Ballers is up and going and here is a quick recap of the last four episodes as we reach the midway point in the season. I’ll be the first to admit that Ballers kind of lost some of my interest in the last season. But, the idea of them moving to Los Angeles sparked my interest because it’s a larger city which in turn gives the writers more content to work with.
Episode 2- Don’t You Wanna Be Obama? (aired 8/19/2018)
“Don’t You Wanna Be Obama?” is taken straight from the headlines. Spencer (Dwayne Johnson) and Joe (Rob Corddry) take on the task of finding their star black surfer client Parker Jones (Mason Gooding), who has gone off the grid. Once they find him, we come face-to-face with the issue of colorism in marketing/advertisement. Coca-Cola does a poor job capturing him as a black athlete even though they know that’s one of the big reasons he’s on their campaign. Spencer and team are able to get him to show for his event. In turn, he shoots up a black power fist after winning at the surfing competition (their version of sticking it to “the man”). We’re also introduced to Jayda (Joy Bryant), Spencer’s potential love interest. She is the mom of a high school recruit with a lot of potential. Ricky (John David Washington) is being shopped to NFL teams by Jason (Troy Garity) off the record. Ricky’s at the point where he’d even go to the Browns to escape the boredom of retiring and staying in the house. Could there be a future for Ricky on the LA Rams? Things tend to come full circle on this show since we know that Charles (Omar Benson Miller) is now the GM of the Rams.
Episode 3- This Is Not Our World (aired 8/26/2018)
“This Is Not Our World” centers more on the struggles Spencer and Joe have balancing life as owners of a different kind of brand in the sports world. They learn that Lance (Russell Brand) is spending $1 million on a skateboard commercial. In ‘boss’ mode, they attempt to reason with him by popping up on him at his house party (paid for with some of those funds). Their main point of concern is his ability to make informed financial decisions in the wake of new leadership. After he makes it clear that SportsX is his baby and will be run the way he wants to run it, Spencer and his ego fire him on the spot. Even I know you don’t acquire a big company and do an impulsive move like that. There’ll be kick back on that decision for sure! Ricky finally gets a chance to pick up his cleats again. He does a bit of conditioning for Charles and his assistant, only for it to be very clear that he’s out of shape, out of touch and may not be able to play this upcoming season. Vernon (Donovan Carter) finds himself in a pickle after he visits his old high school and gets an entire stadium named after him. Fresh off of the manipulation of the principal and the pride one must feel after having a stadium named after you, he publicly agrees to donate $1 million to the high school. Everyone is being pretty damn reckless with their money this episode!
Episode 4- Forgiving is Living (aired 9/2/2018)
“Forgiving is Living” was the slowest of these four episodes. It was short and straight to the point. Lance has rallied his own troops and has started a rival company. The writers capture a chaotic tech startup without their leader in an interesting way. Those who did stay behind seemed to really lack direction without Lance, which frustrated and puzzled Spencer and Joe. Investors began to pull out of the SportsX merger once they learn of Spencer’s impulsive behavior. Spencer and Jayda take things to the next level sexually! Ricky finally admits to himself that he wants to play football and begins to take conditioning seriously. In the background, Jason is dealing with a crisis of is own. His girlfriend posted a picture of his client with another girl and let’s just say, things were thrown and threats to end their partnership were made if Jason doesn’t fix things. All in all, a slow episode, but it continued to the story that is: Spencer, Joe and friends navigating the Southern California culture.
Episode 5- Doink (aired 9/9/2018)
“Doink” is all about redemption and refocus. Initially, Spencer and Joe decide to apologize to Lance and ask for him to join the company again. He declines and offers to buy SportsX back for half the price. Joe grows enraged and declines. We then find Spencer at the network who distributes the SportsX cable channel. It’s clear that he’s in traditional “fix-it” Spencer mode. He enters a verbal agreement to give them access to College Football. It also becomes clear that he is going to break all the rules, talk to Quincy (Jayda’s son—the high school recruit) and have him pledge allegiance to a college in turn so he can have rights to stream their games. Presumptive of me for sure, but one hell of a move in the grand scheme of things. It’s also clear that Quincy isn’t going to be against this as someone (probably a perspective college) has clearly gifted him a G-Wagon off the record. But we know with Spencer’s luck, these things never really work out. Ricky commits to personal training. We see him battle Terrell Suggs (Baltimore Ravens) in the gym and find that, though Ricky’s level of commitment has increased, he’s still in no way ready to play in the league again. Charles also learns quickly that front office politics are different. Even though he’s the GM, his success is more predicated on look, image and big recruits, versus the day-to-day operations he thought he’d be focusing on.
You can catch Ballers each Sunday on HBO at 10:00pm EST. We close with the mid-season trailer.