Netflix Original Series “Spinning Out” Highlights the Imperfections of Competitive Figure Skating

Photo from Netflix

For fans of the 2009 ABC Family hit drama, “Make It Or Break It,” Netflix’s “Spinning Out” is a binge-worthy series featuring strong female leads and the cut throat nature of Olympic-level figure skating training. But, where the public sees flawless figure skaters in elegant costumes floating gracefully across the ice, skaters see day after day of endless practice, pushing through injuries and other obstacles. Netflix brings this side to life through “Spinning Out” characters Kat, Carol and Serena Baker. 

Set after Kat’s nearly catastrophic head injury, “Spinning Out” is the story of one skater’s fight to return to the top of the podium, gold medal shimmering brilliantly around her neck. But, it is also the story of a single mother coping with bipolar disorder [inherited by her oldest], and it is the story of a family desperately trying to maintain the “perfect” image that is expected in figure skating. 

Kayla Scodelario [“The Maze Runner,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”] plays Kat, who was once the skater to beat at every competition but is now struggling just to pass her junior level test while also keeping her struggles with her own mental health hidden. After failing her test, Kat’s only option to continue competing is to enter as a pair skater, a technique that differs drastically from individual skating. As viewers follow Kat’s skating journey [and budding romance], they also follow Carol’s [January Jones] struggle to maintain a healthy mental state of her own and how it affects not only Kat, but also her youngest daughter, Serena [Willow Shields]. 

A theme that is consistently repeated throughout the first season is the level of perfection that is so commonly expected of figure skaters and their families [i.e., mental illness is not very warmly embraced]. So, you can imagine the strain this puts on all three of the Bakers, which is illustrated through the performances of each actress. Scodelario portrays Kat with such a convincing demeanor that viewers can almost feel the pressure she feels while walking the thin line between perfection and spiraling [or, “spinning”] out of control.

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As a senior studying magazine journalism at Ohio University and a passionate feminist, I created Freely Femme as a way to use my love for storytelling to highlight some of the most inspirational women in my personal life and beyond.

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