Ballers Review – Boobs Are Magic

Season 1, Episode 6 – Machete Charge
Grade: C+

And the slow down happens again.

Ballers has managed to squander all the momentum it gained from last week’s episode. It’s almost as though the showrunners don’t remember that there’s a “Previously on” sequence before each episode. They have to re-hash the details of each plot line over and over ad infinitum. Maybe they don’t have faith in their target demographic to have a capable short-term memory, but I digress.

Ricky is still fuming after his Ferrari was towed and his wheels were boosted. At the mechanics while he’s getting his car fixed, he talks to his wife Bella about how things are coming to a head with Alonzo. Of course, he skirts carefully around the issue that he’s been sleeping with another woman. When asked, Ricky claims that this row is because of a uniform number dispute, while Bella looks at him incredulously. Trying to allay suspicion, Ricky quickly pivots to try to recruit Bella’s Uncle Frank. When he mentions him, Bella tries to convince him otherwise, as Frank always takes it too far.

Ricky, in all of his genius for interpersonal relationships, decides to squash his beef by taking Alonzo to a strip club, because you know, ass and titties solve everything. Alonzo decides to take everyone who was slightly related to him to the strip club and have Ricky cover everything. This of course runs him thousands upon thousands of dollars. However, Alonzo gets enamored with a dancer and takes her out to his car for some extracurricular activities. While Alonzo hotboxes his car, the smoke is seen by a passing squad car. He immediately gets taken out of the car and arrested. However, Ricky is able to intervene in the nick of time, preventing Alonzo from getting a suspension from the league and keeping his record clean. Obviously, this kills the feud between the two of them, and they part amicably. This is probably due to the arresting officer being a Packers fan, or more likely the officer being Uncle Frank.

In the meantime, Charles stops by to visit Ricky at the strip club, complaining about the sexts he’s been getting from the random chick he met at the party. Charles decides not to pursue it, because his marriage is important (yay!), but he decides to keep a .gif of her twerking and emails it to himself (you f*cking idiot). His wife finds out, and within an episode, Charles is out on his ass. To be frank, I’m not exactly sure what the point of this storyline is, but I guess we’ll see where it leads.

Continuing off of his appearance last week, Victor Cruz is in the episode in an extended cameo. Spencer keeps ducking Vernon’s call after their falling out. Eventually, Joe forces Spencer to take the call, and Spencer agrees to a sit down. At the table, the group is told that Vernon is being blackmailed by a woman who has pictures of him from the yacht, doing drugs with hookers. Of course, this is while he’s trying to renegotiate his contract. A payoff to keep this woman quiet could potentially be worth tens of millions, so a meet is made. Of course, when the shady lawyer tells you that his client wants $500k, the cost-benefit analysis takes a bit to compute. As Joe and Spencer walk out of the lawyer’s office, Spencer drops the nugget that he knows the woman who’s blackmailing Vernon.

I guess this is a cliffhanger to be sure, but at this point, do we really care? For every half-hour episode, I feel like we only get 10 minutes of actual plot development. After the positive steps made last week, I’m disappointed for Ballers to return to its glacial pace again. For some reason, I keep wanting Ballers to be a 45 minute show, which would maybe give the characters the space they need to flesh out, but right now, it just seems like caricatures plodding through plots simulating real life, when it could be so much more.

Terence Chen
Terence Chen
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

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