Ballers Recap: You’re Fired

John David Washington as Ricky. Photo: HBO


Everybody Knows Season 2 Episode 7
Editor's Rating 4 stars

Okay, Ballers. I’m here for this. If you’re not going to give me nonstop yacht-party realness, I will happily accept this alternative where things actually happen and characters actually develop. If you can’t make good on the “four strippers an episode” promise you made in the first season, I will take Dwayne “Mwamba” Johnson emoting instead of letting his sunglasses do all the work.

“Everybody Knows” opens as Joe and Mwamba enjoy a day at the Korean spa, which is one of the many things I have in common with Joe and Spencer, along with our mutual love of loud suits and getting fucked up on Jet Skis. They’re discussing how they’ll need to get Travis to the top five if he’s going to be worth anything. He’s currently No. 12. Yikes. Travis’s video went viral, somehow. I can’t imagine there’s much demand for a video of a swamp boy running on a beach, but fandom gonna be fandom, y’know?

Joe tells Mwamba he was at a party at Andre Allen’s house and didn’t bring him any of the party favors. C’mon, Joe. You know Mwamba loves Jordan almonds. Joe also reveals that Andre offered him a job and somehow he doesn’t think Mwamba is going to flip out about this. I feel like Joe and Mwamba are that couple who constantly bait each other with juicy secrets. Joe leaves his phone unlocked with his Snapchat open just so Mwamba can see he’s been screenshotting Andre’s selfies. They’re both Meegan. Mwamba is offended that Joe would insinuate that he can’t be trusted because Andre insinuated that Mwamba can’t be trusted.

Joe says he’s shared all of his secrets, including his wife’s death and the Hooters Grief Sex, which is the title of my next mumblecore project. Mwamba accuses Joe of not having his back or even remotely entertaining Andre’s offer, then he drives Joe out of the steam room. The second Joe leaves, a beautiful woman walks into the steam room and strips naked nonchalantly. God, it must be awesome to be conventionally beautiful. Joe storms back in to give Mwamba a piece of his mind and does a classic “YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!” routine. Comedy!

Charles is grilling in the yard while his wife teaches his infant daughter to twerk. It’s really awesome to see the influence of women in a writers’ room, y’know? Ricky shows up with a toy for lil’ baby Charlotte and Charles sees through the gesture immediately. He knows something is up. Ricky is feeling guilty about getting into a fistfight with his own father, even though his dad cost him $30 million. Charles has become the sage wise one, the Miranda, and tells Ricky that if he really wanted to play in New Orleans, he would have signed a deal that day. Charles lets Ricky know that he needs to be the bigger man and forgive his father.

Meanwhile, Mwamba gets an offer to bring Travis on TV to raise his profile. He’s wearing a positively insane peach plaid suit and he agrees to bring Travis on the show and — OH SHIT. Andre is just chilling with Anderson in the conference room. Mwamba predictably flips the fuck out. Andre is there to make an offer for the whole dang company. He’s going to Putnam, Powell, and Lowe this whole thing. Andre and Anderson go back and forth, bickering about how successful and influential ASM’s staff is. Andre reminds him that the NFLBBQBYOB frowns upon courting clients before you have your certification. Anderson politely tells Andre to get the fuck out and Andre turns on his heel, but not before dropping the bombshell that Suh is with him now. Byeeeeeeeee.

Joe goes to a riverside construction site to meet with his PI, since he’s desperate to find out anything about Andre that’ll stick this time … and he also needs something on Mwamba. The PI lets him know that there is something. Somewhere else across town, Ricky buys his dad a new car and buries the hatchet. Joe is busy sneaking around the shady pharmacy where Mwamba gets his Skittles Share Size bag of Vicodin. Apparently, Mwamba and Donald Trump have the same doctor because he gives up tons of information to Joe and describes Mwamba very flatteringly.

As Mwamba walks Travis into the radio station, he reminds him not to say that they’re an item … er … that Mwamba is managing his money. During the segment, the host asks Travis to break down some of his best plays on a dry-erase board. To show he’s got the brains. After Travis stares at the board for an inappropriate amount of time and his nose starts to bleed and he forces everyone to pee their pants, he storms out of the studio. He reveals to Mwamba that he has dyslexia; when he’s faced with a diagram in a high-stress situation, he can’t decipher it. Goddamn it, how dare you make me feel something other than complete revulsion for Travis Mac, Ballers. How dare you. Mwamba suggests they get out of there and get fucked up on some Jet Skis. Instead, Travis marches back in, erases the board, and rattles off a plan from memory. Did anyone else slowly rise to a standing ovation in their living room? Just me? Fine.

Charles meets with Dulé Hill to let him know that Ricky might stay in Miami for the right offer. Dulé Hill says that if Charles, and only Charles, can get another player to agree to restructure their contract, Ricky can stay. Ah, yes, another installment of “Charles dealing with a nameless, faceless player to further the plot!” We finally get to meet Alonzo, whose signing to the Dolphins was a huge point of consternation for Ricky. Fifteen seconds later, Charles convinces him to accept less money upfront for no real reason. While Charles and Ricky celebrate that he’s going to stay in Miami, Ricky calls Jason, who tells him that the Rams just offered $36 million over three years with half guaranteed. Oh sweet Jesus, no.

Mwamba and Joe go to meet with Anderson, who has invited them to an ominous dinner. Joe thinks the dinner is about Mwamba’s Vicodin “addiction” and tries to comfort him. Mwamba lets him know that he totally doesn’t have a problem and admits the $6 million loss. When the two sit down with Anderson, Mwamba tries to fake some humility and tries to come clean to Anderson. Anderson Is. Not. Having. It. He lets Mwamba and Joe know that Mwamba’s certification from the NFLNPRASAP was denied because he’s not a qualified consultant and they don’t trust him with the players’ money, which is the entire job. Anderson fires him on the spot and asks him to take a walk. Did Ballers just end with a lasting negative consequence? WHOA.

Ballers Recap: You’re Fired