DISCLAIMER: This recap of the A League of Their Own episode “The Cut Off” has spoilers. Remember, there’s no crying in baseball. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, Rockford Peaches! Episode three of A League of Their Own, “The Cut Off,” doles out top-tier performances from the cast and electrifying, sizzling chemistry between Carson and Greta. Seriously, get yourselves a water bottle so you can cool off.
“The Cut Off” is about delivering confessions, as many characters shoulder the uncomfortable burden of disclosing secrets. We also get sexy bisexual dreams, heartbreaking scenes, Coach Porter getting knocked down a peg, and, you guessed it, baseball.
Ready to delve into “The Cut Off”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Carson (Abbi Jacobson) sitting at her nightstand before bedtime. She hears a knock on her door and opens it to find Charlie (Patrick J. Adams), apparently home from the war. He immediately starts kissing her. Shirley (Kate Berlant) wakes from hearing the two go at it. However, when she removes the eye mask, we see it’s Greta (D’Arcy Carden), and she proceeds to steal Charlie for a hot make-out session.
After Greta kisses Carson, Charlie and Greta go to town on Carson’s neck. It’s every bisexual’s fantasy.
Shirley shakes Carson awake, signaling that it’s all a (wet) dream. Of course, Shirley believes Carson was in the throes of a nightmare. Carson heads to Greta’s room and sets boundaries between them — they’re strictly friends now. Not “friends.” Friends. Or is it friends?
Later, we see Max (Chanté Adams) at church with her mom, Toni (Saidah Arrika Ekulona), Clance (Gbemisola Ikumelo), Guy (Aaron Jennings) and Edgar (Alex Désert). Max has her eyes on Leah (Marinda Anderson) amid the service, and that night the ladies partake in sexy, fun times in Toni’s salon. Afterward, Max muses aloud what she’d look like as a man. Leah tosses over a cap for her to wear.
Then, Sergeant Beverly (Dale Dickey) gives everyone their checks, and Jess (Kelly McCormack), Lupe (Roberta Colindrez), Maybelle (Molly Ephraim), Shirley and Carson discuss how they plan to spend their hard-earned cash. Greta and Jo (Melanie Field) eye Carson from a distance and seem to be in the middle of a somewhat heated conversation. Jo did warn Greta about getting too involved with Carson.
Impressing Coach Porter
Next, Coach Porter (Nick Offerman) stands with his number one player, Lupe, while they talk to the press. Porter tells the press how Lupe plans to uphold his “forkball” tradition. Lupe looks thrilled. Lupe approaches Porter after the journalists leave, revealing her elbow’s tweaked. She wonders whether her grip has anything to do with it.
Carson presents Porter with a pie in the hopes of motivating him to coach the team, while Beverly informs Greta that a man wishes to take her on a Saturday date. A chaperoned one, of course. Carson doesn’t look pleased.
Max Gets the Job
Later, Max arrives at the screw factory while dressed as a man. She stands among the recruits as the shift lead breaks down the responsibilities. Those racist white women from the previous episode claim there’s a “problem” with Max. Max states her case to the superior, claiming she has eight kids and needs to feed “most of them.” Thankfully, the shift lead doesn’t care as long as she can lift 50 pounds.
Then, Clance passes out at church, possibly from exhaustion or overheating. The churchgoers wonder if she’s pregnant. Max seeks advice from Gary (Kendall Johnson) regarding how to approach the coach of the Screws now that she has a job at the factory. She wants to pitch for him soon.
Max wanders off to work at the factory since she’s on nights. Her shift lead pairs her with the star pitcher on the Screws team. Unfortunately, it’s the same one she’s openly criticized. Thankfully, Max finds a way to get in his good graces.
Meanwhile, the ladies sneak out of the house for some night practice. Lupe is inexplicably missing, though. Max crashes onto her bed the following morning after work and prepares to spend the day at Toni’s salon.
Get Out of My Head
Later, Lupe doesn’t deliver Porter’s famous forkball at the Peaches’ next game as he anticipated. Carson suggests they switch out Lupe with another pitcher so she doesn’t hurt herself. Lupe retorts that Carson got in her head. Carson gives Shirley a pep talk as she becomes the potential savior of the game. Thankfully, Shirley knocks it out of the park. Success!
