Ballers Review: Literally, Not Figuratively

Season 1, Episode 3: Move The Chains
Air Date: July 5, 2015
Grade: C-

It’s quite a feat when the term “motherfucker” is used for the literal meaning as opposed to an insult. You could say that “Move the Chains” was the most action-packed Ballers episode of the season thus far, but that would be a miscarriage of the truth. This episode is the most “Entourage-y” thus far, and defines style over substance. The only saving grace is that the vast majority of the episode was in one location, so everything was a bit easier to follow.

We open this week with Spencer and Joe asking their boss for use of his yacht. This was an incredibly superfluous scene, with absolutely no need in the episode, except for maybe setting up Richard Schiff for a recurring role later on. Basically, the gist of this episode is that their financial firm needs to throw a large event in order to draw in big money clients. Since Spencer signed Vernon as the big fish last week, he decides to use this to springboard himself into more clients.

Cue the party, and in typical overkill fashion, it’s just smash cuts of beautiful women and drinking. All of the usual players show up, and debauchery ensues. Starting off at the party, Spencer runs afoul of Reggie, Vernon’s old friend, and gets into a contentious argument about Vernon’s future as a star and his financial situation. Throughout the party this escalates until close to the end of the night, where Spencer pushes Reggie into the DJ booth, causing a scene and having Reggie discredit him to the whole party.

Meanwhile, we find out that the reason why Ricky has been getting hazed so badly by his new Dolphin teammates is because his “side piece” is the mother of one of his teammates. Of course, Spencer tries to tell Ricky to think with his big head instead of his little one, but guess what? Ricky believes that Spencer isn’t really looking out for him because he can do whatever he wants. Gee, I wonder what will happen.

Elsewhere, Charles is living the lifestyle that he gave up before he retired, while Vernon and Reggie are doing blow off of topless girls. The typical party behavior of the rich and the beautiful as portrayed by HBO is right in line with what we’re expecting.

That’s probably my biggest problem with Ballers as of right now. Honestly, the premise of the show had a ton of potential. However, the show moves at a glacial place, and even worse, the storylines are painfully predictable. I understand that they want to ease viewers in, and that means they have to play to some stereotypes and caricatures of athlete personas, but there is nothing new to these plots, down to Spencer’s pill addiction. At this point, the next thirty minutes better take us somewhere, otherwise I’m ready to toss this show to the water, much like the players did when Joe dropped the N-bomb to the assembled crowd.

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

Latest articles

Related articles

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.