The finale is here, and Physical Season 3 Episode 10 brings Sheila Ruben’s (Rose Byrne) journey to a close. With a small time skip, Physical Season 3 Episode 10 establishes Sheila’s success right from the jump. Not only is Strength in Numbers a success, but it’s also a franchise with different women owners across the country. Financial independence, community, and finding strength—all the things that Sheila lacked, but ultimately, it all leads back to control.
With Danny (Rory Scovel) in the past, Sheila has made a new life in a big house and a growing business with travel and expansion. Traveling across the country and giving speeches to franchise owners, Sheila is doing everything at least a little bit, but it means that she isn’t fully there to take care of Maya or her own recovery. When she’s visited by folks from her past, she sets off to Mexico with Greta (Dierdre Friel) and confronts everything that she’s been holding in.
As the final piece of a long journey, Physical Season 3 Episode 10 gives the audience a look at Sheila’s growth and how she’s lived with success. Instead of unashamedly celebrating her success, she is nearly crippled by it, unable to accept conquering aerobics without her inner voice taking the shape of an ex-lover.
What I appreciate about Physical Season 3 Episode 10 is that it shows Sheila’s growth as a character without throwing out the stumbles she’s had along the way and, more importantly, not curing her eating disorder or anxiety. Instead, Sheila is managing it. She’s created a better space for group therapy; she’s actually forming and respecting relationships in the group, and instead of her vicious inner voice ripping her apart, it’s pushing her to accept and celebrate her success. Sheila is a complex character, and as such, so is her ending.
My only issue with this series finale is that it’s too clean. Physical is a series that embraced complexity and the messiness of managing mental health as a woman with the pressures of being a mother and a wife while trying to maintain her identity. Everything in Physical Season 3 Episode 10 is too tidy and pulled together in both a narrative sense and a character sense as well. By prioritizing the ways in which synchronous physical activity connects us to the strangers around us, the series’ end gives a message to let go of control, showing a Sheila who is at peace.
While the writers don’t cure Sheila’s problems, they do gloss over how she is handling them. While there are moments in this episode where we see the new coping strategies and relationships she’s using to facilitate a healthy management of her life and sense of self, these glimpses are too few and never explored. If anything, the episode’s runtime is its biggest issue, not allowing for such a complex woman and her story to be explored dynamically before wrapping it in a bow. For all that Rose Byrne has given to his role, there is something missing in her send-off.
The narrative balance of pushing Sheila to confront how this entire journey began is fantastic. It’s just everything around it that feels too one-note for the depth and mess we’ve seen over the course of three seasons. As a final episode of the series, there is more to be desired, but as an end cap to this season, it works. Physical Season 3 Episode 10 will mean a lot to those who have watched Sheila’s journey, and whether you’re in need of a happy ending or a realistic one will determine how much you love her send-off.
Physical Season 3 Episode 10 is streaming now on AppleTV+.
Physical Season 3 Episode 10 — "Lucky Star"
Physical Season 3 Episode 10 will mean a lot to those who have watched Sheila’s journey, and whether you’re in need of a happy ending or a realistic one will determine how much you love her send-off.