Max’s shift lead informs her that she’s switching to day shifts, much to her dismay. Well, working at her mom’s salon just got significantly more complicated. Now she must tell Toni about her factory job. Edgar gives Guy an egg at the Chapman residence as an exercise, believing Clance passed out because she’s pregnant. After he departs, Toni scolds her husband for playing that trick on sweet Guy.
Then, Toni and Max go for a walk, and the former shows her daughter the new signage on the salon: “Maxine & Toni Chapman’s Salon.” It’s the first Black-owned business in Rockford. It’s a boundary-breaking, celebratory milestone. Naturally, this makes it more challenging to tell Toni about the factory job.
Max begs Leah to tell Toni that Max must quit the salon for a church thing. Leah refuses to be dragged into Max’s personal life, while Max points out the hypocrisy of her hanging on a man’s arm while she sneaks around. Leah storms out.
My Dinner With Vernon
Later, Shirley and Carson accompany Greta on her date with Vernon (Mitch Eakins). Greta lays it on thick for an uncomfortable Carson. Greta follows Carson into the bathroom, wherein Carson, in a state of denial, claims she was fine before she met Greta. “You did this to me,” she says. Greta reminds Carson that she wasn’t “fine.” Far from it. Carson finally admits she’s jealous and has feelings for Greta. However, she has a husband.
Lupe chats with Esti (Priscilla Delgado), who wonders why Lupe usually refuses to talk to her. She’s funny! Plus, it would be nice to speak to someone who knows Spanish, i.e., Lupe. Next, Esti ushers Carson into the garage, where Lupe cradles her pitching arm while applying ice to it.
Lupe calls Carson out for having private practices behind her back, even though Carson insists they meant to keep them a secret from Coach Porter. Carson urges Lupe to stop utilizing the forkball pitch, as it’s damaging her arm. She also persuades Lupe to ask Porter to rest her. They need Lupe, after all.
Then, Max storms out while at church, crumbling under pressure to keep her second job a secret from her mom. It doesn’t help that Toni eagerly unveiled the new salon name to her fellow churchgoers. Toni follows her daughter. Max finally discloses her secret, revealing that getting a job at the factory was the only way she could play for the baseball team. Toni, simultaneously gobsmacked and hurt, storms off. Adams delivers a heart-wrenching, vulnerable performance here.
Meanwhile, Clance tells Guy she’s not pregnant while divulging some shocking news — she received Guy’s draft letter. He’s supposed to report for basic training in a few days. Clance held onto the letter because she didn’t want Guy to leave. Guy reminds her he could get locked up for not reporting to basic. The pair embrace as Guy comforts his wife. Ikumelo kills it. You feel Clance’s pain.
Taking the Bench
Later, Porter benches Lupe, switching her out for another pitcher. After the game, Carson calls Porter out regarding his treatment of the Peaches. “This isn’t even real baseball,” he claims. Carson gives it to him straight, demanding he be their coach or get out of their way. Yes, girl!
Charlie calls Carson that night and tells her he never received her letter. You know, the drunk letter. He’s currently in Dublin. Charlie reveals he feels “awake” and plans to squeeze out every drop of what life has to offer. Sound familiar?
After the phone call, Carson finds Greta sitting with Jess, so she conjures an excuse to pull Greta away. They flee to the garage, where they proceed to make out. Carson is finally acknowledging and acting on her feelings. They’re reciprocated, so yay!
Chanté Adams and Gbemisola Ikumelo churn out brilliantly nuanced work, infusing their hearts and souls into Max Chapman and Clance Morgan. Ikumelo’s scene with Jennings wherein Guy receives his draft letter, along with Clance expressing her fears that he might die at war, tore my heart asunder.
I’m glad Carson acknowledged her feelings and that she and Greta’s romance will flourish. She’s finally awake.
I hope the Peaches can forge ahead against all odds to wow the bigwigs and prove the masses wrong. They can dominate baseball. I also hope Max gets to pitch her little heart out and stick it to the racist coaches who refused to let her play.
Stick it to the naysayers, ladies!
A League of Their Own Season 1 is now streaming on Prime Video.
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