her head and struggling with working out for the first time in a long time, this struggle pushes her over the edge and onto an edge of relapse. A former ballerina, the barre class shook the trauma of her childhood molestation loose. But instead of burying it all, she talks about it in group therapy. It’s a step forward in recovery and maintaining it, but at the same time, her inner voice intensifies even more.
Physical Season 3 Episode 2 is extremely hard to watch in its last half. While the first half of the episode is more comedic, the ending makes it clear how close Sheila is to falling over the edge or choosing to just drive completely off of it, even with keeping all of Sunny San Diego fit on her morning segment. While Sheila has said multiple times that working out—that aerobics—saved her, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s a bandaid on a bullet wound, and while therapy has been helping, she’s getting close to breaking.
Truthfully, I didn’t expect to see Sheila at her breaking point so early in the season. She’s always been unstable in more ways than one, with her version of resiliency meaning burning down other people for her own sake. There is a stuttering happening in her life at this point in the series that is astounding. In Physical Season 3 Episode 2, it’s this balancing act on the line between relapse and recovery that makes this dark comedy take on a unique style of tension, especially as someone who still struggles with the remnants of 13 years of bulimia.
Physical Season 3 Episode 2 is a stellar exploration of a woman struggling to hold onto her success and a healthy idea of herself. She struggles to balance the future she wants with the corporeal invasive thoughts, and they keep getting meaner. Now two episodes in, as a final season, this one is setting up to be a shocker.
Physical Season 3 Episode 2 is streaming now, exclusively on Apple TV+ with new episodes every Wednesday in August.
Physical Season 3 Episode 2 — "Dress You Up"
Physical Season 3 Episode 2 is a stellar exploration of a woman struggling to hold onto her success and a healthy idea of herself. She struggles to balance the future she wants with the corporeal invasive thoughts, and they keep getting meaner.