Some people are just doomed to repeat their mistakes.
That’s certainly what was laid out in the latest Ballers episode, “Ends.” No matter how much Dwayne Johnson’s Spencer Strasmore tries to serve as a de facto mentor to the ball-playing knuckleheads who surround him, often pulling them aside to give some sort of wisdom that’ll hopefully slip into their thick skulls, he knows it’s going take a few more mess-ups for them to get the message. He even cynically reminds his partner, Joe, that they’ll most likely have to save Vernon’s ass again somewhere down the line.
But even Spencer isn’t immune to having his past hiccups come back to smack him upside the head. He finds this out when he comes out of pocket to pay the mysterious Angie Lee $150,000 for the incriminating photos of Vernon at the boat party, seeing as the party was on his watch. Unfortunately, when he presents the check to Maximo Gomez, he tells Spencer the woman now wants a sit-down with him. Spencer refuses, slipping Gomez the check and walking away. Spencer will soon regret this, since the episode ends with Mr. Anderson, Spencer, and Joe’s boss (and the owner of that lovely boat), receiving a late-night email filled with said photos. It’s enough to make you ask who this woman is and why the hell she is so hell-bent on making Spencer’s life so damn miserable? Spence must’ve really screwed this gal over.
While some women may hold a grudge, others just want to move on. Annabella is distancing herself from Ricky after he had to publicly atone for creeping around with Alonzo’s mom. Ricky is obviously not taking any of this well, as we first see him in his now-garbage-strewn home, trying his damnedest not to call her and curse her out on her voice mail (which he does anyway). Ricky goes through the usual dumped-man shtick, barging into where she’s currently staying and eventually tracking her down at a club where she’s dancing with Mohawked-and-inked Miami Heat player Chris Andersen. After causing a scene (which gets broken up, of course, by Spencer), Ricky makes that ever-logical leap of bedding a couple of girls back at the Fun House.
Spencer tried to get Ricky to accompany him and Charles to Sun Life Stadium to spread Rod’s ashes. Remember him, from way back in the pilot? (How many of you were just like Vernon and forgot that dude was dead?) The writers literally toss this ex-character back into the show by beginning the episode with his boxed ashes tossed over his widow’s gate by a passing delivery truck. Rod’s widow (LeToya Luckett) then passes the remains over to Spencer, who then has to find the final resting place for his old pal. (Not before a predictable bit of spillage in Spencer’s car when he pumps the brakes behind another car.) I’m assuming Rod was brought back into the picture so Spencer and Charles can have that dramatic (yet cliché-filled) heart-to-heart on a football field, late at night, where Charles finally admits he wants back in the game. It was certainly the nicest-shot scene in the entire episode.
Meanwhile, after weeks on the sidelines, basically riding around in vintage whips and taking calls (which he does in this ep, too), Troy Garity’s super-agent Jason finally got a subplot. Unfortunately, it was the weakest one in the episode, as he visits his mom (Marlo Thomas – I guess Garity’s actual mom was too busy shooting Grace and Frankie). Jason gets a little surprise when he finds out his widowed mom is dating an aspiring golf pro (Josh Dubon) who’s way younger than she is — and Jason, for that matter. After seeing the pair display too much PDA during their lobster dinner, Jason tries to convince his mom that the guy is just using her to get to him, and she should break up with him. Unfortunately, That Girl can’t turn down that young lovin’, as Jason walks in on his mother and the kid getting it on in bed.
That subplot, not to mention the whole episode, did remind me how Entourage-y Ballers can get sometimes. (This particular episode was written by longtime Entourage producer Rob Weiss.) Much like that show, the characters appeared to immerse themselves in bouts of ego-fueled ridiculousness, letting their pride or their dicks or whatever keep them from thinking rationally. As we now go into the season’s final three episodes, we’ll see if Spencer and the crew finally learn from their mistakes or just keep on repeating them.
SOME STRAY THOUGHTS
- Once again, Rob Corddry’s Joe didn’t have a lot to do in this episode, except serve as backup for Spencer during the Maximo meet, and show Spencer he’s upgraded to a BMW i8, which led to a brief but amusing moment where Joe tried (and failed) to show off how the car revs up for Spencer. Also, who the hell still goes to Tae Bo, Joe?
- Who else caught the shout-out Dwayne Johnson gave to his dad by wearing a “Soulman Rocky Johnson” T-shirt?
- As much as this episode showed how Spencer can also be a natural in the kitchen, I still find it hard to believe a single man could cook all that damn food for breakfast.
- I swear, John David Washington sounds so much like his old man sometimes, it’s scary. When he said, “You’re lying!” to Bella’s roommate, didn’t you have a Training Day flashback?
- And what the hell was up with the camera rushing up to the girl’s front porch?
- So, Julie heard about the Fun House from other girls. I guess that would explain how she knew where Charles was last week.
- “LeBron did the right thing by going back to Cleveland — fuck you!” I have to admit, that was a funny line.
- If you’re wondering what that awesome song was that closed out the show, it was “Warm” by SG Lewis. Also, shout-out to the music supervisors for playing Fatlip’s “What’s Up, Fatlip?” during Ricky’s pep talk to himself back at his crib.