What. Is. Spencer. Thinking?
What is he thinking? That’s all I’ve been asking since watching the latest episode of HBO’s Ballers, which just so happens to be titled “World of Hurt.”
World of Hurt #1: Spencer Strasmore makes the wrong move
Spencer knows Andre’s a dangerous enemy to make. But he went in and decided to take T-Sizzle aka Terrell Suggs anyway. He knew there was going to be a sh–storm headed his way. Will he be prepared for the carnage?
Andre’s already on the warpath. His target: Spencer’s client, Ndamukong Suh. Spencer better bask in the win that was opening the Dolphin defensive tackle’s restaurant, Suh Casa. Because that might be all he’s able to do for the athlete.
At lunch, he spots Andre with Suh’s right hand woman, Victoria (Brooklyn Sudano). That’s not a good sign. When sheÂ needed Spencer the night before, he was busy putting out fires. This created the perfect time for Andre to swoop in and, I’m sure, promise them the world.
Meanwhile, Joe secures some dirt on Andre. All we know for sure is it’s something Spencer wishes was “less pornographic.” When Spencer tries to call some sort of truce with Andre at the end of the episode, he slides the evidence in as insurance. How did Spencer not realize Andre wouldn’t care about something as tame as his dalliance with the nanny?
Andre’s not just going to take Suh. He wants T-Sizzle back. And now that he knows Spencer’s not beyond digging up some dirt on him, he says he can easily do the same on Joe. And, especially, on Spencer. In fact, he already knows where the bodies are hidden, so to speak. The two have known each other for a while.
Andre: I’m too big to fail, Spence. You just entered a world of hurt.
Spencer and Joe’s boss (Richard Schiff) knows that it’s a mistake to mess with a shark when they are simply minnows. I can only imagine what’s coming for them next. World of hurt, indeed.
World of Hurt #2: Ricky’s quality time with his dad goes bust
Ricky’s feeling good. Last week, the Saints made him feel like the King of the World.
This week, he decides to hang with his formerly deadbeat dad (Robert Wisdom), who likes to show off, by the way. He won some money and wanted to collect. They hit the barbershop where the guys there know what kind of man Ricky’s dad is. They love him, but they also know.
At a bar, the guy deflects any talk of what it was like when Ricky was growing up. The athlete wants to know why he wasn’t around. And even though his mom didn’t want him around, Ricky sure did. He ends up getting in a scuffle with one of the other patrons. It’s embarrassing. And, hopefully, it’ll have Ricky thinking about keeping his dad around in the future.
Sure DennisÂ wants to be present for the good times. But what about the bad times? What about putting aside his own s–t to be there for his son? It’s sad because Ricky still wants to be enough for his dad to stick around. Not sure if his dad is that kind of man, though.
World of Hurt #3: Charles finds out his fate with the Dolphins
Poor Charles. His meeting with Dule Hill‘s Larry Seifert didn’t go well. As we know, Charles found out that most likely he’d be changing positions and playing right tackle. Ever since, he’s been wrapping his brain around it. I think he was finally in the mindset for this transition to happen and then boom! Seifert gives Charles some bad news. The Dolphins have already hired a right tackle and they’re letting him go.
Charles took it pretty well, however. When his fierce wife said they could move and he could play for another team, he said no. She has a career in Miami, one that he doesn’t want her to give up. He’s okay with losing his job. That seems to be his initial reaction. Will he feel differently in the future? Only time will tell.
World of Hurt #4: Jason goes after a potential new client and ends up in a swamp running from snakes and gators
Jason goes after an athlete who’s looking to do well in the draft, even though he skipped out on the all-important combine. He drives his cool convertible out to where swamp is all you can see for miles. Signing Travis Mack as a client wouldn’t simply be good for Jason. Spencer could also try to snap this guy up quickly since he’s on the brink of making lots of money.
Jason’s arrival doesn’t immediately impress Travis or his three Deliverance-esque uncles — they even refer to the movie. They give him lots of s–t and have a swagger that I’m sure they can’t back up anytime soon.
Travis takes Jason for a ride on a swamp boat or whatever you want to call that thing that doesn’t seem like it’ll protect you from the crocs or gators. Then the boat “breaks down.” Travis urges Jason to get out and push. Once the boat starts up again, Travis hightails it out of there and leaves Jason behind.
How did Jason not s–t in his pants? If he did, he wouldn’t admit it, right? The tough guy makes it back and is prepared to leave. But Travis likes his gumption, guts and his willingness to tell it like it is. He wants Jason’s help. Actually, he knows he needs Jason’s help. It’ll be interesting to see where this leads next.
World of Hurt #5: Vernon finds out his fate
Okay, the only part that is the world of hurt in this scenario is that Vernon — who tore his achilles playing paintball — doesn’t know whether he still has a job with Dallas. They haven’t said anything yet. They’re making him wait. It’s torture for him and Reggie, who knows he’s at fault for this injury.
Luckily, Dallas’ team owner (the great Christopher McDonald), puts him out of his misery when the press conference finally happens. He lies to the world and says the injury happened during training and that a job is waiting for him next season.
I sincerely hope this isn’t the last time we see McDonald on Ballers. So far, we’ve seen him a flash here and there. I’d like to see something more meaty for him storyline-wise. Pretty please, show?
One Last Thought
Something else that happened in “World of Hurt” is an out-of-work Tracy has a chance to get a job in Bristol at ESPN. You could tell she was nervous about breaking the news to Spencer, but he took it pretty well. He knows that ESPN is the big game in the sports universe (or at least it used to be). I wonder if she’ll even get the job. Part of me feels like she might be collateral damage in the war that pits Spencer vs. Andre. I could be wrong though.
Ballers airs Sundays at 10/9c on HBO.
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