‘Ballers’ Review – Boats and Hoes

Ballers Season 1, Episode 4
Grade- B

Finally, Ballers begins  to have some payoffs from all of the story lines. “Heads Will Roll”, picks up right where we left off after the corporate-sponsored “networking event”. Joe wakes up hungover in the filth of his boss’ yacht and then spots two gold diggers on the deck below. Sensing the shitstorm that is his boss seeing his trashed yacht, he curtly tries to kick the women off the boat. However, as soon as he sees that the women are with pro-ballers Victor Cruz and Lamar Woodley, he buggers off and instead hijacks the boat, seeing an opportunity to sign a star client.

Thus far, Joe has been portrayed as the sniveling white guy trying to profit from Spencer’s hard work, but here, he actually shows off a bit of why he has his job as a financial manger for wealthy clients. Regardless of his personality, he’s somewhat likable and finds a way to connect with Mr. Cruz. He uses his knowledge of being undervalued and overlooked to eventually convince Victor Cruz (undrafted free agent) to agree to a meeting, that is if he can survive his boss once the boat reaches shore.

After Ricky realizes that he’s been a literal motherfucker to one of his teammates during the party, he decides to break it off with her and instead assimilate into the team atmosphere. His willingness to sacrifice for the team however, is not met in kind. His Ferrari is towed by his teammates, sending him into a rage. This lands him in his GM’s office, which tries to get him to relax by teaching him a mantra “I am bigger than my problems.” I sure as hell hope so, you’re a multi-millionaire playing in Miami (no state income tax!). Seeing his Ferrari without wheels at the impound yard makes him repeat the mantra loudly, and we’ll see in the weeks to come how well he can fit in. It seems as though Ricky is making a real effort to renounce his stupidity, stupidity seems to follow him nonetheless.

Ricky isn’t off scot-free though. During last week’s party, Ricky gave Charles Greane’s phone number to a girl who doesn’t care about that Mr. Greane is married. She texts Charles relentlessly, and Charles, who looks like he’s about 16, has the worst poker face in the world, has to run from his wife. He tries to stay the dedicated husband for a while, but the draw of the player’s lifestyle and the unknown has him straying, at least that’s what it seems like at the end of this episode.

Spencer wakes up from assaulting Reggie, and is immediately accosted and semi-blackmailed into seeing a neurologist. With the new focus in the NFL on concussions and head injuries, I’m surprised that the league allowed Ballers to go into this territory, but he goes, and slowly, Spencer admits that he’s been suffering from gaps in his memory and trouble sleeping since he retired. As such, he’s terrified of an MRI. Luckily, a call from Vernon grabs his attention and he rushes out of the doctor’s office.

It turns out the Jason has actually been doing a bang up job negotiating a contract for Vernon. He’s going to be getting around $15 million a year, and Spencer and Jason are about to throw out handshakes and bro-hugs all around, except that Reggie, Vernon’s right-hand man wants a $100 million dollar contract and has convinced his source of income that it’s what he deserves. Vernon just isn’t that good of a player. When your agent and manager tells you to your face that you’re not worth that sort of money, you figure you need to take these things a face value. Reggie, being the incessant ass that he is, demands this money, or else he’s firing both of them. Spencer, having had enough, tells Vernon that once he gets his $300,000 back, he’s done with him.

Things finally come to a head, and while I understand this is a new series, four episodes of exposition was a bit much. Plots are coming to fruition, and while they’re not as deep as I would like, at least there is some genuine plot movement, as opposed to just flash. Hopefully this is the direction that Ballers takes, and this is the beginning of a new trend upwards.

Terence Chen
Terence Chenhttp://theerrantbachelor.wordpress.com
is someone who realizes that his love of comic books since he was a child is one of only things allowing him to understand pop culture right now. He's irreverent and irrelevant most of the time, but every once in a while, he can put together a few coherent thoughts. He is currently a contributing writer on the Workprint. You can follow him on twitter @ErrantBachelor, and read his personal ramblings at TheErrantBachelor.wordpress.com

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