After Almost Getting Good, ‘Ballers’ Descends Once More (TV Review)

[rating=5.00] “Everything is Everything”

The short-lived burst of optimism I felt over the show’s brief, but notable, improvement last week (however slight) has waned slightly. Mostly due to the show’s inability to stick to a primary storyline, leaving a convoluted, messy attempt at a narrative in it’s wake.

While last week’s ended on the semi-cliffhanger that Spencer knew the woman who was trying to use photos of Vernon to try and get $500,000 for, this was dropped almost completely to focus on Spencer putting off an MRI, Charles’ private life, and Ricky’s public image.

The issue with Vernon is brought up initially at a meeting where Reggie has immediately reverted back to being a pompous dick, despite having no plan of his own. His attitude has, however, worn off on Vernon, who somehow feels he’s also in place to throw his weight around, despite having no contract, massively in debt and no one else willing to go to bat for him.

It comes up again with Joe and Maximo Gomez double-fisting cocktails at the racetrack, where Joe manages to bring down their asking price down to $150,000. This is somehow seen as some kind of pending victory.

Charles, in the meantime, is once again living the garish lifestyle as a guest in Ricky’s home. While immersed watching the movie Her, the resident stoner/caretaker waxes philosophical on the nature of love. Charles gets stoned to the point where he thinks his shoes are wet.

Later, his wife shows up, and he tries desperately to hide from her. Then, predictably, she catches him (climbing on a trellis, no less), then takes him back, before pushing him into the pool. All in all, it had the forethought of a child unsuccessfully trying to solve the maze on an IHOP placemat.

Once again, Ricky comes out as the most interesting character (marginally speaking), when Spencer arranges an exclusive interview that will allow him to set the record straight. A necessity for his career at this point as his affair with a teammate’s mother has been making the headlines.

After some coaxing by Spencer at the last minute, he gives some background to his pursuit of the number 18, and its relevance to his father’s number 81. It also has a possibly accidental moment of self-awareness when it’s pointed out that Ricky’s initial offer for that number was “more than most people make in a year.”

His girlfriend also storms out, not being listed on his long list of apologies. Though her upwards of 3 minutes of screentime so far, it’s impossible to care that this happens.

Finally, Spencer nervously goes in for an MRI, which was misguidedly put forth as a scene with the kind of gravity that could end an episode. It isn’t.

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